Preview: Maryland vs. Florida Gulf Coast

The Terps return home to the friendly confines of Comcast Center to face Florida Gulf Coast following their trip to Puerto Rico in which they went 1-2. 

Game Details:

Opponent: Florida Gulf Coast
Location: Comcast Center
Tip-time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)
TVOnline at ESPN3
Radio: Terrapin Sports Radio Network (Johnny Holiday and Chris Knoche)

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles are led by first-year head coach Andy Enfield, a long time assistant to Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. They come into the game playing a similar style and pace, emphasizing defense and keeping the scoring low. The Eagles will play their second consecutive road game versus and ACC opponent, having played at Miami earlier this week.

Here’s a look at what to expect from the Eagles, who come into their matchup with the Terps at 2-3: 

EAGLES RETURN TWO STARTERS

Swiss sophomore guard Christophe Varidel is the Eagles top returning starter. Varidel earned Atlantic-Sun All-Freshman honors a season ago, posting 11.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Varidel is a capable shooter,  evidenced by his 20 point outburst versus SMU this season which included shooting 6 of 7 from three-point range. However, FGCU has added some new talent and Varidel currently comes off the bench for the Eagles. The other returning starter is Sherwood Brown, a junior guard coming off of a 19 point performance on the road versus the Miami Hurricanes. At 6-4 he is a very capable rebounder from the guard position, averaging 6.4 rebounds per game this season.

CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

While the Eagles come into the game with Maryland at 2-3, their three losses are by a combined 12 points and all three have come on the road. They opened the season with a 1 point loss to Texas Christian and also lost to a solid SMU squad by 1 point. In their most recent game, the Eagles went into Coral Gables and lost to a good Miami team by 10. Florida Gulf Coast is a capable team that should not be taken lightly by the Terps. 

PLAYING WITH NUMBERS

The Eagles come at teams with numbers, usually playing a solid 9-man rotation. Along with Varidel, the Eagles returning leading scorer from last season, FGCU also has a solid pair of forwards in 6-8 junior Eddie Murray and 6-9 freshman Filip Cvjeticanin coming off of the bench. In the frontcourt, the Eagles are led by Ole’ Miss transfer Kevin Cantinol, a 6-10 junior who averaged 5 rebounds a game a year ago. He’s joined up front in the starting lineup by Chase Fieler, a 6-7 forward that likes to play facing the basket. All-in-all, FGCU has four players in their rotation at 6-7 or taller.

The Terps lack of depth could be an issue versus FGCU. The Terps will likely need to slow down the pace and attack the rim in hopes of getting the Eagles into foul trouble. The Terps are also likely to use Berend Weijs quite a bit versus the Eagles bigger front line.

OFFENSIVE OFFENSE

Simply put, it’s not pretty when Florida Gulf Coast gets the ball. The Eagles come into the game with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 92.7, ranking them 291 nationally. They turn the ball over at a staggering 28.8 percent ranking them near the very bottom of all Division 1 teams. They also allow their opponents an alarming number of steals, again showing how sloppy they are with the ball. Maryland’s guards will need to pressure the Eagles and convert steals and turnovers into points. Converting turnovers into points will likely be the difference in the game.