After narrowly upending South Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Maryland men's basketball team will face No. 13 seed Hawaii with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line. The winner will face either Kansas or Connecticut a week from Saturday in a South Region semifinal in Louisville. The Terps opened as 7-point favorites.
The Rainbow Warriors scored an upset win against No. 4 seed Cal on Friday afternoon, before the No. 5 seed Terps beat No. 12 seed South Dakota State on the same floor in Spokane, Wash. Hawaii lost its last regular season game, but rolled into the NCAA Tournament by winning three straight games and claiming the Big West Tournament title.
The Terps and the Rainbow Warriors will tip off on Sunday at about 7:10 at Spokane Arena. Here's what Maryland will be up against.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (28-5, 13-3 Big West)
Eran Ganot is 28-5 in his first season as head coach at Hawaii. He previously served as an assistant at St. Mary's.
Players to know
Stefan Jankovic, junior, forward, 6'11, No. 33. He's the soul of Hawaii's team. In his second season after transferring from Missouri, Jankovic leads the Rainbow Warriors in points (15.7), rebounds (6.6) and blocks (1.2) per game. He doesn't take a ton of threes (2.5 per game), but can knock it down, shooting 39.5 percent from deep.
Aaron Valdes, junior, guard, 6'5, No. 32. He's second on the team in rebounds despite only being 6'5, and Valdes is Hawaii's second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game. Valdes shoots a solid 61 percent inside the arc, but won't inspire much fear from deep, as only knocks down 32.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
Roderick Bobbitt, senior, guard, 6'3, No. 5. In addition to leading the team in assists, Bobbitt has been a force for Hawaii's defense, as he averages 2.2 steals per game and leads the Rainbow Warriors in defensive win shares with 2.3.
Defense. The Rainbow Warriors have the 42nd-best defense in the country, per KenPom's adjusted efficiency. They have the nation's 14th-best opponent field goal percentage, and are adept at forcing turnovers. That'll be big against a Maryland team that's had a problem giving the ball away all season.
Scoring inside. This team ranks in the top six nationally in two-point shooting percentage (55 percent) and likes to score around the rim.
Three-point shooting. They shoot 32.8 percent from downtown as a team, which puts them a dreadful 255th in the country. The Terps still can't make the same mistakes it made against Minnesota, where they left shooters open all day, but this is a good sign for Maryland.
Free-throw shooting. The Rainbow Warriors are an unfortunate mix in this regard, as they have no problem getting to the line but aren't very good at converting once they get there. Hawaii ranks fourth in the country in free throw attempts per field goal attempt, but are 226th in free throw percentage.
Hawaii focuses a lot on getting to the foul line. That was a big point of emphasis in its win against Cal, with the Warriors taking 25 free throws. Jankovic, Valdes, Bobbitt and forward Mike Thomas use up most of the possessions.
The Warriors try hard to limit three-point opportunities. Teams only take about 27 percent of their shots against them from beyond the mark, which is one of the lowest rates in the tournament. Sometimes, though, players get past perimeter defenders, so it shouldn't be surprising that Hawaii sends teams to the foul line more often than most.
KenPom: Maryland, 74-71. Terps have a 63 percent chance to win.
Ryan: Maryland should beat Hawaii, but it won't be easy. The Rainbow Warriors' ability to force turnovers is a bit scary, but the Terps should get to the Sweet 16.
The Terps take it, 68-59.