It’s “secret scrimmage” season, that time of year when college basketball teams test the preseason version of themselves against other still-developing teams to get a feel for where they stand. As always, the “secret” part isn’t very secret, as the matchups inevitably become publicly known, and the results are often leaked to fans hungry for any morsels of info on how their teams are looking.
That’s the case again this year for Maryland, which will play Virginia and Villanova in scrimmages, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. Both scrimmages will be on the road per Goodman, at Virginia on Oct. 22 and at Nova on Oct. 29. It’ll be first-year Maryland coach Kevin Willard’s first look at his first Terps team against outside competition. And it’s quality competition. Virginia is expected to be in the top tier of the ACC this season, while Villanova is again expected to compete for the Big East title despite the retirement of legendary coach Jay Wright. Maryland has held preseason scrimmages against Nova often over the years.
As for Maryland, what might Willard be focusing on during these scrimmages? He’s said repeatedly he’s focused on having a strong rebounding team.
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“The biggest thing is, we’re gonna have to rebound the basketball at a very high level. We’re not an overly big team. We’re not small because we’re big on the wings, you know, Donta Scott is unbelievably tough, I think our guards really shoot the ball extremely well,” he said during a recent interview with Andy Katz. “I just think it’s we’re going to have to rebound at a very elite level to make sure that we’ re not getting in foul trouble on second shots, off fastbreaks. I just think we got we’re going to have to be very competitive on the glass.”
The biggest question remains, who will emerge off the bench? Willard has a solid-looking starting lineup, but no proven commodities among his reserves. It sounds like LIU-Brooklin transfer Patrick Emiliena gritty 6-7 Canadian native, could be one of the first to players off the bench.
“He’s a smart player that can play three positions. Doesn’t do anything great but makes anything better,” Willard told Blue Ribbon Yearbook.
He also told the publication that wing guard Ike Cornisha redshirt freshman and former top-100 recruit, “Had the best summer of anybody in the program.”
Virginia’s traditionally suffocating defense and Villanova’s talent-laden roster will give the Terps a good early look at themselves and their weaknesses. They tip off the regular season on Nov. 7 against Niagara. (Tickets here)