2010-11 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Maryland

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(home games)
  • Date: Thursday, January 20, 2011
  • Time: 9 pm
  • TV: ESPN2

Virginia Tech will face a hostile atmosphere tonight when they travel to
College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. Both the Hokies and the Terps
are on the NCAA Tournament bubble right now, and are looking for quality wins.

For Tech, this game represents a chance to pick up a road win, which would be
a big boost for their RPI. For Maryland, this game is all about holding serve at
home and making up ground in the ACC standings.

The Terps are 11-6 overall, with a 1-2 record in the ACC. Don’t let that
so-so record fool you, however. Maryland is a very good team, and as usual, a
well-coached team. They have played a challenging schedule, and their six losses
have come to Pitt (#5 RPI), Illinois (#25), Temple (#36), Boston College (#34),
Duke (#10) and Villanova (#11). All of those losses were by single digits, and
they were all games the Terps could have won.

However, Maryland is lacking in quality wins, with their best victory coming
over Penn State 62-39. Though they’ve played a lot of very good teams to close
games, they haven’t been able to win them. They’ll have to start winning some of
them if they want to get off the bubble.

Maryland
Starting Lineup
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G Adrian Bowie 6-2 190 Sr. 9.0 3.1
G Sean Mosley 6-4 210 Jr. 8.4 3.9
F Cliff Tucker 6-6 205 Sr. 11.4 4.2
F Dino Gregory 6-7 230 Sr. 8.1 5.6
C Jordan Williams 6-10 260 So. 18.1 12.2

 

Maryland has a very experienced backcourt, and they have the ultra-talented
Jordan Williams playing in the middle. Williams is averaging a double-double,
and he is a projected first round draft pick whenever he decides to declare. He
has terrific size, and he’s the best big man the Hokies have faced, or will
face, all season.

Williams is a particularly tough matchup, considering Virginia Tech has been
playing mostly zone in recent games to keep their inside players out of foul
trouble, and to help Manny Atkins when he is forced to play the power forward
position. It’s much tougher to rebound out of a zone defense, but the Hokies
have to do their best to keep Williams off the glass.

Jordan Williams will have help on the inside in the form of experienced
senior Dino Gregory. Gregory is a solid player who is tough, and he’s a decent
scorer and rebounder. He also leads Maryland in blocks with 30, and he will run
the court and use his athleticism to make plays.

Though the Terps don’t have any stars in their backcourt, they have three
very experienced players who do their jobs well. Small forward Cliff Tucker is a
solid scorer, and a good all-around player. He is Maryland’s best three-point
shooter, at 37.7%. He is a quality rebounder, passer and defender, and overall
he is Maryland’s most experienced player.

He’s joined in the backcourt by senior point guard Adrian Bowie and junior
wing Sean Mosley. Both players have started every game this year, and they have
good chemistry. Having experience at the point guard position is critical, and
Maryland has it. Because of their experience and chemistry, they are a very
efficient offensive team.

A quick glance at Maryland’s stats page shows they have excellent ball
movement, which leads to a lot of assists.

Assists,
Maryland
Player Assists
Adrian Bowie 64
Pe’Shon Howard 53
Cliff Tucker 51
Terrell Stoglin 48
Sean Mosley 45

Virginia Tech is probably getting better ball movement than they ever had
this season, yet their top five assist leaders don’t match up to Maryland’s:
Malcolm Delaney (70), Terrell Bell (35), Jeff Allen (33), Erick Green (31), and
Victor Davila (13). Next to Duke, the Terps are probably the most efficient
offensive team in the ACC. Boston College would be the only other team in
consideration.

Maryland is good offensively despite not having many naturally gifted
shooters on their team. The Terps shoot just 32.6% as a team from three-point
range, and they’ve made only 72 three-pointers this season. That’s the lowest
mark in the ACC, well behind 11th place NC State (85 three-pointers).

As noted earlier, Cliff Tucker is Maryland’s best outside marksman at 37.7%.
Terrell Stoglin (6-1, 185, Fr.) is at 33.3%, Adrian Bowie checks in at 34.2%,
while Pe’Shon Howard connects on 32.3% of his long-range shots. However, only
Tucker has made more than 17 three-pointers on the season. The Terps stick to
what they are good at: ball movement and inside play.

While Maryland might not be blessed with a lot of outside shooters, their
shooting percentage is still 48.2%, which is second in the ACC. They know how to
get good looks at the basket, and Jordan Williams is shooting 56% from the
field.

Recently, Gary Williams has gone with a different starting lineup, bringing
Cliff Tucker off the bench and replacing him in the starting lineup with
freshman guard Terrell Stoglin. That makes the Terps smaller on the perimeter,
but it also gives them a good scoring option coming off the bench. We could see
the same starting lineup tonight against the Hokies.

There are a number of teams who could make an argument that they are the
second best team in the ACC. Florida State, Boston College, North Carolina,
Virginia Tech, and maybe even Clemson could all make the claim. However, when
you look at the numbers, and you consider that all of the Terps’ losses have
come to top 40 teams by single digits, Maryland could be the second best team in
the league.

Stats
Comparison, VT vs. Maryland
Maryland Virginia
Tech
Category Stat Rank Stat Rank
FG% 48.2% 2 47.1% 4
FG% Def. 37% 2 39.8% 4
3-Pt.% 32.6% 11 34% 8
3-Pt.% Def. 30.3% 2 31.8% 4
FT% 62.8% 12 70.6% 7
Reb. Margin +6.5 2 +0.8 9
TO Margin +2.47 4 +2.88 3
Assist-TO Ratio 1.2 3 1.0 8
PPG 78.4 2 71.7 7
PAPG 62.9 4 60.3 1

Average
4.4 5.5

Maryland isn’t a team blessed with jump shooters, as their free throw and
three-point percentages show. However, they are a good overall team that scores,
plays defense, rebounds, protects the ball and has good team concepts. They are
a team that has very experienced role players built around a star on the
interior.

One other stat of note: Maryland is #1 in the country in adjusted defensive
efficiency, while Virginia Tech is 15th. Thursday night’s game will feature who
teams who are amongst the best overall defensive teams in the country. In four
ACC games, no team has scored over 65 points against Virginia Tech, and the
Hokies have held two of those teams to under 60 points.

On paper, this looks like an excellent matchup from the Comcast Center.

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