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Three things to watch: Hayes, Scott and free throw attempts

Later tonight the Maryland men's basketball team will return to action against Virginia in a game that was supposed to take place last Wednesday. Both teams are in need of a pick-me-up. The Terrapins would love to get the taste of Saturday's 21-point loss at Duke out of their mouths. The Cavaliers also are coming off a tough road loss. And both teams have to play again Wednesday night. Here are a few things to keep track of during tonight's game:

1) Eric Hayes. Virginia defends decently enough against the three-point shot in half-court sets (30.8 percent allowed from beyond the arc in ACC play; No. 6 in the conference), but the Cavaliers struggle to do so in their transition defense. Hayes -- the ACC's top three-point shooter -- and the Terrapins are well suited to exploit such a weakness. Maryland is adept at forcing turnovers, and if the Terrapins can get Hayes some quick looks from beyond the arc before Virginia's defense has a chance to get set, he'll likely knock a good number of those shots down.

2) Mike Scott. As Virginia discovered yet again Saturday night at Virginia Tech, having more than two capable, consistent scorers can come in handy during conference play. Rather, the Cavaliers discovered that not having more than two capable, consistent scoring options can be quite a hindrance during the ACC slate. As it stands now, Scott, a 6-foot-8, 239-lb. forward, is Virginia's second scoring option (13.2 ppg in conference play) behind guard Sylven Landesberg. Whether Maryland elects to have Jordan Williams or Landon Milbourne defend Scott, shutting him down could be key for the Terrapins. As talented as Landesberg is (20.0 ppg in ACC play), he likely will not be good enough to defeat Maryland if the scoring burden is placed nearly entirely on his shoulders. If Williams/Milbourne/Dino Gregory can limit Scott's offensive production, Landesberg will be placed in such a predicament.

3) Free throw attempts. Maryland made exactly zero free throw attempts in the first half of Saturday's loss at Duke. Coach Gary Williams attributed that to a lack of aggressiveness on his team's part, something that improved a bit in the second half. The Terrapins have a group of guards who are skilled at driving into the lane and either A) getting off a decent shot, B) kicking out to an open man on the perimeter or C) drawing a foul/trip to the charity stripe. They just have to actually do it. In regards to the previous point, one way to limit Scott would be to get him in early foul trouble. When it runs the pack-line defense correctly, Virginia makes dribble penetration difficult, but the Terrapins guards typically are capable enough ball-handlers and passers that they should be able to navigate their way successfully through a clogged lane.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 15, 2010; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Vasquez sparks Maryland to 85-66 win over Virginia

Comments

Anybody out there will the maryland game be on tv tonight and if so where?

Posted by: disgustednatsfan | February 15, 2010 1:02 PM
=======================

It'll be on here http://www.atdhe.net/index.html

Just scroll down till you see the VA/MD link.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 15, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Though I'll be there, I still find it annoying that they moved this game off of tv. My dad's a big MD fan and can't watch because he has satellite internet (lives in the mountains), which isn't fast enough to watch espn360.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 15, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Really, it sucks that Maryland is not on TV for this game and especially a MD-VA game with lots of local interest. I recalled days (Albert King, Buck Williams, Greg Manning era) when every MD game was shown. Shame on the local stations for not picking this game up after it was rescheduled.

Posted by: GtownG | February 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

GtownG -

You raise a great point - back in the 70s EVERY MD game was on local TV...but the Bullets were typically not on live, but were on tape delay. Which is why MD is more important to me than the Wiz will ever be. You could not get tix to any of the ACC games, but my dad and I bought walk-up tix for the NBA finals in 74, 78 and 79.

They have to win this game and do it early. Too many conf. games in too short a period. Seriously, they need to get to their depth in the first half. That will require execution at the onset which we saw during their recent winning streak. I suspect Duke was an aberration and not the start of a trend. Expecting it not to be close, with Bowie, Tucker hitting double figs and Gregory, Padgett getting significant minutes.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I really despise the Wahoos....(kidding about the mentioning, not about the despising of the Wahoos).

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 15, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

larry -

Thanks for the clear explanation regarding Duke players and the folks that hate them. As I have gotten older, I find it harder to hate or despise individual college players as they are kids. Maybe because I was a lot younger when Laettner played that he in particular got to me. And the fact that no one deserved to be on the dream team less than him (11 hall of famers and, oh yeah, Laettner...thats right, Coach K's decision). That said, I dislike certain pro players more and really do not follow the pro game except for highlights on ESPN. Now I did hate on Danny Ainge back in the 1980s, but always respected Bird, McHale, Walton and even Wedman (there was NO excuse for Fred Roberts). Ainge definitely had game but the faces he made make Scheyer look almost normal. And he was always whining. And he almost killed Rambis with a closeline. So the list of pro players I despise is pretty extensive but in terms of college - only Laettner. go figure.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 15, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

And to be fair, I really disliked DJ (although not Parrish, ML Carr or any other Celtic) but that was more due to the 1980 NBA finals than his Celtic years - Sikma was the sword but DJ was the dagger.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 15, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

disgustednatsfan is a better handle than hgr. Not a Nats fan, but props for the handle.

Posted by: HughGRection | February 15, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Nice win all around. Duke game now an aberration. Thanks Poopy - atdhe worked great! Nice to deliver a spanking to the Wahoos.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 15, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

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