TSR breaks down Maryland vs. Davidson

TerpSportsReport breaks down the Terrapins' opening round NCAA Tournament game against Davidson: What are the key matchups? Who, exactly, is Davidson and how do the Wildcats play? Read on below for the details...


NCAA Tournament, Midwest Region, Round One:

#4 Maryland Terrapins (College Park, Md.) vs. #13 Davidson Wildcats (Davidson, N.C.)

When: Thursday, March 15, 12:20 p.m.

Where: HSBC Arena, Buffalo, N.Y.

Coaches: Maryland Terrapins – Gary Williams, 18th year, 377-199 at Maryland

Davidson Wildcats – Bob McKillop, 18th year, 282-213 at Davidson

Probable starters:

Davidson (29-4, 17-1 Southern Conference)

2 PG Jason Richards, 6-2, Jr. (13.6 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.8 RPG)

30 SG Stephen Curry, 6-1, Fr. (21.2 PPG, 2.8 APG, 4.6 RPG)

14 G Max Paulhus Gosselin, 6-6, So. (4.9 PPG, 1.8 APG, 3.2 RPG)

15 F Thomas Sander, 6-8, Jr. (13.5 PPG, 1.1 APG, 6.3 RPG)

5 F Boris Meno, 6-8, Jr. (11.0 PPG, 0.7 APG, 8.1 RPG)

Key Reserves:

22 F William Archambault, 6-6, Fr. (7.8 PPG, 0.9 APG, 2.7 RPG)

41 F Andrew Lovedale, 6-8, So. (5.0 PPG, 0.7 APG, 6.0 RPG)

Maryland (24-8, 10-6 Atlantic Coast Conference)

21 PG Greivis Vasquez, 6-5, Fr. (9.9 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.3 RPG)

23 SG Mike Jones, 6-5, Sr. (13.4 PPG, 1.4 APG, 3.1 RPG)

2 G D.J. Strawberry, 6-5, Sr. (15.2 PPG, 3.4 APG, 4.3 RPG)

15 F James Gist, 6-8, Jr. (12.7 PPG, 1.3 APG, 7.2 RPG)

25 F Ekene Ibekwe, 6-9, Sr. (10.5 PPG, 0.8 APG, 7.6 RPG)

Key Reserves:

5 G Eric Hayes, 6-3, Fr. (5.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 1.9 RPG)

50 F Bambale Osby, 6-8, Jr. (5.8 PPG, 0.4 APG, 3.8 RPG)

Last NCAA Tournament Appearance:

Davidson – 2006 (First Round)

Maryland – 2004 (Second Round)

Last Meeting: 2005 NIT second round (78-63 Maryland)

Breakdown:

Davidson and Maryland enter Thursday's game riding hot streaks. Maryland had won seven games in a row before its loss to Miami in the first round of the ACC tournament, including victories over the East Region's top seed, North Carolina, and six-seeded Duke twice.

Davidson has won 13 consecutive games and 25 out of 26. The Wildcats' last loss came at the hands of Appalachian State on Jan. 20. During the 13-game streak, Davidson has won by an average margin of 17.2 points and has five 20-plus point wins.

Davidson lost to Duke 75-54 in November. The Blue Devils were the two teams' only common opponent.

The Terps and Wildcats boast impressive scoring offenses. Davidson ranks seventh in the nation with 81.7 points per game, led by freshman sensation Stephen Curry, who averages 21.1 points per game. Maryland ranks thirteenth with 79.5 points per game, with four scores averaging in double figures.

The two teams, however, have different offensive approaches.

Davidson is averaging 25.8 three-point attempts per game, 10 more than Maryland. Curry is the Wildcats' most prolific three-point shooter. The son of longtime NBA player Dell Curry is shooting 41 percent from behind the arc on nearly nine attempts per game.

By comparison, Curry has made 44 more three pointers than Maryland's main sharpshooter Mike Jones.

Maryland does most of its scoring from inside the arc. Forwards James Gist, Ekene Ibekwe and guard D.J. Strawberry all present formidable challenges around the basket. Strawberry and Gist lead the team in made field goals and Gist's 53.9 percent mark from the field is second to only reserve forward Bambale Osby.

Match-ups:

Maryland will have to contain Curry if it hopes to advance to the second round. Strawberry, regarded as Maryland's best defender, will likely have the task of slowing down the nation's ninth leading scorer. Strawberry's main advantage is his height and length. At 6-5, he has four inches over Curry and should be able to disrupt his shot. Freshman guard Greivis Vasquez, if matched up against Curry, holds the same advantage as Strawberry.

The Terps led the ACC in both field goal percent defense and three-point field goal percent defense. ACC opponents only shot 29.7 percent from behind the arc against Maryland. Davidson shot 37.4 percent from three this season.

Another focal point for the Maryland defense will be point guard Jason Richards. The junior ranks second nationally with 7.3 assists per game.

The key for Davidson is to hold ground against the Terps' inside attack. With no players over 6-8, the Wildcats will need to establish position and deny entry to the post in order to keep Maryland's big men from taking over.

Maryland has struggled at times with zone defenses when it is forced to rely on its shot rather than working it inside. If Davidson goes to a zone defense, Jones and Strawberry as well as freshman Eric Hayes will have to heat up from the outside.

It will be tough going for Davidson's big men on the offensive end as well. Maryland led the ACC and ranks fifth nationally with 6.9 blocked shots per game.

Been there, done that?:

Though Maryland starts three seniors, they have only played in two NCAA tournament games each—versus UTEP and Syracuse in 2004. The only other player on Maryland with tournament experience is senior reserve center Will Bowers.

At the beginning of the season, Davidson returned only 30 collegiate starts from last year's NCAA tournament team. Junior forward Thomas Sander is the only returning starter. The Wildcats led 29-25 at halftime against two seed Ohio State but succumbed to a strong Buckeye second half and fell 70-62.

The two teams' last meeting actually came in the postseason, albeit the less-prestigious NIT in 2005. Gist scored 15 points en route to a 78-63 Maryland victory.

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