Wait, who is Maryland playing?
The Monmouth Mouths… is what they should be called. But the school founders had an inactive sense of humor, and instead went with the old “pick a bird” strategy. Fortunately, the mascot (supposed to be a hawk) looks like a bootleg Batman costume, so there’s that. Anyways, Monmouth – like plenty of other teams the Terps have seen this season – is a team that plays basketball, albeit not particularly well. They’re currently 5-5, and on a two game losing slide. Their most recent loss was an ultimately forgivable nuking at the hands of #4 Syracuse (108-56). HOWEVER, it’s much more interesting to look at the loss prior to that. Here are a few nuggets about that game.
- Monmouth lost 66-85 to Navy
- David Robinson no longer plays for Navy
- The game was at Monmouth
- Even with that win, Navy is still averaging less than 60 PPG (59.5)
- The win snapped an 18-game road losing streak for Navy
- Monmouth is really bad
Gotta watch out for
This one’s tough, but I think I’m going to go with Andrew Nicholas, also known as the only player on the team averaging double figure points. At 6’6”, Nicholas is a stretched out sophomore guard who rebounds well for his position (4.0 rpg), if not for his size. It’s pretty clear that despite a decline in total shots the last four games, Nicholas has the green light – he’s taken 15+ shots in four games this season. After an early season slump (12/47 from the field in a 3-game stretch from Nov.17 to Nov. 20), he found the hot hand before being stymied against the Syracuse 2-3 (2/6, 5 pts).
Does Monmouth have a chance?
No, and I can pretty much encapsulate that with one very interesting statistic: Monmouth’s leading rebounder is senior Ed Waite (6.0 RPG). He is listed as a forward. He is also listed at 6’3”. Waite could very well be a feisty presence at “forward”, but this team will simply not overcome their diminutive stature. The only two players over 6’8” come off the bench – and again – have been outrebounded by what all other teams would define as a point guard. Although they defeated former Maryland foe Lafayette, they were -10 in rebounding. I’d be shocked if Monmouth saw a second chance opportunity all night, not that it will matter by halftime.
Three Things To Watch
The starting lineup
To an extent, I like Turgeon’s idea of starting his bench. It helps sharpen their skills and boost their confidence. But as the VA Tech game creeps closer, eventually I’d like to see the Howard-Faust-Wells-Padgett/Mitchell-Len lineup out there to establish continuity and allow that starting five to meld into a unit.
THERE WAS A SECOND SHOOTER!
Is something I hope to be saying after the game. Unless he’s leaving flaming bags of poo on Turgeon’s doorstep, Aronhalt now has to be the coaches favorite shooter and “zone buster”. Unfortunately, Aronhalt is a one trick pony on the court, so a second shooter who doesn’t take so much else off the table would be ideal. It could be Allen, it could be Layman, IT’S NOT FAUST (and once he stops trying to be, he and the team will be better for it). I’d like above average (38%), I’ll settle for competent (35%).
Who’s the starting power forward?
Still Padgett for now, and it will probably remain that way. But the fact that Mitchell is better than Padgett at what Padgett does best makes it an interesting argument. Obviously Padgett’s offensive repertoire is more stocked at this point, but from what I’ve seen Mitchell is a more willing and able passer. I’m sure Turgeon wants to keep some senior leadership on the floor, but if Mitchell keeps up his tireless rebounding, the coach will have to make a tough decision once the ACC schedule starts.
Prediction: Maryland – 80 Monmouth – 60