Three things to watch: Second chance points, turnovers, Hayes
Later tonight, Maryland will take on Georgia Tech in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament. The Terrapins have won seven straight games and should be a bit refreshed after ending the regular season with an emotionally draining stretch of games. The Yellow Jackets, meantime, are looking for some revenge after the way the last encounter between these two teams ended. On Feb. 20 at Comcast Center, Cliff Tucker drained a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer. With all that in mind, here are a few things to keep track of during tonight's contest:
1) Second chance points. Frontcourt play will be critical for both teams tonight, which team has more success on the offensive glass might go a long way toward deciding which team will come away victorious. Georgia Tech freshman forward Derrick Favors pulled down nine offensive rebounds against Maryland on Feb. 20, and he was a force on the offensive glass Thursday night against North Carolina, as well. But Maryland will counter with its own freshman forward, Jordan Williams, whose ability to rebound no matter the opposition has remained consistent all season. You can expect to see solid performances from both of those players. For Maryland, the critical factor might be how much production they get out of senior forward Landon Milbourne, who has struggled of late. The Terrapins would do well to try to limit Georgia Tech's second chance opportunities as much as possible. Easier said than done against the Yellow Jackets.
2) Turnovers. Georgia Tech can be turnover-prone, something the Tar Heels took advantage of while building a first-half lead Thursday night. Maryland is well equipped to put pressure on the Yellow Jackets' ball handlers and create abundant transition scoring opportunities. Georgia Tech does not always get back on transition defense with much urgency, which is something Maryland would be wise to take advantage of.
3) Eric Hayes. Certainly, Greivis Vasquez's performance will be critical tonight against Georgia Tech, and that makes Hayes's showing all the more vital. If Hayes can be assertive with the ball and score some points early (either in the lane or on the perimeter), that will take away Georgia Tech's ability to focus solely on shutting down Vasquez, which -- if the Yellow Jackets' postgame comments Thursday night were any indication -- will be its primary defensive task. Hayes, the team's best pure shooter, can do a lot for Vasquez's game by finding his own rhythm at the outset.
March 12, 2010; 2:02 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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