Michael: [discussing evidence that links George Sr. to Saddam Hussein] If this information was so damaging, why didn’t you just shred it?
George Sr.: Well, Saddam owed us money.
Michael: And you didn’t realize that he wouldn’t pay?
George Sr.: Your mom had a good feeling about him.
Narrator: Gob, getting the feeling he could not return a completely frozen dead dove to a pet store and get the full refund the felt he was entitled to, decided to join him.
Georgia Tech is still paying former head coach Paul Hewitt, who they fired in March 2011. Hewitt is now at George Mason. But he managed to negotiate a $7.2 million buyout over five years. There have been major attendance problems in Atlanta, although the hope is that the new arena, McCamish Pavilion (opening Friday), helps reenergize the fans. And the team is certainly as bad as it ever was under Hewitt. Second-year head coach Brian Gregory has a lot of work to do.
2012 record/results: 11-20 overall, 4-12 ACC. Georgia Tech’s best win (per Ken Pomeroy’s rankings) was against NC State, which finished 35th. Naturally, the ACC eats its own.
Reason for optimism: Big men Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey are juniors now, and both ended their 2012 playing well. Miller averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in Tech’s final ten games while Holsey added 10.7 points and 5.7 boards in that span. Last year’s leading scorer Glen Rice, Jr.’s departure is probably a good thing for this team, and they have some really good freshmen.
Reason for pessimism: Even without Rice, Georgia Tech returns over 80% of its scoring. But the Yellow Jackets averaged just 60.2 points last year. They have a senior point guard returning in Mfon Udofia, but that’s not necessarily a good thing: he had 88 assists to 85 turnovers last year. Jason Morris and Brandon Reed, Georgia Tech’s other two likely backcourt starters, didn’t shoot well either.
Tobias Fünke: Do you see me more as the respected dramatic actor or more of the beloved comic actor?
Carl Weathers: Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s still plenty of meat on that bone. Now you take this home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you’ve got a stew going.
Tobias Fünke: Yes, that’s fine, but I would like to focus on my acting, Mr. Weathers. I did give you my last $1,100.
Carl Weathers: Let me tell you a little story about acting. I was doing this Showtime movie, Hot Ice with Anne Archer, never once touched my per diem. I’d go to Craft Service, get some raw veggies, bacon, Cup-A-Soup… baby, I got a stew going.
Tobias Fünke: [pause] I think I’d like my money back.
George Sr.: [via satellite from prison] Sorry, some of my students are arguing the significance of the shankbone on the seder plate. But we do not – not wag our genitals at one another to make a point.
None of these quotes really fit Maryland this year, but Carl Weathers could really make an interesting stew with Maryland’s mixture of returning players, the late addition of Xavier transfer Dez Wells and some very talented freshmen. Okay, that’s a stretch.
2012 record/results: 17-15 overall, 6-10 ACC. Maryland deserves a special shout-out for not embarrassing the league in the non-conference last year. Their worst loss was at home to Illinois, a team that started 15-3 before losing 13 of its final 15.
Reason for optimism: Dez Wells. The sophomore averaged 9.8 points per game at Xavier, but he was just a freshman. By all accounts, he’s been dominant so far this year. Losing last year’s leading scorer Terrell Stoglin might seem like a big hole, but Stoglin had become more of a hindrance than a help by the end of last season. Sophomore Nick Faust hit double figures in nine of Maryland’s final 11 games. Seven-footer Alex Len has put on 30 pounds. Everyone seems ready to take the next step up from last year while incorporating a class of very talented freshmen into the mix.
Reason for pessimism: Is there enough talent around Wells for Maryland to be an NCAA Tournament team? Faust was fairly steady for a freshman, but Len was all over the place last year, and he was more down than up. This is not meant as a joke or sarcasm in any way: Stoglin literally took such a huge percentage of Maryland’s shots (37.8% when he was on the floor, per Pomeroy) that it could be difficult for his teammates to get used to being more involved. And while this year’s freshmen are good, they’re still freshmen.
Gob: My gut is telling me no… but my gut is also very hungry.
Lucille: What’s a Forget-Me-Now?
Gob: They’re pills that create a sort of temporary forgettingness. So if somebody finds out how you do a trick, you just give ’em one of these, and they forget the whole thing. It’s a mainstay of the magician’s toolkit, like how clowns always have a rag soaked in ether.
Every ACC reporter ever has been sucked into the Miami vortex. And we’ve all been burned by it, too. Yet every year, Forget-Me-Now pills cause some of us to slot them them too high – this year, it was fifth. Maybe this is the year. The Hurricanes have already shown why trusting them is dangerous by losing an exhibition game at home. Can Miami be elite? We’ll believe it when we see it.
2012 record/results: 20-13 overall, 9-7 ACC, NIT (L 2nd Round to Minnesota). Miami saved its worst for last, losing six of its final 11 games, including a 78-60 home loss in the NIT to Minnesota that was not as close as even that score would indicate. Miami’s best win over anyone not int he ACC last season, per Pomeroy’s rankings, was against No. 72 Massachusetts. Their six non-conference losses were all to teams inside the top 90 of Pomeroy’s rankings out of conference: but they were still losses.
Reason for optimism: There are always reasons for optimism when it comes to Miami basketball. This year, Miami returns most of its best players from a year ago, including mainstay Durand Scott and starting big men Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. Speedy point guard Shane Larkin ended the year on a good note, averaging 12 points and 2.7 assists in the final three games. They have a ton of depth in all the important areas.
Reason for pessimism: From a personnel perspective? There aren’t any. Miami is capable of being as good as any other team in this conference, particularly considering the Duke, North Carolina and Florida State rosters this year. But will they? Despite having Kadji and Johnson, the Miami guards tend to ignore them: in Miami’s final two postseason losses last year, Johnson and Kadji combined for 24 shots in 85 minutes.
Tobias Fünke: Boy, I sure feel like a Mary without a Peter and a Paul.
Lindsay: [saying how stress can lead to drugs] … like the stress you put on George Michael, even when he gets an ‘A’.
Michael: *Minus*, and he knows an ‘A’ gets him ice cream.
North Carolina lost a lot to last year’s NBA draft, including over 66% of its scoring and four out of five starters. There’s enough young talent and veteran steadiness on this team for it to have a good year. But in Chapel Hill, expectations don’t change much – NCAA Tournament or bust – but even North Carolina fans understand that this team’s ceiling isn’t as high as past UNC teams. Rarely are there “freebie” years like this one.
