2008-09 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Maryland

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Virginia Tech (16-7, 6-3 ACC) at Maryland (15-8, 4-5 ACC)

Saturday, February 14, 2009, 4:00 p.m.

TV: Raycom (affiliate
list
)

Roster Card:
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Game Preview: All games in the ACC are big (that’s one of the reasons
we love this conference), and the Hokies will get yet another test on Saturday
from the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps look like an NIT team right now, but they
still have an outside shot at making a run and earning an NCAA tournament berth.
They’ll be gunning for Virginia Tech with everything they have.

The Terps are 15-8 overall, with a 4-5 record in ACC play. They have some
good wins (80-62 vs. Michigan State, 73-68 vs. Miami) this year, so they are
capable. They have also been blown out by some talented teams (81-59 vs. Gonzaga,
75-48 vs. Georgetown, 85-44 vs. Duke), and they lost at home to Morgan State.

Maryland has had some close losses in ACC play as well. They lost
back-to-back heartbreakers in the state of Florida earlier this year, falling to
Miami 62-60 and to Florida State 76-73. The Terps are 12-2 at home this year,
with their only ACC loss coming at the hands of Boston College back on January
27.


Maryland Starting Lineup

Pos.

Name

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

PPG

RPG

APG

G

Greivis Vasquez

6-6

190

Jr.

16.1

5.5

4.7

G

Adrian Bowie

6-2

190

So.

9.9

3.5

2.5

G

Eric Hayes

6-4

184

Jr.

9.4

3.1

3.3

F

Landon Milbourne

6-7

207

Jr.

12.5

5.5

0.7

F

Dave Neal

6-7

263

Sr.

7.5

4.2

0.9


Maryland’s
most well-known player is point guard Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez is averaging 16.1
points per game on the season and has 108 assists to 61 turnovers. He’s not the
best shooter in the world, but he’s not afraid to fire away. For the season,
Vasquez is shooting just 38.3% from the field, including a 39-of-130 (30%) mark
from three-point range.

Maryland Coach Gary Williams never knows what type of performance he’s going
to get from his junior point guard. Sometimes Vasquez is out of control and
hurts his team more than he helps it. At other times he’s very good, such as his
nine-assist, zero-turnover performance in Maryland’s January 31 win against
Miami.

Vasquez has been more consistent with his turnovers so far this year, but his
shooting and scoring has been wildly inconsistent in ACC play.


Vasquez Shooting Stats, ACC Games

Opponent

FGM

FGA

FG%

3PM

3PA

3P%

Points
GT
5

18

27.7%

0

6

0.0%

16

Miami

6

14

42.8%

3

8

37.5%

15

FSU

2

13

15.4%

0

5

0.0%

6

UVA

4

10

40.0%

1

2

50.0%

16

Duke

2

10

20.0%

0

2

0.0%

4
BC
7

20

35.0%

3

9

33.3%

18

Miami

4

15

26.7%

1

7

14.3%

11

UNC

5

13

38.5%

1

3

33.3%

13
GT
6

13

46.1%

2

6

33.3%

19

Totals/Ave

41

126

32.5%

11

48

22.9%

13.1

Those are some awful averages through nine ACC games. Vasquez is capable of
playing very well, but there are times when he just shoots too much.

Maryland suffers from a lack of frontcourt depth. As a result, they start
three guards, a small forward, and a post player who sometimes plays like he’s
an oversized small forward. Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie share the backcourt with
Greivis Vasquez. Bowie is third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.9 points per
game. He’s a solid player, but not known for his outside shooting. He is just
26.2% from three-point range on the season.

Hayes
is Maryland’s most consistent outside threat amongst the starters. He is
shooting 34.7% from the outside this year. The Terps will also bring Cliff
Tucker off the bench, and he shoots 38.9% from three-point range. That stat is
misleading though, because he has only taken 19 long jumpers all year.

Landon Milbourne is a wing who is playing solid basketball for the Terps this
year. He is a former teammate of Jeff Allen at Oak Hill Academy. Milbourne is a
slasher who finishes well around the glass, but he is not an outside threat at
all.

Starting on the inside for the Terps is Dave Neal, who gets more minutes than
his talent level would allow on most other ACC teams. Neal is a good three-point
shooter for his size (33.3%), but Virginia Tech should have an advantage in the
paint in this game.

The Terps will bring five players off the bench, led by freshman guard Sean
Mosley. Mosley has flashed potential this year, and he and Cliff Tucker are
solid backups at guard. However, Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory aren’t
providing much production off the bench for the frontcourt, and neither is
Korean freshman Jim Soo Kim.


VT vs. Maryland, ACC Games Only

Category


Maryland

VT

Stat

Rank

Stat

Rank

FG%

40%

11

45.1%

3

FG% Def.

43.9%

9

43.9%

9

3-Pt.%

26.9%

12

33.8%

7

3-Pt.% Def.

40.2%

12

34.4%

7

FT%

72.2%

6

67.4%

10

Reb. Margin

-3.9

12

-1.3

8

TO Margin

+3.44

3

+1.78

5

Assist/TO Ratio

1.1

3

0.9

6

Scoring Offense

68.6 ppg

10

75.8 ppg

3

Scoring Defense

74.4 ppg

5

75.6 ppg

8

Average

8.3

6.6

Maryland is dead last in the ACC in three-point percentage, three-point
percentage defense and rebounding margin. They are also next-to-last in field
goal percentage (ahead of only hapless Virginia) and near the bottom in scoring
offense and field goal percentage defense.

The only thing Maryland has done well in ACC play is protect the ball and
shoot free throws. The Terps are shooting 72.2% in ACC play, but that’s not as
high as it could be. For the season, they are 76.8% from the charity stripe.

So if Maryland is so bad at almost everything, how have they managed to pick
up four wins in ACC play? It’s simple. Three of their four wins have come
against Georgia Tech and Virginia, the two worst teams in the league. Maryland’s
four victims have combined for just seven wins in conference games, and Miami is
responsible for four of those. The Terps haven’t beaten anyone this year with
more than four conference wins.

No matter how you slice it, Maryland just does not have the talent they used
to possess. Vasquez would start for the Hokies, for better or for worse, and
Milbourne probably would as well, but neither guy is as good as anyone in the
“Big 3”: Malcolm Delaney, A.D. Vassallo and Jeff Allen. Gary Williams
is still a very good X’s and O’s basketball coach, and his coaching keeps
Maryland’s head above water, but he just doesn’t have any more Juan Dixons,
Steve Blakes, etc.

That said, Williams does know how to use the players that he has. The Terps
are tall and lengthy, so Williams will use their long arms and play pressure
defense. The Hokies will have to be better against pressure than they were
against Georgia Tech on Wednesday night.

If the Hokies play their best basketball, this is a game they should probably
win. But almost every ACC game is a dogfight, and with the Terps fighting for
their postseason lives, don’t expect anything different in this one.

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