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North Carolina at Maryland

2/21/09

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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