UNC Basketball Game Preview: ACC Tournament Tar Heels vs Maryland Terrapins


It’s almost time for the North Carolina Tar Heels to tip off in the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels have plenty of motivation to win the conference tourney this year.  Battling back to the #4 national ranking after winning the ACC regular season outright in a blowout win over Duke.  This is the second consecutive season the Tar Heels won the conferences regular season.  Last year after playing two long, exhausting games they fazed out in the title game, losing to Duke.  This year UNC hopes to take home both conference titles and stake their claim on a #1 seed in the big dance.  It’s all starts today as UNC will face, the Maryland Terrapins who made me look stupid on my ACC bracket taking care of Wake Forest by 22 points.

Maryland looked good in their opening round contest jumping on Wake early and getting out to a quick 20-4 lead.  Terrell Stoglin had it going and scored 25 points as MD controlled this game for 40 minutes.  The 17-14, 6-10 ACC Maryland Terrapins come into the tournament with their backs against the wall.  They need to make some serious noise or it’s NIT time for the Terps.

What to expect: MD gave UNC a little trouble in their first contest at home, eventually losing the game by just nine points.  In Chapel Hill the Heels had a pretty easy time winning by 24.  The Tar Heels are a vastly different team than the one that MD made it a game against.  This is not a team playing timid or lazy basketball right now.  UNC is focused and has been playing much more efficient over the last month of the season.  Carolina has knocked out their last two opponents blowing out MD and Duke in the regular season capturing the ACC regular season crown.  This team remembers the lesson of the dog fights they played in the opening two rounds of last years conference tourney.  Expect UNC to jump all over MD and put this one away in convincing fashion.  I expect the tempo to favor Carolina all game long as they dominate the boards and get high percentage shots all day long.

Keys to Victory: The keys in this one lie on the perimeter defense.  Stoglin isn’t my favorite player, he takes a lot of bad shots and shoots a low percentage on a bad offensive team.  Still he can light you up if you let him get high percentage shots and he gets on a roll.  UNC has played terrific defense guarding the three point line the last few games.  They need to do the same here and focus on shutting down the conferences leading scorer.  Offensively it’s all about tempo for the Heels, winning the rebounding battle shouldn’t be a tough task against this team and they should be able to get out and run if that’s the case.  As good as they’ve played the last month or so, Carolina still has a propensity to miss a lot of close, high percentage, sometimes undefended shots.  They need to clean that up now that it’s tourney time stating against MD.

Player of the game and final score predictions: The ACC POY Tyler Zeller will have a huge night as UNC dominates the boards and he runs wild on the Terps.  25 points, 11 rebounds for big Z.  UNC wins 84-63

A Look at the numbers: The numbers show the huge margin you would expect in scoring, assists, rebounding, and blocked shots you would expect in this match up.  Maryland averages just 10.4 assists per game, UNCs Kendall Marshall averages just under that all by himself.  Their 68.2ppg rank MD in the middle of the conference but that pales in comparison to the Heels 82.3ppg, 2nd in the nation.  Carolina has a +11.8 advantage in the rebounding department 45.7 vs 34.9.  Across the board statistically, it’s Tar Heel dominance.

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