[Note by Ben Broman, 03/18/10 11:37 PM EDT - Bumped for gameday]
This is usually the Gameday Guide, but I'm pumping out a bigger one a day early for more discussion.
Where: Spokane, WA
Where to Watch: Your local CBS affiliate in local areas (coverage map is here - if you're in PA, no coverage at all; southerners, you should be good); otherwise, MMOD
Line: Vegas: Maryland -9.5 KenPom: Maryland by 14
Keys in Cliches:
- Win the rebounding battle. This is usually impossible for Maryland to do, but Houston is shorter and worse at rebounding than Maryland is. Maryland is so used to losing the rebounding battle and making up for it elsewhere that if they can just rebound as well as they are expected to, every other facet of the game will be made much, much easier.
- Limit turnovers. Houston is one of the best at the country in forcing and capitalizing on steals. They're already a pretty efficient squad offensively, but Maryland is even better. Giving them extra points off steals is a quick way to close that gap.
- Stick to their game. This sounds obvious, but not panicking is a key in a game like this. Maryland struggled with their long delay against Georgia Tech with an ultra-slow start; the same may happen against Houston. Add in Houston's ability to score points in a hurry - Aubrey Coleman is especially big in this facet - and it's probable that Houston will have a run at some point, and it may be to start the game. Regardless of when it comes, Maryland needs to know that it'll pass, and they just need play their game on the other end of the court - it's good enough to win.
|Kelvin Lewis (6-4)||G||Greivis Vasquez (6-7)|
|Desmond Wade (5-8)||G||Eric Hayes (6-4)|
|Aubrey Coleman (6-4)||G||Sean Mosley (6-4)|
|Sean Coleman (6-8)||F||Landon Milbourne (6-8)|
|Kendric Washington (6-7) or
Marcus McNeil (6-9)
|C||Jordan Williams (6-9)|
Sean Mosley on Aubrey Coleman: Coleman is the country's leading scorer, and is extremely strong. At 6-4, he has both height and skills; Mosley is the only Terp I would feel comfortable guarding him. Because Coleman doesn't tend to be the deciding factor in games (he'll get his points no matter what), Mosley might be on his own.
Kelvin Lewis on Grevis Vasquez: This is the inverse of the above. The only difference is that Lewis the second offensive option for Houston in addition to the top defender. If he ends up on Vasquez, he may end up tired out and ineffective on the other end of the court.
Closer than I would like to admit, but not exactly even (Houston of the left, Maryland on the right. Statsheet needs to learn how to use different colors.)
Prediction: Houston has a lot of momentum, and they can put points on the board. But they don't play much defense, and they needed a miracle against a bunch of average teams to even get into the tournament. Maryland by 12.