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Maryland Terrapins-Delaware State Hornets Preview - Cupcake IX: A Cupcake Orange

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Maryland faces Delaware State, as the Terps look for their eleventh win in a row.


What: Maryland hosts 5-7 Delaware State, losers of seven of their last nine.

When and Where: 12:30 in the Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Where to Watch: ESPN3.

Line: None yet

Notes / Storylines

Ten in a row. Maryland has now won ten games in a row, with only three single-digit games in that stretch - Stony Brook, George Mason and Lafayette. The Terrapins are coming off a hard-fought seven point win over the Seawolves, a team that played hard defensively and caused Maryland to have arguably their worst game of the year on the inside.

Two left. The Terps have just two regular season games against non-ACC opponents left - Delaware State and IUPUI. We've talked about Mark Turgeon's hopes of trimming down the rotation, and Jake Layman certainly seemed to be left out last Friday. Expect a little more messing around from Turgeon before conference play starts.

Rankings. Maryland continues to get no love in the polls, having beaten no ranked teams as of yet. They're currently 33rd in the AP, with seven points, but are down at 59th in KenPom's rankings. Don't expect either of those two change much after these next few games.

Big Three. Alex Len, Dez Wells and Nick Faust continue to put up points. Len is averaging team-highs in points (14.4), rebounds (8.8) and blocks (2.5), and scored 19 against Stony Brook with nine rebounds. Wells also scored 19 against Stony Brook and is averaging 12.8 points per game, while Faust had seven rebounds and five assists and is averaging 10.5 points per game.

Depth. Perhaps the biggest difference between this year's Maryland team and other recent squads is the amount of depth they possess. A lot of that is thanks to the Terps' four freshmen - Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare, Charles Mitchell and Jake Layman - who have combined to average 19.9 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. Add in a little Logan Aronhalt, who was shot 57.1% from beyond the arc, and Maryland has a great second team that has provided quality minutes.

The Opponent (An Overview)

Delaware State, 5-7, currently ranks 283rd in the country according to KenPom, below 3-10 Coppin State and perennially terrible NJIT. Once you look at their schedule, that 5-7 record starts to look a lot worse. The Hornets opened the season up with wins over Gwynedd-Mercy and Cairn U (not Division 1 schools, for those wondering), before an overtime win against Wagner, one of two fairly impressive overtime wins this season for Delaware State. After that third win to start out the year, the Hornets lost five in a row, including blow-outs to Illinois State, Northwestern and Eastern Kentucky. They rebounded with a ten-point win over Eastern Shore and an overtime win at in-state rival Delaware, but lost their next two (at Penn State and at Pittsburgh). After ten days off, they visit Maryland for what should be their third straight loss.

The Hornets are undoubtedly headlined by Tahj Tate, who leads the team in minutes (35.0), points (15.3), assists (2.4!), turnovers (3.3!) and free throws (2.6) per game. The starting shooting guard for the team, Tate averaged 16.1 points per game last year and has seen all three of his shooting averages go down this season.

At point guard, Delaware State will likely start Amere May, although expect 5'10" Albert Thomas (2.1 assists per game) to see some time. At small forward, Casey Walker (7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds) will start, and he's the best rebounder on the team (as well as a solid three-point shooter). Power forward Marques Oliver is the only senior in the starting lineup, leading the team in rebounds (5.3) and steals (1.6). Center Kendall Gray stands at 6'10" and has averaged 7.3 points and an impressive 3.5 blocks per game.

Expected Starting Fives:

Maryland Delaware State Hornets
Pe`Shon Howard (Jr., 6-2) Amere May (So., 6-1)
Dez Wells (So., 6-5) Tahj Tate (So., 6-4)
Nick Faust (So., 6-6) Casey Walker (Jr., 6-5)
James Padgett (Sr., 6-8) Marques Oliver (Sr., 6-7)
Alex Len (So., 7-1) Kendall Gray (So., 6-10)

Matchup to Watch:

Wells vs. Tate. Tate is literally the only player on this team that should pose any sort of threat to Maryland.

Four Factors:


Without Tate, this would be one of the worst teams in college basketball. With him, they're still pretty bad. Maryland strolls, 83-54.