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Maryland men’s basketball vs. Michigan preview

The Terps look to bounce back against a struggling conference opponent.

Cal Tobias/Testudo Times

Following its second consecutive loss, Maryland men’s basketball will return home Thursday when it welcomes Michigan.

The Terps dropped their sixth game of the season Sunday at Minnesota, despite leading by double digits in the second half. Jahmir Young led all players with 20 points, while Julian Reese and Donta Scott each chipped in 14 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome 17 turnovers and a 38% shooting clip from the field.

Thursday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. and air on Fox Sports 1.

Michigan Wolverines (6-9, 1-3 Big Ten)

2022-23 record: 18-16, 11-9 Big Ten

Head coach Juwan Howard is in his fifth season at the helm of Michigan’s men’s basketball program. A former All-American, Howard compiled a 79-46 record and led the Wolverines to two NCAA Tournament appearances (2021 and 2022) during his first four seasons in Ann Arbor.

However, Howard and the Wolverines have not had similar success this season, slated three games under .500. Michigan has yet to win less than 10 games in conference play under Howard, but is currently on pace to do so following consecutive losses to Minnesota and Penn State.

Players to know

Dug McDaniel, sophomore guard, 5-foot-11, No. 0 — McDaniel is Michigan’s offensive keystone, leading the team in both points (17.8) and assists per game (5.1). But, he announced Wednesday that he is suspended for the team’s next six road games, meaning he won’t play against the Terps on Thursday.

Oliver Nkamhoua, graduate forward, 6-foot-9, No. 13 — Nkamhoua transferred from Tennessee prior to the start of the season and has found immediate success. He’s averaging 16.8 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 55.6% from the field and 40% from three. Last season, he averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

Tarris Reed Jr., sophomore forward, 6-foot-10, No. 32 — Reed is a strong presence in the paint for the Wolverines, averaging 6.2 rebounds and a team-high 1.6 blocks per game. He’s often the recipient of pick-and-rolls with McDaniel, aiding his 8.3 points per game.

Strength

Three-point shooting. Michigan ranks second in the conference and 34th in the country with a 37.6% 3-point percentage. Four Wolverines are shooting more than 40% from distance, including Nkamhoua, Terrance Willams II (41.5%) and Will Tschetter (62.5%).

Weakness

Defense. The Wolverines are one of the worst teams in the Big Ten in most defensive categories. They allow the most points per game (78.7), the highest opponent field goal percentage (44.9%) and the highest opponent 3-point percentage (35.6) and have forced the second-fewest turnovers (160).

Three things to watch

1. A battle between offensive stars. Maryland and Michigan both rely heavily on two offensive stars. For Maryland, it’s Young and Reese, while Michigan’s equivalents are McDaniel and Nkamhoua. In a game that should be competitive, the absence of McDaniel could be decisive.

2. Bad defense vs. bad offense. While Michigan’s defense has struggled, Maryland’s offense has not been much better, leading to an intriguing bad-on-bad matchup. The Terps’ offense averages just 71.1 points per game, which ranks second-to-last in the Big Ten, and shoots a conference-low 27.4% from three.

3. Chance to get right. Michigan has been one of the worst teams in the Big Ten this season, and is the only team in the league with a losing record. With Maryland already on a two-game skid, a loss would be a major missed opportunity.