2009-2010 Basketball Game Preview: Maryland at Virginia Tech

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(home games)
  • Date: Saturday, February 27, 2010
  • Time: 4 pm
  • TV: Raycom



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The Hokies will face their greatest homecourt challenge of the season in Cassell
Coliseum on Saturday afternoon when the red hot Maryland Terrapins come to town.
The Terps are a very experienced team, and they are playing at a high level
right now. They still have a chance to earn the #1 seed in the ACC tournament,
and an NCAA tournament berth is almost a lock.

At 20-7 overall and 10-3 in the ACC, the Terps have had a very strong season
thus far. They are almost a sure thing to get a first round bye in the ACC
tournament. Maryland has won four games in a row, and they’ll look to make it
five in Blacksburg before heading into their final home game of the season
against the Duke Blue Devils.

All three of Maryland’s ACC losses have come on the road. They lost a tough
85-83 overtime game against Wake Forest, were beaten at Clemson 62-53, and were
trounced in Cameron Indoor Stadium 77-56.

The Terps have impressive wins against Florida State (twice), Georgia Tech
and Clemson. This is a battle tested team, and they are led by arguably the best
player in the ACC, as we’ll see a few paragraphs down.

Besides having good players with experience, Maryland is coached by Gary
Williams, one of the great coaches in college basketball today. Williams has won
a National Championship, and he’s considered one of the top in-game coaches in
the country.


Maryland Starting Lineup

Pos.

Name

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

PPG

RPG

G

Greivis Vasquez

6-6
200
Sr.
18.7 4.7

G

Eric Hayes

6-4
180
Sr.
10.9 2.5

G

Sean Mosley

6-4
210
So.
10.6 5.5

F

Landon Milbourne

6-7
205
Sr.
13.1 5.1

F

Jordan Williams

6-10
260
Fr.
9.1 8.1

Maryland is led by senior point guard Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez is a candidate to
be named ACC Player of the Year at the end of the season. He strongly considered
entering the NBA Draft after last season, but he made a great decision to come
back for his senior season.


Vasquez has improved a lot as a senior, and he was already a good player. He
has cut down on his turnovers, he’s improved his shoot, and overall he’s just a
better basketball player.

He has improved his game even further since ACC play began. Vasquez is
shooting 38.4% from three-point range on the season, but that goes up to 40.7%
in ACC play. Vasquez is not a great shooter by nature, but the Terps move very
well on offense and get a lot of open looks at the basket.

In fact, most of Maryland’s key players are shooting better in conference
play than they did in non-conference play. This team has improved quite a bit
since November and December.

Maryland’s starting wings are Eric Hayes and Sean Mosley. Hayes is an
exceptional three-point shooter, knocking down 49% of his outside jumpers in
conference play. He’s also an exceptional passer, basically giving Maryland two
floor generals on the court at the same time.

Mosley is a sophomore who has been somewhat of a surprise this year. He isn’t
asked to score a lot now, but he can. He also has 39 steals on the year, which
ranks second on the team. Mosley could be asked to shoulder the load offensively
for the Terps next season. Like the rest of his teammates, he can knock down the
open outside jumper with efficiency.

Landon Milbourne is Maryland’s second leading scorer, despite playing
undersized at the “4” position. The decision to play Milbourne at
power forward makes the Terps a little undersized on the boards, but it makes
them a versatile team. It makes them quicker than most teams they play, and they
are very active on the defensive end as a result. Milbourne is also a problem
offensively because opposing teams have to go small to guard him effectively.

Freshman center Jordan Williams is the unsung hero of the team. He finishes
well on the inside, converting 56% of his shots in conference play, and he’s
also a strong rebounder. Williams is just a 50% free throw shooter, so the
Hokies need to make him earn his points at the stripe. However, his size will be
a tough matchup for Tech’s smaller frontline, particularly if the Hokies go with
a smaller lineup to counter Landon Milbourne.

The Terps don’t have great depth, but they have solid experience coming off
the bench in Cliff Tucker (6-6, 205, Jr.), Adrian Bowie (6-2, 190, Jr.) and Dino
Gregory (6-7, 230, Jr.). Tucker and Bowie have plenty of past starting
experience, while Gregory has also seen a lot of playing time.

Because of their experience, this trio of juniors gives Maryland quality
depth off the bench, even if it’s not in great quantity.


Stats Comparison, ACC Games Only

 


Maryland

VT

Category

Stat

Rank

Stat

Rank

Scoring Off.
76.2 1 68.9 5

Scoring Def.
68.2 5 68.3 6

FG%
46.4% 1 39.4% 11

FG% Def.
39.1% 1 41.1% 5

3Pt.%
43.2% 1 27.3% 12

3Pt.% Def.
30.6% 5 28.6% 4

FT
71.5% 7 75.7% 2

Reb. Margin

-1.3
8
-4.1
12

TO Margin

+1.77
3
+3.62
1

Assist/TO Margin

1.3
1
0.8
9

Average

 

3.3

 

6.7

If you didn’t know better, you might think Maryland was the best team in the ACC
after looking at those numbers. And they might be exactly that before it’s all
said and done. The Terps rank first in five of the ten statistical categories in
the table above. That’s very impressive.

Maryland scores a lot of points, and they shoot the basketball extremely
well. Their ball movement is impressive. They get a lot of open shots, which
leads to a high shooting percentage, a lot of points scored, and the #1 assists
to turnover ratio mark in the league. It obviously helps in having two floor
generals on the court at the same time in Vasquez and Hayes.

They are also #1 in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, thanks in part
to their length and quickness. Having a 6-6 point guard and a 6-10 center means
your team is awfully hard to shoot over.

The Terps have a lot going for them heading into this game, but they’ll be
facing a tough Virginia Tech team that is undefeated at home this year and
fighting for an NCAA tournament berth. The Hokies have their backs against the
wall after losing two games in a row for the first time this season, and they
won’t go down without a fight.

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This will also be Maryland’s sixth game in a span of 14 days. That’s a lot of
basketball, and it’s possible that they could be a bit fatigued. The Terps also
get Duke at home after the Hokies, their final home game of the year. You can
bet that Greivis Vasquez and his fellow seniors will be fired up for that, as
first place in the ACC could be on the line. It’s possible that they could look
past Tech a bit, and the Hokies might not catch their best effort.

No matter how you view this matchup, Cassell Coliseum will be one of the top
places to be in college basketball on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies will be
playing a basketball game on the last weekend of February that will have major
postseason implications. We should see a great atmosphere in what Greivis
Vasquez says is the toughest place to play in the ACC.

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