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A Few More Miami Thoughts, and Going on Record

It worked well last week, so I'll give it another go tonight. Couple of last minute thoughts on Maryland's next opponent:

I have an early prediction, or at least a strategy I would use: James Padgett will see playing time. Not because Maryland particularly needs Padge tomorrow, but because Maryland just might need 5 more fouls. I'm all in favor of the double-down idea on Dwayne Collins, but I'm also in favor of the hack-a-Shaq plan on Dwayne Collins - he shoots just over 50% from the stripe on the year. This isn't a guy people should be particularly worried about fouling if he has an advantage or a one-on-one.

That might need to happen more than Maryland would want. Miami has three major contributors that shoot better than 40% from deep, and one role player that pulls it off. When Greivis Vasquez or Sean Mosley leave their man to double on Collins, they'll probably leave a solid shooter wide open. Giving Miami open shots is a bad plan, because they can hit the shots. If anyone has to be left open, it should be Durand Scott, a streaky freshman. Unfortunately, it's rare that the doubling team gets to pick that. I wouldn't mind giving up a few free throws if it meant no deep 3s. It seems that Miami is expecting that to some extent, as they're moving the best shooter on the team - Adrian Thomas - up to even more minutes.

This team has one of the same problems FSU had, which is the lack of a true PG. Durand Scott mans the position right now, but he was a two guard coming out of college and has a scorer's mentality. His A/TO ratio isn't bad, but it has dropped significantly in ACC play. I have questions about his ability to lead the team and lead the game. That means that Maryland might give the press a shot, and also increases the chance of snowballing for Miami. You need guard play in the ACC, and I'm not sure Miami has enough of it.

As I said before, it's highly unusual for a team to break out of a slump on the road. No stats for it for universal that I can find, but I did find the stats for Maryland, and I'll say that, while it's not impossible, it is more difficult to break out of slumps on the road. Far from scientific, but over the last decade, they've busted twice as many two or more game losing streaks at home as on the road. Not anything ground-breaking, but I figured I'd confirm the wide-held beliefs statistically.

Here's going out on a limb for me: I'm changing my idea on Miami's start. I thought this was a slump, and it is, but they're strength of schedule was in the 250s when they were 14-1. It's possible they just weren't that good. We'll find out for sure tomorrow.

KenPom gives Maryland a 10 point advantage right now. Vegas gives Maryland a 7.5 tilt. I'm leaning more toward KenPom right now.

Predict below.