2004-05 Basketball Preview: Virginia Tech at Maryland

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Men’s Basketball Preview: VT at Maryland

by Chris James, TechSideline.com,
2/8/05

Virginia Tech (12-8, 5-4 ACC) at Maryland
(12-7, 4-5 ACC)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005, 9:00 pm

TV:

Regional Sportsnet (Comcast SportsNet – Live;
Sunshine Network – Live; Fox SportsNet; check local
listings elsewhere)

Special Preview Items:

Virginia Tech takes to the road for the 3rd time in 4
games when they travel to College Park, Maryland on Tuesday night to face the
Maryland Terrapins in a critical ACC matchup. Dating back to the game at Georgia
Tech on January 22, and looking forward to this Saturday’s matchup at
Virginia, the Hokies are in the middle of a seven-game stretch in which Tech
plays five road games. Thus far, Tech is 2-1 on the road during this stretch,
beating the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta and defeating the Miami Hurricanes on the
road last week. The lone road loss was to the Duke Blue Devils.

It sounds old to keep saying that every ACC game is
critical, but in the end, that is how it plays out. This season the ACC consists
of UNC, Wake Forest and Duke on top, with everyone else fighting for seeding in
the ACC Tournament. Currently the Hokies hold the 4th spot in the ACC, but it is
very much up in the air as to where they will finish. The top five teams get a
bye in the ACC Tournament, and Tech needs to hold serve against teams that are
on their own level.

Seth Greenberg took his Hokies down to Miami last week and
did exactly that but faces a newer and bigger challenge at Maryland. The
Terrapins are one of the name teams of the ACC, and are just a few short years
removed from a national championship run. Maryland has struggled on the road in
the ACC, but holds a 10-1 record at home in the Comcast Center, with the lone
loss an 85-69 drubbing by NC State.

The Terrapins are led by very good, if inconsistent,
junior forward Nik Caner-Medley. Caner-Medley is averaging 16.6 points per game
to go along with 5.7 rebounds per game. However, Caner-Medley is also riding a
slump that has seen him hit only 6 of 24 shots in his last two games. He has
scored only 17 points in that span.

The high profile name for Maryland is junior point guard
John Gilchrist. Gilchrist is a big, physical guard–much in the mold of VT’s
Marquie Cooke–at 6-3 201 pounds. Gilchrest is Maryland’s best 3-point shooter
at 38.5% and he excels in driving and getting to the glass. He averages 14.1
points per game and 5.4 assists per game.

Key Stats, VT at
Maryland

Stat

VT (ACC Rank)

UMD (ACC Rank)

Points Per Game

70.3 (11)

83.1 (4)

Points Against

68.2 (5)

73.2 (9)

FG%

43.8% (10)

45.7% (7)

3-pt. FG%

34.1% (7)

31.8% (11)

FT%

64.4% (10)

71.4% (2)

Rebounds

32.5 (11)

43.1 (1)

Rebounding Margin

‘-5 (11)

3.7 (6)

Steals

10.45 (2)

9.10 (5)

Turnover Margin

‘+6.55 (1)

‘+1.20 (5)

Statistically, it does appear that Maryland has the
advantage in most aspects of this game. However, some of those statistics are a
little clouded as we will see. First of all, take a look at the rebounding
numbers. While Maryland ranks first in the conference in pure number of
rebounds, they also rank dead last in the ACC in rebounding defense, meaning
they give up more rebounds than any team in the conference, even the Hokies.
Overall, they are middle of the pack in rebounding margin, but in ACC play alone
they are being outrebounded by a full 3 boards per game. The Terps padded their
rebounding stats on their out of conference schedule but haven’t been able to
mix it up with other ACC teams.

Virginia Tech is at the best they have been all season in
the rebounding department. Coleman Collins is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game,
but 7.6 per game in ACC play. That would be good for 6th in the conference, and
had Collins not been limited by a foot injury early in the season he would be
regarded as a very good ACC rebounder.

Maryland has a couple of other statistics that dropped
like an anchor when conference play began as well, and both are without a doubt
two of the most critical statistics in basketball. Maryland has gone ice cold
with their overall shooting percentage as well as their 3-point percentage.
Their overall shooting percentage has dipped to 41.4% in conference play, and
their 3-point percentage, already last in the ACC, is a downright awful 26.4%.
Also in ACC play, Maryland is letting opponents shoot the 3-pointer at a 35.4%
clip, which means opponents are clearly outclassing the Terps from long range.
Maryland has hit 39 three-pointers since ACC play began, while opponents have
hit 67. If the Hokies can get hot from the outside, they’ve got a really good
chance to pull the upset.

The Hokies and the Terrapins will tip off at 9pm. The game
is scheduled to be televised by Regional SportsNet . Check
hokiesports.com’s
“hoops TV” page
for
listings across the region to see if the game will be televised in your area.

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