Game Preview: Maryland
For a refresher on Maryland, see what we had to say when these two were facing off in Chapel Hill.
- Since the early season match-up, Dez Wells has emerged as more of a go-to guy for Maryland. Not that his stats have increased significantly or any of that, but he’s been consistent on a team that’s struggled to a .500 record in the ACC. With teams focusing on big man Alex Len, it’s easy to see how Wells has open looks. Wells is shooting 35 percent from 3 in conference play.
- Len’s scoring has dipped by a point since the Terrapins and Tar Heels faced-off almost two months ago but it’s the rest of the team’s offense that’s been the real issue. After Wells and Len the next highest scorer is under 9 points per, and that goes down to a shade over 7 during the ACC season. Maryland’s offense and defense are down since January 19, scoring 66.8 points a game in the conference while allowing 66.1. UNC is scoring 73 and allowing 67.5 in conference. KenPom says UNC has the edge in both adjusted Offensive efficiency and Defensive efficiency.
- One Terp who’s actually gotten better since the North Carolina win at home is Jake Layman. He’s increased his scoring by 2 points and has started 11 of 16 ACC games in the ever-revolving Mark Turgeon five.
- One area the Terps might have an edge on UNC is rebounding. Maryland is one of the few teams in the country averaging more boards per game than the Heels, although its leading rebounder, Len, is averaging 8 per game, same as James Michael McAdoo. Who knows who will start for UMD tonight but in general, they’re bigger than the Heels, with seven total players over 6’8″ and, of course, including the 7’1″ Len. Dez Wells can also be a mismatch as a 6’5″ passing small forward, but Reggie Bullock will be a good mark for him at 6’7″. The small lineup could get a really tough test if Turgeon decides to go big, however, and forces Reggie to mark a bigger body while Wells runs the point for stretches.
- We’ve been high, like most UNC fans, on Marcus Paige as of late. Maryland fans can’t say the same about Pe’Shon Howard. Freshman Seth Allen has done an admirable job filling in for the embattled Howard but we feel safe saying UNC has the PG edge here. Worried about the fans shaking the first-year? Paige had to say this about the raucous crowd: “I just heard they have one of the craziest student sections in the country. I’m excited.” How’s that for confidence?
- Speaking of playing with that crowd in College Park, with Maryland’s opposite of sanctimonious exit from the ACC which kicks in next season, this will be the last time in a long while (ever?) that we’ll see UNC having to play in that hell hole. Good riddance. We really don’t care a bit about the Terps. There is no real rivalry there. It just sucks to play there. This year’s Maryland team is 6-2 at home in conference. No win comes easy. You get what we’re saying. And it always f-ing snows when they play.
Only because the Heels have showed their ability to win ugly games do we feel confident. And even with that we’re not feeling great.