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Three things to watch: Rebounding, pressure D and guard play

There are many story lines surrounding tonight's matchup between No. 22 Maryland and No. 4 Duke, most of which have been discussed previously on this blog. Most importantly, perhaps, is that with a win, the Terrapins can keep alive their hopes of claiming a regular season ACC championship. Here, then, are a few things to keep track of during Wednesday night's contest at Comcast Center:

1) Rebounding. The Blue Devils are one of the top rebounding units in the conference this season. Statistically speaking, they are the ACC's top rebounding unit. That, obviously, could pose some problems for a relatively undersize Maryland squad that possesses one consistent rebounder, freshman forward Jordan Williams. It will be vital to the Terrapins' efforts tonight that guys like Landon Milbourne, Dino Gregory and Sean Mosley crash the boards. Maryland will need a collective push to match the rebounding of Duke's Brian Zoubek and Kyle Singler, who rank among the ACC's top rebounders. If Duke gains a serious edge in second-chance points -- as they did during a 21-point win over Maryland in Durham on Feb. 13 -- Maryland likely will have a difficult time overcoming that and keeping up on the scoreboard.

2) Pressure defense. Duke pressured Maryland frequently the last time these two teams met, and that disrupted the Terrapins' offensive execution by forcing them to rush many of their shots. Maryland must do a better job of handling that pressure this time around. Also, as another ACC coach suggested, it wouldn't be a bad idea for Maryland to pressure Duke for long stretches. The purpose would not necessarily be to force turnovers -- the Blue Devils average the second fewest turnovers per game in the ACC in conference play. Rather, it would be to take some time off the shot clock and not have to defend Duke as long in half-court defensive sets.

3) Guard play. Earlier today, we discussed the star attractions of tonight's game -- senior guards Greivis Vasquez and Jon Scheyer. But the rest of the guards on both squads will play significant factors in tonight's outcome, as well. Eric Hayes is one of the ACC's top three-point shooters. If he can be assertive in his shot selection and get into a rhythm early, that could create some offensive momentum for the Terrapins, something they seldom found down in Durham. Sean Mosley has undergone an offensive resurgence of late. If he can continue on that path and provide Maryland a third scoring option, that would help spread out Duke's defense. As for the Blue Devils, their other two guards -- Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler -- each rank in the top six in the ACC in scoring and in minutes played.

By Steve Yanda  |  March 3, 2010; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Maryland knocks off Duke, 79-72

Comments

I feel a strong senior night for EH in the air.

And in this atmosphere JW wants to take another noteworthy step forward in his execution, no question. He's been working his tail off to get ready for this day ever since he was spotted at last year's game.

Posted by: jake177 | March 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

We can parse GW's statement until we are blue in the face, but it would have been nice to hear something like this: "It's been a bit of a struggle in the past 6 years as far as our performance in the NCAA Tournament goes. We did miss it three times and we have not made a regional. We need to do better and this year is hopefully a step in the right direction. While we have won the third most games in the ACC during those same years and that's not bad, I would like us to be right there with UNC and Duke as elite program, among the top 5-10 in the country and I don't mind that many of our fans feel the same way."

Posted by: petecard | March 3, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Petecard,

You are absolutely correct. It would be great to hear that from GW. While I have mostly been a supporter of GW, he comes off as thin-skinned and defensive on a regular basis.

ESPN has sent their A-team (Bilas and Erin Andrews)to Comcast instead of covering the Kansas-Kansas St game (two top-10 teams).

Posted by: larry31 | March 3, 2010 4:32 PM
---------------

Pete and Larry, I agree 110% with both of you here and what you each have echoed is what I was trying to get at.

Also, hopefully us UMD fans stay classy with Erin Andrews in the house.

In terms of the 3 things to watch they all pretty much go back to what I always harp on; rebounding, particularly limiting the opposing teams offensive rebounds and turnovers, which are directly related to both pressure defense and guard play.

Hopefully we'll keep both of those in check tonight and there'll be some couch burning down on frat row.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Poop,

The Vegas line is Duke by 5. I like the Terps with this bet. Duke by 5? No way. Not tonight.

Posted by: larry31 | March 3, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Rebounding Rebounding Rebounding...

When duke puts up any outside shots, the terps need to stay in front of their man and the basket. Duke is so good at moving around while the ball is in the air and getting in great position for 2nd chance put-backs. It might mean the Terps have to slow it down and not get into a transition game after a missed shot, but "smart" possesions are critical against Duke.

Here we go merilyn, HERE WE GO!!!

Posted by: boricuabopper | March 3, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Larry, I better step on the gas than if I'm gonna make it to Vegas in 2 hours.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Poop,

Hope you make it and win big.

I am off to CP to watch the game and burn a couch! It's late. Hopefully, I can still get into Bentley's.

Posted by: larry31 | March 3, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

His dunk in the second half notwithstanding, I can't understand Milbourne's appeal to Gary. I've found him overrated throughout his entire Maryland career. He typically plays well against the early-season competition, but disappears against better teams in big-game situations.

Posted by: CDon | March 3, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

So it was great to meet jpfterp and Barno at Bentleys this evening. Barno and jpf treated on the condition that I get another TV. Both are great guys. And the weird thing is, Barno is clearly visible on TV. Wish more of you could have come out, but Bentley's was a madhouse by 6:30 or so.

Now I thought that MD was going to deliver a serious butt-kicking to Duke (and was wrong...whatever happened to Russtinator's analyses which were always on point??), and in the end they pulled away, with GV hitting a wtf shot to seal it. How about JW delivering on FTs tonight? And AB going 4-4 and playing a tough, smart game? Team played very well tonight with GV coming on strong at crunch time to put it away.

Highlight - GV's "I can't hear you" which will be replayed again and again as the crowd was going crazy. Scheyer did set an ACC-record for most weird faces (seriously, I think his face gets weirder during away games)...in just about every shot.

Additionally, losing to UVA would offset this great set of wins the team has assembled this season. The Wahoos must be defeated for regular season to be an absolute success. And I really dislike their pompous suit-to-football-game-wearing student base.

I think we will all be b*tching in unison if GV does not get POY. He earned it. No doubt he has earned it. Unless they lose to UVA...which they won't. Closer than I thought, but the win we expected. A few weeks ago, we started discussing POY (and COY). It will be a travesty if GV does not get it. Well-earned, well-deserved, and one fun season to be a Terps fan.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | March 3, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Great win!!! Too close though. Among the highlights, AB off the bench, SM back in the offense, EH hitting inside the lane,JW's free throws at the end. Not one of GV's best, though he came through with that clutch shot near the end, plus the free throws.

CDon, you have to keep in mind that Milbourne is playing out of position, usually against bigger opponents.

There were a couple of Duke "flops" where they faked being fouled. (Search YouTube if you aren't familiar with with this "technique.") Also, I wish ACC refs would call the moving picks, although most Duke screens were good.

Posted by: booger1 | March 3, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Great win for GV and the other seniors. On to VA and the ACC tourney!

Posted by: restonhoops | March 4, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Burn it down CP!!!!

Posted by: scottmando | March 4, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Great win!!! Tomorrow, food will taste better, the air will smell cleaner, all will be right with the world!

Let's go rough up UVA!!!

Posted by: PeteinAZ | March 4, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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