Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville Florida
When: Thursday, March 21, 2019, 3:10 pm Eastern
We have an NCAA Tournament, East Region First-Round matchup to consider when the Belmont Bruins face the Maryland Terrapins in Jacksonville Florida. Belmont arrived here via a First Four victory on Tuesday night over Temple and Maryland finished fourth in the Big Ten standings. I’m the Flash and I’ll be previewing this contest for you today. Let’s go make some “Cash with the Flash”!!
Belmont Defeats Temple in First Four Game
Belmont found themselves in a First Four do or die game and did, winning over Temple by a score of 81-70. The Bruins finished their 2018-2019 campaign with a record of 27-5 this season and an Ohio Valley Conference record of 16-2. KenPom ranks the Bruins number 54 in the country with the 227th strongest schedule in D1 hoops. The Bruins never lost more than one consecutive game and had lengthy winning streaks of six and 14 games. This Bruins team is an interesting foe and Maryland had better be ready or they are in for a long afternoon on Thursday.
“Firstly, congratulations to Temple on a game well-played and a tremendous season. Think the world of Fran (Dunphy). We went from not knowing if we were going to be in, to making history for Belmont.” Coach Byrd @BelmontMBB #itsbruintime #marchmadness pic.twitter.com/ngzEK1uPar
— Belmont Basketball (@BelmontMBB) March 20, 2019
Freshman center Nick Muszynski has been on the Bruins injury report but played against Temple and scored 16 points with four rebounds. He claimed after the game that he felt fine but keep an eye on this for Thursday. Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd was asked how he felt about Muszynski and his performance on Tuesday night;
“I thought he played terrific,” Byrd said. “We just didn’t know what we were going to get. Frankly, yesterday in practice he didn’t look very good at all. But he really showed a lot today.”
Belmont has a neutral site record of 2-1 this season and is riding a one-game winning streak.
Senior guard Dylan Windler leads the Bruins in scoring, averaging 21.4 points with a team-high 10.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Windler drills three triples per game and has outscored his average in three of the last five games.
NCAA Tournament Media Day Rewind pt. 2|| @BelmontMBB took to the practice floor in Jacksonville as they get set for the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament! #itsbruintime #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/XUxWdxelLA
— Belmont Basketball (@BelmontMBB) March 21, 2019
The Bruins score an average of 87.4 points and grab 7.7 offensive rebounds, haul in 31.2 defensive rebounds and drop 19.9 dimes per game this season.
Wednesday afternoon Coach Byrd was asked about playing Maryland;
“We’re getting ready to move up into a different sort of athlete in terms of size and that kind of thing,” Byrd said. “I say that just because (assistant) Brian Ayers has watched some of their film and he’s told me. Temple was not that kind of team that could dominate us just with sheer size and athleticism. I’m certainly concerned about that part against Maryland.”
Stay tuned for more updates right up until tipoff.
Maryland is a Formidable Foe
Some folks say that Maryland snuck into this tournament and if a record of 22-10 overall and a Big Ten record of 13-10 sneaking, then who cares what anyone thinks. KenPom thinks the Terrapins are the 24th team in the country with the 21st strongest schedule in the country and that’s what really matters. Maryland had two separate two-game losing streaks and winning streaks of six and seven games respectively; the Terrapins aren’t used to losing games and have been waiting for this basketball game all week long.
"I think it's going to be pretty special."
— Maryland On BTN (@MarylandOnBTN) March 18, 2019
Maryland isn’t reporting any injuries for their opening round game on Thursday.
The Terrapins has a neutral site record of 2-2 and is hoping to end a one-game losing streak.
Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr leads Maryland in scoring, averaging 16 points per game with 3.7 rebounds and a team-leading 4.3 assists. Cowan drains 2.1 triples per game and has exceeded his scoring average in three of his last five games.
Maryland scores an average of 71.3 points per game and pulls down 9.6 offensive rebounds, reels in 29.6 defensive boards and dished 13.2 assists per game this season.
Head Coach Mark Turgeon was asked about playing the winner of the First Four play-in game was an advantage or a challenge, and I liked his response;
“I’m going to look at it as an advantage for us. They have to play in Dayton and then fly to Jacksonville on Tuesday night. They’ll have some experience under their belt and they’ll have confidence because they won a game. We never work on a team in front of these guys until the day before the game. I might be working on it behind the scenes but they don’t know. It will feel like a regular season game for us with the way we prepare and get ready for it. I’m going to look at it as an advantage because we’ll be down there Tuesday night sleeping in our hotel while they’re playing a game in Dayton.”
Wednesday afternoon, Cowan was asked about the difference in preparing for a team like Belmont on the fly;
“We do what we do against any opponent. Obviously, Belmont is a really good team, but I think we’re just going to stay with our defensive principles, do what we do on offense, and then we’ve just got to treat it like another game”
Stay tuned for updates right up to tip-off for this game.
- Terrapins are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss.
- Terrapins are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 4-0 in Bruins last 4 overall.
- Under is 5-0 in Bruins last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 4-0 in Bruins last 4 neutral site games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Isn’t Belmont a fun team to watch? And what a story. That side likes to push the ball up the court, move the ball to the open shooter, usually a triple, and launch. And that has worked for Belmont this entire season. Maryland boasts the twenty-second best defense in the country and other than their game with Purdue, the Bruins haven’t seen the likes of defense this good all season. And to add insult to injury, the Terrapins allow opponents a 32 percent success rate on triples this season. Maryland has the size, are better rebounders, better defenders and if I’m going to make “Cash with the Flash” then I am playing the Terrapins on the money line on Thursday.
Full-Game Total Pick
Belmont plays fast and likes to shoot triples. Maryland plays at a slower pace and enjoys defending the triple. Belmont averages less than eight offensive rebounds per game and that should limit second-chance points whereas Marland averages nearly ten offensive rebounds and the Bruins 31.2 defensive rebounds might nullify the offensive rebounds some and that will also help keep the score down some.
When I did the math and added everything together, I came up with a total of 137 points and think that is a little high. I will play the under at 137 points or higher on Thursday.