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What To Watch For: Maryland-Indiana

Indiana huddles up against Northwestern on January 14, 2018 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Hoosiers beat the Wildcats 66-46. (Mackenzie Salmon)

Indiana men’s basketball was handled on the road last game against No. 9 Michigan State losing 85-57, snapping its three game win streak. But the biggest concern after the game was the status of junior forward Juwan Morgan’s injured ankle.

Morgan twisted his ankle before halftime and didn’t return to the game finishing with two points on one-of-five shooting. After the game, coach Archie Miller didn’t give a status update on his junior forward and said he would be reevaluated when the team got back to Bloomington. Morgan did leave the arena on crutches.

After a quick turnaround Indiana shifts its focus to Maryland Monday night at home, hoping to get back to its winning ways. The Terrapins are seventh in the conference right behind the Hoosiers at 4-4 and are coming off a 77-66 win last Thursday at home against Minnesota.

Here’s what to watch for in this matchup…

Rebounding Battle

Both Indiana and Maryland are very even on the glass, but if Indiana doesn’t have Juwan Morgan then that makes things much more interesting Monday night.

In Big Ten play the Hoosiers have pulled down about 35 rebounds a game and Maryland sits at around 34. Morgan is the best rebounder for Indiana at just under eight per game in conference play.

With Maryland’s top rebounder, Justin Jackson, going down with an injury, Bruno Fernando has been leading the way with six rebounds a game in conference play and Kevin Huerter has done his share with just over five a game.

That being said, if Morgan is out Monday night the guard rebounding is even more important for Indiana.

Robert Johnson has carried the IU guards lately averaging over six rebounds per game in the last four. Miller calls on the guards to reach a certain number of defensive rebounds each game and if Morgan isn’t on the floor that makes rebounding for Josh Newkirk, Devonte Green and Aljami Durham key.

Contain Cowan and Huerter

Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter are going to be the two biggest concerns for Indiana defensively Monday night. Cowan leads the way averaging 16 points a game while Huerter tosses in 14 a game.

They also stay on the floor the most out of any Terrapin by a large margin both playing over 33 minutes per game.

Indiana will have to be sharp with its perimeter defense against Cowan and Huerter as they shoot a combined 44-percent from beyond the arc.

It’s pretty simple when playing Maryland, if they lose it’s because they had a bad game scoring. If they win, it’s because they shot the lights out. Maryland averages over 80 points per game in wins and less than 68 per game in losses.

As much as a handful both Cowan and Huerter are for any defense, if Indiana can eliminate at least one of them to having an off night scoring, then they’ll be in good shape.

Win At Home

Indiana is 3-0 at home in Big Ten play so far and Maryland is very bad away from the XFINITY Center. The Terps are just 1-4 on the road with their only win coming at Illinois by one point in overtime.

In its last three road games, the Terps were trashed by 30 points at Michigan State, just like Indiana, lost by 22 at Ohio State, but took Michigan to the wire losing by just one in Ann Arbor.

IU needs to feed off of the Assembly Hall crowd and get a marquee win to boost their tournament resume. Maryland is a team that is expected to be in the NCAA tournament right now and with a KenPom ranking of 38, this would be the best conference win of the season for the Hoosiers.

Zain Pyarali

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: zpyarali@thehoosiernetwork.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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