After dropping its third Big Ten game of the season against No. 16 Michigan last Thursday, Maryland men’s basketball is back on the road to take on Indiana Monday night.
Though they were able to pull of the upset against No. 6 Wisconsin, the Terps have struggled to find a consistent rhythm since conference play began, falling short to No. 14 Rutgers and the Wolverines by double-digits. And though Monday’s contest represents a break from playing ranked opponents, the Hoosiers certainly won’t make things easy for the Terps on their home floor.
“We had to expend so much energy because Michigan was playing at such a high level,” head coach Mark Turgeon said of his team’s effort last time out. “We ran out of gas and we weren’t very good. But defensively, it’s just not good enough. And so that’s really been our focus.”
Maryland and Indiana are level with one another in the all-time series between the two programs, knotted at eight games apiece in 16 games dating back to 1933. The most notable meeting of these two teams came back in 2002, when Maryland defeated Indiana in the NCAA Championship to secure the program’s first and only national title.
The Terps have won each of the last three matchups, most recently defeating the Hoosiers on the road last January, one of just two road wins in Bloomington, Indiana, for the team all-time.
The game tips off at 8 p.m. and will be televised on Big Ten Network.
Indiana Hoosiers (6-4, 1-2 Big Ten)
2019-20 record: 20-12, 9-11 Big Ten
Head coach Archie Miller still has yet to return the historic Hoosier program to its former glory since taking over for Tom Crean in 2017, boasting just a 61-47 overall record, including 27-34 in Big Ten play. This season, Miller’s team endured a difficult nonconference slate, falling to No. 8 Texas and No. 18 Florida State before dropping its first two conference contests to No. 19 Northwestern and No. 15 Illinois.
However, a two-point overtime win over Penn State last Wednesday has the Hoosiers back on track, as Miller looks to keep his team’s head above water as it wades deeper into Big Ten play.
Players to Know
1. Trayce Jackson-Davis, sophomore forward, 6-foot-9, 245 lbs., No. 23 — The highly-touted in-state recruit has lived up to the hype since his arrival, once again leading the Hoosiers in scoring while cementing himself as one of the top players at his position in the nation. A load to handle on the interior, Jackson-Davis was placed on the preseason watch list for the Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy and the Karl Malone Award, and for good reason.
Jackson-Davis’s 20.3 points per game ranks fifth in the Big Ten this season, and he ranks seventh in field goal percentage (53.5%) and fourth in blocks per game (1.9) as well.
2. Armaan Franklin, sophomore guard, 6-foot-4, 195 lbs., No. 2 — Following a slow start to the season, Franklin has been on a tear as of late for the Hoosiers. After only averaging 3.7 points per game his freshman season, Franklin has averaged 18.8 points per game over his last five games, bringing his season average to 13.8.
Franklin also has the ability to get his hands into passing lanes, leading his team with 15 steals this season, with 11 coming in the last five games as well.
3. Aljami Durham, senior guard, 6-foot-4, 185 lbs., No. 1 — Joining the program in the same year as his head coach, Durham has been a steady, consistent presence in the backcourt for Indiana year after year. Now in the midst of his third straight season averaging over 8.0 points per game, Durham is one of the team’s primary offensive facilitators, leading Indiana in assists this season (29) after posting a career-high 80 last year.
Protecting the rim. Thanks in large part to Jackson-Davis’s efforts on the interior, Indiana has been one of the best teams in the nation in rejecting opponents at the rim. As a team, Indiana has averaged 5.2 blocks per game and 52 total blocks this season, ranking 19th and 12th in Division I, respectively.
Shooting. No matter where they are on the floor, the Hoosiers have struggled in the shooting department this season. From the field, Indiana has shot just 46.7%, good for 92nd in Division I. From the free-throw and three-point lines, the team has shot only 67.6% and 34.5%, ranking 231st and 144th in those respective categories.
Three Things to Watch
1. Can the Terps sort out their interior defense? After shutting down one of the more dominant inside scorers in the conference in Wisconsin forward Micah Potter, the Terps had no answer for Michigan’s 7-foot-2 Hunter Dickinson, who scored a career-high 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting. Now, facing another dynamic offensive big man in Jackson-Davis, Maryland’s defense will need to do a much better job defending the paint.
“Defensively, we just got to get better in our zones, we got to get better on our post defense, we got to get better in our ball pressure, we got to get better in our rotations,” Turgeon said. “So just got to keep working and keep working and keep working on it.”
2. How will the team look without Darryl Morsell? The senior guard has made his presence known on both ends of the floor since his arrival in 2017, but he’ll be absent for just the second time in his Terp career after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured bone in his face. Without Morsell’s aggressive perimeter defense and shot-creating ability, Maryland will need the likes of Hakim Hart and Aaron Wiggins to pick up the slack on Monday night.
“He’s been a coach on the sideline, he’s been helping the younger guys like me and stuff like that,” Hart said. “[He’s telling us] just to play hard each possession, every possession, that’s how we’re gonna win games. If we’re going with his mindset we’ll be fine.”
3. Will Jairus Hamilton stay hot? After tying his season-high of 15 points against Michigan on Friday, Maryland will need Hamilton to keep putting points on the board. The junior forward has looked right at home since making his move from Boston College to College Park, with his recent outside shooting performances bumping him to a 44.4% three-point shooting percentage this season. With Morsell’s absence for the next one to two weeks, Hamilton’s set to see an increased role at the just at the right time.
“Definitely a whole lot of it’s confidence-based,” Hamilton said of his recent shooting success. “Just trying to figure out my opportunities where I can take and make plays and stuff like that. I’ve been studying a whole lot more film, studying film from like previous teams and stuff like that, and just figuring out my piece.”