4 storylines for IU’s game at Maryland

1. Phinisee not expected to play
Rob Phinisee is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game when Friday’s game tips off at Maryland. Phinisee, who started each of IU’s first 12 games of the season, has missed the Hoosiers’ past three contests after suffering a concussion on Dec. 19. “He hasn’t had any setbacks,” IU coach Archie Miller said before Thursday’s practice. “I’m encouraged to watch him participate more in practice, but he has not been cleared to do anything full contact yet, and he’ll have another day today where hopefully we can get him moving in the right direction. But as of right now, there’s no indication he’ll play for us on Friday.”

2. Avoiding a slow start
After the Hoosiers struggled to establish their footing early in Sunday’s loss at Michigan, Archie Miller has been adamant about finding a fix for Indiana’s penchant for slow starts. For Miller, the issue seems to be equal parts strategy and mindset. The Hoosiers have to play with purpose, and while they usually manage to settle into games across the final 30 minutes of action, there will once again be little room for error against a talented Maryland team that has won four straight games and seems to be coming into its own.

3. Handling Maryland’s size
The Terps are one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, ranking first in the Big Ten and fourth in the country in rebounding margin (plus-11.2). In the paint, IU will have to contend with a pair of 6-foot-10 forwards in Bruno Fernando, a 240-pound sophomore, and Jalen Smith, a homegrown McDonald’s All-American, who is coming off a 21-point, eight-rebound effort at Minnesota. De’Ron Davis (ankle) could be a gametime decision for the Hoosiers. Juwan Morgan has also struggled with foul trouble in big games this season.

4. Terps might mix in a zone
Mark Turgeon’s teams have almost exclusively played man-to-man during his tenure at Maryland, but the Terps’ coach switched his approach on Tuesday at Minnesota. Trailing the Gophers by seven points — and playing without Fernando, who was in and out of action while he dealt with foul trouble — the Terps switched to a 3-2 zone early in the second half and flummoxed Minnesota en route to a 15-point road victory. It may not be a defensive set Maryland uses to start Friday’s game, but the Hoosiers need to be prepared to see it. Given Maryland’s size and length, it could be a tricky challenge.

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