What: The Maryland Terrapins hope to earn their 20th win of the year (but just third on the road) as they travel to face Georgia Tech.
Where + When: 8 p.m. at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, Ga.
Where to Watch: ESPN 3 and ACC Network :(. Affiliates here. Random affiliate o' the day - Medford, Oregon. Hiya, Medfordians!
Lines: Vegas: Georgia Tech -1 KenPom: Georgia Tech by 1
Road Curse. Maryland beat Northwestern on the road in November (handedly), and Virginia Tech earlier this month in Blacksburg. Other than that, the Terps are winless in the road. Overall, they are 2-5 as the visitors - notably a disappointing loss to Boston College in between impressive wins over Duke and Clemson. The other four losses? Miami, North Carolina, Duke and a tight game against Florida State. Not exactly an easy slate.
Alex Len. It needs to be said - against Clemson and Boston College, Len has looked terrible. It was especially notable against the Tigers (maybe because everyone else played so well, or maybe because I was at that game), where he looked sluggish, out of place, and frankly, lazy. I hate using the word "lazy" because it's nearly always misused in sports talk, but Len was pushed around constantly, seemed to not be paying attention, and his head is clearly elsewhere. Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell were the polar opposite against Clemson, and the Terps effectiveness on the inside came from them, not from Len. Turgeon said he needs to take Cleare off Len in practice because he's tiring the Ukrainian down, so let's see if that works.
Nick Faust. Faust recently turned 20, and he celebrated early with a huge game against Clemson, with a season-high 18-points, three steals, three assists and one block with no turnovers. In general, the Terps did a much better job keeping on to the ball, turning it over just eight times. They also returned to form in rebounding, holding a 37-27 advantage on the boards, but struggled from the line, shooting 37.5%.
Homecoming. Charles Mitchell is from Marietta, Georgia, and was recruited by the Yellow Jackets. He has a long history in high school and AAU ball against Robert Carter, who the Terps pursued, and it looks like the two will face off against each other tonight. Unlike the now-departed Terrell Stoglin and Ryan Harrow rivalry, this one seems to be of the friendly variety.
The Opponent (An Overview)
Georgia Tech is third from last in the ACC, sporting a 14-12 record, with a 4-10 record in conference. Of those four conference wins, two have come at home (an 82-62 drubbing against Wake Forest and a 66-60 win against Virginia), while the last two have come on the road (a 64-54 win at Virginia Tech and a 57-56 win against the Deacons, naturally). The Jackets did lose to the same Clemson team at home just about two weeks ago, and are coming off an 82-54 blowout loss at Virginia on Sunday.
Tech will likely start three freshmen tonight, with two upperclassmen rounding it out - senior point guard Mfon Udofia and junior center Daniel Miller. Udofia has started every game this season, and sports three assists to about two turnovers per game, with a pretty poor field goal percentage. With him at guard is freshman Chris Bolden, and speaking of poor shooting percentages, he's sporting a 30.3% mark from behind the line! On more than three attempts per game! He is apparently a streaky shooter. A REALLY streaky shooter.
At the three is Marcus Georges-Hunt, another freshman who is one of only three Tech players with an offensive rating above 100.
I will repeat, because this is important. THREE Tech players have offensive ratings higher than 100. Maryland has SEVEN (TRIVIA QUESTION), with three in the 90s (EXTRA TRIVIA QUESTION). Tech, to their credit, also has three in the 90s.
Georges-Hunt is averaging 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and is mostly notable for ranking 102nd in the country in turnover rate. Hooorrayyyyy.
At forward is the aforementioned Carter, who is averaging 9.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He takes a surprising amount of (missed) threes and turns the ball over a bit, so he is not one of the 100-level players (he is in the 90s, however). At center is Miller, the only player on the team to have started every game this year and last year, and he is the most effective player offensively on the team - with a rating of 107.0 (the Terps have five full players above that - EXTRA EXTRA TRIVIA QUESTION). He's averaging 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but is a very gifted shot blocker, averaging more than two per game. Miller is also one of two players on the team shooting over 50% on the year.
The other player, Kammeon Holsey, started every game last year but is now coming off the bench. Holsey, a 6'8" junior, is averaging 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and leads the team in possession usage. Despite his bench status, he's the player the Yellow Jackets rely on the most, and rightly so - he's shooting 55.2% from the floor and is drawing more than five fouls per game.
Expected Starting Fives
|Nick Faust (So., 6-6)||Mfon Udofia (Sr., 6-2)|
|Dez Wells (So., 6-5)||Chris Bolden (Fr., 6-3)|
|Jake Layman (Fr., 6-9)||Marcus Georges-Hunt (Fr., 6-5)|
|Charles Mitchell (Fr., 6-8)||Robert Carter (Fr., 6-8)|
|Alex Len (So., 7-1)||Daniel Miller (Jr., 6-11)|
Matchup to Watch
Mitchell vs. Carter. The two Georgia kids face off in a battle in the trenches. High school, AAU and now college ball. Both have had strong seasons so far, and it will certainly be physical on the inside.
A friend of mine goes to Georgia Tech. I texted him confirming the lineup, and he said "Just write that we'll lose all our conference games until coach Gregory figures out he's not in Dayton anymore". Terps 72, Georgia Tech 64.