The Maryland Terrapins are an interesting team. Some people, if not many, do not expect a lot from them, although they have the potential to upset good teams. Keep in mind that Maryland almost beat Kentucky earlier this season. Tonight, the Terps will face the resurgent North Carolina Tar Heels. Since UNC played the Duke Blue Devils, they have been a different team. This can be attributed to guard/forward, P.J. Hairston, being inserted into the starting lineup.
The keys to the victory tonight for the Tar Heels are controlling the boards, winning the match-up problems and taking high-percentage shots. Maryland is the third-ranked rebounding team in the NCAA, averaging 41.3 rebounds a game. Carolina is ranked ninth in the NCAA in rebounds, averaging 40.1 a game. In the previous game, Maryland out-rebounded UNC, 39 to 33. With P.J. starting, he will most likely be matched up with Shaquille Cleare, who is 6’9″, 265 lbs. Do not get thrown by his size. Rebounding is not only about size, but positioning as well. Hairston has to box out well against Cleare. If he can do this, as well as be assertive on offense, then he will perform well tonight.
In the previous game, Reggie Bullock and James Michael McAdoo led Carolina with 24 points and 19 point respectfully. Hairston only had 3 points; however, this took place when he was the sixth man. In addition, Carolina shot a horrible 35.4%. They made 23 of their 65 field goals. Although UNC won the game by 10 points, expect for Maryland to play better on their home court. Maryland likes to rattle their opponents at home. The freshmen will need to maintain their composure upon entering the game.
Maryland’s problem is that they do not have a legitimate point guard. Dez Wells and Nick Faust handle the ball most of the time; however, neither one of them are play-makers. Carolina should exploit this on defense by pressing Maryland. On the other side of the ball, Carolina does very well with passing the ball. UNC ranks second in the NCAA in assists, with an average of 17.8 assists per game. Carolina will expound on their strengths, get Alex Len and other Maryland low-post players in foul trouble and move the ball well in transition. Joel James and Desmond Hubert will play more tonight. Their size and length will be needed. Expect a closer game, a Carolina win.