Baltimore Sun

There’s something familiar ...

In West Virginia, Terps may be seeing their mirror image

- By Edward Lee

Hakim Hart hadn’t yet done a deep dive on the next opponent for the Maryland men’s basketball team, but he knew enough about West Virginia to offer a brief assessment.

“I just know that they’re a very physical team, they play hard,” the senior shooting guard said Sunday. “They’re similar to us. They press a lot.”

In some ways, Hart and his teammates for the No. 8 seed Terps (21-12) might feel like they are playing a mirror image of themselves when they open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. against the No. 9 seed Mountainee­rs (19-14) at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.

Both teams are led by transfers — former UNC Charlotte point guard Jahmir Young for Maryland and former South Carolina shooting guard Erik Stevenson for West Virginia — both sides grab 33.8 rebounds per game and surrender a little more than 31 boards per game, and both squads excel at forcing opponents into committing turnovers (11.9 per game for the Terps and 14.6 for the Mountainee­rs) that they convert into offense (13.8 points off turnovers per game for Maryland and 16.5 for West Virginia).

Taking advantage in the open floor was an issue for the Terps in their most recent game, a 70-60 loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfin­als Friday night. The Hoosiers committed only 10 turnovers, which led to 10 points for Maryland, and they outscored the Terps 13-4 on fast breaks.

In addition to rebounding well, Maryland coach Kevin Willard cited the team’s offensive and defensive play in transition as keys against the Mountainee­rs.

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