2012 record/results: 32-6 overall, 14-2 ACC, No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament, Elite 8 (L to No. 2 seed Kansas). Obviously, Kentucky was playing very well last year and might have beaten North Carolina again anyway. But injuries cut Carolina’s title run short as point guard Kendall Marshall broke his wrist in the Round of 32 game against Creighton.
Reason for optimism: Carolina returns some of its best defensive players from last year (Dexter Strickland, Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo). While the young Tar Heels wait for their offense to click, defense shouldn’t be an issue. McAdoo and P.J. Hairston weren’t needed as freshmen much until the end of last year, but both responded with some big names (particularly McAdoo, obviously). Carolina has a veteran backcourt with Strickland, Leslie McDonald (who redshirted last season after tearing his ACL), Bullock and Hairston.
Reason for pessimism: Their veterans have experience, but they’re largely complementary players. Even their young talent isn’t as elite as it has been in past years. There is no go-to scorer on this team and there may not be throughout the course of the season, which might mean that the Tar Heels are offensively challenged for long stretches. Carolina’s early-season schedule is brutal and could cause the team to lose confidence quickly. Oh, and freshman point guard Marcus Paige – who will be the starter – weighs 160 pounds soaking wet.
No. 8 Maryland (16-14, 6-10) vs. No. 9 Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12), 12:00 PM, ESPNU/ACC Network
This might seem like a no-brainer Maryland win, nine of Maryland’s ACC games were decided by fewer than ten points (12 by 15 or fewer) and their biggest win this year was a 16-pointer over Boston College. They beat Wake Forest by just six at home earlier this year. And Wake has won two of its last five games and played Duke close. A loss to Wake would be a devastating way to end the year for Maryland.
Key to the game: Which team’s post players will show up? In the last three games (all losses), Maryland’s Ashton Pankey, James Padgett and Alex Len have combined for 46 points on 18-of-45 shooting (10-of-27 from the foul line). Pankey in particularly has struggled; the freshman doesn’t have a basket in that span (0-of-11) and played just 14 minutes over the last two games.
But Maryland allowed the last two frontcourts they faced to score 101 points; just two players (Tyler Zeller and Mike Scott) had 69 by themselves. And Wake’s frontcourt is heating up: Carson Desrosiers, Travis McKie and Nikita Mescheriakov have averaged 39.5 points the last two games on 59% shooting. If Maryland’s frontcourt keeps getting outplayed as badly as it has been, this could be an early upset.
Random stat: Terrell Stoglin, who made All-ACC second team, has had a rough go of it in the last month or so. Prior to Maryland’s game at Duke, he was averaging 22.2 points on 43.6% shooting (54.3% from inside the arc) in ACC play. In the final seven games, he shot 32% and 28.2% from inside the arc, but he still averaged 20 points.
Prediction: Maryland 71, Wake Forest 66
No. 5 NC State (20-11, 9-7) vs. No. 12 Boston College (9-21, 4-12), 2:00 PM, ESPNU/ACC Network
NC State needs to win this game and at least one more to earn an NCAA Tournament berth. The Wolfpack has a nice draw to do that – Boston College won’t help, but a win over Virginia would and certainly a potential matchup with No. 1 seed North Carolina would give them a chance at a huge win. But it starts with this game, and Steve Donahue’s Boston College team won’t just roll over.
Key to the game: NC State’s execution. Obviously, the Wolfpack are more talented than Boston College. But the Eagles haven’t shown any quit all year and have played NC State close once (at their place). It’s a good thing that State appears to have found its confidence again. It’s not good if that confidence is misplaced and they think they can coast through this game. Boston College has no postseason beyond the ACC Tournament and they will play that way.
Random stat: Scott Wood shot 4-of-28 from the floor (4-of-20 from three) in NC State’s four-game losing streak in ACC play. But in their last two games (both wins), Wood shot 10-of-23 from the floor and 8-of-17 from three.
Prediction: NC State 77, Boston College 62
No. 7 Clemson (16-14, 8-8) vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech (15-16, 4-12), 7:00 PM, ESPNU/ACC Network
Both of these teams continue to fight hard through disappointment, but Virginia Tech just seems to lack confidence right now and Clemson has gained quite a bit of it. The Tigers are playing very well and could be a dangerous team going forward for anyone in their bracket, should they advance.
Key to the game: Rebounding. In two previous matchups with Virginia Tech, Clemson – not traditionally a great offensive rebounding team – collected 42.9% of its misses. Clemson didn’t shoot very well in either matchup (a combined 6-of-30 from three) but got second-chance points. And Virginia Tech got its share in the first meeting, but failed to get many in the second (nine second-chance points on six offensive rebounds). The Tigers have a big size advantage and should use it.
Random stat: These two teams are the unluckiest in the ACC (per Ken Pomeroy) and only five teams are unluckier in the nation.
Prediction: Clemson 59, Virginia Tech 55
No. 6 Miami (18-11, 9-7) vs. No. 11 Georgia Tech (11-19, 4-12), 9:00 PM, ESPNU/ACC Network
If Miami wins, it sets them up for a rematch with Florida State and the potential to get a win that would likely seal an NCAA Tournament berth. If they don’t, the Hurricanes are almost certainly out.
Keys to the game: Get Malcolm Grant rolling. Miami’s senior sharp-shooter has shot just 28.9% from three-point range since returning from the death of his older brother just prior to conference play. In his first 12 games back, he shot 18-of-79 (22.8%) from three. In the last five, he has shot 15-of-35 (42.9%) from three and 8-of-15 in the last two. Miami desperately needs him to consistently make three’s – in their ACC wins, he has shot 22-of-66 compared to 11-of-42 in losses.
Georgia Tech’s improved frontcourt. Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey combined to score just eight points in their first meeting with Miami this year. But Miller has been in double figures in eight of his last nine games and Holsey in six of eight. The duo has averaged 23.7 points on 57% shooting in their last three games. When Miami has let opposing ACC frontcourts score 23 or more, they are 1-6.
Random stat: Playing in Philips Arena isn’t necessarily a home court advantage for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are 3-7 there this year (3-5 in ACC play) and have averaged just 54.1 points. But they have won their last two games there (against Maryland and Wake Forest), averaging 66 points after averaging 51.1 points in their first eight games at Philips.
