Preview: Maryland goes on road to face Clemson

Preview: Maryland goes on road to face Clemson
March 2, 2014, 8:00 am
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Terps signee Trimble ready for McDonald's game

(USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 2 March 2014

Time: 1 p.m.

Location: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C.

Television: ESPN3

Spread: Clemson (-3.5)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

It’s crunch time for Maryland. With each passing week, the NIT seems more likely. A loss to Clemson seals their fate. A win keeps the dimmest hopes alive. Can they head down to South Carolina and get a victory.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Former Terps coach now Hall of Fame finalist]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland’s interior vs. Clemson’s inefficient offense.

The Tigers shoot just 41.6 percent from the field, good for 299th in the country. What does that mean? Maryland needs to box out, rebound, and finish possessions while not giving Clemson extra chances at the rim.

Turning Clemson misses into run-outs the other direction means easier points and a lot of transition baskets. That’s how you get a road win.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Dez Wells, guard

It has been the story of Dez Wells’ season. Quiet in the first half, dominant in the second. The question is why he isn’t more involved in those first 20 minutes. Is it a scheme-based thing? Is he more of a distributor during that time?

Regardless, it would probably serve Maryland best if he played like he often does in the second for the entire game. His ability to get to the rim is the most important piece of Maryland’s offense, because then that opens up the perimeter for shooters.

CLEMSON PLAYER TO WATCH

K.J. McDaniels, forward

One of the more versatile players in the conference, McDaniels leads Clemson in scoring (16.8 points/game) and rebounding (6.9 rebounds/game) and is second in assists (1.4 assists/game).

But it’s not just offensively where he contributes. With his size and length, he is an effective defender at either of the wing positions and even in the post, meaning that he can flex between Maryland’s different offensive weapons from Dez Wells to Jake Layman to Evan Smotrycz.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Though it’s not directly related to Sunday’s game, it’s worth noting after Virginia’s win over Syracuse on Saturday. Maryland is the only team in the ACC to lose by less than 10 points to the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville.

Every other team to play at JPJ in conference play this season lost by at least double digits. ESPN’s C.L. Brown was the first to point it out.