Feb 2, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Erick Green (11) dribbles in the first half at the Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (16-6, 4-5 ACC) vs Virginia Tech Hokies (11-10, 2-6 ACC)
The Time: 9 pm EST
The Location: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Virginia
TV, Radio: ESPN3, 105.7
The Backstory: The Maryland Terrapins have shown how effective they can be when their deep ball is going in at home, now they have to show that they’re capable of doing it on the road. The Terrapins summarily destroyed Wake Forest during their last game, an 86-60 victory Saturday at Comcast, shooting almost 69% from three point range. Their 11 three pointers gave Wake Forest virtually no chance of success, and holding the Deacons to 34% from the field didn’t hurt too much, either.
While they have been relatively successful at home on the season, the Terrapins worst performances often come on the road. Be it a last second loss against Florida State, or a 20-point drubbing at the hands of nemesis Duke, the Terrapins struggle on the road mightily. Having six players score in double figures (as they did against Wake Forest), might alleviate that issue.
Meanwhile the Hokies are a team in peril. They have gone 2-8 over their last ten games, and have lost four of their last five. At 2-6 in the ACC, the team doesn’t look like it will be much of a threat to anyone. Erick Green, a top five scorer in the nation, hasn’t cooled off too much. The issue is that everyone else has, and they aren’t a good enough defensive team to stop any opponent from scoring at will.
That doesn’t mean the Hokies can’t present a challenge, and it would be foolish of the Terrapins to overlook this game. The Hokies took North Carolina (on the road, mind you) to an overtime game in their previous outing before finally losing 72-60. Mind you, the Tar Heels aren’t the best team in the world, but they beat the stew out of Maryland. Lagging defensively and not being as prepared as possible means the Hokies could come out and assault the Terrapins.
Keys to the game:
1.) Chicks dig the long ball
I know, the saying is an old adage, but it’s a true one. The Maryland Terrapins are a team that guys and girls can get down with when they are actually hitting their outside shots. Jake Layman, Logan Aronhalt, and Seth Allen combined for ten three-pointers against the Demon Deacons, and the result was a complete blowout. When the supposed resident sharp-shooters are actually sharp shooting, the Terrapins become an inside-out team that not many opponents can defend against. Unfortunately, sometimes they are streaky as hell.
During the first go ’round against Virginia Tech, Layman and Allen went off on the zone they tried to employ, and the Hokies were completely rolled. Doing it again will probably produce a similar result. Doing it on the road, however, is a completely different story for the Terrapins.
2.) Limit the supporting cast
The Virginia Tech Hokies are at their best when Erick Green isn’t shouldering the entirety of the offensive load. When Jarrell Eddie and Cadarian Raines are contributing in the scoring department, that’s when Virginia Tech is capable of winning games. Defenses have to key in on other players, which allows one of the best one-on-one players in Green to do his thing, so to speak.
Against North Carolina, Raines and Eddie combined for 27 points, with Robert Brown chipping in another 10. Green had his usual 16 points (this was on an off night), but the major factor was other players helping out. If the Terrapins can ensure that the supporting cast stays under control with some tight on-ball defense in transition (how the Hokies love to play), there’s no reason they can’t run away with this game.