Rhode Island beat TCU and Maryland beat Illinois State, meaning that the Terrapins will face the Rams in the championship of the Cancun Challenge on Wednesday night.
Don’t know much about URI? No problem. Here is your quick look at coach Dan Hurley’s team.
Player to Watch: Jared Terrell
Originally committed to Oklahoma State, he was the No. 66 overall player in the Rivals.com class of 2014. He is a physical natural shooting guard who is built like a football player, which makes him difficult to defend when he gets going downhill -- especially with the NCAA’s new officiating emphasis of freedom of movement.
He had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win over TCU.
Biggest strength: Defense
The Rams came to Cancun ranked 15th in the nation in defensive efficiency. They held TCU to just 40 percent shooting from the floor and 60 points in Tuesday night’s win.
When mid-majors get into slugfests that top out in the low 60s, it can be anyone’s game. Much of Maryland's win over Illinois State was evidence of that. The Rams did that against TCU, shooting just 43.5 percent themselves in the win.
Biggest weakness: Ripple effect of losing star guard
Rhode Island’s best player, guard E.C. Matthews, was lost for the season to a knee injury in the season’s first game. It’s not just that the Rams are losing 16.9 points per game, which was the centerpiece of their offense.
With Matthews out of the lineup, Terrell becomes the team's backup point guard and that is not his usual position. Ball pressure could help Maryland force turnovers and get things going in their direction.
Reason Maryland should be concerned: Small ball problems
If there is one thing that has been Maryland’s problem area through four games, it is when teams are able to go small and shoot from the outside. Mount St. Mary’s did it early and was able to hang in the game until the early second half. Georgetown did it and built a leader. Rider did it and pushed the lead to double digits by the second half.
The loss of Dion Wiley to injury has created a domino effect that head coach Mark Turgeon is still figuring out. Illinois State caused issues on Tuesday. Rhode Island could try to do the same on Wednesday.
Hassan Martin is an undersized power forward, but he still protects the rim. Kuran Iverson is long and athletic -- a Top 30 recruit out of high school. Surrounded by three guards, that is a team that can space the floor with players like Towson transfer Four McGlynn and make Maryland scramble.
Reason why Maryland should not to worry: Size advantage
Maryland has an elite front court. Offensively, a Jake Layman-Robert Carter-Diamond Stone lineup can go shot for shot with anyone in the country. Rhode Island has a big-time defender in Martin and high-major length in Iverson, but what happens if those guys get in foul trouble?
Rhode Island starts three guards and brings really only one more big off the bench in 6-7 Earl Watson. Work the ball inside and dare the Rams to defend you one-on-one situations. The result will likely either be foul trouble or buckets because the Terps are so skilled around the rim.