Maryland men’s basketball has lost three games in a row. The first two defeats came in the Asheville Championship, with the latest coming in resounding fashion against Villanova, 57-40.
Points have been hard to come by for the Terps, with head coach Kevin Willard even saying, “We don’t have a whole lot of confidence right now.”
Fortunately for the Terps, they’ll be back at home Tuesday when they take on UMBC.
Tuesday’s game will start at 7 pm and be televised on the Big Ten Network.
UMBC Retrievers (3-2, 0-0 America East)
2022-23 record: 18-14, 8-8 America East
Head coach Jim Ferry led UMBC to consecutive 18-14 seasons to begin his tenure, and will look to improve on that with a lot of fresh faces this season.
The former Penn State interim head coach brought in a staggering 11 new players from the transfer portal, a slight uptick from the eight transfers he had last season.
Despite that turnover, the Retrievers are off to a good start. After falling in tightly-contested games against Louisville and Marist to open the year, they’ve won three in a row against Penn State York, Sacred Heart and Loyola (Md.).
Players to watch
Dion Brown, sophomore guard, 6-foot-3, No. 13 — The lone returner on the squad seems to have taken the next step in his second year. Last season, he was named to the America East All-Rookie team after averaging more than seven points per game. This year, he’s scored more than 20 points twice and leads the team in steals.
Khydarius Smith, senior forward, 6-foot-8, No. 11 — Smith didn’t have an incredible impact in his three years at South Carolina Upstate, but he played well off the bench with the Retrievers. He’s put up double-digit points in all but one game, and leads the team with more than 16 points per game.
Marcus Banks Jr., junior guard, 6-foot-3, No. 24 — After playing just five minutes in the team’s first game against Louisville, the Odessa College transfer has found his role as a starter. He’s scored more than 15 points per game in the past four while attempting a combined 28 threes.
3-point shooting. UMBC shoots a lot of threes — over 20 per game — but unlike Maryland, it makes a lot of them. Almost a third of all his shots are from distance, and the Retrievers shoot the 3-ball at a 39% clip.
Four starters have attempted at least 14 triples on the season.
Free throws. UMBC can drain its deep shots, but has struggled to hit from the charity stripe. He shot 60.2% from the line, and in his first game, a 94-93 loss to Louisville, the Retrievers went 12-of-22 from the line.
Three things to watch
1. How will Maryland respond? Maryland has underwhelmed in just about every facet so far. It went winless in a tournament it was supposed to win, got embarrassed by its only power conference opponent in Villanova and sits at a lowly 1-3.
The Terps’ upcoming schedule should allow them to get back on track, but even so, their early-season performances are cause for concern.
2. UMBC presents a concerning 3-point matchup. Maryland has struggled to both shoot and defend the three to begin the season. UMBC relies heavily on the three, a large part of why it has averaged more than 80 points per game. If Maryland’s defensive lapses and utter failure to shoot the ball continue, it may be a long night Tuesday.
3. A return to home should provide a boost. The Terps’ lone win this season came at home, albeit against Mount. St. Mary’s. But XFINITY Center was a saving grace for Maryland last season, playing host to 16 wins and one loss.