Prediction: Miami 75, Georgia Tech 61
Last week: 9-3
Season: 132-47 (68-28 ACC)
*To save time, check out all of the ACC Tournament scenarios laid out in this graphic.
Clemson (16-13, 8-7) at No. 22 Florida State (20-9, 11-4), 12:00 PM, ESPN2/ESPN3
Florida State was locked into the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament prior to beating Virginia, but the Seminoles desperately needed that win after dropping three straight. A revenge win over Clemson, the only team to pound the Seminoles (by 20, in the ACC opener) in ACC play, would be huge for them as well. But Clemson has a lot of positive momentum, and the Tigers can be anywhere from a five to a seven-seed.
Key to the game: Florida State’s turnovers. The Seminoles have let that evil turnover bug bite them again, and they desperately need to exterminate it. Three of Florida State’s last four opponents have scored 20 or more points off of their turnovers (Virginia had 27) and Florida State has 18 in the last two games. The trouble is, Clemson is the best team in the league in forcing turnovers (ACC opponents average a 20.3% loss of ball) and FSU is already the most generous team in giving it back (19.1% loss of ball in league play).
Random stat: Florida State leads the series with Clemson 30-28 but since 2007, Clemson actually leads 7-4. Clemson has only won two of those games in Tallahassee, though, and is 2-3 at FSU since 2007 (but 5-1 at home).
Prediction: Florida State 64, Clemson 57
No. 24 Virginia (21-8, 8-7) at Maryland (16-13, 6-9), 2:00 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
Maryland and Florida State were the only teams locked into their seeds headed into this weekend (Maryland is an eight-seed). But the Terrapins are reeling right now, and their head coach Mark Turgeon is far too competitive to allow his young team to get complacent. Virginia could be anywhere from the fourth to the seventh seed, and the Cavaliers really need to have this one after a heartbreaking loss at the buzzer to FSU.
Key to the game: Foul trouble. Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon quipped that he needed to send Alex Len to the Tyler Zeller school of drawing fouls after his team’s loss to North Carolina. Well, most of his team seems to have already graduated with honors: Maryland is No. 1 in the league and fifth nationally in free-throw rate despite no real post threat. And the last thing Virginia can afford is foul trouble: not only is it the best/most efficient way for Maryland to score against their stingy defense, but it would also severely challenge the Cavaliers’ non-existent depth.
Random stat: Virginia has only allowed two teams to shoot above 50% this year: Duke and Florida State (on Thursday). Even with the high shooting percentage allowed, Virginia lost those two games by a combination of six points.
Prediction: Virginia 62, Maryland 56
NC State (19-11, 8-7) at Virginia Tech (15-15, 4-11), 6:00 PM, ESPNU
NC State could get anywhere from the fourth seed to the seventh seed depending on the outcome of this game: win, and it can’t fall below 6. This will be a very tricky game against a team that has been competitive all year. And the Hokies still have plenty to play for as well – big difference between being the 9 or the 10 seed.
Keys to the game: The three-point line. NC State has found road success in part because ACC opponents have shot 20.9% from three (compared to 42.3% at the RBC Center). In State’s road ACC wins, opponents have averaged just 2.5 made 3’s. Virginia Tech has shot 38.6% from three in home ACC games and 41.8% in home ACC wins. State will have to continue to defend the three-point line well as it’s the only well the Hokies can really get going.
The offensive glass. Good rebounding teams have basically been able to pound the offensive boards against Virginia Tech at will – the Hokies play good defense, but second-shot opportunities have hurt them. Still, they’ve given up just 22 second-chance points in their last four games combined after surrendering an average of 11.7. And State lives on second shots, collecting nearly 34% of their misses in league play and turning them into 12.1 points.
Random stat: A loss would give Virginia Tech just its second home losing season since joining the ACC and first since 2005-06. A win for NC State would give the Wolfpack five road wins in the ACC for the first time since 2004. From 2007-11 (Sidney Lowe’s tenure as head coach) NC State had seven total ACC road wins.
Prediction: NC State 69, Virginia Tech 65
Last week: 7-4
Season: 129-47 (65-28 ACC)
Boston College (8-17, 3-8) at Maryland (14-10, 4-6), 9:00 PM, ACC Network split/ESPN3
Maryland competed well for parts of the Duke game but were essentially blown out in the second half. With two games against Virginia, one at North Carolina and one home vs. Miami remaining, this game and at Georgia Tech are Maryland’s only likely wins left. The Terrapins aren’t exactly coming into this one on an emotional high: their 18-point loss Saturday was their biggest margin of defeat since November 20th (Iona). Boston College continues to compete hard no matter what, and the young Eagles played arguably their best road game in ACC play at Virginia Tech on Sunday. But beating an angry Maryland team on the road is probably too tall of an order. If Maryland takes them for granted, though, the Terps could be in trouble.
Stat to watch: Rebounding. Both of these teams are coming off of humiliating rebounding performances this weekend. Duke out-rebounded Maryland 48-33 and pulled down 44.7% of available offensive rebounds, turning those 24 boards into 21 points. Maryland had been getting more offensive rebounds until the last two games (it has averaged 7.0 in that span and opponents have a combined defensive rebounding percentage of 77.8%. Fortunately for Maryland, Boston College doesn’t get a lot of offensive rebounds anyway. Unfortunately for Maryland, Boston College is pretty good generally on the defensive glass (68.5% in conference play). But the Eagles allowed Virginia Tech to get 54.5% of available offensive rebounds, and the Hokies turned those 18 offensive boards into 22 second-chance points. Those were the most offensive rebounds and second chance points allowed this year by BC in regulation. In a close game, that can make all the difference. Maryland has the personnel to rebound much more effectively than BC, but it hasn’t always been about personnel for BC this year when it comes to how competitive they are. Maryland will have to give its best effort in all areas, but particularly on the boards.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Matt Humphrey, Boston College. Terrell Stoglin had a bad game at Duke with just 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting and was benched late in the second half. Immediately afterwards, he Tweeted, “Loved sittin that bench today. [Smh] wow [sic]”. The talented sophomore has often tried to carry the team on his back offensively and that sometimes leads to questionable shot selection, which is why he was benched in the first place. Kevin Cowherd of the Baltimore Sun provides great perspective on how challenging this has been for Maryland head coach Mark Turgeonand how well Turgeon has handled it. It will be important to see Stoglin and Turgeon clearly back on the same page in this game.
