Mar. 23, 2016
Can Maryland Upset Kansas?
Following the theme of upsets, today I’d like to look at a less likely upset than . The Kansas Jayhawks are arguably the best team left in the tournament. Leading their charge is senior forward Perry Ellis who scored 21 points in the opening rounds. However, Ellis and the Jayhawks have not been tested by a front court as deep as Maryland’s or a guard as talented as Melo Trimble. The odds are still against the Terrapins as Kansas has not lost since January 25th, but there are a few factors that could sway the game in Maryland’s favor.
Find the Three Ball Early: In Maryland’s previous game against Hawaii, the Terps were 1 for 18 from downtown, which allowed the Warriors to stick around for too long. Besides Trimble, who is dangerous from all over the court, look for senior forward Jake Lyman to try and heat up from behind the arc. Lyman led Maryland in scoring in their first round game against South Dakota State in which he put up 27 points, including hitting 5 of 8 three pointers. By allowing Lyman to stretch the floor, it opens up the lane for guards Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon to take advantage of their athleticism and drive to the hoop.
Minimize the Perry Ellis Effect: So far this tournament, Ellis has had an unchallenged reign of the paint. However, he may find a greater challenge in going up against Diamond Stone and Robert Carter of Maryland. Both players average over one block per game and have a size advantage over the 6’8 Ellis, with Stone measuring in at 6’11 and Carter at 6’9. Ellis is undoubtedly more talented than either Stone or Carter at this point in their careers, but that doesn’t mean he will not be slowed down by the duo.
Let Melo be Melo: Although Kansas has a deeper backcourt, featuring Wayne Seldon Jr. and Frank Mason III, they do not own the best guard on the floor. That title would belong to Melo Trimble who comes into the game averaging 21.5 points in tournament play. He is also the best facilitator for Maryland, dropping an average of 5 dimes per game throughout the season. They will need to get Trimble open shots early to allow him to establish a rhythm for the rest of the game. Grayson Allen showed us what can happen if a player gets in a groove with his 29 point performance over Yale on Saturday. If the Terps have any chance of upsetting the Jayhawks, it will be through the play of sophomore standout Trimble.
Although it is difficult to envision Maryland triumphing over first-seeded Kansas, they have the pieces in place to do so, a fact that no other team Kansas has played in the tournament so far can say. Maryland has the size to slow down Perry Ellis and the star power in Melo Trimble to pull out the victory. However, do not be surprised if this is an easy Jayhawk victory as another horrid shooting performance from Maryland would doom them.