Maryland at Miami
Maryland (13-7, 3-3) at Miami (12-7, 3-3), 8:00 PM, ACC Network split/ESPN3
This is perhaps the best ACC game of the week, featuring two teams tied in the middle of the ACC standings. Maryland has games against North Carolina and Duke coming up in their next three contests, but Miami has a tougher road. The Hurricanes have Duke, Florida State and North Carolina in three of their next four games after this one. Obviously, if either team loses this one, they will be facing an uphill climb to stay in the middle of the ACC pack or even go beyond that. But the winner could make a move as only four teams have fewer than three ACC losses.
Stat to watch: Miami’s shot selection. It’s not exactly a stat, but watching Miami play, even the casual observer can tell when they get in one of their funks where all they do offensively is jack up bad three-pointers. They have gotten away with it in wins, making 25-of-58 (43.1%) but not in losses (10-of-53, 18.9%). But it’s also a big reason they’re not getting to the foul line as much: they averaged 23.4 attempts prior to ACC play and just 13 attempts in conference. They’re last in the league in that category. Miami needs to be more aggressive on offense and take the ball inside, whether it be via dribble or passing to their big guys. In Maryland’s ACC wins, opponents have shot just 14.7 free throws (still more than Miami has averaged) compared to 21.7 attempts in Maryland’s league losses. The Terrapins have allowed 61 points in wins and 79 points in losses, holding ACC teams to 39.3% shooting in wins and allowing 48% in losses. Maryland’s opponents have attempted nearly 29% of their shots from beyond the arc in their ACC wins and compared to just 18% in losses. Miami has attempted at least 29% of its shots from three in every ACC game this year.
Most important players: Sean Mosley, Maryland and Durand Scott, Miami. Scott had been averaging 9.6 points on 41.3% shooting in ACC play, averaging just 9.2 shot attempts per game (7.6 two-point attempts). At Boston College, he asserted himself with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting (7-of-14 from inside the arc), adding six rebounds, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in 32 minutes. There is no question that Miami needs that from him: some of the freshmen/newcomers have shown flashes, but ultimately this Miami offense can’t run well without Scott and Malcolm Grant playing well. Scott has averaged 14 points on 55% shooting in two games against Maryland, adding 4.0 assists and 2.0 turnovers.
Sean Mosley started ACC play on a tear, averaging 15 points on 14-of-31 shooting (5-of-9 from three) in Maryland’s first three games, helping the Terrapins start out 2-1. But he had three points at Florida State and six against Duke (Maryland lost both). Then, he showed how valuable he can be to the Terrapins by scoring 15 big points against Virginia Tech in a close win. The senior has struggled in his new assignment of being a scorer, but as Testudo Times pointed out, the team really values his leadership. Maryland is 7-2 when Mosley scores 10 or more points and 9-2 when he has eight or more. In ACC play, the Terrapins are 3-1 when he has 10 or more and 0-2 when he has fewer than eight. They need him to provide offense when he can in addition to playing pretty solid defense on some elite guards this year.
Random stat: James Padgett – one of Maryland’s most improved players – leads the nation (according to Ken Pomeroy) in offensive rebounding percentage, which is the percentage of possible offensive rebounds a player gets, scaled by percentage of the team’s minutes that a player sees. Padgett pulls down 18.8% of available offensive boards, 0.4% better than the next-closest player. He has averaged 5.0 offensive boards in Maryland’s ACC wins and 2.3 in losses. In just 19 minutes against Wake, he had SIX offensive boards.
Prediction: Miami 74, Maryland 68
Last week: 12-0
Season: 92-31 (28-12 ACC)