Matt Humphrey has tied his longest streak of double-digit scoring games in a row with five, and he has been the most consistent part of BC’s office in ACC play. But like Stoglin, he’s not always efficient and is averaging 41% shooting on 10 attempts per game in league play. He has cut down on his three-pointers and is hitting a higher percentage of them, both of which are good signs. If the talented transfer can play within the offense and continue to improve his floor game, as he has recently (3.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in the last three), BC will continue to improve offensively.
Random stat: Not exactly random – or a stat – but Maryland will honor Ernie Graham before the game by putting his jersey in the Comcast Center rafters. Per Maryland’s official website, Graham still holds the school record for points in a game (44 against N.C. State in 1978). He played for the Terps when that rivalry with N.C. State was particularly strong, so that’s quite an accomplishment. Graham is 13th on Maryland’s all-time scoring list and 16th in assists.
Prediction: Maryland 77, Boston College 66
Last week: 7-4
Season: 108-39 (44-20 ACC)
Maryland (14-9, 4-5) at Duke (20-4, 7-2), 4:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN3
Duke and Maryland are both coming off of emotional wins, although Duke’s was just a tad more high-profile. Maryland got its first road win of the year after eight straight road losses dating back to last season. Duke knocked off North Carolina on a buzzer-beater, and the Blue Devils’ jubilance – though obviously understandable – makes for an interesting emotional challenge with a Maryland team coming to town that will be eager to knock them off. Not that Duke would overlook the Terrapins, but the Blue Devils have lost two ACC home games in four tries this year and Maryland knows that Duke is still riding that emotional high from Wednesday night. The Blue Devils will have to maintain the focus and intensity they showed not only in the closing minutes in Chapel Hill, but also for much of the game at Maryland earlier this year as well.
Stat to watch: Two-point field goal percentage. Maryland’s Mark Turgeon has made no secret about what his game plan was the first time around, and he’ll likely stick to a similar version of it this time. “I’d rather (Mason) Plumlee score 22 than give up 15 3’s any day,” Turgeon said. “I thought that if we guarded that way (in the first meeting), we would win but we weren’t good enough offensively to win.” Against Maryland, Duke shot 62% from inside the arc which is their highest percentage in ACC play when attempting at least 30 two’s. Duke shot 50% from two against North Carolina, but attempted 26 shots which is tied for their fewest such attempts in ACC play. Duke drained 14-of-36 three’s against the Tar Heels – their most three’s attempted and made this year (the game before, their 31 attempts against Miami had been a season-high). But Duke isn’t just going to forget what their advantage is against Maryland, and it’s their inside game. Maryland held Duke’s guards to just 21 points on 8-of-27 shooting (1-of-12 from three) but allowed Duke’s bigs to score 44 points on 71% shooting.
Maryland is going to need to shoot better from inside the arc, though. The Terrapins made just 43.2% of their two’s against Duke. Maryland’s bigs shot 5-of-14 (36%), the lowest percentage Duke has allowed to an opposing ACC frontcourt this year. Duke has allowed five of its nine ACC opponents to shoot 50% or better from inside the arc and six to have 30 or more points in the paint, but Maryland did neither, shooting just 43.2% from two (the lowest allowed by Duke in league play) and scoring 28 points in the paint. Maryland is going to have to make those higher-percentage shots against Duke because while they have been shooting three’s better (8-of-11 at Clemson and 15-of-28 in their last two ACC wins combined) they shoot just 34% on the year and 35% in ACC play. Even against North Carolina’s lengthy inside presence, they had 36 points in the paint, their most in league play so far. They need to channel whatever it is that allowed them to do that against Duke.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Austin Rivers, Duke. This could be the matchup of the weekend, especially considering the games that each are coming off. Stoglin quietly had his most efficient game of the year to date with 27 points on just 11 shots, draining 4-of-6 three’s and nine of his 11 field goal attempts. He had to take 21 shots to get 20 points against North Carolina in the previous game and 26 shots for 33 points against Miami in the game before that. Stoglin was brilliant against Clemson, but it won’t be nearly as easy against Duke. Prior to his 16-point performance against Duke in the earlier meeting, Stoglin had a total of 11 points in three games against the Blue Devils on 4-of-24 shooting. He is still without a made three against Duke (0-of-11). He was just 2-of-7 from the foul line in the first meeting this year and he’ll have to be ready to knock those down. He has made 17-of-19 in the last three games and is shooting 75% on the year (73.3% in league play). It’s not always easy to hit them in Cameron, though.
Everyone with a TV knows that Rivers hit the game-winner for Duke against North Carolina, and he’s certainly riding as high as anyone. In the first half, he was going one-on-one a bit too much and taking some ill-advised shots (though some were going in). But he settled down in the second half and made perhaps the most important play of his – and Duke’s – season to date with a three-pointer as time expired. His ten three-pointers attempted were a season-high, but so were his six made three’s. He averages 10 shot attempts in Duke’s wins and 15 in their losses, and he had 16 against North Carolina in a near-loss. But more than at any other time this year, his 29 points off of those 16 shots (compared to 73 off 60 shots in Duke’s four losses) against North Carolina show that he is learning to be efficient, which is scary. He just can’t get over-exuberant and let his confidence spill over into making bad plays.
Random stat: Duke leads the all-time series 111-61 and while this used to be a matchup that would eventually rival Carolina and Duke, it hasn’t been all that competitive lately. Duke has won four in a row and 10 of the last 11 dating back to 2008. Maryland’s only win came in 2010 and it clinched the ACC regular-season crown for the Terrapins. Maryland’s last win at Cameron came in 2007, but the Terrapins have won four times there since 2000, second only to North Carolina (five times). Still, Duke has taken the last four meetings in Cameron by an average of 20.3 points. Maryland’s seven-
Prediction: Duke 88, Maryland 77
Last week: 10-2
Season: 103-36 (39-17 ACC)
North Carolina (19-3, 6-1) at Maryland (13-8, 3-4), 4:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN3
It’s hard to know what to make of Maryland’s double-overtime loss to Miami. The Terrapins never gave up, and their late comeback in regulation was impressive. But where was the Maryland team that fought so hard late in the game during the first 30-35 minutes? Still, Maryland fans will be up for North Carolina’s visit, if the Duke game was any indication. The Tar Heels arguably haven’t faced a crowd this raucous since Kentucky, which might be a good sign since that was Carolina’s best road performance this season. The Tar Heels struggled to make shots against an awful Wake Forest team on Wednesday night on the road and if they’re not able to make some in College Park – which has been a troublesome destination in recent years – they could be in trouble.
