The Maryland Terrapins face ACC rival Boston College tonight. The game should be a close one between two struggling ACC teams that are striving for an eighth place finish in their conference. Both teams have recently been struggling with the Eagles losing seven of their last eight games and the Terps losing six of their last eight.
At 14-10, 4-6 in the ACC, the Terps are at the point where they're basically playing for a .500 level record. It's a disappointing end result for a team that was 10-2 toward the beginning of the season. Yet maybe it's not that much of a surprise considering how much the Terps start out fast and then easily get worn down by superior competition.
Boston College is clearly worse off than Maryland as they are 8-17 overall, 3-8 in the ACC. Yet Maryland cannot take this desperate team for granted. If Maryland is to win tonight, these five players will likely need to step up.
Freshman guard Nick Faust was the Terps best player in their last game, a 73-55 loss to Duke. He finished with 15 points and eight rebounds which are respectable numbers. However, this freshman still needs to step up for Maryland to begin winning more consistently.
Faust just hasn't been able to bring his best to every game. Oftentimes he'll go from having double digit points to games where he manages five or less points. This is why his PPG average is stuck at 10.2 and also part of the reason his field goal percentage is a lowly .409.
As the above video shows, Faust has been instrumental when the Terps do win. This dunk play was one of the highlights for their 64-62 win at Clemson last week. If Faust could just show more of that potential on a week-to-week basis, the Terps would be a much harder team to beat.
When a starting forward finishes a game with zero field goals and zero three pointers, it's clear there is a problem with the team. Yet that is exactly what happened with junior James Padgett whose only points on the night were two three throws. Not that those numbers were any good either as he missed four more free throws, giving him a lowly .333 percentage.
It wasn't a lack of time on the court that gave Padgett his awful stat line. He still played a team high 26 minutes and was active while he was on the court. It just was a night where no shots seemed to go in as he finished 0-4 shooting field goals.
In other recent games though, Padgett has been one of the more consistent players on the team. He's averaged eight points over the last four games which is also his season average. Padgett needs to prove the Duke game was more of a fluke and that he can give the Terps a good reason for why he has been getting so much playing time.
Alex Len's inclusion on this list is because of the fact that the Terps still need some sort of center to step up for them. Their production at the position has been very weak this season with mostly Len and Berend Weljs splitting time at center. Against Duke, Len had 15 minutes while Weljs had 11.
It's been a tough season for Len, starting with him missing a good deal of summer workouts as he arrived at Maryland in August. He was then held out of games until Dec. 28 due to a violation of eligibility standards while he was playing for his Ukrainian club team.
Now though, Len has shown improvement as he is finally getting substantial playing time. Particularly of note is the fact that his field goal percentage has been .500 or better the last five games. He doesn't always take that many shots, but still if Len could step up his game, he could become the Terps answer at center.
It's general consensus that Terrell Stoglin is the best player on the Terps roster right now. A key trend in most Maryland victories is Stoglin getting the ball a lot and scoring. He dominates the team in points scored with 518 on the season and an average of 21.6 PPG.
So it's not a coincidence that the sophomore guard did not have a good game against Duke. He only had 13 points, which was his worst output since he scored only six points against Alabama back on Nov. 17. It was also a terrible shooting day for Stoglin as he only made four of his sixteen shots against Duke.
Stoglin was benched late in the game against Duke, showing that this dysfunctional Maryland team has problems all across the board. Stoglin did express frustration for the benching which is good to see since it means he still has a fire to get the team back to winning games. As their team's best scorer, it is vital for Stoglin to step up and deliver a great performance against Boston College.
Ashton Pankey is another player that needs to step up for the Terps to have success. This is evident with his struggles during their last several games. In the last five games, Pankey's highest output is eight points and most days he's making one or even no shots.
He has had some good rebound numbers, too, with four against Duke and eight against Clemson. Pankey has 122 rebounds on the season, which puts him second on the team.
Like Nick Faust, Pankey is also contributing young as a freshman.He needs to put up more points and continue getting good rebounds for the Terp to have success.