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Maryland vs. Rider preview: Terps host Broncs as non-conference games roll on

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A winless Rider team visits College Park Friday night.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off its win against Georgetown on Tuesday night, the No. 3 Maryland men's basketball team hits the court again Friday for a 7 p.m. tip against Rider. You can watch the game on the Big Ten Network or BTN2Go.

The Broncs are 0-2 after season-opening losses to Princeton and La Salle. They come from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and they've qualified for three NCAA Tournaments in their history, none since 1994. Ken Pomeroy pegs them as the MAAC's fourth-best team and the 175th-best team nationally.

Rider Broncs (0-2)

The coach

Kevin Baggett, fourth season. 54-46 at Rider and overall.

Players to know

Teddy Okereafor, senior, guard, 6'4, No. 5. Okereafor played more than 80 percent of the Broncs' minutes last season, and he profiled as their best assists guy and an offensive workhorse. He's not a great 3-point shooter (32 percent last year), but he made 73 percent of a lot of foul shots and led the team in steal rate. His 11.2 points per game last season were the most for any Rider returner.

Xavier Lundy, junior, forward, 6'7, No. 11. Lundy only played 14.5 minutes per game last year, but he's seen a bigger role this season with last year's top scorer, Matt Lopez, no longer around. His minutes have doubled to 28 per game, and he's got a pretty nice 54.2 percent effective field goal rate for the year. He's averaging 14 points, the only Bronc in double figures.

Jimmie Taylor, junior, guard, 6'4, No. 3. Taylor ate up more minutes than anyone except Okereafor last season. He's a good player, made particularly dangerous by his 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He struggled from the line, though, shooting sub-65 percent there last season. He averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Zedric Sadler, senior, guard, 6'3, No. 2. Sadler is one of the team's best-rounded players, averaging 7 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists last year. He was a 36 percent 3-point shooter and his 42 steals were second to Okereafor's 59.

Kahlil Thomas, junior, forward, 6'7, No. 0. Thomas is averaging 7 points and 5.5 boards in an expanded role for his third season. He's a strong defensive rebounder, in particular, pulling down 20 percent of all opponent misses so far.

Strengths

Steady defense. The Broncs don't get run out of the gym because they don't give up that many points. Their opponent-adjusted defensive efficiency was 0.985 points per possession last year, and they gave up a very respectable 64 points per contest. That's against mostly lower-echelon competition, but the efficiency number above is scaled by opponent.

Experience. According to Pomeroy, the average Bronc has 2.25 seasons of collegiate experience. That's the 25th-most experienced roster in the country, and it's stacked with players who have been in major atmospheres before. Rider has played road games at Purdue, Villanova and Kansas in the past three seasons.

Weaknesses

Getting free throws. The Broncs don't draw many fouls, only drawing 35 foul shots per 100 field goal attempts last season (212th in the country) and only getting to the line 7 times per game in this season's early going.

General offensive efficiency. This team averaged 99 opponent-adjusted points per 100 possession last year, the No. 236 mark in the country and not very good. The Broncs were virtually average as a shooting team (49.5 percent effective field goal percentage) but gave up steals on more than a tenth of their possessions.

Either a strength or a weakness

Making free throws. Through two games, the Broncs are 13 of 14 at the line. That's a microscopic sample size, but it's worth wondering if they've truly improved on last year's abysmal 60 percent mark (349th in the country) or if their strong early percentage this year is solely a matter of sampling. We'll see.

Predictions

KenPom's prediction: Maryland, 75-61. Terps have 92 percent chance to win.

Alex's prediction: Maryland 78-60.