2004-05 Basketball Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Maryland

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Men’s Basketball Preview: VT vs. Maryland

by Stefan Adams, TechSideline.com, 3/5/05

Virginia Tech (14-12, 7-8 ACC) vs. Maryland (16-10, 7-8 ACC)

Saturday, March 5th, 2005, 4:00 pm

TV:

Raycom/Jefferson Pilot (click here for station
listings
)

Special Preview Items:


With a bitter taste in their mouths from Tuesday’s loss to Clemson, the Virginia Tech Hokie basketball team wraps up
the regular season Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins. This is the same University of Maryland that demolished Tech
86-71 on February 8th in College Park. With the Hokies coming off two consecutive road loses, it is interesting to see
how they will respond to a Maryland team coming off a heartbreaking 85-83 loss to North Carolina last weekend.

Maryland has a variety of weapons they will use to attack the Hokies on Saturday, including sophomore forward Ekene
Ibekwe, who did not play in the February contest. The 6-9 forward is averaging 8.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and
is sure to make his presence felt on the defensive end; he has registered a team-high 41 blocks this season.

The Hokies are hoping freshman forward Deron Washington will continue his solid play from Tuesday night. Washington
scored 12 points on 6 of 9 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds against Clemson in arguably his best game in several
weeks.

As always, the Terrapins will look to Virginia Beach native John Gilchrist to lead the charge into Cassell Coliseum.
In their first meeting, the point guard scored 19 points and added 10 assists and five rebounds. Nick Caner-Medley has
paced the Terps with a 16.9 points per game average. Last time against the Hokies, Caner-Medley scored a team-high 21
points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

The lone Hokie being recognized on Senior Day is Carlos Dixon, and Tech needs him to have a big game against the
Terps. In February, Dixon notched game highs in points (22) and rebounds (9).

One key difference in the first game that must be remedied is the difference in foul shooting. The Terps converted 19
of 21 attempts, while the Hokies hit just seven of their 12 trips to the line. This is a stat that must be at least even
in the final box score in order for the Hokies to have a chance.

What has been the Hokies’ Achilles’ heel was not a factor in February against the Terps: rebounding. If Tech
wants to compete and put itself in a spot to win the game, they must crash the boards and have an advantage in second
chance points. Maryland is the best rebounding team in the conference, averaging nine boards per game more than the
Hokies. In the first meeting between the two, the margin was 32-30 in favor of Maryland. The Hokies must aim for the
same kind of margin.

Much of the stat sheet was identical in the last meeting, but two categories really hurt the Hokies the last time
around. Points off turnovers and bench points are two areas that Maryland dominated Tech. The Terps had 24 points off of
Tech’s 18 turnovers while Tech managed just 15 points off of 19 Maryland turnovers. While Tech did a solid job in
forcing Maryland mishaps, they must capitalize on the offensive end in those situations.

The other problem area lies in bench points, a stat that has burned the Hokies in nearly every one of their games. In
the first outing against the Terps, the Hokies’ bench was outscored 20-2. Remember, these numbers were without Ibekwe,
who will be in uniform on Saturday. Bench points are something the Hokies must concede before the game starts, but focus
on damage control. As has been shown all year, Tech’s bench is short and young, a fact the Hokies have come to terms
with.

If the trio of Jamon Gordon, Zabian Dowdell and Carlos Dixon can limit Maryland’s perimeter threats and aid
Washington and Coleman Collins in the post, the Hokies should keep themselves in the game. If Maryland comes out with a
hot hand, they could get up on Tech quickly and never look back.

Here is how the two teams stack up against each other.

Key Stats, VT vs. Maryland, 3/5/05

Stat

VT (ACC Rank)

MD (ACC Rank)

Points Per Game

69 (10)

83 (3)

Points Against

68.4 (5)

76.1 (10)

FG%

43.4 (10)

44.5 (7)

3-pt. FG%

35.5 (6)

33.9 (8)

FT%

64.9 (10)

72.8 (1)

Rebounds

33.2 (9)

42.7 (1)

Rebounding Margin

-3.7 (11)

3.2 (5)

Steals

9.31 (4)

8.27 (7)

Turnover Margin

4.35 (1)

1.38 (5)


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