Stat to watch: Rebounding. Maryland is 12-1 this year and 3-0 in ACC play when they out-rebound or have the same number of rebounds as their opponents. The Terrapins are 1-7 on the year and 0-4 when being out-rebounded. Carolina is 16-0 when it out-rebounds opponents and 3-3 when it doesn’t. The Tar Heels are also 13-0 when pulling down more offensive rebounds than their opponents and 4-3 when they don’t. It’s not like it’s just that simple of a formula, but both teams are certainly more comfortable when they can retrieve their own missed shots. But Maryland is coming off of a struggle on the backboards at Miami on Wednesday: Maryland led the rebounding 21-18 at half and 37-35 after regulation, but Miami – with a four-guard line-up – out-rebounded them 8-5 in the two overtimes (3-2 on the offensive glass).
The Terrapins have retrieved nearly 73% of available defensive rebounds in ACC wins this season compared to 65.5% in ACC losses. In Carolina’s three losses, it has struggled mostly on the offensive boards. UNLV held Carolina to 24% on the offensive glass; the lowest offensive rebounding percentage Carolina has posted in ACC play is 33%, to put it in perspective. The Tar Heels also had a season-low six second-chance points against UNLV. They’ve hit double digits in second-chance points in 12 straight games. Maryland’s opponents have scored 10 or more second-chance points in eight straight games.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. Barnes might be questionable against Maryland, but he’ll likely play with a sprained ankle. And it’s a good thing, too: Maryland likely doesn’t have anyone capable of guarding Barnes effectively. For most of the year, when Barnes’ shot isn’t falling, he’s been able to contribute in other areas or attack the basket more. At Florida State, he had just five rebounds and contributed in no other area except fouls (three) and turnovers (five). But at Wake, his shot wasn’t falling (he was 4-of-12) and he hurt himself during the game, but he finished with seven rebounds (his most since the Texas game), two assists, a steal and a block. In the road game before that at Virginia Tech, Barnes pretty much decided he would take the game over and he did, scoring 27 points. He’s capable of doing that on Saturday, even if he’s not 100%. But it’s worth noting that in last year’s meeting with Maryland, Barnes had 21 points but took 23 shots to do it (making nine). He was just 3-of-10 from three, didn’t attempt a foul shot and had four fouls.
Last year against the Tar Heels, Terrell Stoglin had 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting (0-of-3 from three) in 32 minutes. This year, the sophomore is averaging 18 attempts per game in ACC play and ten three-point attempts, scoring 23.3 points per contest. Maryland doesn’t really have any other significant scoring options – certainly none as good as Stoglin – but there are times when the team can become overly reliant on him. And against Miami in the double-overtime loss, Stoglin took a season-high 26 shots and TWENTY three-pointers (he made nine field goals and six three’s). But even his 30% shooting from beyond the arc was better than the rest of his teammates combined (2-of-8). Still, Carolina will need to contain Stoglin: he’s accounted for over 38% of Maryland’s points in the last two games. Stoglin is more than capable of going off on the Tar Heels but what Carolina really has to guard against is getting into foul trouble trying to contain him. And Stoglin will have to be smart about when he involves his teammates and avoid forcing the issue.
Random stat(s): According to the Carolina game notes, the Tar Heels have won at Wake Forest and Maryland in the same season two times in the last 20 seasons. Obviously, some of that is due to conference expansion (lack of a round robin) but it includes 14 years of pre-expansion round robin scheduling, meaning they got to play at each venue every year. Plus, one of the times they did it – 2005-06 – was post-expansion. The other time was in the 2000-01 season. …. Maryland’s ACC opponents have made 81.6% of their foul shots against them. No other team has had a higher percentage of free throws made against them.
Prediction: North Carolina 77, Maryland 72
Last week: 12-0
Season: 96-31 (32-12 ACC)
Duke (16-3, 4-1) at Maryland (12-6, 2-2), 9:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN3
Poor Maryland. There’s nothing their fans would like more than to knock off Duke. It was unlikely before last Saturday; now, the Terrapins have almost no shot. They’re facing an angry Duke team coming off a close loss. Maryland hasn’t been blown out this year, especially at home (their biggest home loss was by nine to Illinois). If they can keep it close against Duke, it will be great for their confidence going forward in a ridiculous stretch that includes trips to Miami, Duke and at home against North Carolina in their next five. And if Duke manages to only squeak by another mediocre ACC team, there may be reason for further concern. But the Terrapins will be fired up on the night that the court is being named in honor of former head coach Gary Williams.
Stat to watch: Each team’s two-point percentage. Both teams have shot well from three at times, but this game will likely be decided by which team can get more easy baskets. Duke’s two-point offense (54%) is 18th nationally and Maryland’s two-point defense is 217th (allowing 49 percent). Maryland has done better in conference, allowing just 48.3%, but so has Duke (shooting 54.3%). But the Duke defense is dead last in two-point defense in conference, allowing 49.5% and Maryland’s two-point offense is 11th (41.4 percent).
Duke made just 15-of-40 two-pointers (37.5%) against Florida State, their lowest percentage since shooting 35.5% against Kansas, a game they won narrowly. They hadn’t shot below 48% from two since that game. Duke’s not getting as many easy baskets: they haven’t had more than eight fastbreak points since December 30th. Five of Maryland’s last seven opponents have shot 50% or better from inside the arc. But they did hold their last two ACC opponents to a combined 39-of-87 (45%) from two. Still, the Terps let Temple shred the nets for 54% from two (Duke allowed Temple to shoot 58% from two).
The Blue Devils are struggling to contain dribble penetration and are letting quick guards in particular get to the basket seemingly at will. It’s pretty simple for Duke: they’re 16-0 when allowing less than 50% shooting and 0-3 when allowing 50% or higher. In Duke’s three losses, opponents have shot 58% from two (they’ve allowed 46% in wins). Florida State shot 54% overall and 56% from inside the arc. Three of Duke’s ACC opponents have shot 50% or better from two.
