Maryland Terrapins (16-7 overall, 6-3 ACC)
Wed Feb, 10th, 7pm Comcast Center, College Park, MD
Leading Scorer: UVA: Sylven Landesberg 18.0ppg MD: Greivis Vasquez 18.0ppg
Virginia is 2-4 on the road, Maryland is 11-1 at home.
There was two feet of snow and frigid temperature outside the Comcast Center on Sunday, but inside the Terps were scorching. The Terps continued their stellar play at home and in the yellow uniforms by waxing the defending National Champion North Carolina Tarheels by 21 points. While this isn't the same Carolina team as last season, its still always impressive to beat a team by more than 20 points and the Terps made a statement to the rest of the ACC. The Terps look to continue their impressive play at home when they welcome in the surprising Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday.
While the Terps have been somewhat of a surprise, Virginia has far and away been the biggest surprise in the conference. Picked last in the pre-season poll, the Cavaliers are in a tie for fourth place in the conference and are and over time loss to Virginia Tech away from being tied with the Terps. The Cavaliers are buying into the defensive style of play that first year coach Tony Bennett is preaching and they have enough firepower on offense to be more than just a balanced team. Sylven Landesburg and his 18.1 ppg average have showed that his freshman of the year campaign from last season is no fluke and he is quickly emerging into one of the best scorers in the conference. Mike Scott is undersized but talented inside while the polish assassin, Sammie Zegliniski is a good three-point shooter who can get hot at any point and carry the Cavs. The Cavs last two losses in conference have been by a combined eight points, with their last game being a three point overtime loss in Winston-Salem. This team can play, but they are running into a buzz saw that is dismantling teams at home, so this will be their toughest challenge today. If the Cavs thought Winston-Salem was hostile, they will be in for a brutal experience on Wednesday night.
The Terps are clicking on all cylinders and look unbeatable at home in conference play. In their four games at home in ACC play the Terps have won by nine, 24, 22 and 21 points and scored less than 80 points only once. The most impressive part of the Terps play through the first eight games in conference play has been their shooting. They lead the conference in 3point shooting and overall field goal percentage, a far cry from the team that missed open shot after open shot seemingly every game last season. Every player has played well and Jordan Williams gives the Terps a legitimate scoring threat inside that causes teams to focus on him leaving the likes of Hayes and Vasquez wide open from 3 point range. This team is getting scoring from everyone, making the extra pass on offense, dominating the glass and playing suffocating defense, all those elements make them very dangerous, especially at home.
The Cavaliers have impressed the rest country and me this season and Tony Bennett will have them in the NCAA tournament within the next few seasons. They have one of the best players in the ACC in Sylven Landesburg and they play good defense but I don't thing they have a shot at beating the Terps in this game, and there is nothing they can do about it. The Terps are just playing too well in the Comcast Center, and are not just beating the teams they are supposed to beat, they are crushing them. Virginia will hang around early and will be within 10 points early in the second half, but the Terps will go a run to bury them and win comfortably. I expect to see Pearman and Levent on the floor for the Terps around the two-minute mark, and that will be a very good thing for the Terps. Terps 88 Virginia 69.