Miami is 1-1 in the ACC heading into their third conference game of the season. Overall, the Canes are 12-3 and on a five game winning streak. Even though the Canes are hot now, Coach Frank Haith knows that his team is facing a talented Terrapin team Wednesday night.
"We've got a big ball game tomorrow, Haith said. "We play a very good Maryland team that's already beaten a Michigan team, that's already beaten a Michigan State. It's a good thing that we've played teams with a small line up. They have four guards. All of them can shoot the three. As a matter of fact, they put five guys out there that can shoot the ball because their five man, (Dave) Neal, can shoot the three. It is a challenge for us. We have to guard on the perimeter and guard their guys that can shoot the ball. They're 12-3, 1-0, and they had a big win the other night against Georgia Tech. It's a big game for us. We've got to be ready to play and protect our home court."
The Terrapins are 12-3 on the year and won their only conference game to date. Gary Williams' team beat Paul Hewitt's Georgia Tech squad on January 10th and has wins over Michigan and Michigan State. They also have blow out losses to national powers Gonzaga and Georgetown as well as a stunning loss at home to Morgan State.
What have you done for me lately?
The Canes are on a five game winning streak with the latest being a big victory over the Boston College Eagles. Miami won for the first time in Chestnut Hill since 1998. Coach Haith's Hurricanes got big contributions from Brian Asbury, James Dews and Adrian Thomas on the way to their 77-71 victory.
Maryland protected home court this weekend when they beat Georgia Tech 68-61. The win was a big rebound for the Terps as they were coming off a home loss to Morgan State three days earlier.
G - Lance Hurdle - #1 – 6'2" 183 lbs – Senior
Hurdle is averaging 7.4 points and 2.5 assists per game in the 2008-09 season. With the suspension of Eddie Rios, the senior from San Diego's minutes are going to increase significantly as there is no one behind him to play the point. It is important for Hurdle to stay out of foul trouble or Miami will be in a very tough spot.
G – Jack McClinton - #33 – 6'1" 185 lbs – Senior
McClinton is another player who will see significant minutes at the point because of Miami's lack of ball handlers. The senior already played a ton of minutes but with the Rios suspension it is possible that he will rarely step off the floor. McClinton may have some extra inspiration on Wednesday night as the Baltimore native was not recruited by his home state Terps.
G/F – Brian Asbury - #32 – 6'7" 221 lbs – Senior
Asbury is coming off of a huge performance against Boston College. The senior exploded for 13 points and five rebound while defending the dangerous Rakim Sanders. The Miami native has another tough guard as he will likely be defending Greivis Vasquez.
F – Cyrus McGowan - #20 – 6'9" 236 lbs – Junior
McGowan and his fellow front court mates have a favorable match-up against Maryland as they are not a very big or powerful team. However, they are athletic and McGowan will have the task of guarding Landon Milbourne from the black all the way to the three point line.
F – Dwayne Collins - #21 – 6'8" 238 lbs – Junior
Collins should have his way with Maryland's big men inside. Dave Neal can be a big body to disrupt Collins' positioning but Miami's big man is so long and athletic that he should be able to have a big night in the paint. It will be interesting to see if Maryland tries the "Hack-A-Dwayne" defense at some point Wednesday night. If Collins continues his success at the free throw line, he could help Miami put together a big lead.
G – Greivis Vasquez - #21 – 6'6" 190 lbs – Junior
Vasquez is the Terrapins best player and it's not even close. The big point guard is the focal point of their offense and Miami will need to disrupt his game all night. If Asbury, James Dews, Adrian Thomas and DeQuan Jones can combine to quiet Vasquez it is likely that the Terps will be struggling to get anything doen on offense.
G – Eric Hayes - #5 – 6'4" 179 lbs – Junior
Hayes had a big game against Georgia Tech dropping 17 points, including 12 from beyond the arc. With Miami likely to focus on Vasquez, Hayes will benefit with some open looks from the perimeter that could turn into big buckets for the Terps.
