UNC Basketball Gameday Preview: Tar Heels Take on Maryland


The North Carolina Tar Heels have one more regular season game before the finales rematch at Duke.  UNC hosts the 16-12 Maryland Terrapins.  MD comes in struggling, losers of 8 of their last 13 games including a loss to Carolina earlier this month at home.  The Terps are just 6-8 in conference play and must win out the rest of the season just to finish with a .500 record in ACC play.  The Tar Heels on the other hand are staring at a regular season finale with Duke that will likely decide the conferences regular season champion.  Roy Williams‘ biggest task is his team overlooking MD and thinking of Duke revenge on Saturday.

What to expect: I came out earlier in the week with the statement that the Heels need to knock somebody out.   And that’s exactly what they are going to do to MD today.  The Terps played Georgia Tech and Miami close in its last two games, defeating GT by two and falling to Miami by five.  Their last game against a ranked opponent came against #25 Virginia on February 18th and they were humiliated by 26 points.  The Heels nine point victory earlier in the month, was more of an indication of UNC not playing to their potential than anything MD did.

The Heels main concern defensively is Terrell Stoglin the ACCs leading scorer at 21.2ppg.   He scored 20 the last time but shot just 8-21 from the field.  Reggie Bullock did a great job of containing Stoglin and had a terrific all around game against him.  The Tar Heels big men Tyler Zeller and John Henson dominated the last contest and will do the same in this one.  Gary Williams‘ roster isn’t very good inside and they won’t have an answer for either of the two today.

Carolina will look to push the tempo and once again wear down MD who prefers a slow half paced tempo.  MD did a nice job of keeping the game at a reasonable pace in the first half in their last meeting.  Look for a more aggressive, attacking offense this time from UNC.  I see UNC taking a big early lead by dominating the glass the getting the ball down in a hurry.  

Hidden Keys to the game: I’m very interested in how UNCs freshman duo of James Michael McAdoo and PJ Hairston will do today.  Hairston is stuck in a long slump and has seen his minutes and production dramatically decrease.  The Heels need him to produce as the top win man off the bench in March, his performance today is key.  McAdoo has been playing better and better and seems to be gaining confidence with each time out.  I’ve went on record predicting a big, breakout game for him soon, is today the day? I’m also interested in seeing how the Terps defend Kendall Marshall.  Like a lot of teams, last time out they played far off him, almost daring him to shoot.  With Marshall’s recent 22 point game against Miami, it’s going to be interesting to see if MD respects his shot or continues to dare him to shoot.

Final Score/Player of the game predictions:  I expect Tyler Zeller to have maybe the best game of his career against the Terps.  It’s the seniors last home game and with him ever so close to the ACC POY award he’s got plenty of motivation.  Z’s stat line: 32 pts 15 rebs 4 blocks 4 assists.  Final Score: UNC 88 MD 65

Up next: UNC makes the short trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Duke in the regular season finale on Saturday.  MD hosts Virginia on Sunday.

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