Credit - IU Athletics

IU Basketball: Hoosiers Looking for the Mental Toughness to Sustain Leads as They Travel to Maryland

A lot of bad things started the last time Indiana visited Maryland.

That Jan. 11 trip to College Park was the first time during the 2018-19 season that a loss became a losing streak.  The Hoosiers were coming off of a loss to Michigan, and after losing to the Terrapins in College Park, one loss became two, and eventually turned into seven straight and 12 of 13.

It didn’t have to be that way.  And things certainly didn’t start out that way at the XFinity Center just under a year ago.

IU scored the game’s first nine points, led by 14 with 13 minutes elapsed and maintained a double-digit lead early in the second half.

After Juwan Morgan made the first basket after halftime to make it 37-27 Indiana, the Terps used a 16-0 run to completely change the game.

That Maryland run seems especially relevant today, as IU is coming off of consecutive games in which they blew double digit second half leads.


GAME DAY ESSENTIALS

Indiana (11-2, 1-1) at No. 15 Maryland (11-2, 1-1)

  • Tip time:  Saturday / Noon ET
  • Location:  XFinity Center, College Park, Maryland
  • Television:  Fox (Stream)
  • Series:  Indiana leads 8-6 (Last meeting Maryland won 78-75 in 2019 at Maryland)
  • Point Spread:  Vegas likes Maryland by around 8 points.  KenPom likes Maryland by 7.
  • Tickets (Seat Geek affiliate link)

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Maryland Statistical Leaders

POINTS

  • Anthony Cowan (G) 16.7 ppg
  • Jalen Smith (F) 13.1 ppg
  • Aaron Wiggins (G) 11.1 ppg

REBOUNDS

  • Jalen Smith (F) 10.1 rpg
  • Aaron Wiggins (G) 6.2 rpg

ASSISTS

  • Anthony Cowan (G) 4.2 apg

A look at No. 9 Maryland’s noteworthy KenPom metrics

  • A battle on the boards — Both IU and Maryland are elite top 20 teams when it comes to offensive rebounding percentage.  The Terps rebound 36.7% of their misses. Both teams are top 10 nationally in overall rebounding margin.
  • Fundamentally sound defense — Maryland doesn’t force a lot of turnovers (No. 184 TO%), but they are disciplined and effective.  The results are the No. 13 team in adjusted defensive efficiency, and the No. 31 team in effective field goal percentage defense (44.4%).
  • Who will make threes — Indiana and Maryland are very similar shooting threes, with both teams shooting around 31%.  If either team can get hot from the outside it could be the difference in this one.
  • A free throw contest — Much like IU, Maryland lives at the line.  23.1% of the Terps’ points come from the foul line, which is good for No. 19 nationally.  Maryland shoots 72.4% as a team from the stripe.

See also: 

Mark Turgeon previews Indiana

What the advanced metrics say about Indiana as Big Ten play resumes


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Maryland’s Anthony Cowan. Photo Credit – Maryland Athletics

Whether a year ago, or today, IU head coach Archie Miller has been unable to find a way to have his team put teams away rather than relax.

“I guess if I had that answer, it would have stopped a few times a couple games ago,” Miller said after Arkansas closed out a 71-64 win over IU with a 19-3 run to end the game.  “Just that killer instinct, that ability to keep your foot down and keep the pedal down and keep motoring through.”

The 19-3 run by Arkansas followed a 32-10 Notre Dame second half run the week before.

Last year, the run by Maryland was surrounded by a 20-2 deficit to start the game at home against Michigan, a 20-4 run spanning the first and second halves at Purdue, a 25-7 start by Nebraska at IU, and a 30-13 start by Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Indiana is going to have to find a way to give more complete efforts as Big Ten play resumes to avoid another prolonged losing streak in the highly competitive league that currently has 12 of its 14 teams in the KenPom top 50.

When things finally started to turn around last year, it was Indiana’s defense that led the way.  Miller sees that as the antidote now as well.

“To us, our defense is the thing that you can control,” Miller said. “You’ve got to play with great emotion and great toughness.”

CONTAINING COWAN WILL BE KEY

When the tide turned last season at Maryland, Terrapin point guard Anthony Cowan led the way.

Now a senior, the 6-foot Cowan blitzed IU with 24 points and 7 assists.  Most of his damage was done in the open court, as Cowan got going downhill and the Hoosiers were unable to slow him down.

“I thought Anthony Cowan really took it upon himself and really started to attack.” Miller said after last year’s game.  “He was making straight runs at the basket, back part of the first half. Then in the second half, we had a really hard time in containing him off the dribble.”

Rob Phinisee, Indiana’s best on the ball defender, played in the Maryland game last year but it was his first game back after suffering a concussion.  The 6-foot-1 point guard played in a reserve role and only saw 17 minutes of action.

Phinisee’s ability to stay in front of and contain Cowan will be something significant to watch as the Hoosiers look to avoid their first losing streak of the 2019-20 season.


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