Game Preview: Maryland
Fear the Turtle indeed! Can you think of anything that could derail this UNC basketball team more than a loss at home to a the Maryland Terrapins after that solid win at Florida State? Actually there are a bunch of scenarios that would spell more certain disaster for the Tar Heels but what a confidence shaker a Maryland loss would be. It would also mean North Carolina starts 0-2 in the Dean Dome. Gross. I don’t want to think about it.
You’re obviously aware of the 2-2 soon-to-be-former-ACC school’s latest win, a nail-biter over NC State earlier this week. Other than that though the Terps haven’t beaten a ton of good teams. Losses in the league came against Miami and Florida State, decisions you know UNC split in its first two meetings. An opening loss to Kentucky and wins over Virginia Tech and Northwestern are other notable games. The UK loss looks worse as the season progresses but that NW win is solid considering it was by 20 on the road over a team that just beat Illinois.
Really though, Maryland is sitting in the same middle of the pack area of the ACC as UNC. Inconsistency is the issue with both squads.
- The hero of that Maryland-NC State game was Ukrainian center Alex Len. The 7’1″ sophomore tipped in a last second miss to propel the Terrapins over the Wolfpack but the big man does much more than just win a big game. Len is pretty much the team. He averages 13.5 points and 8 rebounds a game, both best on the team. He’s also the first real seven-footer UNC has had to deal with this season. Not really looking forward to his 2 blocks a game either.
- Dez Wells came to Maryland this season with baggage. We don’t want to elaborate and drag his name through the mud (like UM’s student section wouldn’t if it was a UNC player). What we can say is he’s played very well for the Terps. Wells plays off ball and is second on the team in scoring at a touch over 11 per game. He also attacks the basket off the dribble having only taken 27 threes this year. Plus he’s from Raleigh if he needs some added motivation to play hard in Chapel Hill.
- Not exactly sure what’s going on at PG for the Terrapins because I honestly have not been following. It looks like freshman Seth Allen has taken over the role from junior Pe’Shon Howard (awesome name) the last several games. Howard leads the team in assists by a large margin but Allen is a better scorer, connecting on 37 percent of his long range shots.
- The only reason I brought up Allen’s shooting percentage is because Maryland does have a shooter who comes off the bench that has to scare UNC fans. Senior guard Logan Aronhalt has taken 67 shots this season, 55 of which where threes. He’s hit over 50 percent of those. Aronhalt may only average 5.4 points a game but can’t you just see him pulling off his warm-up in a close game, checking in and subsequently drilling a couple J’s to put the Heels away.
- Not many teams rebound better than UNC but Maryland is one of them. The fact that the team also shoots a better percentage from the field also means that they are way better at rebounding than UNC. Don’t expect as many second chance points this game.
We told you, Benn doesn’t make predictions anymore.