Maryland faces Providence for Paradise Jam title

Maryland faces Providence for Paradise Jam title
November 25, 2013, 11:30 am
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Maryland Paradise Jam preview

(USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 25 November 2013

Time: 10:00 p.m.

Location: Paradise Jam, U.S. Virgin Islands

Television: CBS Sports Network

Spread: N/A

FASTBREAK PREVIEW

It’s Championship Monday in the Virgin Islands. Mark Turgeon’s Maryland Terrapins, victorious over Marist and Northern Iowa, face their toughest opponents of the tournament on Monday night when they face off against coach Ed Cooley and the Providence Friars.

The Friars come into Monday’s game with a perfect 6-0, having notched two quality early season wins over Vanderbilt and La Salle in this tournament. For Maryland, Providence presents a combination that they’ve struggled with in the past.

Read more about it below.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Bryce Cotton/Kadeem Batts vs. Maryland’s defense

Why did Maryland struggle so mightily on defense against Oregon State in its loss earlier this month? The inside-outside combination of Devon Collier and Roberto Nelson accounted for 60 of the Beavers’ 90 points during that game in College Park.

Providence presents a similar challenge with guard Bryce Cotton and center Kadeem Batts. Cotton, a senior, is averaging 17.5 points and 5.7 assists per game, while Batts, also a senior, is averaging 14.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Against the combo, defense must start on the perimeter for Maryland. The Terrapins cannot allow Cotton to easily get into the lane, which would force the defense to collapse and open up opportunities for Batts and others.

Dez Wells and Nick Faust, along with Varun Ram and especially Roddy Peters, will have to defend without fouling and force Cotton into taking bad shots. Cotton is a volume shooter, so the more misses Maryland can force, the better chance they have of getting run-outs and points in transition.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Nick Faust, guard/forward

Faust has a tendency to play an inefficient brand of basketball, hitting a few shots to start and then making poorer decisions when it comes to shot selection as the game goes on. That was not the case on Sunday night.

Faust was a catalyst for Maryland early and played under control--save one big charging call--in Sunday’s win over Northern Iowa. He finished with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor. He was also 4-of-5 from the free throw line.

Maryland will need Faust to play under control, as well as contribute on the defensive end, against Providence.

PROVIDENCE PLAYER TO WATCH

Tyler Harris, forward

Harris is familiar with ACC basketball. He played one season at NC State before transferring closer to home at Providence. If the Harris name rings a bell, it’s because his brother Tobias plays for the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

He has the bloodlines and the ability to score the basketball, all packaged into an athletic 6-9, 215-pound frame. Maryland cannot focus solely on Cotton and Batts because Harris can carry the load offensively for the Friars if need be.

Take Sunday night, for example. Cotton shot 3-of-15 from the floor, but Harris was 6-of-12 from the floor for a team-high 22 points.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

The stat above comes from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun. Maryland has the opportunity on Monday night to break a long streak of ineffectiveness outside the D.C. area.