Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#667 Fairfield vs.
#668 Maryland
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 8:30pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#667 Fairfield University
#668 University of Maryland, College Park
1-3
3-0
13-17-1
17-15-2
11-20
14-19-1
66
71
69
65

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Fairfield visits College Park to take on No. 7 Maryland at 8:30pmET from the XFINITY Center. Fairfield is 1-3 to open the season, which includes an overtime loss at Loyola-Maryland on Sunday, 84-75. The Terps are off to a 3-0 start, having won all three home games. They crushed Oakland on Saturday afternoon, 80-50.

Close games

Fairfield was a 9-22 team last year and 6-12 in the MAAC. With only two starters returning and Jay Young taking over as head coach, you could see there was going to be some bumps in the road early on. The Stags opened up at home, losing to Bucknell (68-64) and UMass (62-60), before finally getting their first won on the road at Holy Cross, 68-63 in overtime on Nov. 12.

They stubbed their toe in a loss at Loyola-Md., 84-75 on Sunday. Fairfield was led by Landon Taliaferro and Jesus Cruz with 17 points apiece. The Stags shot 49.1% from the floor, but just 4-17 from 3pt. range (23.5%). They outrebounded the Greyhounds by nine, but Loyola shot 56.9% from the field. The Stags also turned it over 21 times.

Cruz is a 6-5 junior guard who averages 19.5 points per game and 4.5 rebounds on 53.3% shooting. Taliaferro, a 6-3 junior guard, adds 14.2 points on 38.8% shooting (34.5% 3pt). The best new addition is 6-8 senior Vincent Eze (6.8ppg, 4.2rpg with Maine last season), who adds 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. Despite the struggles on defense against Loyola, Fairfield hasn't been bad defensively. They are allowing 69.2 points per game on 45.1% shooting (37.5% 3pt). They are struggling to shoot the three at 27% on the year. That could be the only way they can beat a big team like Maryland and that's to get hot from long range.

Another slow start, strong finish

Maryland is 3-0 but hasn't been tested yet against Holy Cross (95-71), Rhode Island (73-55) and Oakland (80-50). They might not receive a huge test until Nov. 28, whey meet Temple or Dec. 4 when they take on Notre Dame at home in the ACC/Big 10 series. But head coach Mark Turgeon is on the Jim Boeheim non-conference play, with no true road games until conference play.

They took care of Oakland by 30 in their last game and led by 13 at the half. They had to go on a late run just to start pulling away and then put it into another gear in the second half. Last week, they committed 14 turnovers against Rhode Island in the first half and committed eight in the first 11:31 against the Golden Grizzlies. This time, the Terps turned the tables, forcing a season-high 19 turnovers. Turgeon used something he hasn't done much in the past and that's full-court pressure defense.

“It makes us so much better,” Maryland guard Anthony Wiggins said in The Baltimore Sun. “We practice against zone every day, practice against man-to-man, the press, so it makes us more comfortable with the ball when we get into those situations in games because you never know what a team’s going to throw at you, and we’re always prepared just because of the way we play so many different defenses.”

Forward Darryl Morsell led the Terps with 14 points and seven boards, while Cowan added 11 points, seven assists and six boards in 24 minutes. Marland shot 52.6% from the field and 8-of-26 from beyond the arc.

Sophomore forward Jalen Smith leads the Terps with 14.3 points per game and 9.7 rebounds, while Cowan adds 12.3 points and 5.8 assists. If there is a concern thus far, it's three-point shooting (26.4%).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Maryland should be a pressing team, especially against schools that are small and want to slow things down. The Terps played 15 players on Saturday, including three walk-ons. This is an extremely deep team with a lot of length and athleticism. Fairfield doesn't have the size or depth to keep up, so they will need play an incredibly efficient game. That will be difficult against a Maryland defense that is holding teams to 37.1% from the field. It's a good learning experience for Fairfield, but expect another slow Maryland start and dominant second half.

Prediction: Maryland -25

Full-Game Total Pick

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Maryland and Oakland both combined for 130, so it's interesting that they set the total that same number. Fairfield has two quality guards in Cruz and Taliaferro, so they can at least put up 55 points in this game. However, Maryland is playing at a much quicker pace this season. Last year, they were in the 300s and this season, they rank 101st at 75.2 possessions per game. Expect the Terps to push the pace and force turnovers with their press, but they'll give up points once the big lead is established as the deep part of the bench is in.

Prediction: Over 130

Half-Time Side Pick

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Maryland has gotten off to slow starts in their last two games thus far. At some point, it's going to catch up with them, but who gets up to play Fairfield?

Prediction: Fairfield +14 first half

Half-Time Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Fairfield will try and slow it down in the first half and it will work until the Terps start pressing. The Stags will have difficulties early on in terms of trying to score against the length of the Terps.

Prediction: Under 61
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!