Three things to watch: press defense, Milbourne, Young
In a few hours, Maryland will take on Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum in a match-up that holds significant meaning for both squads. For the Terrapins, it marks an opportunity to gain a quality road conference win against an opponent that was ranked not too long ago. And for the Tigers, it marks a chance to snap a three-game losing streak. Here are a few things to keep track of during tonight's contest:
1) Handling the press. This will be important for both squads, as Maryland and Clemson frequenty employ press defenses. The Tigers have not shot the ball well of late, which means they'll be relying even more on their press defense to create easy transition buckets in the absence of efficient half-court offense execution. On Saturday, Maryland Coach Gary Williams discussed Clemson's press and how the Terrapins will try to react to it.
"One of the things you get out of pressure, without stealing the ball, is you take the other team out of their offense," Williams said. "They come down, they have a decent shot, they take that shot before you really set up in any type of an offense, so if you miss you're probably not going to get the rebound. That's what pressure does; it forces you to play quick and take shots you don't normally take. What we try to do against pressure is to make sure we take the ball to the basket. If we miss, we take the ball to the basket first and then we might kick it out, but you can't just come down and settle against pressure for that first open jump shot, because that's where you get burned quite a bit of the time. That's always the battle with pressure."
2) Landon Milbourne. The junior forward likely will be assigned to guard Clemson forward Trevor Booker, the Tigers' top scoring and rebounding threat. Booker has established himself as one of the elite frontcourt players in the conference during his career, though the Terrapins already have come across -- and done well to limit the effectiveness of -- several talented ACC big men. What makes guarding Booker different, Williams said, was that he can be efficient on the perimeter as well as in the post. Milbourne's athleticism and his own perimeter skills should make him a good match-up for Booker, who has been battling the flu in recent days but is expected to play tonight.
3) Andre Young. According to the Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail, Clemson junior point guard Demontez Stitt is doubtful for Sunday's contest against Maryland. Stitt, who is dealing with a left foot sprain suffered two weeks ago at N.C. State, had been hopeful earlier in the week of returning against Maryland, but it appears his foot is not where it needs to be in order for him to be as effective as the Tigers desire. Clemson Coach Oliver Purnell told the Independent Mail before the team's practice Saturday that the Tigers would be "lucky" to get 10-15 minutes out of Stitt tonight against the Terrapins. With Stitt -- the team's primary offensive facilitator and a quality perimeter defender -- likely to miss tonight's game, backup guard Andre Young will run the point for the Tigers. He tallied seven points, five assists and four turnovers while starting in place of Stitt on Tuesday against Boston College.
January 31, 2010; 12:06 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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