The Maryland Terrapins managed to hang on for a 79-74 victory over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and will look to sustain their momentum against the 13-seed Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Sunday at approximately 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS.
Maryland comes into Sunday's game with a chance to reach the sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. The Terrapins were led to victory by senior forward Jake Layman's 27 points. Perhaps the best stat for Layman was his efficiency - Layman shot an impressive 7-for-11 from the field, including 5-for-8 from the three point line. Melo Trimble played a very admirable game with 19 points and two assists and will look to do battle with a duo of talented Hawaii guards.
Aaron Valdes and Roderick Bobbitt lead the way for Hawaii in the backcourt. Valdes comes in averaging 14.4 points per game while Bobbitt currently nets an average of 13.4. Perhaps the most versatile and dangerous player for Mark Turgeon and the Terrapins is 6-11 junior forward Stefan Jankovic. Labeled as the focal player for the Rainbow Warriors, Jankovic tallied 16 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. will have their hands full trying to keep pace with Jankovic's mobility and post moves.
Here are three key points to follow leading up to tipoff.
The Terrapins will need a team effort when guarding Stefan Jankovic.
As stated above, Jankovic will cause problems for the Maryland frontcourt as he is more than capable at scoring on the low block and has also shown the ability to step out and knock down the occasional three point shot. He averages just north of two attempts per game from the perimeter and shoots 38.5 percent.
At a solid 235 pounds, Jankovic is sturdy enough to maneuver in the low post with Stone or Carter guarding him. Hawaii only averages 32.5 percent from distance as a team, so doubling down may be beneficial for the Terps in hopes of negating Jankovic.
Maryland's big men need to make Jankovic work on defense.
For as much as the Rainbow Warriors will look to utilize Jankovic on the low block, the Terrapins need to do the same for Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. One way to negate Jankovic while the Terps are on offense is to attack him and make him work defensively. Making him exert more energy on the defensive end could ensue foul trouble for the Hawaii big man.
Getting him in early foul trouble should be of utmost importance for the Terps, as it would allow the Maryland big men to operate more freely on the defensive end and be more aggressive on the offensive end.
Hawaii's 2017 postseason ban will need to make Maryland ready to play from the tip.
The fact that Hawaii is on a postseason ban next season makes this year the last chance for not only the Rainbow Warrior seniors, but juniors as well. What does this mean for Maryland? There is no denying the intensity and effort that will be brought to the table by Hawaii. Maryland has a propensity for getting off to slow starts, and it goes without saying that they simply cannot do that against a Hawaii program who is treating this season as their last chance for a long time. If Maryland can get off to a good start and build a lead like they did on Friday, that could serve as their ticket to Louisville for a trip to the sweet 16.