Maui Invitational Semi- Final:
Cincinnati Bearcats (3-0 overall,0-0 Big East)
#22 Maryland Terrapins (4-0 overall, 0-0 ACC).
7:00pm Lahaina Civic Center, Maui, Hawaii.
Last game: Cincy: def.#24 Vanderbilt 67-58. MD: def Chaminade 79-51.
PF: Cincy: 76.0 ppg. MD: 80.3ppg. PA: Cincy: 62.7ppg. MD: 49.8ppg.
This is the game all Terps fans have been looking forward to since Lance Born Ready Stephenson committed to Cincinnati. The highly touted and highly controversial recruit was on the Terps radar for much of the recruiting process but ultimately decided on Cincinnati due to lack of interest from other school stemming from his legal problems. There is much debate among Terps fans on whether bringing Stephenson in was right move given his prowess on the court but trouble off the court. Ultimately I think the right decision was made to not bring in Stephenson, and the Terps will try show they were right when they face Stephenson tonight.
On the court, the Bearcats will provide the Terps with their toughest test to date. Another 2-10 shooting performance to start the game, similar the one they had against Chaminade, could bury the Terps early. Limiting turnovers, staying out of foul trouble and making outside shots will be the key if the Terps are to topple the Bearcats.
Despite being unranked, the Bearcats can play. With four players, including Stephenson, averaging double figures in scoring, Cincinnati provides some tough matchups for the Terps. The Bearcats handled Vanderbilt in this first game of the tournament which marks has the best win either of the two teams have on the season. This game is likely to be close throughout and should come down to whoever makes the fewest mistakes.
In two games this season the Terps have come out slow, but thanks to the inferior skill of those opponents, they were able to overcome them. That won't be the case with this game. I believe Maryland will come out focused and crisp and make shots early, which will be the key to them winning this game. Staying out of foul trouble will also be key. I look for this to be the breakout game for Vasquez and expect Sean Mosley and the Terps bench to contribute to a close, hard fought win. While it would not surprise me in the least to see the Bearcats win I think the Terps have too much talent and depth. Maryland wins 71-67.