Gary Williams and the Maryland Terrapins have fallen from grace
since they conquered the NCAA Tournament in 2002. That team had a
star studded lineup that included Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Lonny
Baxter, Chris Wilcox and Byron Mouton. The current team has only one
player who could be considered NBA quality, and that is guard
Grieves Vasquez. This is a result of poor recruiting, and poor luck.
The Terps were most recently thrashed on the road against Clemson,
but will get a shot at redemption when taking on the North Carolina
Tar Heels on their home court.
Roy Williams has his North Carolina Tar Heels poised for another
national title run after out lasting NC State at home at 89-80 on
Tuesday. Tyler Hansbrough went buck wild on his teamís in-state and
conference rival, posting 27 points and pulling down 7 boards. Danny
Green put in an above average performance, posting 19 points. UNC
has been known to let Maryland stay close when playing in College
Park, and will have to put this up and down team away quick. If they
let them hang around, it could be dangerous.
The Terrapins have been a favorite team of mine, but just canít seem
to put together a good season lately. Their best win this year was
an upset of #5 Michigan State, so they do have the ability to play
with the big boys. They are winning more games than they are losing
at home ATS, and did cover the whopping +21.5 spread when playing at
North Carolina. I would not be surprised to see this squad keep it
close, or get blown out of the water. The Tar Heels are a dismal 4-8
ATS when traveling.
When it rains, it pours for Sean Mosley. The Guard-Forward put up 19
points against North Carolina earlier this season, and was 7-7 from
the charity strike. Cliff Tucker also had a huge game, adding 18 to
that total. Vasquez was flat in that 108-91 loss, and if he brings
his best game the Terps will be able to compete. He was able to
score 19 and 17 points respectively against Georgia Tech and
Virginia. Vasquez is the leading scorer for Maryland with 16 PPG.
Hansbrough will be up for Player of the Year, and he is the go to
man for North Carolina. He is putting up 21.4 PPG, and cleaning the
glass 7.5 times per game. Ty Lawson is every bit as important as
Hansbrough for this team. He is the second leading scorer at 15.9
PPG, and does a great job with assists, dishing out 6.5 buckets per
game. Ed Davis doesnít get enough credit. He adds a ton to their
rebounding effort with 7.3 RPG, and is good for 6.5 PPG.
North Carolina has blown out teams like Clemson, but has also
allowed teams like Florida State and NC State to stick around. Isnít
ironic that they can beat Duke by 14, but can only get past Florida
State with 3 points to spare?
The environment will be raucous at the Comcast Center as Maryland
fights for their tournament life. You can expect the fans to give
them help. Maryland does very well at home, and coach Gary Williams
is excellent when playing top 5 teams and should have his team
cranking after such a demoralizing loss. Iíll take the Maryland
Terrapins at what I predict to be +15.
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