Just a few things I noticed when researching the new enemy:
- Look at Memphis' schedule. This is the most obvious thing, but I count 6 legit opponents, and that's including Cincinnati and Georgetown. Memphis played 4 NCAA tournament teams, and went 2-2; Maryland played 16 games against NCAA tournament teams. This is why I didn't think Memphis was #1 seed worthy and why they may run into trouble in the NCAAT.
- Memphis doesn't have a Derrick Rose this year. The closest they come is Tyreke Evans, but Evans isn't a game-changer on the level Rose was. However, they have four scorers averaging over 10 points a game, and all four are pretty consistent.
- Memphis doesn't have a dominant rebounder, either. However, both Shawn Taggart and Robert Dozier are consistently great (just not dominant) rebounders. Both will have size advantages over Maryland, and seeing how both are averaging 7 boards a game, it could get ugly. Both have the size and athleticism to destroy the Terps' front line.
- Memphis looked pretty horrible against CS-Northridge today, but I actually think this was a bad thing for Maryland. It's obvious that Memphis isn't losing to CS-Northridge bad - it was an anomaly. If anything, they'll come out more focused. Had they beat CSN, they might've been sleepwalking. However, don't think Gary won't find a ton of weaknesses in that game. If he'll be able to exploit them, though, is another matter.
- One of those weaknesses was running an offense against the zone - particularly the 3-2 zone. Their offense doesn't work well against the zone, so I expect Gary to focus on that in practice and run a lot of it on Memphis. They really broke down, to the point where they needed a reserve to get 35 for them to win.
- Another problem Memphis had is free throw shooting. They were 11-28 today and have a history of missing big free throws, so that could be a factor on Saturday. I'd rather send a guy like Dozier, Mack, or Witherspoon to the line (all shoot at 73 or below) than give them an easy layup/dunk.
- Here's the matchups I expect we'll see (quoted for no reason):
G: Antonio Anderson (6-6) / Greivis Vasquez (6-6)
G: Doneal Mack (6-5) / Eric Hayes (6-4)
G: Tyreke Evans (6-6) / Sean Mosley/Adrian Bowie (6-4, 6-2)
F: Robert Dozier (6-9) / Landon Milbourne (6-7)
F: Shawn Taggert (6-10) / Dave Neal (6-6)
- As you can see, there's an obvious height problem. I doubt Bowie will get a lot of PT Saturday for this very reason. There's no one on the starting five of Memphis that he can man up on without a significant size disadvantage. Granted, Maryland has faced that problem all year with the post players, but they haven't had other options who were taller. I expect we'll see Bowie when Memphis brings out Sallie.
- Apparently, Taggert and Evans have the flu. If that's true, I doubt they'll be at 100% by gametime. That'd be a huge bonus.
- Does Memphis remind anyone else of Wake Forest, simply in their length and athleticism? They're a bit smaller, but everyone on their team is tall and athletic.
- Memphis is a great team who probably could've been a 1 seed had they scheduled some harder opponents. Beating them will take a UNC-esqe effort. Doesn't mean it can't happen, but Greivis, Eric, Landon, and at least one more guy will need to bring their A game. I'm not counting on it, but it truly is gravy right now. It's not like a fan can be angry they lost to a 2 seed.