Where: Comcast Center, College Park, MD
Where to Watch: Raycom (Tim Brant and Dan Bonner)
Line: Vegas: Maryland -5.5 KenPom: Maryland by 7
- No Singleton. Florida State's best player, best defender, leading scorer and leading rebounder - seriously, he does just about everything - is out indefinitely. Singleton's a matchup problem at 6-9; without him in the game, this game is markedly easier. Singleton provided FSU with size as well as scoring; since his absence, they've gone smaller, subbing in 6-5 guard Devidas Dulkys.
- A challenge for Stoglin. Yeah, he's the reigning ACC Rookie of the Week, but that's just the first step. The real question now: can he keep it up? He'll face Derwin Kitchen, one of the best perimeter defenders in the conference, and we'll learn very quickly just where he stands. Go for 15+ on Kitchen, and we might have something serious here.
- Know this name: Bernard James. With Singleton out, James, a 6-10 center, may shoulder much of the load. He had 15 and 8 against Wake Forest. And yeah, he has quite the story, too. Expect Brant to reference it at least twice.
- Offensive self-destruction in three...two...one... A healthy FSU would be tailor-made to suffocate Maryland. Without Singleton, there's only a good probability of it. Their guards are solid defensively, they have the height to match Jordan Williams on the inside, and, oh yeah, they're the best defensive team in the conference. Maryland will have their hands full in the half-court offense.
Keys in Cliches:
- Force turnovers. Like I said earlier, FSU is an offensive self-destruction waiting to happen. But the 'Noles are 11th in the conference in TO%, meaning Maryland should be able to force at least 15 or so of them. Those TOs should, in theory, lead to fast breaks, which should lead to easy buckets. Here's hoping.
- Shut down scoring. Maryland's lost their defensive luster, but if there was ever going to be a comeback performance, it'd be now: FSU is in the bottom three in the conference in offensive efficiency and are a poor shooting team, too. They've only played one game without Singleton, too, and that was against Wake Forest, meaning they probably aren't quite sure how to play without him offensively. High-tempo aside, this game is ripe for a score - on FSU's side, at least - in the 60s.
- Shoot well from two places: the three and the free-throw line. The Noles are second in the ACC in the percentage of points they give up from the line, and 2nd from beyond the arc, too. But in 2-pointers? Opponents get just 43% of their points from normal shots, dead last in the ACC. If Maryland's going to win this game, they'll do it on the stripe and from three. That second one is particularly worrisome, given the fact that Maryland shot just one time from deep against N.C. State.
|Terrell Stoglin (6-0)||Derwin Kitchen (6-2)|
|Pe'Shon Howard (6-2)||Michael Snaer (6-5)|
|Sean Mosley (6-4)||Deividas Dulkys (6-5)|
|Dino Gregory (6-7)||Okaro White (6-8)|
|Jordan Williams (6-10)||Bernard James (6-10)|
3 to Maryland, 1 to FSU. Keep in mind that most of those numbers should drop without Singleton in the lineup. Unfortunately, though, this doesn't take defense into account.
Prediction: No Singleton = Maryland win. Florida State will lead at some point, but Maryland is always at its best with its back to the wall, meaning they won't go out this early. The score is in the 60s or low 70s, but the Terps pull it out and keep the dream alive.