Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Line: Vegas: Maryland -4 KenPom: Maryland by 5
Notes: Georgia Tech beat UNC yesterday for the third time this year. The only other time they did that was in 1984-1985, when they went on to be ACC tournament champions. ... This is another showdown for Jordan Williams and Derrick Favors, the two premier ACC freshmen. Last time, Favors won the first matchup head-to-head, but Jordan's team got the all-important W. ... The last time the two faced off, Maryland won on Cliff Tucker's buzzer-beater, but they lost homecourt advantage. It's expected to be a close game. ... The last time Maryland won 7 games in a row to enter the ACCT, they lost in their first game. Yikes.
Keys in Cliches:
- Limit Second Chances. Maryland's one true weakness is their defensive rebounding - they really struggle at keeping opposing players off the glass. Favors destroyed the boards last time around, and his presence was a big reason for GT's late run that almost won them the game. Keep GT, Favors, and Gani Lawal from dominating, and Maryland should be okay.
- Make Open Shots. This is what UNC didn't do, and it's why they lost. Maryland shoots better than UNC and better than they did last time, and they probably win. They'll get plenty of open looks.
- Force Turnovers. The weakest part of GT's game is their ability to hold onto the ball. Maryland may consider pressing, though that would open up easy points for Favors, or perhaps a high-pressure defense to get steals and easy transition points. The Jackets probably won't have enough offensive firepower if Maryland can shoot well and have a decent fast break total.
Prediction: I can see why some people are anxious, and I can see why others are confident. I'm somewhere in-between right now. For the most part, though, I just don't get the feeling that this team will succumb to the relative disappointment that is a first round loss in the ACCT. I simply don't think it'll happen. Terps by 8.