Previewing Maryland

Maryland and North Carolina appear to be teams headed in opposite directions. The Terps have lost six of their last eight, while the Tar Heels have won seven of their last eight. In a game Maryland desperately needs to win to keep its NCAA hopes alive, tip-off at the Smith Center is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sunday and will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

North Carolina (18-6, 9-4) vs. Maryland (16-10, 6-7)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Sunday, 5:30 p.m., FSN (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)

Maryland Outlook: Simply put, if Maryland wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they must beat North Carolina. The Selection Committee will not look favorably at the Terps' resume thus far, especially since losing senior star Chris McCray (15.2 ppg, 2.2 spg). McCray was declared ineligible in late January, and since then, Maryland has gone 3-6 and has no "quality wins" without him, a key for the Committee. Their only chance left in the regular season for a "quality win" is Sunday in Chapel Hill. "Our backs are against the wall," junior guard D.J. Strawberry said. "I can't wait to play on Sunday against Carolina. We have to win."

Road Woes: The Terps have only one road win all season, a Jan. 25 victory over Georgia Tech. The last two road losses have been particularly disheartening in double-digit defeats at Clemson and Florida State. They committed 26 turnovers against the Tigers and trailed throughout against the Seminoles. "This time of year, you'd like to think you could do the same kind of thing on the road as you do at home, but we haven't done that yet," head coach Gary Williams said.

Missing McCray: McCray left a void that has yet to be consistently filled by the Terps. Mike Jones, a 6-5 junior, moved into the starting lineup and has had some big games. In Maryland's two games last week, he averaged 20.0 points, shooting 67% on his three-point attempts and 70% from the field, but followed that up with a two-point performance at Florida State. Senior forward Nik Caner-Medley has been the Terps' most consistent offensive performer -- but opponents know it -- which has made the points tougher to come by. But Maryland is actually at its best when Caner-Medley isn't the go-to scorer. Case in point, he scored only 10 points in both of the Terps' last two wins.

First Meeting vs. UNC: The Tar Heels dominated the second half, outscoring Maryland 39-22, to pull away for a 77-62 win in College Park on Feb. 2. Carolina held the Terps to 26.5% shooting in the second half, while recording a convincing 52-34 advantage on the boards, in the win. Reyshawn Terry had a game-high 20 points, and David Noel added 19 points and 12 rebounds. Caner-Medley had a tough 15 points (6-19 FG) to lead the Terps.

Projected Starters:
 5 D.J. Strawberry (6-5, 201, Jr.) – 10.5 ppg, 4.0 apg
23 Mike Jones (6-5, 204, Jr.) – 9.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
22 Nik Caner-Medley (6-8, 240, Sr.) – 15.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg
25 Ekene Ibekwe (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg
15 James Gist (6-8, 223, So.) - 8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg

Key Reserves:
30 Travis Garrison (6-8, 241, Sr.) – 8.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg
 2 Parrish Brown (6-1, 175, Jr.) - 2.6 ppg
14 Will Bowers (7-1, 262, Jr.) – 2.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
14 Sterling Ledbetter (6-4, 198, Sr.) – 2.2 ppg

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the series with Maryland, 112-53. Carolina has won four in a row and five of the last six in the series. Carolina is 13-7 against the Terps at the Smith Center and 52-16 overall at home against Maryland. Roy Williams is 4-1 versus Maryland as Carolina's head coach.. (by UNC Athletic Communications)

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Strawberry ... Caner-Medley

Ibekwe ... Gist

Jones ... Garrison

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