Maryland Terrapins (3-0, 0-0 ACC)
Thurs, Nov. 18
7 p.m. Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
This is seventh matchup all-time between Pitt and Maryland
Maryland has won four straight over the Terps, and lead the series 5-1
The last matchup came Nov. 28, 1998 in the Puerto Rico Shootout when the Terps won 87-52
The Panthers enter the 2010-2011 college basketball season ranked fourth in nation, coming off a 25-9 season and No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the second round to the No. 6 seed Xavier by three points.
Four starters and seven of their top eight scorers return from last season, including Brad Wanamaker, Ashton Gibbs and Gary McGhee. The guards: Gibbs averaged over 15 ppg last year and shot nearly 40 percent from distance; Wanamaker averaged almost five assists and 12 ppg. The center, McGhee, averaged seven points and seven boards last year.
This is one of the most dynamic scoring teams in the country right now, scoring the 21st most points in the country at 91.7 per game. They also ranked fifth in assists (24) and 13th in rebounding (49.7)
The Panthers are an experienced team after being a power in the Big East for the past two seasons. Their returning guard tandem of Gibbs and Wanamaker makes up most of their offense, combining for almost 40 points per game.
What is most intimidating is the teams defensive prowess. The Panthers have limited their opponents to fewer than 60 points per game. They have out rebounded their opponents by a margin of 21, forced about 17 turnovers and block more than six shots per game.
The Panthers, like the Terrapins, have struggled from the free-throw line. They shoot a modest 65 percent.
Despite an impressive 39 percent team three-point shooting percentage, the majority of attempts and makes come from Gibbs. Gibbs had attempted 24 threes this season, compared to just 35 from his teammates. The 11 made-threes is more than 50 percent of the made shots.
Matching up with the Terps
When the Panthers were nearly upset by Rhode Island, it was due to their propensity for turnovers, inability to defend the perimeter and missing easy layups.
The Terps will want to continue their hot shooting. Against Maine, the team shot 40 percent from the three-point line, led primarily by a 4-6 effort from Cliff Tucker. On the season, the Terps are shooting 33 percent.
On the interior, this will be Jordan Williams first real test. The Panthers may not have an interior presence like they used in DuJuan Blair, but the frontcourt of Gilbert Brown, Talib Zanna and Gary McGhee will combine for one of the best in the country. Zanna and McGhee shoot way above 50 percent from the floor.
Keys to the Game
Jordan Williams continuing his pace on the inside, scoring and grabbing rebounds.
Solid guard play – if Bowie wants to play like he did in the first two contests, the Terps are in trouble. If he plays to the level he did versus Maine, the Terps will be in it.
Sean Mosley will have to come out of his slump.
The bench – if PeShon Howard and Terrell Stoglin can provide an added boost, the Terps may prove to be the deeper team.
Radio: Terrapins Sports Radio Network