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Three things to watch

For the Terrapins, there are several potential benefits to today's match-up against UNC-Greensboro at Greensboro Coliseum. Most obviously, they can earn a win in their final game before the start of ACC play, which would give them a boost of momentum after falling to William & Mary last week. Maryland also can show development in several lingering problem areas against a Spartans squad (2-10) that already has lost to five other ACC teams by at least 13 points.

And, of course, today's game at Greensboro Coliseum will give the Terrapins an opportunity to get a feel for the locale at which this season's ACC tournament will be held in March. With all those things in mind, here are a few things to keep track when Maryland takes on UNC-Greensboro:

1) Offensive balance. Expect UNC-Greensboro to employ a defensive scheme similar to the one Maryland faced last week against William & Mary. The Terrapins reacted to the Tribe's 2-3 zone by launching 25 shots from beyond the arc. While most of those were open looks, Maryland made only four of them, and Coach Gary Williams acknowledged afterward that better patience and more inside looks were needed against such a defensive approach. Look to see if Maryland tries to find more close- to mid-range shots early on against the Spartans.

2) Bench production. The Terrapins' reserves have tallied a combined six points in the past two games, and while the team's starters will need more support than that during ACC play, Williams noted that the way he handles Maryland's backups might need some alteration as well.

"Yes, we have to have a bench," he said. "In other words, we have to get scoring off the bench, and we have to get rebounding off the bench. We have to get the ability to run the offense off the bench, and I think we have the people to do it. Just like all of us, coaches, players, you step up in this situation. That’s where you prove you’re good or you’re not good, if you can step up in this situation. We feel we will. We fill we will go out there and our bench will play well tomorrow. We’ll all do a good job, and that’s what it takes. It’s a team thing.

"Sometimes, you know, as a coach, if a starter makes a mistake and a guy coming off the bench makes a mistake, they should be the same thing, but it’s not sometimes. You want to get that first team guy back in there, and that’s not good for me. I mean, I have to do a good job of that, because Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory obviously can give us some things, and if they make a mistake, that’s no worse than if one of the starters made a mistake. We have to be tough with that."

3) Defensive energy (from the start). The Terrapins were dismayed with their lack of emotion during Wednesday's loss, and they said many of the defensive lapses that occured during that game were a result of said lack of emotion. Can Maryland fix its perimeter defense, as well as its ability to guard opponents off the dribble and provide smart help defense, simply by playing with more intensity on that end of the court? At least one player believes so.

"I think it just has everything to do with effort," senior forward Landon Milbourne said Saturday. "I think if you just give the maximum amount of effort, you can eliminate a lot of things on the basketball court. I just don’t think the effort was there that night, which was why they got a lot of easy baskets. We’re definitely quick enough and aware enough to guard back-door cuts and things like that, so I think if we just give the maximum amount of effort we can eliminate a lot of that stuff."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 3, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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