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Maryland-Wisconsin Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Wisconsin Preview: 5 things you need to know

It’s a homecoming for one star player and an injury test for another, on top of the fact that games on the road are tough to win in conference play.

Maryland-Wisconsin tips at 1 p.m. Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Diamond’s homecoming

Much has been written about the path that led Diamond Stone from his Milwaukee home to College Park to play his college basketball. On Saturday, he returns to his home state to face the Badgers and in all likelihood the overall reception won’t be so warm.

Fan bases do that. Maryland did it to former Terrapins commit Justin Anderson whenever he would come to XFINITY Center with Virginia. Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, both former Duke Blue Devils who beat Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA title game, were booed by Bucks fans when they came to Milwaukee as pros. It happens.

The key for Stone will be taking a page out of Rasheed Sulaimon’s book when he returned to North Carolina with the Terrapins earlier this season. Booed relentlessly as another former Blue Devil, Sulaimon says he tried to play within his limits and not let himself fall into a “1-on-5” trap or make the game about a “personal vendetta.”

2) Two different program trajectories this season

Maryland upset a Top 10 Wisconsin team at home last season before the Badgers went on to the national championship game. The Badgers, now with the Terrapins ranked No. 3 in the country, are hoping to return the favor.

Wisconsin has had to endure the loss of two NBA first-rounders, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, as well as the in-season retirement of coach Bo Ryan. They are 9-7 on the year. Handing a top-flight team its first loss of the conference season would be nice touch.

MORE TERPS: HOW STONE MADE FRESHMAN YEAR EASIER BY PICKING TERPS

3) Concern about Melo Trimble’s injury

Head coach Mark Turgeon used the word “better” to describe Trimble’s condition on Thursday, as compared to Wednesday when he played only 14 minutes because of a hamstring injury that has been an issue dating all the way back to last season.

He is expected to play against Wisconsin, but Turgeon also used the word “concerned,” which likely means concern that there could be some lingering effects of the injury as the season progresses.

Trimble is not an explosive player, so the injury would not affect him in that way. It would be more about lift on his jump shots and his shiftiness being limited when he attacks the basket.

4) The problems Wisconsin has had

Last season, the Badgers were the No. 1 team in the country when it came to offensive efficiency, thanks in large part to Kaminsky and Dekker, and a freakishly low turnover percentage -- just seven total turnovers per game.

This season, both of those strengths have become issues. The Badgers are 102nd in turnover percentage this season and 132nd in points per possession. Combine that with the fact that their pace is one of the slowest in the country and they become susceptible to slipping into holes that are difficult to dig out of.

That is where Maryland can strike. With a collection of three-point shooters and the ability to rip off quick double-digit runs, the Terrapins will always have that card up their sleeve against a team like the Badgers. If their shooters are on, that is.

5) More production from the bench

Stone is an enormous part of Maryland’s bench attack. That’s part of the reason why he’s there, to add a scoring boost. But the Terrapins will need more from the others, starting with guard Jared Nickens and center Michal Cekovsky.

Nickens looked good against Rutgers, approaching a double-double, and is a constant three-point threat. Consistency is the question. Cekovsky does not need to be a Stone-level scorer, but really just be a second-unit Damonte Dodd -- getting rebounds and using his fouls wisely.

The bench might be the last piston that needs to fire for this whole Maryland engine to be running nearly perfectly.

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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