Maryland had struggled from inside the arc to start ACC play but have shot 37-of-65 (57%) in the last two games. They managed 19-of-33 shooting (58%) from two against Florida State on the road. Duke had better be vigilant on defense; they can’t let the Terps gain confidence at home on what will already be an emotional night.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Mason Plumlee, Duke. Plumlee can’t score without someone getting him the basketball, and for him to take just four shots in an ACC home game seems unacceptable. He had four field goal attempts (making two) and attempted three foul shots (making three) against Florida State. His six points were his fewest since December 30th. Against Temple in Duke’s last non-conference game, he had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. In the five games since, he has 43 points (9.8 per game) on 16-of-29 shooting (5.8 attempts per game). After making just 2-of-10 foul shots against Virginia, he spent hours in the gym and has shot 10-of-13 (77%) in the three games since. Plumlee has been such a consistent force for much of the year and maybe he needs to work harder to get open, but he’s so efficient that it seems he needs to be more involved.
Terrell Stoglin has been spectacular this year, and he appears to have listened to head coach Mark Turgeon’s request that he get more assists (he’s averaged 2.7 in the last three games to go with 20.3 points in that span). The streaky sophomore has been on lately, shooting 14-of-30 (47%) in the last two games and 7-of-17 from three (47%). He’s also making 50% of his two-point attempts in ACC play and 54% in the last two games, which is a great sign for the Terps because Stoglin made just 43.7% of his attempts out of conference. Duke’s defense has struggled to stop dynamic guards like Stoglin. But Stoglin and Sammy Zeglinski should have a therapy session about dealing with the Duke defense: in three games against Duke last year, Stoglin shot 4-of-24 (16.7%) and 0-of-7 from three. He also has 11 assists and ten turnovers. If he does that again, Duke wins by 30.
Random stat: Since 2008, Duke’s overall record is 141-26 (54-15 in the ACC regular-season) and 26-18 (22-12 ACC) in road games. The Blue Devils take a lot of ribbing about not wanting to play true road games, not playing well on the road, etc. But looking at the last five seasons (including this one), road success hasn’t predicted postseason Tournament success. Their best road record in that span was 8-2 in 2008. Duke lost in the second round of both the ACC and NCAA Tournament. Their worst road record? Yep, the 2010 team (5-5). Even just looking at ACC road records, the 2009 team had the worst one (4-4) and they made the Sweet 16.
Prediction: Duke 85, Maryland 74
Last week: 7-5
Season: 79-31 (17-12 ACC)
Maryland (12-4, 2-1) at Florida State (11-6, 2-1), 9:00 PM, ESPNU
Logic would indicate that a newly-confident Florida State team coming off of a throttling of No. 3 North Carolina would similarly dispatch a Maryland team that is just mediocre. But ACC teams don’t follow logic. If FSU wants to build on that win and show they can be consistent (and a top-three ACC team) they need to win and win handily, particularly with a trip to Duke on Saturday coming up. Maryland had its best defensive game of the year in a win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, but it is entering a treacherous slate. The Terps travel to FSU and Temple, then host Duke and Virginia Tech. They won’t play a “bad” ACC team until hosting Boston College on February 16th. They have a chance to catch FSU in a letdown game.
Stat to watch: Turnovers. Maryland can’t force them, and Florida State can’t stop committing them. Florida State’s defense thrives on them, and Maryland’s offense doesn’t commit them. FSU’s opponents have outscored them in their six losses in points off turnovers, 95-67, despite FSU committing 101 turnovers and opponents committing 91. In FSU wins, FSU outscores opponents 215-160 off turnovers despite committing more (208) than their opponents (191). Ever since turning it over 26 times against Iona for a 30.2% loss of ball, Maryland has been much better. A big reason Maryland beat Georgia Tech was the Yellow Jackets had 16 turnovers, tied for the most by a Maryland opponent this year, but just five of those were Maryland steals. They need to capitalize on the FSU miscues that will inevitably happen. On the flip side, FSU will have to stay patient in their halfcourt defense if Maryland is taking care of the ball and force bad shots.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Michael Snaer, Florida State. If it’s possible for someone to have a quiet 17 points in a 33-point win over the No. 3 team in the country, Snaer did that on Saturday. He drove to the basket well, getting to the foul line eight times and hitting 4-of-6 two-pointers. He was the only Seminole cold from three-point range, seemingly (1-of-5). But he added five rebounds after having none in ACC play thus far to go with three assists (his most since November 30th). He has 10 or more points in ten of 16 games this year but his no-shows stick out, particularly when two have come in FSU losses.
(Side Note: I guess I could have picked Deividas Dulkys instead of Snaer, since he’s coming off of a 32-point performance. But he won’t crack 10 points tonight. Trust me.)
Since the loss at N.C. State, Stoglin has shot just 10-of-30 (5-of-16 from three) in the last two games. He’s getting to the line 6.8 times a game (5.0 in ACC play) but got there just three times against Georgia Tech. But after back-to-back games without an assist, he had two against Georgia Tech to go with a steal and five rebounds. HIs scoring has gone down steadily in league play as opposing defenses have improved, and the most comparable team defensively Maryland has faced to FSU is Alabama. He was 0-of-9 in that game (0-of-3 from three) and got all six of his points from the foul line. His 20.9 points are pretty much carrying Maryland’s offense at this point and if he can’t get going, FSU will win easily.
Random stat: After knocking off Duke or North Carolina (as a ranked opponent) since 2003, FSU is 2-4 in its next game. It’s been all over the map, too: in 2003, they went 0-2 after beating No. 5 Duke (losing to an NIT-bad Carolina team immediately after). In 2007, they beat No. 8 Duke in Cameron Indoor, then lost five straight. In 2006, they went 1-1 after beating No. 5 Duke, beating to Miami and losing to a bad Wake Forest team in the ACC Tournament. In 2009, after beating No. 1 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, they lost their next two games (to Duke in the semi’s and Wisconsin in the the NCAA Tournament). In 2011, they beat No. 1 Duke at home and then won three in a row. And their win over Duke was nearly as inexplicable in terms of how they had looked; the Seminoles were nine days removed from losing to an awful Auburn team and having lost three of the four games prior to Duke.
*The 2005 season was the weirdest. FSU finished 12-19 (4-12 ACC) but knocked off two pretty good ACC teams back-to-back: Wake Forest (which finished 5th) and N.C. State (finished unranked, but was ranked until January). After beating State on the road, FSU lost 10 straight and 11 of its final 12 games.
