Maryland Terrapins (14-6overall, 4-2 ACC)
Florida St. Seminoles (16-5overall, 4-3ACC)
2/4/10 9pm Donald L. Tucker Center Tallahasse, Fl
PF: MD: 80.1. FSU: 70.2 PA: MD: 64.6. FSU: 60.5
Last game: MD: lost to Clemson 62-53. FSU: def. BC 61-57.
Maryland is 4-2 on the road, Florida St. Is 10-1 at home.
The Terps look to sweep the Seminoles when they travel into Tallahasse to take on one of the best teams in the conference. The Terps defeated the 'Noles 77-68 in College Park earlier this year but they are coming into this tilt with Florida St, off of their sloppiest performance on the year. Their 26 turnover, 53 point performance against Clemson dropped the Terps to second place in the ACC and they are looking to get back on the winning track, but it won't be in easy. Life on the road in conference play is tough, and winning road games usually makes the difference between a stellar conference record or just a good conference record. Given their lack of marquee wins, this is as close of a must win game for the Terps as there is.
The Seminoles are tough at home but they won't blow you out of the water. They average just over 70 points a game with only three players averaging double figures on the season. They shoot 33 percent from beyond the arc and just 64 percent from the line, so obviously they win in other ways. The 'Noles like to assert their will by feeding Solomon Alabi inside and slowing the game down. In the first meeting the Terps did what I suggested they should do and took the ball right at Alabi on the defensive end and forced him into foul trouble. Florida St.'s offensive game plan is to have an inside outside game between Alabi and Chris Singleton, but if the Terps can take Alabi out of the mix once again then they will disrupt that and force the 'Noles to create their own shots. Jordan Williams has emerged as a legitimate low post threat and gives Gary Williams confidence that he can cover Alabi 1-on-1 in the low post. The 'Noles win with defense and will look to keep the game in the low to mid 60's.
The Terps can not play any worse than they did against Clemson and they can take some solice in the face that despite their horrendous play, they were tied with less then a minute left and in good position to win the game. Strong defense keeps you in games and after the Terps weathered a hot start by the Tigers, their defense was stout and allowed to them to stay in the game despite poor shooting on offense. Landon Mil bourne recorded only 3 points and Greivis Vasquez was in foul trouble throughout the game. It is not likely that either of them plays so poorly again, despite going against a tough Seminoles defense. The Terps are an experienced team and they have likely already forgotten about the loss to Clemson, so I do not expect that to play on their minds at all. A very positive sign, was the play of Jordan Williams offensively and against Trevor Booker. Williams looks like he is emerging into a low post threat that the Terps haven't had since Lonny Baxter. The Terps can't play any worse offensively than they did in their last game and I expect Landon Milbourne to rebound have the game everyone expects from him.
The Terps dominated the first meeting against the 'Noles which was a major surprise to many. This season in the ACC road wins seem to be at a premium so the Terps will have to play their best in order to beat the 'Noles on their home court. I think the Terps will play well and score some points but the last game against Clemson was kind of scary. The Terps came out flat, and were out hustled and executed poorly. Florida State does not have the desperation or home court advantage that Clemson has, but falling down 13-4, like they did against Clemson, would not behoove the Terps. The Terps need a resume boosting win to firmly get them off the bubble and that win needs to be on the road. With North Carolina and Duke on the schedule for next week, it is imparative to get a win here. A loss hurt their tournament chances tremendously and the Terps know that and should come out focused. Ultimately, I think the Terps have a great chance in this match up but their only conference road win is against Boston College. Until they prove me wrong that they can win a game against a quality opponent on the road and not just keep it close then I have to pick against them. Florida St. 71, Maryland 68.