Maryland missed out on a golden opportunity Friday night, losing to No. 3 Kentucky in Brooklyn, but Terps fans are mostly pleased with the result. Get recaps from our friends at Testudo Times and CSN Washington, and here are five reasons for optimism:
1. Alex Len is a beast. On a court filled with first-rounders (most of them on Kentucky), the Ukranian sophomore was the best, posting 23, 12 and 4 and winning his hair-raising matchup with lottery lock Nerlens Noel. Len was inconsistent last season, so that’s still in doubt, but his ability is not.
2. Seth Allen may be the point guard. I hadn’t seen him play before, but he’s terrific with the ball and can shoot the three. Incumbent starter Pe’Shon Howard has experience on the freshman out of Woodbrige, but not much else.
3. Nick Faust and Dez Wells are better than this. Last year the duo combined to average 7-15 shooting per game. Friday night they went 6-27, thanks in no small part to Kentucky’s stifling defense, especially near the rim. It’s kind of amazing Maryland only lost by three when you think about it.
4. Jake Layman’s hair is tremendous. I was picturing Layman as a rugged-looking guy with a crewcut. Turns out he displaces Kirk Cousins as the DMV’s token white athlete with flowing blond hair that everyone calls Sunshine.
5. They’ve got some big boys out there. Note that I said “big” and not “tall,” because neither Charles Mitchell nor Shaquille Cleare is above 6’9″ but both look to be about a binge away from 300 lb. Mitchell was a rebound machine, too, grabbing 10 boards in 16 minutes.
Next game up: Morehead State on Monday. Next real game up: Northwestern on November 27 and then George Mason, who beat UVA, on December 2.