Maryland Men's Basketball vs George Mason Preview

Two undefeated teams will face off in what should be their toughest matchup of the 2019 season thus far

The No. 6 Terrapins (4-0) are set to host the George Mason Patriots (5-0) at the Xfinity Center at 7pm EST. Mark Turgeon and the Terps had their way in the 74-55 victory over the Fairfield Stags.  Though they have defeated their opponents easily, the Terps will definitely have a big challenge ahead hosting a surging Patriots basketball team.

Getting to know the opponent

HC Dave Paulsen

Paulsen is off to the best start of his coaching career with George Mason, leading them to five-straight victories to begin the 2019 season. Not only this, but this is also the best start in the history of the Patriot's basketball program. The last time they started off a season at least 4-0 was over a decade ago. In his five years as the Patriot's coach, he has led his team to two winning records and is well on his way to his third.

Prior to being with George Mason, he coached at Bucknell University (2008-14). The Bison were regular season champions in the Patriot League four times in his seven years as their coach, in addition to making the NCAA tournament twice.

Most Dangerous Player: F AJ Wilson

The Maryland native has been an athletic freak of nature. He is currently tied for first in all of college basketball with 19 blocks. He leads the team as their best rim protecting, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game. Paulsen has developed him into arguably one of the most underrated players in the country, since being a redshirt freshman. Now as a junior, the 6-foot-7 210-pound forward is dominating the court and has been almost impossible to contain.

Top Offensive Playmaker: G Jordan Miller

The 6-foot-6 189-pound sophomore from Virginia has been a quality scorer. He leads the Patriots averaging 15.4 points through five games. He is converting an impressive 52.8 percent of his field goal attempts, and scoring on 5-of-10 from behind the arc. He does a good job with limiting turnovers, giving the ball up only seven times. He can score but has also proven be solid at the board with 24 rebounds this season.

Best All-Around Player: G Javon Greene 

Greene has been a traditional point guard, being a solid player in every aspect of the game. It is very impressive for a 6-foot-2 190-pound guard to average 7.4 rebounds per game. People do not normally expect a player of his size to be as dominant as him in the rebound category. His prowess on the defense should be well noted, as he leads the team with seven steals. The junior from Georgia is third on the team averaging 13 points per game and is their best facilitator with 16 assists. 

George Mason is currently tied for first in the Atlantic 10 standings. A very interesting fact about them is that they are the best in their conference with a 37.6 offensive rebound percentage. 

Overview

The Terrapins do have a significant advantage playing at home at the Xfinity Center but also have the bigger roster, with five players that are at least 6-foot-10. The Patriots have not defended a player like Terps forward Jalen Smith, who is averaging 15 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game. This NBA-quality player has been a menace on the court and there are no signs of him slowing down. 

For both sides, each will be facing their best opponent from the games they have played thus far. The Terrapins have limited teams to an average 57.3 points, which speaks volumes to the quality play on the defensive side of the game. Maryland is heavily favored to win in the battle of the undefeated teams. 

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