Georgia Tech at Maryland
Georgia Tech (8-8, 1-1) at Maryland (11-4, 1-1), 4:00, ACC Network/ESPN3
Neither one of these teams has been particularly disappointing so far – Georgia Tech missed an opportunity against Duke, but knocked off a team it wasn’t supposed to beat in N.C. State. Maryland lost at N.C. State and struggled to beat Wake Forest, but everyone knew their team will take awhile to come together with some new pieces in place. Georgia Tech is a complete shocker, though, as the Yellow Jackets have found offense they couldn’t find in the non-conference.
Stat to watch: Maryland’s offensive rebounds/trips to the foul line. Those two factors are pretty much the only reasons Maryland was able to escape Wake Forest on Wednesday night. The numbers were as ugly as you could imagine: 35% shooting and just 3-of-16 from three, but the Terrapins pulled down 21 offensive rebounds and got to the foul line 37 times (making 24). Of 70 points, 41 came from second chances and/or foul shots. Wake Forest committed 28 fouls, got to the line just 13 times and pulled down only ten offensive rebounds. Georgia Tech has out-rebounded opponents by about six this year but don’t allow many second looks. Georgia Tech has pounded opponents on the backboards by 8.5 per game and they will have to control the backboards against Maryland. Georgia Tech is also averaging 25 free-throw attempts per game in ACC play after averaging 14.5 in non-conference. Their opponents are averaging 22.5 fouls compared to 14.1 in non-conference.
Most important players: Pe’Shon Howard, Maryland and Glen Rice, Georgia Tech. The From the Rumble Seat blog wrote about Glen Rice, Jr.’s recent surge, complete with a chart showing how much his play has improved in ACC games. Rice hadn’t played as well on the road this season (11 at Tulane, 12 at Georgia and zero at Fordham) before scoring 22 at N.C. State on 7-of-10 shooting, his highest percentage made this year. But the key factor has been his three-point shooting: he has made 7-of-12 (58.3%) in two ACC games after making 13-of-45 (28.9%) in the non-conference.
Howard has averaged 4.8 assists (6.5 in ACC games) since his return, but he has averaged just 5.8 points and just 3.0 in ACC play. He’s also shooting just 1-of-13 from the floor in league play. He has shot 9-of-16 before that, and that’s more like what Maryland needs from him. He was 0-of-5 from the floor against Wake and just 1-of-8 at N.C. State. Terrell Stoglin has attempted 34 of Maryland’s 120 shots in ACC play so far and has 45 of their 144 points. Stoglin needs more help from his teammates on the perimeter, particularly against a stingy Georgia Tech defense.
Random stat: Via Testudo Times, since Howard and Alex Len have returned from injury, Maryland has outscored opponents by 43 points in the first half. In the second half, the Terrapins have been outscored by 11. Maryland has to learn to close games out as they are really improving and could make some noise in the ACC season.
Prediction: Maryland 72, Georgia Tech 67
Last week: 6-3 (4-2 ACC)
Season: 69-26 (8-6 ACC)