Preview: Maryland welcomes Syracuse to sold out Comcast

Preview: Maryland welcomes Syracuse to sold out Comcast
February 24, 2014, 9:00 am
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Turgeon: Syracuse is still formidable

(Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 24 February 2014

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: ESPN

Spread: Syracuse (-4)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

It might not be your typical ACC game, but it doesn’t get much bigger than this at home for Maryland this season. In front of what is expected to be a sellout crowd, the Terrapins face the Orange in search of the signature win that could keep their slim NCAA tournament hopes alive.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Boeheim takes jab at Maryland's scheduling]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis vs. Maryland’s Seth Allen

Ennis is arguably the conference’s best point guard (and only a freshman, at that). Poised and seemingly always under control, the Canadian plays an incredible amount of minutes and produces consistently within those minutes.

For Allen defensively, it will be about containment. It’s difficult to turn Ennis over enough to make a difference, so keeping him out of situations where he can draw defenders and dish to Trevor Cooney, C.J. Fair, and Jerami Grant will be key. He can also score for himself, averaging 11.7 points per game.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Jake Layman, Maryland

As sure as the day will follow the night, Syracuse will play a zone on Monday against Maryland. What does that mean? It means Maryland’s shooters need to hit the open shots that will be manufactured by ball movement.

Chief among those shooters is Layman, who if in a groove could be Maryland’s best zone-busting threat on Monday night. But there’s another side to the coin.

If the Orange bait him into bad shots, that will create run-outs for Ennis and easy transition points for Syracuse. For that reason, the importance of Layman and fellow forward Evan Smotrycz is amplified.

SYRACUSE PLAYER TO WATCH

C.J. Fair, forward

The Baltimore native decided to return to Syracuse for his senior season and the Orange are glad to have him. His 16.4 points per game lead the team, though he likely would have enjoyed two more had his basket on Saturday night against Duke not been waved off and called a charge.

Layman will be in charge of him defensively and will need to keep him out of the paint as much as possible. Fair shoots just 27 percent from three-point range. Make him shoot in large volumes if he wants to reach his average on the year.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

After receiving a peculiar ACC schedule that didn’t include a home game against Duke, NC State, or North Carolina, this game on Monday becomes Maryland’s biggest at home this season. They need a signature win. It will be in front of a sellout crowd.

Expect it to be raucous at Comcast Center.

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