Three Questions on Terps-Bears
In less than two hours, the Terrapins will tip off against California in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Both squads see similarities between the two, which should make for an interesting matchup. Here are the three questions I think will be critical to determining today's outcome:
1) Will the Terrapins remain patient on offense? Cal does not press. The Golden Bears simply don't think its worth the risk. They don't collect a lot of steals, and they don't record too many blocks, either. Cal prefers to play a straight-up man-to-man defense that will wait until opposing players make mistakes -- take a shot off a bad look, bait a bad pass, etc. If Maryland's flex cuts are crisp and its shots are falling, the Terrapins could be in pretty good shape. If the Terrapins get sped up and begin to rush through their sets, they could find it to be a long, frustrating afternoon.
2) How effective will Maryland's 3-2 zone defense be? The Golden Bears shoot the ball well from beyond the arc. Really, really well. Opposing teams have tried to run zone schemes against Cal several times this season and only a select few have been successful. From talking to the players yesterday, I got the sense that Maryland at least will trot out the zone defense at some point today. How long it remains in effect is another matter.
3) Which Landon Milbourne will show up? There are games when Milbourne engages in the action early on. Those are the games in which he typically ends up with double-digit points and nearly double-digit rebounds. But if Milbourne doesn't get involved from the start, he struggles to get into the flow. Cal does not have much in the way of conventional interior players, and the opportunity for Milbourne to have a standout performance appears ample. Much of Cal's attention will be centered on stopping Greivis Vasquez, which means a big offensive night from Milbourne could be a twofold benefit for the Terrapins.
What other factors do you think will play major roles in today's game?
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