Maryland Terrapins (19-7overall, 9-3 ACC)
2/24/10 9pm Comcast Center, College Park, MD
PF: CLEM: 74.1. MD: 78.8 PA: CLEM: 62.8. MD: 65.5
Maryland is 13-1 at home, Clemson is 4-4 on the road
The Terps look for revenge when they welcome the Clemson Tigers to College Park on Wednesday. Both teams come into the game on three game winning streaks with the Tigers thrashing UVA in their last game and the Terps winning on a last second buzzer beater against Georgia Tech. Both teams have a tough remaining schedule and need this game to reach the 20 win plateau and cement their trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In the first meeting the Terps went into LittleJohn Coliseum and left on the wrong side of a 26 turnover, 53 point performance. In that game, the Tigers best player, Trevor Booker, was 2-for-16 from the field and scored just 10 points. Booker, has first team All- ACC talent and can should play much better than he did in the first meeting. He did corral 16 rebounds, and give the Terps struggles on the boards in their last few games, more of the same can be expected. The Terps will need to somehow keep Booker off the boards and limit the second chance points. Like people tend to against the Terps, Jerai Grant, had a career game and far exceeded his season average. Grant's 18 point,12 rebound performance in the first game was easily his best performance of the season, and he was one of the reasons the Tigers won the first meeting. Tanner Smith could also be a factor from beyond the arc, so the Terps will need to be aware of him. The Tigers shot just 31 percent from the field, 22 percent from 3 point range and 59 percent from the free throw line in the first meeting, so they did not play that well. Seeing as how the Terps are unlikely to have another 20+ turnover game, the Tigers will need to be more efficient if they want to leave Comcast Center with a win.
The Terps had their most exciting win of the season on Saturday defeating the Yellow Jackets on a 3 point buzzer beater from Cliff Tucker. The win ended a eight day stretch in which the Terps had to play four games, three of which they won. The Terps played their worst game of the season against the Tigers earlier this year, but should play much better this game because they are at home. Obviously, Greivis Vasquez will be the main cog in the offense, but players like Dino Gregory, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker have given the Terps solid production of late. Landon Milbourne and Sean Mosley have struggled the last two games and they combined for just 11 point in the first meeting against the Tigers. If Milbourne and Mosley play well then the Terps will win easily, if their struggles continue, then they will be in for a dog fight.
Despite the win against Georgia Tech the Terps struggled on the glass allowing 44 rebounds, 18 of which were offensive. Georgia Tech's front court is one of the best in the country, so those rebounding stats aren't as concerning as the 17 rebounds they allowed to Duke's Brian Zoubek in their last loss, and the 10 rebounds they allowed to Dennis Horner against NC St. Booker is a menace on the glass and if the Terps can't slow him down then they could be in for a long day.
The Terps are unbeaten in at home in conference play this season, but there is cause for concern in this game. Clemson has size and their press defense forced the Terps into 26 turnovers in the first meeting. Georgia Tech showed that the Terps are not unbeatable at home, but I do believe being at home will propel them to victory over the Tigers. Both teams have tough remaining schedules and need this game but the Terps play much better at home and the Tigers are far less formidable on the road. Booker will have a good game, but I believe the Terps will be efficient on offense and Landon Milbourne will rebound from a couple poor performances to score in double figures. Terps win a close one to improve to 10-3 in the ACC. Terps 72, Clemson 66.