Maryland faces Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday in College Park before a good-sized layoff to take care of business in the classroom during finals.
Hit the books here with 5 things you need to know.
1) A change of pace
Saturday’s game included, Maryland has two games in the next 15 days -- much different from a stretch they had earlier in the season of four games in eight days. That presents some challenges, especially the balance between improving before conference play while trying to get some rest for key players.
Head coach Mark Turgeon expressed no concern about it, except for the fact that only six team practices remain before conference play. But there is a plan to make it work.
2) Diamond Stone continues to improve
Turgeon may have found something by shifting five-star freshman Diamond Stone to a new role as a sixth man and putting Damonte Dodd in the starting lineup. The overall defense has improved and the offensive firepower is more well-distributed as well.
Stone has responded with back-to-back 16-point games. His offense has never really been a question. Defensively is where he needs to continue to improve and redshirt junior Robert Carter, Jr. and Dodd both say they’ve helped him as he has needed it.
3) Defensive pressure
Maryland-Eastern Shore struggles offensively. They rank 338th of 351 teams in offensive efficiency, scoring just 0.83 point per possession. They struggled defensively, as well, ranking 298th of 351 teams by surrendering 1.087 points per possession.
What does that mean for Maryland? Step on the gas early and assert yourself. They have done that in each of the past two games and have been successful. Saturday is another opportunity to do so.
4) The Melo Switch
If anything has been most impressive about Melo Trimble so far this season, it has been that he can alternate game-by-game between being two different types of players -- a score-first offensive weapon or a pass-first point guard.
Against St. Francis (PA), he had just three points, but had seven assists and only two turnovers. Against Connecticut, he had 25 points and was 14-of-15 from the line to help Maryland past the Huskies.
For a game against a mid-major like this, we could see either of those Melos. We’ll have to wait and see.
5) Developing the bench
Maryland is running out of real opportunities to develop its backcourt depth before the start of conference play. That mostly means junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley, who has seen some time but still needs work to be fully comfortable.
Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon have shouldered a high percentage of the minutes among guards and Saturday would be an opportunity to get Brantley into the mix for an extended period of time.