Preview: Maryland seeks revenge in rematch with Pitt

Preview: Maryland seeks revenge in rematch with Pitt
January 25, 2014, 12:15 pm
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 25 January 2014

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: ESPN2

Spread: Pittsburgh (-3.5)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

Three weeks ago, Maryland was riding a three-game winning streak into Pittsburgh before being outmuscled and outplayed in a 20-point loss at Petersen Events Center. The situation was not as dire then as it is now, as the Terrapins come off a crushing road loss to an undermanned NC State team.

Can Maryland get a much-needed resume-building win on Saturday evening? Preview the game below.

[RELATED: Turgeon calls mentor after loss to NC State]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson vs. Maryland’s Nick Faust

Faust is often tabbed with guarding the opponent’s best player and, as Patterson showed in their first meeting, he is the guy for Pitt. Versatile, seasoned, and intelligent as a 6-5 fifth-year senior, he had 19 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting in the first meeting between these teams.

Patterson is not afraid to use his body either to bully his way to the basket or create space on the perimeter, but also has the body control around the rim to finish. It will be up to Faust not to lose Patterson defensively, while also keeping him out of the lane. The Pennsylvania native shoots 44 percent from three-point range.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Jake Layman, forward

Layman has been in a funk since the start of the heart of conference play, averaging just 5.5 points per game in conference play. How much of that has to do with defenses keying in on him and how much of it has to do with a shooting slump?

The more Maryland fails to get to the basket, the easier it becomes for defenses to extend out toward the perimeter and limit Laymand and other shooters the Terrapins have. That means that the offensive ecosystem relies on Seth Allen getting to the rim instead of taking jumpers, as well as Dez Wells getting into the paint.

The problem is, Pittsburgh ranks in the Top 75 nationally in opponent three-point shooting percentage at just 31.5 percent.

PITTSBURGH PLAYER TO WATCH

James Robinson, point guard

It’s really incredible that a player who has the ball in his hands for such a significant portion of the game can average less than one turnover per contest. That’s what Robinson has done this season. The DeMatha (Md.) product is averaging 4.3 assists and just 0.7 turnovers per game this season, part of the reason that the Panthers’ offense runs so efficiently.

And that’s where the problem is presented for Maryland. If they fall behind early, trying to pressure Robinson and force turnovers just won’t happen.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Robinson is second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.8-to-1. Maryland, as a team, ranks 220th in the nation with 13.1 turnovers per game and 235th in the country with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.91-to-1.