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Maryland vs. Indiana preview: Terps travel to Bloomington to take on Hoosiers

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The Terps face one of their toughest road challenges yet this season.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

After a resounding home win over Michigan State, Maryland hits the road to face another one of the Big Ten's top teams Thursday. The Terps are scheduled to tip off against Indiana at 9 p.m. ET, with television coverage on ESPNU and streaming on WatchESPN.

Indiana is 14-4 this season, with a 4-1 record in conference play, and ranks No. 52 in KenPom. (Maryland is now up to No. 16 in KenPom.) Their best wins have come over No. 28 SMU, No. 26 Butler and No. 22 Ohio State, with losses against No. 121 Eastern Washington, No. 12 Louisville, No. 30 Georgetown and No. 23 Michigan State. That Michigan State team that Maryland beat twice, including on the road? Indiana lost to them in East Lansing by 20 points. Things aren't always that simple, however -- the Hoosiers are fresh off a road win against Illinois, the only Big Ten team to beat the Terps this season.

It's been a bumpy ride for Indiana and head coach Tom Crean, who took over a sanction-ridden Hoosiers squad in 2008 after three straight tournament appearances at Marquette (and a Final Four in 2003 with Dwyane Wade). The team was dreadful for his first three seasons before two straight Sweet Sixteen appearances and a Big Ten title. Last season, the Hoosiers dropped to 17-15 and missed postseason play entirely. Things got so bad that Crean had "rock bottom" columns written about him after this year's non-conference loss to Eastern Washington. After winning three in a row in Big Ten play, things are looking pretty good for the Hoosiers, but this two-game stretch against Maryland and Ohio State could provide an abrupt stop to that.

Players to know

James Blackmon, freshman, 6'4. Maryland isn't the only one with a star freshman leading the way. Blackmon has led the Hoosiers in scoring this season, averaging 16.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He's an outstanding scorer from anywhere on the floor and leads the team in three pointers made.

Yogi Ferrell, junior, 6'0. A former five-star prospect coming out of high school, he's averaging 14.9 points and 5.0 assists per game. Like Blackmon, Ferrell is an excellent free-throw shooter who gets to the line a lot, and he's the best passer on the team.

Troy Williams, sophomore, 6'7. The Hoosiers' other double-digit scorer, Williams is averaging 13.4 points per game, doing most of his work on the inside. He's also leading the team with 6.1 rebounds per game, and is particularly effective on the offensive boards.

Robert Johnson, freshman, 6'3. Another dangerous young guard, Johnson is shooting 40% from three this season and is scoring 9.7 points per game.

Colin Hartman, sophomore, 6'6. Hartman leads the team in ORtg (and actually ranks No. 25 in the country in it). He's been Indiana's second-best offensive rebounder this season (behind starting center Emmitt Holt) and is shooting 44.4% from three and 57.7% from two.

Strengths:

Shooting. The Hoosiers are scoring 81.6 points per game (good for 12th in the nation), and have a number of scorers to choose from. They've recruited well under Tom Crean, and all that talent has turned into points this season. They're making 39.1% of three pointers as a team this season (No. 28 nationally) and 52.9% of two-point shots (No. 32).

Holding on to the ball. Indiana may have a lot of young guards, but they don't turn the ball over often. Just 16.8% of the Hoosiers' offensive possessions end in turnovers, good for No. 38 in the nation. Blackmon is particularly good at this, averaging just 1.6 turnovers per game.

Weaknesses:

Height. Indiana's tallest player, 6'9 Hanner Mosquera-Perea, has missed the last few games with an injury. Next tallest is 6'8 freshman Max Hoetzel, but he gets the least playing time out of any of the rotation players. That's turned into an issue on the defensive boards: opponents are rebounding 33.0% of their own missed shots against Indiana (No. 245 in the nation).

Defense. That lack of height has also manifested somewhere else: a lack of a real interior presence on defense. Indiana blocks just 7.9% of opposing shots (No. 252 in the country). If leading shotblocker Mosquera-Perea misses this game, Maryland's guards could take advantage of the area under the basket. Indiana is giving up 71.4 points per game (No. 295 in the nation) and forces a turnover on just 15.8% of opposing possessions (No. 338 in the nation).

Predictions:

KenPom’s prediction: Maryland, 74-73. 56% chance Maryland wins.

Pete's prediction: Maryland, 84-76.