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Maryland vs. St. Francis preview: Terps look to bounce back after loss to North Carolina

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The Terps should be able to take care of business against a mid-major opponent.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering its first lost of the season against No. 9 North Carolina Tuesday, Maryland men's basketball welcomes the St. Francis Red Flash to Xfinity Center. The two teams have met once before, with the Terps taking the lone matchup 75-66 back in 1955. Friday's 7 p.m. tip-off will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

St. Francis opened the season with a loss to Notre Dame (understandable), but the Red Storm also have losses to Maryland Eastern Shore (by 13) and Kent State (by 19) on their resume, which doesn't bode well for their matchup against the Terps. Maryland is by far the biggest game left on their schedule, as the Red Storm play in the New England Conference. Friday's game kicks off the end of the non-conference season for the Terps, as they play five more games before welcoming Penn State on Dec. 30 to begin their Big Ten slate.

St. Francis Red Storm (3-3)

The coach

Rob Krimmel. He's in his fourth season as a head coach, all at St. Francis (24-34 career record).

Players to know

Greg Brown, senior, guard, 6'2/190, No. 12. Brown is the team's second-leading scorer, notching 13 points per game. He's done it on an efficient 49 percent shooting, and he's hit half of the 10 threes he's attempted this season. Brown missed the first two games of the season with injury, but seems to be growing into the team's star role after serving as its third-leading scorer last season.

Ben Millaud-Meunier, senior, guard, 6'3/195, No. 11. After finishing sixth on the team in scoring of the bench last season, Millaud-Meunier has emerged as the Red Storm's leading shot-taker this season. He leads the team with 13.5 points per game, but that's come on a woefully unefficient 30 percent shooting from the field. Millaud-Meunier has made 21 shots, the same amount as Brown, only he's taken 20 more. He is great at getting to the line and knocks 'em down once he gets there, only having missed two free throws all season, going 27-of-29.

Ronnie Drinnon, senior, forward, 6'7/225, No, 40. Drinnon has been St. Francis's best scoring big man, scoring 10 points per game. He's shooting 48 percent from the field, but matches that percentage from the line, which isn't very good.

Isiah Blackmon, freshman, guard, 6'1/175, No. 24. The Red Storm's best freshman contributor on offense, Blackmon's been highly efficient inside and behind the three-point line. In five games (one start), he's shooting 60 percent from the field and 67 percent (6 of 7) from deep. He's averaging 12 points per game off the bench, good for third on the team.

Josh Nebo, freshman, forward, 6'8/215, No. 32. The team's other impact freshman, Nebo's presence is felt more on defense. He leads the team with 8 blocks, and is second with 6.5 rebounds per game.

Strengths

Playing it safe. St. Francis is 15th in the country in offensive steal percentage, meaning the Red Storm rarely turn the ball over. That will be key against Maryland, as St. Francis's offense won't be able to keep up if it keeps giving the Terps extra possessions.

Weaknesses

They don't score a lot. St.  Francis ranks 273rd in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 97.6 points per 100 possessions. The team also ranks 285th in effective field goal percentage, while Maryland ranks seventh.

They're tiny. The Red Storm rank 245th in the nation in effective height. The Terps, meanwhile, rank seventh in that category. Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. could be in for easy nights against a defense populated by players too small to handle their post moves. They also rank 310th in offensive rebound percentage as a defense, meaning they allow a ton of offensive rebounds. Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky should be able to out-muscle their opponents for rebounds. Heck, Ivan Bender could even get in the mix during this one.

Predictions

KenPom's prediction: Maryland 79, St. Francis, 58. Terps have a 97 percent chance of winning.

My prediction: Maryland 85, St. Francis 60