Maryland Terrapins (14-5overall, 4-1ACC)
#21Clemson Tigers (15-6overall, 3-4ACC)
Sunday 1/31/10 5:30pm Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, SC
Last game: MD: def Miami 81-59 CLEM: lost to BC 75-69
PF: MD: 81.5. CLEM:75.4 PA: MD:64.7. CLEM:63.2
Maryland is 4-1 on the road, Clemson is 9-2 at home
The red hot Terps travel, to maybe the toughest venue to play at in the ACC, to take on the struggling, but talented Clemson Tigers. The Tigers are losers of three straight but they are talented enough to win the ACC and are very tough to beat at home. This will be the Terps toughest test and will be a good barometer to see if they are a legitimate ACC title contender.
Clemson runs their offense through Trevor Booker and his 16 points and eight rebounds per game. Booker may be the best center in the conference and should be a tough match up for Freshman Jordan Williams. The Terps have shut down some talented big men in Solomon Alabi and Tracy Smith, but Booker will be the toughest one they have faced thus far. Unlike Clemson teams of the past, this team does not have that reliable scorer on the perimeter to complement Booker like they did with KC Rivers, and they do not have a sharp shooter from beyond the arc like they did with Terrance Ogilvy. The Tigers wins games with tremendous pressure on the defensive end and Trevor Booker. Demontez Stitt and Tanner Smith average double figures and are the Tigers biggest scoring threats from the guard position, either are capable of a big game, especially at home. The Tigers aren't statistically great only 64.5 percent from the free throw line and 33 percent from beyond the arc and they are definitely beatable if teams can handle the press.
The Terps are clicking on all cylinders right now and I attribute it all to the yellow uniforms. Okay, okay, its not the uniforms but it has been offensive efficiency and tenacious defense that has helped the Terps bury opponents. There most dominant performances have been at home, and the Terps have struggled at Littlejohn in the previous few seasons, so this will be a tough test for them. The mantra out there is that teams that press do not like to be pressed and both teams press the whole game but I believe the Terps are more equipped to handle the Tigers press than the Tigers are to handle the Terps defense. Considering both teams give up under 65 points per game on the season, offensive efficiency will be the key and the free throw and three point line could make the difference. Luckily for them, the Terps have the advantage in both areas.
With all do respect to Cameron Indoor Stadium, there may be no tougher place to play for visiting teams than Littlejohn Coliseum. The Tigers are tough at home and tend to jump on teams early and bury them with suffocating defense. The first ten minutes will be the key for the Terps, if they can stay in the game, or lead after the first ten minutes then they will have a good chance to win. The Terps have been burying teams of late, but it is unlikely they do so against the Tigers. This Clemson team has too much talent to lose four straight games, and they are going to be playing with a sense of desperation. Typically, this is a spot where the Terps would lay an egg in a turnover ridden, sloppy performance, but this team has bucked a lot of trends from the previous teams. These Terps are talented, deep and focused and are playing better then any team in the conference right now. I have wavered back on this prediction, and might be jinxing them but I am going to pick the Terps. I expect it to be low scoring, but the Terps defense, ability to break Clemson's press and their free thrown shooting will be the difference. Terps 71 Clemson 65.