It’s always a great sign when the B1G-ACC Challenge rolls around. Basketball season is rounding into shape and football (long the bete noir of any Illini fan) is more or less in the rearview mirror. The B1G has won the last two challenges, with Illinois providing a win in each of the last two years. Maryland has a rich ACC history, providing many Duke upsets and memorable players. However, the Terps are in a rebuilding mode. Just seven players who had a scholarship to start the season suit up for UM. This is a rematch of last year’s squeaker in MSG, where the Illini prevailed 80-76 in a game which was not all that close until the end. The two teams have a decidedly different look this year, as most of each team moved on either via graduation or other means. (cough Jereme Richmond cough)
G Terrell Stoglin (20.2 ppg, a lousy 26% from 3pt.)
G Sean Mosley (11 ppg, a sparkling 47% 3pt.)
G Nick Faust (6.2 ppg, A/TO F James Padgett (8 ppg, shoots better from the field than at the FT line)
C Berend Weijs (2.4 rpg for a 6-10 guy; 25% from the line)
As we can see, this is a frustrating lineup for new coach Mark Turgeon. Terrible FT shooting, and volume scorer in Terrell Stoglin who never saw a shot he doesn't like. The leading rebounder for the Terps comes off the bench: Ashton Pankey with 7.6.
G DJ Richardson (13.5 ppg, 'nuff said)
G Brandon Paul (7.8 ppg, due to break out. Scored 0 against NC in last years challenge after scoring 20 against Clemson the year prior.)
G Sam Maniscalco (11.5 ppg, has never played against an ACC team)
F Tyler Griffey (7.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, had season-high 9pts against Maryland last year)
C Meyers Leonard (12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.2 bpg (!))
Predicted outcome: Illinois 77, Maryland 62. The freshmen shake out the jitters as a poor defensive Maryland team struggles to contain DJ and Brandon. Leonard dominates the inside in a game not as close as the score indicates. Minutes played by Crandall Head: 11.
Tags: Brandon Paul Bruce Weber Crandall Head D.J. Richardson Illini Illini Basketball Illinois Basketball Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball Joseph Bertrand Maryland Terrapins Meyers Leonard Terps Tyler Griffey U-of-I Basketball University Of Illinois