Where: Comcast Center, College Park, MD
Where to Watch: ACC Network / Raycom (blegh)
Line: Vegas: Terps -6.5 KenPom: Terps by 8
- Bounce back time. Maryland just suffered the worst defeat in Comcast Center on the heels of an embarrassing collapse at Villanova. They haven't had a three-game losing streak since 2008. Now would be a good time to avoid another one.
- And yeah, the season is somewhat on the brink. Not to go all Chicken Little on you, but the Terps are 1-3 in the conference and squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. This game is hugely important for two reasons: Maryland needs a win, of course, but more importantly they need to show they can win. If they drop this game, the fanbase might implode.
- Who starts? Let's be clear: Cliff Tucker and Pe'Shon Howard starting against Tech was a temporary thing. Or so it appeared. But you never really know who's going to take the floor after a blowout like Maryland just suffered.
- Hey, this is important for Clemson, too. The Tigers don't get a lot of talk, but they're a bubble team, too. They don't have a bad loss on the season but do have some respectable wins, and they're 2-2 in the conference right now. Getting a win at Maryland would be big for momentum.
- First look at Brownell. In case you didn't hear, Brad Brownell has taken over for Oliver Purnell. Brownell doesn't use Purnell's crazy-ass press (that's not to say he won't press, but it isn't quite Purnellian), but he keeps Clemson playing tough. Purnell had a ton of success against Maryland, so it'll be interesting to see if Brownell can replicate it.
- Injuries: Terps missing Pankey, per usual, while Clemson is without Tanner Smith, their leading minute-getter and starting 3-guard.
Keys in Cliches:
- Get the ball to Jordan Williams. Please? Pretty please? I mean, for God's sake, Jordan Williams has been all but ignored for the past 45 minutes or so that this team's played. I don't care if he has to bring the ball up the floor, find a way to give him the ball.
- Limit turnovers. Normally, I wouldn't say something this obvious, but Maryland's been very turnover-prone the past few games (or at least the last game). Clemson is a team that will thrive off of those types of mistakes, especially with their experienced guards. In fact, the Tigers are in the top 50 in the country in TO%, which is kind of scary given the lack of control exhibited by Stoglin and Howard against VT.
- No hangover. Look, they just lost back-to-back games in extremely emotional fashion; the first was emotional because of the collapse, the second because of the implosion. This is a very young team, one that can easily lose confidence in itself (if it hasn't already). They'll need to start hot and forget what's happened the past few days.
|Terrell Stoglin (6-0)||PG||Andre Young (5-9)|
|Adrian Bowie (6-2)||SG||Demontez Stitt (6-2)|
|Sean Mosley (6-5)||SF||Bryan Narcisse (6-6)|
|Dino Gregory (6-7)||PF||Jerai Grant (6-8)|
|Jordan Williams (6-10)||C||Devin Booker (6-8)|
In reality, Young and Stitt share the PG duties, and Stitt takes it as often as Young does. But matchups dictate Stoglin to cover Young, while Bowie will likely take Stitt.
Grant will likely cover Jordan on offense and his length allows him to play longer than 6-8, but Jordan will probably take Booker defensively.
Prediction: Part of me thinks that Maryland will come and run all over Clemson, ready to make a statement and shut up the haters (like me!). The other part of me thinks that this team is simply too young, with confidence simply too shattered, to make a serious run like that.
I legitimately have no idea which is right, so I'll just flip a coin...it's tails. Clemson wins, 75-68. But I have no confidence in that pick.