More Matchup Chatter
Before the Terps left town on Tuesday, several reporters got the opportunity to speak with senior forward Dave Neal, who acknowledged that Maryland's first round game in the Old Spice Classic certainly will be a challenge. Michigan State is ranked No. 5 in the nation, and some observers believe the Spartans are Final Four material.
However, Neal said there are certain areas in which Maryland will hold an advantage over Michigan State. Primarily, Neal said, the size advantage in the backcourt that the Terps will hold over the Spartans could be key.
"They’re pretty short at the point guard and shooting guard, so with Eric being 6-foot-4 and Greivis being 6-foot-6, I think posting them up down low will be a real advantage for us," Neal said. "I think our guards can take advantage of their guards. They’re quick, but they’re not as big as our guards."
Indeed, Michigan State's staring backcourt consists of Kalin Lucas (6-foot-0), Chris Allen (6-foot-3) and Travis Walton (6-foot-2). Which means that in addition to Hayes and Vasquez, Maryland also will have a size advantage with whichever one of Michigan State's guards they decide to matchup Cliff Tucker (6-foot-6) against.
One interesting matchup will be 6-foot-8 Raymar Morgan against 6-foot-7 Landon Milbourne. Both will play the power forward position, and it will be in the post where Morgan's extra bulk (225 lbs. to Milbourne's 207 lbs.) may come in handy. Milbourne has the athleticism to match Morgan, but whether or not he can keep Morgan in check for 40 minutes may turn out to be a deciding factor in the game.
"They crash the boards extremely hard; rebounding’s going to be key for us this game," Neal said. "We’re going to have to keep their big men off there. Their four-man (Morgan) is real good. But, I mean, they’re beatable. They’re a great team, have got a great coach, but if we go out there and execute our plays and rebound and play strong, I think we’ve got a chance to beat ‘em."
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