Previewing Virginia - The Quest for .500 Continues


MUSTAPHA! Or FarraKHAAAAAAAAAN. Your choice. Image from virginiasports.com.

After a little bit of a layoff, Maryland continues their disappointing ACC season with a game at Virginia tonight at 7. After losing three of four, the Terps were able to rebound with a two-point win against Clemson at home, and this game against the Cavaliers is a pretty good chance to get to 3-3 in conference. Things don’t get any easier after tonight, however, as Maryland faces a hot Georgia Tech team on the road on Sunday and then comes the Duke game. For now, let’s look at Virginia.

The Cavaliers are 11-8 this year with a 2-3 record in conference, and just ended a three-game losing streak. Remember that Seattle team that we beat by 29 to start out the season? Virginia lost to them at home, 59-53.

UVA is without Mike Scott, the senior forward who was averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds before succumbing to an ankle injury. That leaves guard Mustapha Farrakhan as the team’s leading scorer (he’s averaging 13 points a game). He is tops on the team in offensive rating and true shooting percentage.

Freshman guards K.T. Harrell and Joe Harris are averaging 10.5 and 10.3 points per game, respectively. Harrell has the lowest turnover rate on the team, and is shooting 45% from three. Harris leads the team in effective field goal percentage, and is right behind Farrakhan in true shooting percentage (60.7% to 60.2%).

Junior guard Sammy Zeglinski missed the first seven games of the season, and is averaging 5.1 points in 18.9 minutes per game. He’s shooting less than 30% from deep.

Sophomore guard Jontel Evans is averaging 5.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He leads the team in assist rate and steal percentage.

In terms of big men, the Wahoos have Assane Sene, a 7’0″ junior from Senegal who’s averaging 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, Will Sherrill, a 6’9″ senior who is an adequate three-point shooter, and Akili Mitchell, a 6’8″ freshman who is averaging 2.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Sene is 80th in the nation in block percentage, swatting away 7.4% of opponent shots while he is on the court.

Maryland is now ranked 24th in KenPom, Virginia checks in at 108. He predicts a 67-61 Maryland win, with a 76% chance of a Terps victory. This is a game that Maryland really, really, really should win, and a game that they really, really, really need to win. I imagine we’ll see another sort of lineup change (I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reverted to the Bowie-Mosley-Tucker-Gregory-Williams days of old), and I predict a Maryland win, 72-64.

Thoughts? Am I overly optimistic? Will Maryland get a huge win somehow? What lineup do you expect to see?

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