Prediction: Maryland 71, Florida State 65. Just because it makes no sense.
Last week: 6-5
Season: 71-26 (10-7 ACC)
Wake Forest (10-5, 1-0) at Maryland (10-4, 0-1), 7:00 PM, RSN/ESPN3
It’s hard to know what to make of Wake Forest’s surprising win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, particularly since the Hokies seem to have hit the skids. But the Deacons have two elite scorers and are capable of beating almost any ACC team if those two are on. Maryland seems to be getting better even after losing to N.C. State, but the Terrapins really need a third scorer to emerge for them (Alex Len will be an easy No. 2 behind Terrell Stoglin). Stoglin and Len accounted for half of Maryland’s scoring by themselves against N.C. State and 46% of it since Len’s return.
Stat to watch: Rebounding. Is Wake Forest now a good rebounding team? Or was its performance against Virginia Tech (42-31 edge in rebounding) an anomaly? “We have done every rebound drill imaginable known to mankind over the last several days, and we’ve done that all year long,” Wake head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “They had enough of getting their butts beat on the boards.” Maryland is out-rebounding opponents by +8.4 per game over the last eight; N.C. State out-rebounded them, but only by two. Maryland pulled down 13 offensive rebounds to 11 for N.C. State.
Most important players: Terrell Stoglin, Maryland and Travis McKie, Wake Forest. Stoglin leads the ACC and is sixth nationally in scoring for Maryland. The problem is that no one else is really stepping up to help him, and Stoglin doesn’t appear willing – or able – to involve others. “You look at the games Terrell has two or three assists, I guarantee you we probably won those games,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. He’s almost right: Maryland is 8-1 when Stoglin has two or more assists and 2-3 when he doesn’t. In two games against Wake last year, Stoglin averaged 3.5 points in 14.5 minutes, picking up three fouls in each game and making just 3-of-12 shots (0-of-5 three’s).
McKie and C.J. Harris have had to carry Wake Forest this year, and it’s gotten them some wins (Nebraska, High Point, Texas Tech) they might not have had otherwise. McKie had his worst shooting performance in nearly two months against Virginia Tech (43%) but it was his rebounding that saved the day. McKie had 15 boards, easily a season high, and his six offensive rebounds were more than he had averaged to that point (5.8). Wake will need him to keep rebounding that well the rest of the year. McKie has played two games against Maryland and averaged 11.5 points on 43% shooting. Wake will need more from McKie if it wants to win this one.
Random Stat: Maryland is 4-3 in ACC home openers since expansion. Maryland hasn’t started 2-0 in the league since expansion and has finished either 7-9 or 8-8 five of the last seven seasons. The Terrapins were 10-6 in 2007, though, winning their final seven ACC games. This team is capable of a run like that. Wake Forest is just 2-5 in road openers since expansion.
Prediction: Maryland 67, Wake Forest 64
Last week: 6-3 (4-2)
Season: 66-22 (5-3)
No. 5 Duke (12-2) at Georgia Tech (7-7), 12:00 PM, ESPNU
Overview: Duke is coming off of a 78-73 loss to Temple in Philadelphia. Georgia Tech ended the non-conference with three straight losses to Mercer, Fordham and Alabama (73-48). Duke has won three straight and 27 of the last 30 over Georgia Tech (11 of 13 on the road). Duke is 0-2 on the road but Georgia Tech is 0-2 at Phillips Arena and 5-2 in games played in Atlanta.
Stat to watch: Turnovers. Georgia Tech’s last three opponents (all of which beat them) have averaged 21 points off of 16.3 Georgia Tech turnovers; points off turnovers accounted for 30% of their points. Duke has averaged 16.8 points off of 14.7 turnovers forced. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, is forcing just 11.7 turnovers per game (15.5% loss of ball) and is scoring 12.0 ppg off of those turnovers. The Yellow Jackets haven’t had more than 20 points off turnovers all year and have averaged just 10.8 in their last 12 games. Duke has struggled with turnovers at times, averaging 13.7 per game (16.6% loss of ball, fifth in the ACC). But opponents have averaged just 11.9 points off of their turnovers and Temple had to score 21 off of 16 Duke turnovers to win.
Key players: Austin Rivers (Duke) and Glen Rice, Jr. (Georgia Tech). Both Rivers and Rice have this in common: no one on either team can guard them. But Rice has been awful of late, scoring single digits in three of his last five games (including none in a loss at Fordham) and averaging 2.5 points in the last two games on 2-of-10 shooting (1-of-6 from three). Rivers is coming off arguably his worst game against Temple. He had 12 points but he shot just 3-of-11 from the floor (a season worst 1-of-8 from two) and had two assists to three turnovers. Against Duke’s major conference opponents (plus Temple), Rivers has shot 38.6% and 44.9% in all other games. He’s going one-on-one too much and all his teammates tend to stand around and watch. Georgia Tech is terrible, but they are hard to score against. If Duke has issues in this game, it will be because there is more standing around and watching.
Prediction: Duke 79, Georgia Tech 60
Virginia Tech (11-3) at Wake Forest (9-5), 12:00 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
Overview: Virginia Tech has won six in a row, most recently at Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve. Wake Forest lost to Wofford on January 2nd without C.J. Harris, snapping a three-game win streak. Virginia Tech has won five straight and eight of the last ten against Wake since joining the ACC.
Stat to watch: Free-throw attempts. Each team has traditionally relied heavily on getting to the foul line. Wake is averaging 24.8 attempts and has scored over a quarter of their points from the charity stripe. The fewest free throws Wake has attempted 20 or more eight times and 30 or more three times. Virginia Tech’s opponents have attempted 18 foul shots per game. The Hokies are attempting 21 free throws a game and making 75 percent of them. In the last six games, they have shot 81% after shooting 71% in the first eight games. Wake’s opponents are attempting 19.1 free throws per game.
