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Three things to watch

In a few hours, Maryland will take on Wake Forest in the Terrapins' first ACC road game of the season. The Demon Deacons are coming off a close loss at Miami on Saturday, while Maryland defeated Florida State by nine on Sunday. Much has been made of the quick turnaround the Terrapins have had to endure, but as Coach Gary Williams said, there will be no excuses -- including fatigue -- once tip-off rolls around tonight at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. With that in mind, here are a few developments to keep track of during tonight's game:

1) Ismael Smith. Maryland has struggled at times this season defending smaller, quicker guards, and Smith (6 feet, 175 pounds) certainly qualifies as such. Williams raved about Smith's quickness yesterday, and keeping Wake Forest's point guard in front of them will be the Terrapins perimeter defenders' primary task. Smith is averaging 12.8 points per game and owns a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's the Demon Deacons' motor. If Maryland can pressure Smith and wear him down, the rest of the Wake Forest offense may falter, as Smith is one of the Demon Deacons' few capable ballhandlers. Also, if the Terrapins are in a position where they need to foul someone late in the game, sending Smith to the charity stripe wouldn't be the worst option. Smith is shooting 43.9 percent from the free throw line this season.

2) Offensive rebounding. Using a group effort, Maryland surprisingly won the rebounding battle Sunday against a much taller Florida State squad. The Terrapins will need to have the same collective approach to the boards again tonight if they hope to rebound well against a Wake Forest bunch that owns a fair share of front-court length of its own. Despite its size, however, Wake Forest has struggled at times with focus when it comes to rebounding. The Demon Deacons failed to block out on many occasions Saturday, which played a role in Wake Forest losing a one-point game at Miami. If player such as Landon Milbourne, Jordan Williams, Dino Gregory and James Padgett out-hustle the Demon Deacons' big men -- and if they get some rebounding help from Sean Mosley and Greivis Vasquez -- the Terrapins could come away with another surprising victory in the rebounding battle.

3) Eric Hayes. The senior guard needs just seven points to reach 1,000 for his career. Hayes would become the 48th player in program history to attain such a mark. He also would become the 25th player to score 1,000 career points under the Maryland coaching tenure of Gary Williams.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 12, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Greetings from Joel Coliseum


Tough game, no doubt. We'll find out something about the Terps.

Posted by: agl132 | January 12, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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