Tide's Grant: Maryland's defense mirrors Alabama's
by Brett Hudson
TUSCALOOSA — Alabama and Maryland played each other a little more than a year ago, but that won’t mean much when they meet again tonight in the NIT quarterfinals.

These two teams last met in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 17, 2011. Alabama beat the Terrapins 62-42.

“I think you’re dealing with completely different teams,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “I think the rosters are completely different. A lot has changed on both sides. I don’t think there will be very much carryover.”

The winner between Alabama (23-12) and Maryland (24-12) will advance to the NIT final four in New York City. The Crimson Tide is seeded first in this regional, while the Terrapins are No. 2. Alabama is hosting tonight’s game at 6:30 on ESPN based on the seeding.

“They mirror us in terms of their defensive pressure,” Grant said. “I think they play with really good effort consistently. You look at their defensive numbers and they’re one of the best defensive teams in their conference.”

Maryland leads the Atlantic Coast Conference and is 10th nationally at 38.3 precent.

Sophomore guard Dez Wells leads the Terps with 13.2 points a game. He also is second in assists (3.0) and field goal percentage (53.2) and third in rebounding (4.9).

Wells has had six 20-point games, including a 30-point game in a win over Duke.

Alex Len, a 7-foot-0 center, is second in scoring with 11.7 points a game and leads in rebounding (7.7) and blocked shots (1.9).

“I’m really impressed with Maryland, Grant said. “They’re a deep team. They play 10 guys. Obviously led by Dez Wells, who does a terrific job of scoring, rebounding, defending. They have terrific perimeter play, a lot of versatility in the frontcourt that’s big and talented.”

Alabama has a wing player who is hitting his stride at the perfect time. Levi Randolph, is coming off a 16-point performance in Alabama’s 66-54 win over Stanford. He has had three double-digit games in his last four contests, increasing his average to 7.9 points a game.

“I think the word I’d use is efficient, taking advantage of what the defense is giving him,” Grant said.

The Terrapins go to the bench early and often to wear down opponents. Maryland has outscored opposing teams in bench scoring in 30 of 36 games this season.

Also, the Terps have used 14 different starting lineup.
© 2013