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Maryland basketball vs. Indiana preview: Terps seek important conference road win

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The Terps have a chance to reach 5-4 in Big Ten play.

Northwestern v Indiana Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Following a heartbreaking loss that saw them blow a late lead to Michigan, the Terrapins bounced back with a win over Minnesota.

The Terps led late in the first half, but the Golden Gophers went on an 11-0 run to go ahead after the halftime break. Kevin Huerter hit a three to tie things up, and then it was Michal Cekovsky’s time to shine. The senior center exploded for eight points in less than three minutes, including a trio of thunderous dunks. When it was all said and done, Cekovsky scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He also had four blocks defensively, making it his best all-around game of the season.

Now, Maryland will go back on the road to Bloomington, Indiana, for a matchup with the Hoosiers. They had won three games in a row entering their last matchup with Michigan State that saw them lose by a whopping 28 points.

Monday night’s game has a scheduled tip-off of 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on FS1 and the Fox Sports Go app.

Indiana Hoosiers (11-8, 4-3 B1G)

2016-17 Record: 18-16, 7-11

Head coach Archie Miller is a new arrival on campus, having previously coached at Dayton for the past six years. He brought the Flyers to a level of national relevance that they hadn’t seen in quite some time, making the NCAA Tournament four straight years while being ranked at times in three of them. Miller took over for longtime coach Tom Crean, who had been in charge for the past 10 seasons.

Players to Know

Juwan Morgan, junior, forward, 6’8, No. 13. He leads the team with 14.8 points per game, but Morgan’s contributions can be seen across the board. His 7.2 rebounds rank among the best in the Big Ten, and he also racks up steals and blocks at a terrific rate. But Morgan has struggled of late; he’s only scored ten points over the last two games while going 0-for-6 from the free throw line.

Robert Johnson, senior, guard, 6’3, No. 4. He’s the only other player on this Hoosiers team to average double-digits offensively, as his 14 points per game aren’t far behind Morgan. But being the streaky shooter that he is, he can surpass that mark with ease if the shots are falling. Johnson has four 20-point games this season, including a 21-point outing last time out against Michigan State in which he went 4-of-6 from deep.

Josh Newkirk, senior, guard, 6’1, No. 2. With the injury to forward De'Ron Davis, Newkirk will be the next man up on offense. He's already the leading passer on this team with 2.9 assists per game, but now he'll be tasked with providing scoring as well.

Strength

Offensive rebounding. Indiana isn’t necessarily elite in any one particular category, but the thing they do best is attack the offensive glass. As a group, they average 12.16 boards per game on that end, which is good for fifth-best in the conference (67th nationally). This helps the team rack up a lot of second-chance points, something that Maryland will have to hope to contain.

Weakness

Three-point shooting. Not only are the Hoosiers near the Big Ten basement in regards to their inefficiency from behind the arc (only Rutgers shoots it worse), their .307 percentage ranks 327th in the country out of 351 teams. If Indiana wants to have any chance of winning this game, the Hoosiers need to find a way to hit a few big threes.

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Maryland avoid another conference loss? The Terrapins are only 4-4 within the Big Ten so far this year, but their record could easily be better. They had a lot of chances to beat Purdue late at the start of the conference season in December, and they were three seconds away from knocking off Michigan. If Mark Turgeon wants to bolster his team’s resume for the NCAA Tournament, they’ll need to take care of business in games like this.

2. Can Indiana stop Maryland’s shooters? In addition to the Hoosiers struggling to shoot from deep, they also have a tough time defending threes. They are last in the conference in perimeter defense, allowing an unbelievable 38.5 percent of those shots to fall. The Terps have four solid shooters in Huerter, Jared Nickens, Anthony Cowan and Dion Wiley. If any of them get hot, it’ll be a long night for Indiana.

3. Will Michal Cekovsky build upon his last outing? As great as its shooters are, Maryland excels when it has a low-post presence who can score from inside and draw attention from defenders to open things up. The 7’1 senior played a huge role in the win over Minnesota, and further contributions from him can help this team immensely.

Prediction

KenPom: Maryland wins, 72-69

Me: Maryland wins, 79-68

This story has been updated to reflect that Indiana forward De’Ron Davis is out for the season. An earlier version included him in “Players to know.”