Key players: C.J. Harris (Wake) and Dorian Finney-Smith (Va. Tech).Harris sat out Wake’s loss to Wofford with a groin injury, but he is expected to play. And Wake needs him: even missing a game, he has a fourth of Wake’s points. Harris has struggled in three career games against Virginia Tech, averaging 9.7 points on 9-of-23 shooting. If he struggles again, Virginia Tech will win easily. And they may anyway. Finney-Smith is just the kind of piece that Virginia Tech’s offense needs. The willowy 6-7 forward has rebounded consistently; he has seven or more rebounds in 10 games and four double-digit efforts. He has struggled shooting (35% overall and 2-of-11 in the last two games), but Wake Forest shouldn’t put up much resistance defensively if he wants to get back in rhythm.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 83, Wake Forest 72
Boston College (5-9) at No. 3/4 North Carolina (13-2), 2:30 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
Overview: Boston College has lost two straight to Harvard (by 21) and Rhode Island (in double overtime). Of six Eagles averaging 20 or more minutes, five are freshmen. North Carolina rolled over cupcakes in four of its last five games and has won seven straight. The Tar Heels have won a record 26 straight in the Smith Center. Carolina freshman James Michael McAdoo sprained his left ankle in practice on Wednesday and is doubtful.
Stat to watch: Possessions. The only way the Eagles have any sort of a chance is to slow this game down. Last year, BC allowed Carolina its highest points per possession of the year (1.2 in a 106-74 win) and lowest (0.66 in a 48-46 Carolina win) in the same season. That’s because BC tried to play with Carolina in the first meeting (96 possessions) and set the game back decades with a snail-like pace in the rematch (67 possessions). It was the lowest-possession game for Carolina all season (73) and BC’s 67 were the fewest by an opponent.
Key players: Matt Humphrey, BC and Reggie Bullock, UNC. Humphrey is BC’s lone upperclassmen seeing significant playing time, and though he’s now coming off the bench, he’s the Eagles’ most potent offensive threat. Bullock made 6-of-9 shots (4-of-7 3’s) in Carolina’s blowout win at BC last year and just 1-of-4 shots (0-of-1 3’s) in the narrow win at home. This year, he’s averaging 9.3 points and shooting 41% from three (and 66% from two).
Prediction: North Carolina 86, Boston College 55
Florida State (9-5) at Clemson (8-6), 4:00 PM, ESPN2
Overview: Florida State stumbled down the stretch of its non-conference schedule, getting blown out at Florida and losing at home to Princeton in triple overtime. Clemson edged East Tennessee State on New Years’ Day, but went 1-2 in the Diamond Head Classic over Christmas with losses to UTEP and Hawaii. FSU is 0-2 o the road (at Florida and Michigan State) but Clemson is 4-3 at home with losses to College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and South Carolina.
Stat to watch: Each team’s turnovers. Both teams have struggled with hanging onto the ball: Clemson is 9th in loss of ball (17.4%) while FSU is 12th (21.6%). Their defenses both thrive on forcing turnovers as FSU is 2nd with 19.9% loss of ball forced and Clemson is 3rd (19.3%). Florida State thrives on those turnovers (16.9 per game forced), converting them into 17.4 points. Clemson’s opponents have managed just 11.3 points off of 13.1 Clemson turnovers per game. But Clemson hasn’t capitalized on turnovers, either: the Tigers have managed 12.4 points per game on 14.1 forced.
Key players: Michael Snaer (Florida State) and Andre Young (Clemson). Snaer’s last two games have reminded everyone why the junior was so highly regarded out of high school: he has averaged 20.5 points on 13-of-25 shooting. He’s been consistent scoring-wise this year with 13.6 points per game and hitting double figures in 11 of 14 games. But for FSU to be a top-three team in the league, he has to become unstoppable. And he’s capable. Andre Young of Clemson is likely exhausted from carrying Clemson offensively this year. And for the Tigers to have a chance, he’ll have to do it again: Clemson has won three of the last four meetings and Young has averaged 12.8 points and hit 11-of-30 three’s in those four games.
Prediction: Florida State 64, Clemson 57
Miami (9-4) at No. 21/23 Virginia (13-1), 6:00 PM, ESPNU
Overview: Virginia has won 11 in a row (its longest winning streak since 1992-93) and is 13-1 for the first time since 1981-82. Miami has won four in a row, all four since the return of center Reggie Johnson from a foot injury. These Miami-Virginia games always seem to be close, and this one will be no exception.
Stat to watch: Miami’s three-point percentage. Virginia allows just 26.8% from three, 2nd in the ACC and 8th nationally. Miami has made 39% of its three-pointers, 2nd in the league and 27th nationally. Michigan is the best three-point shooting team Virginia has faced (37.3%) while the best three-point defense Miami has faced is No. 39 Massachusetts (29.5%). Virginia allowed Michigan to shoot 10-of-22 from three (a season-high) and Miami shot 8-of-17 (47.1%) against Massachusetts.
Key players: Mike Scott (Virginia) and Kenny Kadji (Miami). Scott has been on a tear, averaging 16 points on 62% shooting to go with 9.0 rebounds. But he hasn’t faced the kind of big men he will see on Saturday. Kenny Kadji has given opposing big men problems on both ends, and he could do that again: the junior transfer is averaging 18 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks the last four games. Scott didn’t play in the two losses to Miami last year, but he was 0-of-7 in a loss at Miami in 2010.
Prediction: Virginia 65, Miami 62
Maryland (10-3) at NC State (11-4), 6:00 PM, ESPNU
Overview: Maryland has won seven straight games (albeit some squeakers) against bad teams. N.C. State has won five in a row since losing to Syracuse by an average of 19.6 ppg. Maryland has won nine straight against N.C. State; the Wolfpack’s last win was February 7, 2006. Maryland leads the all-time series, 76-72.
Stat to watch: Defense: Will there be any? N.C. State and Maryland are 11th and 12th respectively in points per possession allowed and loss of ball percentage forced. N.C. State allows 41.7% shooting (38% from three) and 69 points a game. Maryland has allowed 43% shooting (32% from three) and 68.1 points per game.
Key players: Terrell Stoglin (Maryland) and Richard Howell (N.C. State).Stoglin carried Maryland in its stretch without Alex Len and Pe’Shon Howard, scoring nearly a third of their points. He’s been just as good since, averaging 20 in the last three games and 21.2 on the season on 43% shooting. Stoglin tore up the Wolfpack in College Park last year with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting to go with nine assists and one turnover. He had just nine points in the ACC Tournament rematch. Howell has really come on for N.C. State, averaging 13.8 points and 13.8 rebounds in State’s last four games on 57% shooting. Besides Len, Maryland doesn’t have a big man that can guard Howell one-on-one and Len likely isn’t ready for that, either.
Prediction: NC State 82, Maryland 73
Last week: 6-3