Maryland vs. Davidson: how to watch, listen, preview

Maryland (1-0, 0-0 B1G) vs. Davidson (1-0, 0-0 A-10)
When: Friday, Nov. 10, 2023, 7 PM
Where: Harrah’s Cherokee Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Watch: ESPNU
Listen: 105.7 FM (Balt) / 980 AM (DC) / SiriusXM Channel 385
Betting: Maryland -11, O/U: 138

Maryland won its 47th consecutive home opener after defeating Mount St. Mary’s, 68-53, on Tuesday night as the Terps now shift to the first MTE of the college basketball season. Maryland will take on Davidson on Friday night before facing either Clemson or UAB on Sunday.

Maryland leads the all-time series against Davidson, 8-3, as the two teams meet for the first time since the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament when six Terps finished in double figures, Mike Jones dropped 17 points and Ekene Ibekwe finished with a double-double as Maryland moved on with an 82-70 win, despite 30 points from Davidson guard Steph Curry.

Opponent overview: Davidson

Davidson is led by Matt McKillop, who has been with the program since 2008 and was promoted to associate head coach seven years ago before succeeding his father as Davidson’s head coach back in June of 2022. McKillop guided Davidson to a 16-16 in year one, and with ten returnees back for 2023-24, the Wildcats will look to challenge the Terps as a double-digit underdog.

Davidson was picked to finish 12th in the A-10’s annual preseason poll and though Davidson is tasked with replacing the outgoing production among its veterans like Foster Lloyer, the Wildcats enter Friday’s contest with a chance to shoot the Terps out of the water after attempting 36 threes in Monday’s season-opening win over Washington & Lee.

For Maryland, part of the challenge is preparing for an experienced Davidson team off one day of practice.

“I thought I ran a lot of plays like. They are a motion [offense]. They run a lot of stuff. They’re well coached, so it’s not like you’re just, we’re playing a really good team on one day’s preparation and you’re going to play another really good team on one day’s preparation. So for this time of year, that’s not ideal,” Willard said Thursday.

“They shoot the basketball, they rebound the basketball at a high level. They’re a lot longer and athletic than they were last year so it’s a good test for us early.”

Guard Angelo Brizzi: after sitting out the remainder of the 2022-23 season following his transfer from Villanova to Davidson last January, Brizzi opened his sophomore season with a team-high 15 points in his program debut. Brizzi will help run the Wildcats’ offense and gives them the three-point threat they need in the backcourt.

Forward David Skogman: the experienced forward is among the returning Wildcats who were an integral part of last year’s team, appearing in every game off the bench and posted double-figures in 11 games. Skogman gives the Wildcats the size to test Maryland’s frontcourt defensively, while flashing a soft shooting touch to give the Terps’ bigs their first test against a stretch forward during the regular season. Skogman led Davidson in three-point shooting percentage (36.8%) last season, knocking down 25 of 68 attempts.

Forward Bobby Durkin: A former three-star out of IMG Academy last cycle, Durkin was the sharpshooter in his first college game on Monday after shooting 4-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-6 from deep, to pour in 13 points in 23 minutes of action.

Guard Grant Huffman: Huffman was selected to the preseason A-10 all-defensive team after ranking among the conference leaders in assists (3.6), assist/turnover ratio (2.3) and steals per game (1.3) last season, while the guard did well to give Davidson a clear advantage on the boards after reeling in seven rebounds in the season opener.

Forward Reed Bailey: after starting all 32 games as a freshman, Bailey is viewed as the big piece in Davidson’s frontcourt as he builds off a successful freshman campaign in which he started all 32 games averaging 5.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-10 forward posted ten points and nine rebounds in the season-opening win.

What to Watch

What does the game two rotation look like?

After Maryland released a clean injury report for the season opener, head coach Kevin Willard was quick to note that the rotations remain a work in progress as the staff still gets comfortable with meshing the new and returning pieces together. The combo of Jordan Geronimo and Donta Scott was brought on by Willard as two players the staff is still figuring out how to remain active while on the court together, but against Davidson, how does Willard adjust his rotations? And after 11 players saw the court on Tuesday night, just how deep does Willard go into the bench on Friday? Maryland fans also saw Indiana transfer Jordan Geronimo draw his first career start on Tuesday, but against Davidson’s three-guard starting lineup, does Willard view Kaiser Jr. as the better matchup as the Virginia native looks to make his first career start?

Three-point shooting on both ends

Davidson won’t beat the Terps with size with their shooting looking to be the difference on Friday night after the Wildcats shot 36 three-point attempts against Washington & Lee with Bobby Durkin and Achile Spadone the lone players to make more than one attempt. There’s little doubt that the athletic, three-guard lineups that Davidson likely trots out will test Maryland’s perimeter defense for the first time this season, potentially making Jamie Kaiser Jr. the better matchup fit as the fifth starter. On the other end, Maryland finished just 3-of-16 from deep in Tuesday’s win as Kaiser, Jahari Long and Donta Scott hit the lone three-point shots. Maryland’s offense has the production inside and guards who can get downhill, but whether the Terps could find perimeter scoring would be the question mark. Friday gives the Terps’ offense a chance to redeem itself, while the defense gets a chance to meet expectations.

Can Maryland cut down on turnovers?

If there was a team concern from Tuesday’s win aside from perimeter shooting, it’s ball handling as the Terps finished with 15 turnovers. Head coach Kevin Willard noted postgame that the Terps have struggled with that through the first two preseason scrimmages against Cincinnati and Virginia, and against a Davidson team that opponents into over 11 turnovers per game last season, the Terps will get a chance to turn the tide on Friday night. Jahmir Young and Julian Reese combined for over half the team’s turnovers in Tuesday’s win, and against a Davidson team that isn’t known for its stout defense, Maryland can reverse course in the first game of a quick turnaround.

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