Maryland gets another chance at a Top 25 victory on Saturday when Purdue comes to College Park.
Here are 5 things you need to know.
1) Really big team
Maryland is typically the team that walks into a given arena being physically larger, forced to adjust to quicker, smaller lineups that the opposition throws out there. That will not be the case against Purdue.
The obvious reason for that is the pair of seven-footers that the Boilermakers have -- A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas. In last year’s game, the two were not game-changers offensively, but helped Purdue to a +7 mark on the boards.
But it isn’t contained to just the center position. Caleb Swanigan is a 6-9, five-star power forward as a freshman. Vince Edwards is 6-8 at the small forward spot. Even Rapheal Davis is 6-6 as a shooting guard.
This could actually be an opportunity for Maryland to show off its versatility and flip the size idea on its head.
2) Another grind-it-out game?
KenPom ranks Purdue 8th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, that being not only a product of their enormous size inside but also because of Davis on the perimeter, the Big Ten’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Maryland has proven that they can win defensive battles, as we saw against Nebraska and Northwestern. Granted, this is an elite defensive team and a Top 25 team on top of that.
The key on Saturday? Hitting shots. If you can shoot over the top of all of that size, there is not going to be much that the Boilermakers can do.
3) A more familiar stat line
Mark Turgeon has talked about the lack of foul calls Melo Trimble has been getting for the duration of Big Ten play. Against Nebraska, we finally saw the kind of state line that we were so accustomed to last season.
Trimble scored 20 points against the Cornhuskers on just seven shots from the floor, supplemented by 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range and 7-of-9 shooting from the foul line.
If Trimble gets calls and to the line consistently on Saturday, that could force the Purdue bigs into foul trouble and help to open up some chances inside.
4) The Layman X-Factor
Jake Layman will go a long way toward determining whether Maryland is Sweet 16 good or national title contender good. His game has evolved since his freshman season to the point where he is the team’s best perimeter defender and its (not so) secret offensive weapon.
He has become such an impact player defensively that you tend to forget that he is capable of being the team’s leading scorer on a given night -- but he is. He did a terrific job on Nebraska’s Shavon Shields to take him out of that game and hold the fort while Maryland fought back.
His shooting is what will be key on Saturday, though. As mentioned above, if the Terrapins are hitting shots they will be in business. A Princeton version of Layman would be helpful for Maryland on Saturday.
5) Showing them something
Maryland’s win over Iowa silenced a lot of national critics who (rightfully) wondered if the Terrapins could beat an elite team. Prior to beating the Hawkeyes, they had no signature wins and were 1-3 against RPI Top 50 teams.
Saturday is a chance to pull even against the RPI Top 50 and do it at home, too, where they seem to play best. Remember, Maryland has to go on the road and play this Boilermaker team again. That game is going to be even tougher. You’ve got to win the one on your home floor to hedge against any potential road letdown.