2010-11 Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Maryland

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(home games)
  • Date: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
  • Time: 8 pm
  • TV: ACC Network

Virginia Tech will go for the season sweep of the Maryland Terrapins tonight
in Cassell Coliseum. This is a big game for both teams, and a loss to the Hokies
could knock Maryland permanently off the bubble.

The Terps are 16-9 overall and 5-5 in the ACC. They are coming off a tough
two-point loss to Boston College, and they’ve dropped all the way to #87 in the
RPI. That RPI is too low to make the NCAA Tournament, so Maryland is going to
have to go on a major winning streak to end the season, and it’s imperative that
they pick up some road wins to boost their computer numbers.

This is the second meeting of the season between these teams. The Hokies blew
away the Terps 74-57 in College Park back on January 20. Tech never trailed in
that game, shooting over 53% from the field while dominating from start to
finish.

Maryland is likely to play better this time, with their season on the line.
They are 5-2 since that loss, with an 80-62 loss to Duke and a 76-72 defeat at
the hands of Boston College. They beat a solid Clemson team by two at home, and
their other four wins have come over UVA, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and
Longwood. The Terps are playing better, but they haven’t beaten any strong teams
except for Clemson.

Maryland
Starting Lineup
Pos. Player Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G Pe’Shon Howard 6-3 195 Fr. 5.1 1.5
G Adrian Bowie 6-2 190 Sr. 9.6 3.2
G Sean Mosley 6-4 210 Jr. 8.6 3.9
F Dino Gregory 6-7 230 Sr. 8.4 5.9
F Jordan Williams 6-10 260 So. 17.1 11.8

Jordan Williams is obviously Maryland’s top player, averaging a
double-double. He has great size on the inside. In the first meeting, Virginia
Tech did an excellent job of denying him the basketball. He finished with 11
points and 11 rebounds, but he did most of his damage later in the game after
the outcome was already decided.

No other Maryland starter scores in double figures, but they do a good job of
spreading the ball around. Cliff Tucker (6-6, 205, Sr.) could start or he could
come off the bench. He is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 10.6
points per game. Tucker is Maryland’s top three-point threat, shooting 37.2%
from the field.

Tucker has made 35 three-pointers on the season, but overall Maryland isn’t a
big three-point shooting team. They have made 119 three-pointers this year,
which is the second lowest mark in the conference. They can be efficient from
the outside, but their offense relies on getting the ball to Jordan Williams and
creating easy baskets for the other players.

Pe’Shon Howard may or may not start this time around against the Hokies, but
he started in the first game and played poorly. In 19 minutes, Howard missed all
five of his shots and scored no points, while committing three turnovers. Sean
Mosley also had a rough night for the Terps, and the Tech backcourt completely
outplayed the Maryland guards. Erick Green dropped a career-high 24 points,
while Malcolm Delaney scored 19.

In the first meeting, the Hokies played a very effective zone defense that
denied Jordan Williams the ball. He only touched the ball six or seven times in
the first half of that game, and it’s important for Virginia Tech to defend him
early. If he catches the ball in an established position, he is difficult to
stop.

The Hokies also out-rebounded Maryland 37-30 in that first meeting, and
they’ll need more of that tonight. Second chance points and transition points
will probably decided this game. The team that can create the highest number of
easy shots should win.

Stats
Comparison, ACC Games Only
Category Maryland VT
Stat Rank Stat Rank
FG% 43.7% 5 45.6% 1
FG% Def. 44% 7 41.5% 5
3Pt.% 32.7% 10 36.7% 3
3Pt.% Def. 36.1% 10 31.6% 2
FT% 65.7% 11 76.4% 1
Reb. Margin +0.3 7 +2.6 5
TO Margin +3.2 2 +0.9 5
Assist-TO 1.4 1 1.0 7
Scoring Off. 71.4 4 71.8 3
Scoring Def. 68.7 7 64.6 3

Average
6.4 3.5

According to the statistics, the Hokies have a clear advantage in this game.
In fact, according to the statistics, Virginia Tech is one of the best teams in
the ACC. The Hokies rank highly in the categories in the table above, and of
their six ACC wins, five have been blowouts. In three of their four losses, Tech
has lost by three points or less. Tech has either beaten teams easily, or barely
lost.

Based on the stats, based on the fact that Tech already won by 17 in College
Park, and based on the fact that this game will be played in Cassell Coliseum,
the Hokies are the clear favorite in tonight’s contest. The numbers say that
Tech does almost everything better than Maryland: shooting, rebounding and
defense.

If the Hokies can pull out the home win tonight, they’ll be in a good
position as they face two consecutive road games at Virginia and Wake Forest,
two of the bottom three teams in the conference.

Point Spread: Hokies by 4 (per statsheet.com)

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