Maryland-UNC-Greensboro First Look: The Least Interesting of the UNCs

There are a lot of UNC-_____s. There's UNC-Chapel Hill, the well known wearers of powder blue. There's UNC-Asheville, which had the gigantic Kenny George on their team and now ranks among the NCAA's worst. There's UNC-Wilmington, who has the strange nickname of "Seahawks" and was daggered by Drew Nicholas in the NCAA Tournament awhile back. There's UNC-Charlotte, playing with former Terp target and 20 year old freshman Chris Braswell.

And then there's UNC-Greensboro. They have the generic, unexciting nickname of Spartans. They aren't as bad as Asheville, but they're still a low-major not quite to the level of, say, Wilmington or Charlotte. They aren't particularly great at any one aspect and play at a generally average tempo.

I guess there's one fun thing to talk about: why on earth is Maryland playing UNC-G in Greensboro?

Well, the ACC tournament is played in Greensboro, in the same building that UNC-G plays in. I guess Gary wanted the guys to get used to playing there, though I don't really know the difference between basketball courts. Actually, they're hosting almost half the ACC - they've played Clemson, Wake, NCSt., and (soon) Maryland at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Regardless of all that, I guess we should actually talk about the team.

UNC-G is far from imposing. They have two wins on the year - Samford and South Carolina Upstate (to be fair, they destroyed Samford). No other game against a real good opponent has even been that close - they only lost to VT by 15, I guess, and that might be their best showing on the year.

With that in mind, it looks like UNC-G could be a nice rebound win. Not as bad as Winston-Salem State or Florida Atlantic, but not far behind.

As for UNC-G's weaknesses, there are plenty. Their shooting percentage, both defensively and offensively, are very poor. They turn the ball over a lot and force few. They rarely get to the line, though they do knock them down when they get there. They lack a single, great player that can take over a game.

It's important to note, though, that UNC-G does one thing very well, and that's the thing Maryland does worst - rebound. They're 40th in the country in offensive rebound percentage and actually have a positive rebounding margin - Maryland doesn't. They're led on that front by Ben Stywall, a senior from Charlotte who measures just 6-5 but is grabbing nearly ten boards a game. He had 14 rebounds against Wake and 13 against N.C. State - kind of reminds me of Sean Mosley.

In addition to Stywall, there's 6-2 guard Brandon Evans, who has six a game. Just about everyone else on the team combines to grab about 2 per contest.

The scary thing about UNC-G's rebounding is that the tallest player on the team is 6-8, and he doesn't even play much. They make it a team thing, hustle, box out, and everybody contributes. That's exactly the antithesis of what Maryland has been doing - this game could have at least one shocking statistic in it by the end.

UNC-G's apparent rebounding advantage very well may lead to plenty of second chance and hustle points. That's enough to make this one closer than it needs to be.

I'd like Jordan Williams to see a lot of playing time in this matchup, because he has the size and rebounding production to make a dent in UNC-G's advantage. Going against much smaller players for rebounds would be easier for him. It's not just Williams, though - the entire team needs to step up and make rebounding a priority.

The Spartans' two best players were mentioned about - Evans and Stywall lead the team in scoring with 12 a game. They really do lack a dominant player, so that's a plus for Maryland and makes an upset a little less likely.

Looking it over, this is a game Maryland should win. The rebounding scares the crap out of me, though, as does the possibility that there won't be enough passion after a huge letdown loss against William & Mary. I don't sense a blowout, even though UNC-G is far from a good team.

In their last game, they got blown out by N.C.St. In the game before, though, they held Wake to a 15 point margin. I'm going to predict a little closer for Maryland: Terps 77, Spartans 63. This one's tough, though - at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a blowout, a close win, or even a close loss.

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