Friday, February 17, 2012
game preview: Maryland
Date/Time: Saturday, February 18; 1:00
TV: ACC Net., ESPN3
Record against the Terps: 69-106
Last matchup: UVA 74, Md. 60
Last game: Clemson 60, UVA 48 (2/14); Md. 81, BC 65 (2/16)
Opposing blogs: Testudo Times
UVA: 60.3 (#339)
Md.: 67.2 (#125)
UVA: 104.5 (#112)
Md.: 104.5 (#110)
UVA: 86.2 (#8)
Md.: 100.3 (#159)
UVA: .8778 (#23)
Md.: .6028 (#127)
Projected starting lineups:
PG: Jontel Evans (6.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.7 apg)
SG: Sammy Zeglinski (8.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.8 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (12.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (16.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F: Akil Mitchell (4.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.9 apg)
PG: Nick Faust (7.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.1 apg)
SG: Terrell Stoglin (21.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G: Sean Mosley (10.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)
F: James Padgett (8.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 0.6 apg)
F: Ashton Pankey (5.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.4 apg)
You can tell the basketball gods are just being dickheads this year. Why else would they grant us the gift of Mike Scott and his basketball perfection, and then one by one, pick off his supporting cast like a Michael Crichton novel? What should be a perfectly good season marking the revival of UVA basketball is morphing before our eyes into the Nightmare on Emmet Street. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest anymore if Jontel Evans were eaten by a tyrannosaurus this week.
-- UVA on offense
Look. Let's just hope Joe Harris's hand is feeling better. That's all there is.
-- UVA on defense
It's not just UVA that's had to deal with injury, although our playable depth has taken much more of a hit because of it. That said, Maryland completely lacks a point guard anymore, thanks to Pe'Shon Howard's ACL injury last week.
That leaves them with Nick Faust, and sometimes, Terrell Stoglin, running the point. That's a two-headed problem for Maryland; Stoglin is a great, great scorer, but has a tendency to think he's playing one-on-one on the playground. He can win those battles more often than not; then again, how he'll do in that regard against Jontel Evans is another story. Stoglin might be a ballhog - he has the 16th-highest usage rate in the country at a whopping 32% - but even so, Maryland is generally at their best with the ball in his hands. So if Evans forces him to pass, it's a win.
That said, Faust is thoroughly unequipped to run the point; he's a freshman who ought to be playing small forward. He turns the ball over way too much (as did Howard, truthfully) and doesn't shoot it well. (And if he has to defend Jontel Evans as well, it'll be a laugher, though I think Stoglin generally will instead.)
So Maryland will be working at a big disadvantage there. They can help nullify it with Alex Len, a seven-footer who's shooting almost 60% on the year. Len's story is well-known, and he's still working his way into the rotation. He's not a 25-30 mpg guy just yet. But he's a guy Maryland can use to swing them a few buckets if they get into a drought.
Harris - if he's playing - will draw as his defensive assignment Sean Mosley, as Sammy Zeglinski will be watching Stoglin most of the time. Mosley is a senior who's been around for seven or eight years, and he can fill it from three and is generally a solid player and floor leader. Mosley can go off if you let him, but he can also be shut down. (Some of that depends on the whims of Maryland's lousy point guards.) And really, it's Mosley you want to keep off the scoreboard. Stoglin will get his - his season low is 13 if you remove the outlier that is the Alabama game - but there's little correlation between his scoring and the outcome. Much more so with Mosley.
I don't know whether to be optimistic or pessimistic with this game. I really don't. On the one hand, the defense is still basically as good as it ever was, Clemson disaster or no, injuries or no. On the other hand, how in the hell are we gonna score if Sammy's only good for 1-for-5 every game and Joey Hoops is reduced to a shell of his past self by a broken hand? On the one hand, Maryland's a disaster at the point and not stellar on defense; on the other, they've got multidimensional scoring and have that seven-footer that we don't. This game is at home and Maryland hasn't beaten a team with a winning record in conference play, so I guess I'll turn on my optimistic side a little. But there's no margin for error, either within this game or from a seasonwide perspective.
-- Final score: UVA 57, Md. 55