#75 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #90 R.P.I. Maryland:
TV coverage: Thursday 9pm on ESPN2
Vegas Line: Maryland-5, O/U=134
Well, here we go; never mind the glorified scrimmage vs. 14 L Longwood on Saturday night; we are now officially in the heart of the hoops meat grinder otherwise formally known as A.C.C. intra-conference play. This is indeed a dog-eat-dog round-robin of who knows what. Beyond possibly the 11th-12th A.C.C. basketball teams; it truly is anybodies game. As anybody can and will beat or outright upset anybody on the proverbial “any given night”.
That speaks to Margin of Error to me.
For any A.C.C. hoops team not named Duke, the margin of error is slim at home and next of kin to none out on the road. This is precisely where Virginia Tech finds itself this Thursday night up in College Park vs. Maryland in a basketball game that will likely require an A- effort if Seth and company wish to secure an O&M win.
Maryland is good, though Maryland is not quite unbeatable either; although when you look at who has beaten Maryland this year –four ranked teams and two teams who already combine for 25 wins on the season- you can easily see why Maryland is the favorite and you can see why this would be a nifty Hokie upset on the Terrapin’s home court.
Although what you really wanna know is who is gonna win…
Maryland at a Glance:
- 5th best in defensive FG% allowed (37%)
- 12th most blocks (6)
- 14th most assists (18)
- 23rd in offensive FG% (48.2%)
- 26th in points scored per game (78.4)
- 28th in rebounding margin (+6.5)
- 310th in FT% (62%)
Goodness, is this the best 6 L team in the country or what? I knew Maryland had been said to be quietly good; though I did not know they were this good. Sure; the Terrapin’s FT shooting could be a bit of a pesky or painful hangnail late in a well manicured basketball game, though beyond that foible – these Terrapin’s are loaded for bear.
Leading the Terrapin way is big ole #20 Jordan Williams. An Association right-sized 6`10“ 260 lb. sophomore P-F man’s man of a banger on the inside. All #20 manages to give you is … a team leading 18 points and 12 boards per game. Now mix in a second best 1.4 blocks, 56% from the floor with 128 FTA’s and 68 offensive boards already. Wow! That is outstanding play from only a second-year A.C.C. big. Only an impoverished 51% from the charity-stripe hamstrings an otherwise stellar first-team all-A.C.C. caliber game from Mr. Williams. Lindy’s named Mr. Williams the best pure rebounder in the whole A.C.C. way back in August and I for one am inclined to agree. In case you are keeping score at home that is just a hair under a 200% rise in scoring this season for Mr. Williams compared to his freshman year campaign. Williams is also a vaunted low-post defender and it sure looks like V.D. and J.Allen have their hands full with this one as big #20 has notched no less than 8 boards in any game this year and has the potential to explode for mid-20’s in scoring on any given night.
After the superstar Mr. Williams, things balance out quite evenly for Coach Gary Williams Terrapin’s as Maryland has no less than five different guys all averaging between eight and eleven points per game. Second in scoring would be #24 Cliff Tucker, a 6`6“ 210 lb. senior Swing from Texas who nets 11 points per game while leading Maryland from downtown at 38% per game from beyond the arc. Second in rebounding (5.6) and sixth in scoring (8.1) would be #33, one 6`7“ rock solid 233 lb. senior S-F Dion Gregory. Dino has been in and out of Coach Williams’ doghouse for undisclosed team violations off and on during his entire Maryland career. However, when he is on the court he is a physical defensive force both on the glass and in terms of leading his team in blocks (1.8) despite being a tad shorter than you would expect for such a team leading accolade in A.C.C. terms. Third in scoring (9.7) would be the Arizona t-freshman G one #12, 6`1“ 185 lb. Terrell Stoglin. Terrell is a blazing fast end-to-end Pt.Guard who has nice range and nice passing skills and very likely will be a three year starter up in College Park. #1 Adrian Bowie is forth in scoring (9) and leads the Terps in assists with 3.8 per contest. #1 stands in as a 6`2“ 190 lb. all-around senior baller who also grabs 3.1 boards and leads Maryland as a 84% shooter from the FT-line. Bowie as you may recall was a starter as a sophomore, only to be benched last year. This season he is part of the three G starting line-up for Coach Gary Williams. The third starting G is #14, one Sean Mosely, a 6`4“ 210 lb junior lead-G and natural geographic rival to our very own Malcolm Delaney as Mr. Mosely hails from B’more (Baltimore Maryland) himself. Sean is fifth in scoring with 8 points to go along with 3 boards. Sean was thought to be the leading candidate to lead Maryland in scoring sans crowd-favorite Greivis Vasquez this season. Sean however has not produced as expected and has actually been slumped of late as he has not broken 8 points in a single game since 12.29 last year.
