Editor’s note: This article was written by Chris Bengel, one of our staff writers. Follow him on Twitter @DurtyPuckhead for some awesome Terrapins related tweets and general factual information!
The Teams: Maryland Terrapins 19-9 (7-8) vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons 12-15 (5-10)
The Time: 12:00 p.m.
The Place: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Winston-Salem, NC
TV/Radio: ACC Network (Check local listings), 105.7 FM/980 AM
Following another solid win, the Terrapins had their usual letdown against Georgia Tech on Tuesday night. Maryland got off to a good start against the Yellow Jackets with Alex Len leading the way. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech chipped away and eventually took the lead and refused to relinquish it. It wasn’t necessarily that Maryland shot the ball poorly. They did shoot at a nearly 43 percent clip but spent most of the game playing catch-up. The Yellow Jackets were shooting the ball very well and just seemed to want it more than the Terrapins at times. The loss makes an NCAA tournament at-large bid a very difficult task. Maryland was barely on the bubble before the Georgia Tech game. Coupled with the loss at Boston College, the Terrapins have to run their remaining three games against Wake Forest, Virginia, and North Carolina plus likely get to the semifinal or championship game of the ACC tournament later this month. Needless to say, it’s going to be an uphill battle for Maryland.
On the other hand, Wake Forest is a team that resides in 10th place in the ACC. They’re simply not a good team and they showed that in their trip to College Park a month ago. The Terrapins smelled blood in the water and absolutely ran the Demon Deacons off the floor. Len was one of six scorers to finish in double figures as the star sophomore scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards. The Terrapins were knocking down a vast majority of their shots from long-range as freshman Jake “Sunshine” Layman hit four-of-six shots from beyond the arc.
Keys To Victory:
1) Come Out Strong
Maryland needs to come out with a strong effort on both ends of the floor. They need to make the entire fanbase forget about the debacle that transpired in Atlanta a few days ago. Len needs to impose his will on a weaker Wake Forest frontcourt. Especially if the young Ukrainian has dreams of the NBA, which we found out on Friday that he does. Len needs to have a dominating performance just as he did in the first game against the Demon Deacons. He’s been so up-and-down recently and hasn’t put together strong back-to-back performances. He has played well against the likes of Duke and Georgia Tech but struggled against Virginia, Boston College, and Clemson.
2) Win The Battle On The Boards
In a rare occurrence this season, the Terrapins were out-rebounded by the Yellow Jackets 31-27. While it’s not a wide margin, it’s a surprising statistic from the fourth-best rebounding team in the entire country. Len and freshman Shaquille Cleare combined for 15 boards while the rest of the team had 12 total rebounds. While Wake Forest doesn’t possess an overwhelming presence inside, Maryland will still have to show up and out-muscle them for every miss.
Prediction: I expect the Terps to rebound from their bad loss at the hands of Georgia Tech. Wake Forest is a team that they handled pretty well in College Park earlier this season. I’d expect Len to have a strong game and the point guard situation will be something to keep an eye on as Turgeon said that it’ll be an open competition in practice.
Maryland: 78 – Wake Forest 61