Maryland Terrapins (18-7overall, 8-3ACC)
2/20/10 2PM Comcast Center College Park, MD
PF: GT: 74.3. MD: 78.9. PA: GT: 64.1. MD: 65.2
Last game: GT: def UNC 68-51. Md: def North Carolina St. 67-58
Maryland is 12-1 at home, Georgia Tech is 4-6 on the road.
Georgia Tech has been the poster child for the inconsistency in the ACC this season. Ranked in the top 25 for the majority of the season, the Yellow Jackets have wins over the likes of Duke, Clemson and Wake Forest, but have head scratching losses to Georgia, Miami, and Virginia. The Yellow Jackets have certainly been the Jeckyl and Hyde of the conference, looking like world beaters at times and bottom feeders at others. Like young teams tend to do, the Yellow Jackets struggle on the road, with their only conference win being a two point win at struggling North Carolina. Certainly going into Comcast Center where the Terps have been virtually unbeatable, will be a major challenge for them.
Talent wise, the Yellow Jackets are in the upper echelon of the ACC, and when they put it all together, they are scary. Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors are the best tandem of big men in the conference and both can be unstoppable at times. Lawal and Favors are the only Yellow Jackets in double figures averaging 14 and 11 point respectively, but their 17.5 rebounds per game is what makes them very dangerous. Certainly they will both posses a major challenge for Jordan Williams and it will be interesting to see if Gary Williams goes with Dino Gregory instead of the normal three guard lineup. The best move may be to foul them every time they get close to the basket as Lawal and Favors shoot 61 and 57 percent respectively from the foul line and the Yellow Jackets shoot only 65 percent as a team. Iman Shumpert is a good guard but his role is more to get the ball into the two big guys more so then it is to score on his own. How he handles the Maryland pressure will determine if the Yellow Jackets have a chance or get run out of the Comcast Center like almost every other opponent before them.
The Terps will be playing their fourth game in eight days, but the friendly confines of the Comcast Center should do wonders for them. In their last game the Terps overcame a 10 point halftime deficit and pulled out a gritty nine point win in a game where they played nowhere near their best. The win against the Wolfpack showed that this team can win ugly and they can overcome sloppy play to win games. The Yellow Jackets will make things tough on the defensive end so the Terps may have to overcome another less than stellar offensive performance. Greivis Vasquez has cemented his place as maybe the best player in the conference and there seem to be no signs of him slowing down against the Yellow Jackets. Shawn Mosley and Eric Hayes both had their worst game of the season against the Wolfpack and they will need to improve on that if the Terps are to win Saturday. This team has too many weapons offensively and Hayes, Mosley and Milbourne should get back on track. If Jordan Williams can hold his hold against the inside duo of the Yellow Jackets then this could be a rout for the Terps. Denying the entry pass into the post, creating turnovers and forcing Favors and Lawal away from the hoop will be the key defensively.
The outcome of this game will be determined by which ever team can exert their style of play on the other. The Yellow Jackets will look to get the ball inside and dominate the boards and wear teams out, while the Terps are led by guards and will want to push the ball up and down the floor. The Terps have chance to do something special and the win against the Wolfpack showed me the moxy they have. The Terps are experienced, while the Jackets are not and that will play a major role in the game. The Terps at the Comcast Center, in the yellow uniforms, has spelled disaster for all conference opponents this season and that trend will continue Saturday. Lawal and Favors will be tough but the Terps guards and the home court advantage will lead them to their ninth victory of the season. It won't be a 20 point win like the other, but the Terps run to a perfect conference season at home continues. Terps 78, Yellow Jackets 68.