G – Adrian Bowie - #22 – 6'2" 180 lbs – Sophomore
Bowie could be a pest for Miami to deal with. The sophomore is very athletic and can swipe the ball from a defender and score in a flash. With 19 steals on the year, look for Bowie to try and get Lance Hurdle and Jack McClinton to turn it over on Wednesday.
F – Landon Milbourne - #1 – 6'7" 201 lbs - Junior
Milbourne is an athletic wing man who can score inside as well as from three point range. The second leading scorer for Maryland, Milbourne will be a tough guard for Miami bigs and you may see Coach Haith put his athletic wing man, Adrian Thomas, on him.
F – Dave Neal - #35 – 6'7" 257 lbs – Senior
Neal is a load at 257 pounds however he is not your typical big man as he is just 6'7". He can hurt a team with his ability to shoot from outside. Neal can sneak beyond the arc and knock down the open three or draw a big man outside to open the lane for a slasher.
Like most ACC games, this one will feature excellent guard play from both squads. For Miami, senior Jack McClinton will look to light up the scoreboard from all over the floor. McClinton will play an even larger role as Miami is down to two players capable of playing the point guard position. Look for the conference leader in three point percentage to put his sharp shooting on display on Wednesday night but do not be surprised if you see his assists increase in the future as well.
The Terps have their own star guard in Greivis Vasquez. The Venezuelan native is a huge point guard at 6'6" but don't let his size fool you. He is very quick and can penetrate as well as shoot from outside. However, his best asset may be his ability to get others involved and distribute the ball. Vasquez was the ACC's leader in assists last season and has continued to dish out dimes this year, averaging nearly five a game.
Keys to the Game
Guard the Perimeter -- All five of Maryland's starters can shoot the three and their bench is full of guards that can do the same. Miami's perimeter defense needs to be top notch when they face the Terps.
Get to Greivis -- The Canes need to get Maryland's star out of his comfort zone. They need to force him to make poor decisions and force bad shots. They also need to limit his ability to get hot because when Vasquez gets it going he rarely misses.
Keep the guards out of foul trouble -- Miami's backcourt is very thin with the loss of Eddie Rios. The Canes were able to finish the Boston College game without a point guard. However, Coach Haith's squad needs to avoid that situation especially against a guard-heavy Maryland squad.
Dictate the Pace -- A team with so many athletes can dictate the pace of a game. With three guards and an athletic forward in the starting lineup, Maryland can play any kind of basketball. They need to find the style the suits them best against Miami.
Limit McClinton's Touches -- Jack McClinton can put any team away with a big game. The Terps will look to keep the ball out of his hands as much as possible and defend him tightly when he has it. College basketball fans across the country know that if Jack gets a clean look for a split second he can hit the shot.
Take What Miami Gives You -- Miami will likely focus on stopping the Terps perimeter game which means they will probably leave opportunities to score in other ways. The Terps need to find the holes in Miami's defense and take advantage of them if they are to win in Coral Gables.
Miami vs Maryland
Overall, the Canes lead the all-time series 9-5. The Terps will come in especially hungry Wednesday night as Miami has had a lot of success against them lately winning five of the last six games against Maryland. Miami fans saw what a team on a mission could do when the Canes came away with a victory in Chestnut Hill last week. The Terps will certainly come in focused and determined to come away with a win on the road over the Hurricanes.
Coach Haith's thoughts
On Greivis Vasquez and how the Canes will play him
"I'll tell you the thing that they're doing with Greivis that's different this year is that he's scoring all over the court. They're posting him up. He's probably one of their best low post presences. They do a lot of things for him to get him scoring opportunities. He's one of those guys that if he gets hot from the perimeter he can make shots from three. His percentage isn't great but he always can make big plays. He's definitely a key guy. We've got to stop him. For them, he's their main guy in what they do. Everything runs through him offensively. I think when we play teams with great offensive players we've got to make them play on the other end. It's going to be a key that we do a good job of making him play defense."