#3Villanova Wildcats (7-0)
Maryland Terrapins (5-2)
BB&T Classic, Verizon Center, Sunday 7:30pm
Last game: Nova: def Drexel 77-58. MD: def Indiana 80-68.
The Terps will face their toughest test of the season by far when the third ranked Wildcats travel down I-95 to the Verizon Center. Last game the Terps rebounded from a bad Maui trip by winning their first road game of the season against Indiana. Against the Hoosiers, the Terps shot a season high 74 percent from the foul line and shot 47 percent from the field including 41 percent from beyond the arc. The Terps did hold the Hoosiers to 32 percent from the field, but part of that was due to bad shot selection by an inexperienced Hoosier squad. The Wildcats are a veteran team that will be patient and look for their shot. The defensive success for the Terps in the early part of the season has come from playing a zone defense, which will likely be tested by a good shooting Villanova team.
The Wildcats return a loaded roster from their final four team of last season including a talented trio of guards led by Scottie Reynolds who will be making a homecoming in this game. While Reynolds may be the focus, Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena can also fill it up for the Wildcats. The Terps guards match up well with the Villanova guard so Pena and Taylor King could be the differences. Pena is averaging 13 and 10 this season and will look to use his experience to compensate for his size mismatch against Jordan Williams. If Williams can not handle him and Pena is scoring inside, the zone will have to collapse and that will leave wide open outside shots for the Wildcats. Look for Gary to switch up the defense and throw different looks at Villanova. They won't just play zone or man but will likely have a mix of both. Both teams are well coached and both coaches will have their team prepared.
Plain and simple, whoever executes better will win this game. Both coaches are veteran coaches that will have a solid game plan coming into the game. Both teams are very guard laden so they difference could come from the inside play. Look for Pena to take the ball right at Jordan Williams while on the Terps side, Landon Milbourne will look to bring his defender away from the basket and use his mid range jumper.
For years now we have seen the Terps play to the level their competition and I think that trend will continue in this game. They will give the Wildcats all they can handle and more and it would not be a shock if the Terps won this game. Expect to see Vasquez and Reynolds put on a show and carry their respective teams. Ultimately it will come down to making shots and I believe the Wildcats make one more to defeat the Terps. Villanova 83 Maryland 82.