It's been a while since Maryland basketball has gone on a legitimate NCAA Tournament run. In fact, the last time the Terrapins reached the Sweet Sixteen was 2003, the year after their only NCAA title. An early exit this season for Maryland would be extremely disappointing, especially considering the expectations the team had entering this season. That means the Terrapins will have to beat South Dakota State in the first round. And that means finding a way to stop "The Dauminator."
Okay, so Maryland is obviously favored in this game. But South Dakota State has a very talented player in freshman power forward Mike Daum, who could potentially be a handful for the Terrapins.
It remains to be seen how Maryland goes about defending Daum, as well as the Jackrabbits in general. South Dakota State, which went 26-7 this season, has a solid team from top to bottom. But while guards George Marshall and Deondre Parks are also talented players, Daum is kind of like the Jackrabbits X-factor. He doesn't start and only averages 20.5 minutes per game, but still leads the team in scoring (15.2) and rebounds (6.1) while shooting an incredible 56 percent from the field.
Whatever defense Maryland uses, it is likely that Robert Carter will guard Daum for stretches, and vice-versa. This could be a very interesting matchup. The two players have the same height (6'9"), similar weights (245 for Daum, 235 for Carter) and are both versatile players. While Carter is definitely more athletic, Daum is a very skilled player who has good post-moves and the ability to hit mid-range shots consistently. He's also a tough player and a very good rebounder.
Carter has improved on defense over the course of the season, and while it still isn't the strongest part of his game, he should be able to slow Daum down. The Jackrabbits freshman has been stronger than most of his opponents this season, but that won't be the case against Carter. That doesn't mean Daum won't be able to get any shots, but he might have to work a bit harder than usual. Still, Daum is a solid passer and will likely find some way to be effective.
On the other end, Carter should be able to find some success as well. Daum struggled on the defensive end early in the season, which is one of the main reasons why he started being used as a bench player. While he's reportedly improved defensively as the season has gone on, Daum is still a work in progress on that end. Carter has been playing well recently, scoring in double-digits the past four games. And with the amount of talent Maryland has on its roster, the Terrapins power forward doesn't have to do everything. Still, neutralizing Daum will be key for Maryland, and its a task that will likely partially fall on Carter's shoulders. Carter may not have a cool nickname like Daum, but he definitely has the talent and strength to play with him.