The Princeton men’s basketball team travels to 6th-ranked Maryland (9-1) this weekend in what will be by far its toughest test of this young season. Rebounding from two straight losses, the Tigers’ leading scorers, juniors Henry Caruso and Spencer Weisz, combined for 45 points as Lipscomb’s struggles continued. However, Princeton will likely face a much more dangerous opponent in the Terrapins.
Maryland started the season as the top-ranked team in the country, with its only loss so far coming to 11th-ranked North Carolina. The best team on paper the Tigers will face during the regular season, the Terrapins recovered from that loss by beating their last three opponents by a combined margin of 72 points. Maryland boasts an explosive backcourt comprised of leading scorer Melo Trimble, one of the premier point guards in the country, and standout Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon. Furthermore, 6-foot-11-inch center Diamond Stone, one of five Maryland players averaging more than 10 points per game, will pose a demanding physical challenge for any Tiger big man who defends him on Saturday.
Against Maryland’s size and athleticism, Princeton will need the junior trio of Caruso, Weisz and forward Peter Miller to continue its strong recent play. The three upperclassmen combined scored 57 points and 33 rebounds against Lipscomb and will need a similar performance for the Tigers to prevail against the Terrapins. Sophomore guard Amir Bell, the team’s leader in steals with just under two per game, will also need to step up defensively in order to contain Trimble, Maryland’s best player and a potential future first-round NBA draft pick.
Another area in which Princeton will look to gain an advantage is three-point shooting. The Tigers have averaged over ten makes from outside per game this season, and those shots may be the most available ones on Saturday with Maryland’s size and shot blocking inside. However, the Terrapins have only allowed opponents to shoot 33 percent from three this year, a number Princeton will likely have to surpass in order to emerge with a win.Princeton will try and win its first game against a ranked opponent since its 2012 victory against then 25th-ranked Harvard, this time against an even more formidable opposition. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network, with tipoff at 7 p.m.