Where: Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Atlanta, GA
Where to Watch: FSN; locals can catch the game on CSN, and out-of-towners may get the game with the right package
Line: Vegas: Terps -2 KenPom: Terps by 6
- Tournament implication level: orange. Every game from here on out is nearly a must-win, but none is actually a must-win. So let's take a page out of the DHS' book and go with color levels instead. Anyway, Georgia Tech is a trap game along the lines of the Penn State game: these guys are good at home, they're dangerous, and they're overlooked. A win there doesn't look great, but a loss there looks pretty bad.
- Home cookin'. Six of GT's eight losses have come on the road. The two that came at home were by a combined 4 points. Maryland, meanwhile, is 3-7 away from the Comcast Center, with the only wins coming against Penn State, Wake Forest, and UVA. AMC isn't rocking this year, but it's enough of a trend to be interesting.
- Know this name: Iman Shumpert. He put 30 on UNC and had a triple-double the last time out against VT. He doesn't get a lot of publicity in the ACC, but he's one of the more dangerous guards in the conference, and he's been turning out better, more consistent performances lately.
- For the record: two away from Wooden. Gary is just two victories away from tying John Wooden's overall wins total. If he pulls it out today, he'll go for the tie against Duke. Not that really means anything - Wooden coached over 200 fewer games - but it's still a nice bit of recognition.
- Injuries: GT is without backup center Nate Hicks, a 6-10 freshman. Normally, that's not a big deal, but GT has no inside depth to speak of; the only other post players on the roster are both redshirt freshmen, the 6-11 starter Daniel Miller and the 6-8 backup Kammeon Holsey. Foul trouble could cause problems.
Keys in Cliches:
- Make sure Average Shumpert shows up, not Awesome Shumpert. As good as Iman has the potential to be, he also can throw out some complete duds, as Bird from FTRS mentioned in our Q&A. He seems to fare better against big-name opponents. So I guess it comes to this: is Maryland still a big name? The argument that has so consumed the fanbase may finally get an answer tonight.*
- Ball control. GT's strength is in their defense, especially in forcing turnovers, where they're 6th best in the country. This may be a defining moment in the Terrell Stoglin/Pe'Shon Howard battle at point.
- Make outside shots or Rely on Jordan Williams. Or maybe both. GT has an exceedingly average defensive eFG%, and they're the worst in the conference at defending the 3. On the surface, this tells me they aren't very good at perimeter defense. It may indicate that they double-down in the post a lot, however, due to their lack of solid post play. So either they double down, in which case Jordan needs to kick it out to open shooters who have to hit open shots, or they don't, in which case Jordan needs around 16 or so points.
*Totally joking. A more effective method than lulling him to sleep with mediocrity would be to try to take away his penetration and force him to take shots from the outside.
|Terrell Stoglin (Fr., 6-0)||Moe Miller (Sr., 6-2)|
|Adrian Bowie (Sr., 6-2)||Iman Sumpert (Jr., 6-5)|
|Sean Mosley (Jr., 6-4)||Glen Rice, Jr. (So., 6-5)|
|Dino Gregory (Sr., 6-7)||Kammeon Holsey (Fr., 6-8)|
|Jordan Williams (So., 6-10)||Daniel Miller (Fr., 6-11)|
A few notes: Tech's starting lineup is vastly different from the one that will play the majority of the minutes. For one, Shumpert will handle the majority of point guard duties. Secondly, both Mfon Udofia (6-2 So.) and Brian Oliver (6-6 So.) will play more than Miller and Holsey. So this lineup isn't really indicative of what Tech will really run for much of the game.
Maryland has two large advantages, while Georgia Tech has one. I feel hesitant at calling FTs a "big advantage"; after all, they only get to the line, they don't necessarily make those shots. At the very least, though, it's a draw. So the Four Factors lean Maryland's way.
Prediction: Don't ask me for justification: Terps by 13. Game is closer than the score, but unless Iman Shumpert blows up, Maryland should win this game. Of course, he very well may blow up, so we'll see.