After that Maryland has four bench substitutes, who play every single night; all of whom average between 2 and 5 points per game. #21 Pe’Shon Howard gives them the occasional offensive spark as a 6`3“ 195 lb. t-freshman combo-G from Los Angeles. #35 sophomore James Padget gives them his 6`8“ 225 Brooklyn front-court size. #13, t-freshman, 6`6“ 190 lb. Haukur Paisson gives the Terps Media-Guide a fun name and an interesting pre-game read on his sojourn all the way from Reykjavik Iceland. Nice place if you like sheep, mossy volcanic rocks and sheep. Did I mention the sheep yet? Then rounding the Terrapin’s 10-man rotation out would be one #10, junior year Berend Weijs a JuCo transfer project of a 6`10“ 205 lb. beanpole Center from the Netherlands who could intern this summer as spokesperson for Amstel Lite or Shell Oil. While I am unable to rightfully say that I see a superstar sixth man off the Maryland pine, I am able to say that I see a handful of solid role players who do what they are told, have decent enough size and don’t make many mistakes.
- Freshmen Ashton Pankey, a 6`9“ 220 lb. P-F rebounding shot-blocker from the Bronx is out for the year with a stress-fracture in his lower left-leg
- Junior Ersin Levent 6`7“ 185 lb. S-F is done for the season with Mono
- Both injuries diminish the Terrapin front-court bench
- God Bless
|Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.|
If you have been following college basketball in general and the A.C.C. in particular this year, you know that Maryland is no less than a good basketball team that may only be about half a notch -or one more player- removed from being great. I personally have this visit to College Park pegged as being our fourth toughest remaining game to win. Maryland is likely to be a at-large N.C.A.A. selection and they sure enjoy some handsome D-1 team categorical rankings beyond FT shooting as national rankings go. In fact Maryland enjoys what I’d have to call either efficient or insulated from going cold national rankings. The Terrapin offensive creates easy baskets when they up-tempo and get out and run; and when that is not there they can always dump the ball down inside to the precocious Mr. Jordan Williams and play a very proficient Inside-Out game in the half-court. On the other hand, blocks, rebounding and defense are effort based metrics. They are virtually immunized against off nights or going cold. Maryland is downright parsimonious or stingy at all three of those hustle or want-too based statistics. All of that conspires to tell me that VT is gonna have a tough time up in College Park Thursday night where the Terrapins are likely to be a very tough out. I’ll feel much better about our chances to win when we catch Maryland at home on February 15th. As we all know, A.C.C. road teams win about 25-30% of their games most years collectively. I’d say VT has a little better shot than that; because there is a drop-off beyond Mr. Jordan Williams in Terrapin performance if not outright talent. Accordingly, it sure would be nice to get Jordan Williams off the floor early on with personal-foul trouble. The Fourm Guide also gives our beloved Hokies a very slight nod when I compared both teams recent efforts vs. Wake Forest head-to-head. The most recent five-game vitals (stats) also assigned a 17% edge in FT-shooting in favor of Virginia Tech. That 17% is where I am hanging my O&M Margin of Error upsetting hat. Such could indeed prove to be critical in a very narrow A.C.C. basketball contest. Right now I’d give Virginia Tech a very solid 40% shot at stealing this one, and that is precisely what I am calling for Virginia Tech to somehow do. Abscond with an ugly looking A.C.C. road win on Thursday night at 9pm.
Virginia Tech=66, Maryland=6o