Monday, January 19, 2009

game preview: Maryland

Official visit-weekend has come and gone without the lightning strike commitment from Morgan Moses we'd all been hoping for. But the visit went well, he liked the coaches and the team, felt like he fit in, yadda yadda insert happy-about-visit talk here. The usual stuff. I do think Moses will commit to UVA. I hope that's not just me being a homer. Nolan MacMillan, on the other hand, I think is probably going to Iowa. MacMillan's a very good prospect and he's got to be intrigued by the Canadian connection we seem to be developing but I think even without Moses we'd be OK on the OL for this class.

Bigger things are on tap for tomorrow, though. CPCC (College Park Community College) is tomorrow's basketball opponent, so it's time to crank out one 'a these:

Virginia Cavaliers (7-7, 1-2) at Maryland Terrapins (12-5, 1-2)

Possible starters:


PG: Sammy Zeglinski (10.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.9 apg)
SG: Calvin Baker (7.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.6 apg)
SF: Sylven Landesberg (17.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.5 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (11.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C: Assane Sene (3.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.6 apg)


PG: Greivis Vazquez (17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.9 apg)
G: Eric Hayes (9.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg)
G: Adrian Bowie (10.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg)
F: Landon Milbourne (12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.7 apg)
F: Dave Neal (7.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.9 apg)

Whatever the Maryland football team was on that caused them to occasionally skip games and send in the cardboard cutouts instead, they apparently had some left over and sent it down to the basketball team. Who gobbled it with relish, leading to crazy results like, "Morgan State 66, Maryland 65." Maryland is the very definition of a bubble team, with enough talent to earn decisive wins over Michigan and Michigan State but capable of rolling over and dying against damn near anyone.

Such is the fate of a donut team like Maryland. They have a low shooting percentage because they don't get a lot of post buckets. They were hoping that Braxton Dupree would give them the interior presence they lost when Gist and Osby departed, but Dupree has seen his minutes go pffffffttt and he hasn't scored a single point in 2009. The closest thing they have to a center is Dave Neal, but he's 6'7", and besides that still kind of growing into the role of a starter - he's not used to the kind of minutes he's been getting.

I expect a HUGE game from Mike Scott. Maryland isn't a particularly impressive rebounding team - when your point guard is your leading rebounder, that's a good indication. They're not a bad rebounding team either, mind you, but they're prone to getting completely whupped on the glass. Scott is likely to be matched up against Landon Milbourne (if we don't go heavy on the zone against a jump-shooting team, that is) and Scott has 30 pounds on him. I expect Milbourne to also be guarding Scott, unless they want to try Milbourne on Sene instead, in which case we might very well see more than the typical bucket-and-a-half from the 7-footer.

So I like how we match up down low, but if we didn't learn any lessons from the UNC game and hoist threes until the elbows fall off, we'll neutralize our one advantage. Jump-shooting teams like Maryland are best when they can supplement their half-court offense with a lot of transition buckets. The more we can force Maryland to play in the half-court, the better our chances of catching them on a bad shooting night. That means I don't want to see one player taking 15 three-pointers in one game. Come to think of it I really don't want to see that ever, not with this team, but even less so against a hated rival that we have a really good shot at stealing a win from.

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