Back in November of 2012, when Maryland officially accepted the Big Ten's invitation to join the conference, the thought of Maryland no longer playing ACC basketball was something that immediately came to mind, but still seemed like it was way into the future. That's why it's still hard to believe that on Sunday, Maryland will be playing their final ACC home game at the Comcast Center.
The rivalry between Virginia and Maryland has always been an interesting one to me. Maryland fans mostly look at Virginia as the wannabe Ivy League school to our south and UVA fans seem to view Maryland fans as classless blue color jerks to the North. When you think of UVA, images of students in bow ties and sports coats at football games come to mind. I'll always remember their former pseudo-marching band, which was so classless the school had to disband it and formed a more traditional marching band in 2003 following their mocking on West Virginia residents in their bowl game against the Mountaineers. And of course who could forget their students chanting "crackhead parents" at Juan Dixon. But Maryland fans are the classless ones, right?
Maryland leads the all-time series between Virginia 103-67, which began back in the 1923-1924 season, a 13-26 loss by Maryland to the Whoos. Speaking of which, what is a wahoo? A salt water fish? Oh, there is a University of Virginia website that tells you what a wahoo is? Here's a portion of what that website says on the subject:
"What exactly is a wahoo?" a curious visitor to the University of Virginia may ask. It is a very good question, indeed. Some may answer that a wahoo is a fish that can drink twice its own body weight. Maybe.... Others may propose that a wahoo is a cheer that students yell in support of "the University's" athletic teams. Others still might assert that a wahoo is a symbolic representation of a student here at Mr. Jefferson's distinguished University.
Strange, for some reason they replaced "Jefferson's biggest mistake" with "Mr. Jefferson's distinguished University." Weird.
You should definitely check out that website, just for the graphics alone.
In basketball, Maryland and UVA has always been a little one sided. Brendan gave a great take on two UVA memories, which includes Maryland win over Virginia in the last game at Cole and when the Terps beat UVA in their last game at University Hall. Hopefully Maryland can pull out one final win against UVA on Sunday.
In Maryland's first game against UVA earlier this season, Joe Harris scored 19 points, including four three pointers that were the only three point baskets the Whoos made all game. Here's a break down of Harris and the other UVA players to watch out for on Sunday:
Players to watch
Malcolm Brogdon - 6-5, 217 lbs, So., guard
Brogdon is UVA's leading scorer, averaging 12.6 ppg, and their second best rebounder, pulling down 5.6 rpg. He's had a few bad games where he's been either held scoreless or in single digits and those are the game that the Cavs have typically struggled in. KenPom has him ranked 7th nationally in his player of the year voting.
Mike Tobey, 6-11, 253 lbs, So., forward/center
Tobey is UVA's big front court player, who averages 6.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg. He takes 25.2% of his team's shots when he's on the court, but his offensive efficiency is one of UVA's worst. He's making 46% of his field goals and a solid 72.5% of his shots from the charity stripe. So why is he on the court so much? He's a damn good rebounder, specifically on the offensive glass, where his offensive rebounding percentage ranks 17th nationally. He also ranks 82rd nationally in block percentage.
Justin Anderson - 6-6, 227 lbs, So., guard
Justin Anderson doesn't need too much of an introduction to Maryland fans. After initially being committed to the Terps, Anderson decided UVA was a better fit for him after Gary Williams announced his retirement. He's also said things recently that don't sit well with some Maryland fans. Anderson has actually been coming off the bench for the Hoos, averaging 22.1 minutes per game. In his time on the court, he's averaging 8.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg while taking 25% of UVA's shots, which ranks second on his team. He's only hitting 29.6% of his three point attempts and making 43% of his shot attempts. He's also a decent shot blocker, where he ranks 290th nationally in block percentage.
Joe Harris, 6-6, 225 lbs, Sr., guard
Harris is UVA's senior guard and second leading scorer. He's Virginia's best shooter in terms of effective field goal percentage and is also the team leader in terms of offensive rating. Among UVA's players who actually play significant minutes, Harris is their best three point shooter, making 41.7% of his attempts from beyond the arc. Harris also grabs just under three rebounds per game, while dishing out 2.4 apg. He does a little bit of everything, gives you that veteran senior presence, and is effective in his shot selections.
Akil Mitchell 6-8 235 Sr., forward
Mitchell is UVA's best rebounder, pulling down 7 rpg. He's not the biggest offensive threat, averaging just over seven points per game, but he's really good at securing defensive rebounds, ranking highly in defensive rebounding percentage. He's also good at drawing contact when he shoots, ranking 197th in free throw rate. But when he gets to the line, he makes just 42.7% of those free throw attempts.
London Perrantes 6-2, 189 lbs, Fr., guard
Perrantes is UVA's freshman point guard and he's really come on strong down the stretch for UVA, both in shooting and in dishing out assists. He's hit 12 of his last 20 three-point attempts over the last five games while also dishing out just under five assists per game during that time. He's the one primarily running the show for UVA, averaging 28.6 minutes per game. He averages 3.6 apg, while very infrequently turning the ball over. As a result, he ranks 273rd nationally in assist rate and is one of the best Virginia players when it comes to steals. He doesn't score too much, putting up just 4.3 ppg, but he's doing a great job running Tony Bennett's offense as a freshman.
UVA is KenPom's #2 ranked team. They're good and they're lead by their defense.Shockingly, in their first match up with Maryland, they only forced the Terps to commit ten turnovers and we're outrebounded by Maryland (How did Maryland lose that game again?)
UVA is one of the best defensive teams in the country. They're holding their opponents to an adjusted efficiency of 89.1, which ranks third nationally. Opponents are shooting just 41.6% in 2-point attempts (8th nationally), are being held to an effective FG percentage of 43.6% (8th nationally), and have little opportunity to secure offensive rebounds. The end result is that UVA doesn't score much (just 66 ppg), but when they do, they're very efficient. They're going to make you work to earn your points, but will likely force you to take bad shots, turn the ball over, and struggle with rebounding. Basically, you can expect a slow tempo game, lots of frustration, and not the most ideal situation for Maryland.
Free throws. UVA is bad at making the free throws. Tney're not FSU bad, but they do rank 305th nationally in free throw percentage. And really, that's their only glaring weakness. They don't get to the line too often, but when you're shooting that poorly from the charity stripe, that's almost a good thing.
KenPom: As was mentioned previously, Kenpom thinks very highly of the UVA and it's not surprising that they favor Virginia to win this. But they only give UVA a 69% chance of victory, predicting a four point win.
Our take: Maryland did shockingly well against UVA in Charlottesville. Factor in that this is the last ACC game in College Park, in front of a sold out crowd and I think Maryland comes out of top, 64-59.