Sunday, March 8, 2009

Miami up next for Maryland

After a disappointing 68-63 loss to Virginia in a game Maryland desperately needed to win, the Terps' last chance to make the NCAA Tournament is to win a couple of games in the ACC Tournament.

The tournament, which starts on Thursday, begins with eighth-seeded Miami taking on Maryland, the ninth seed.

The two teams split their matchups during the regular season, with Miami winning 62-60 at home and Maryland winning 73-68 at the Comcast Center. In that first meeting, Maryland held a 35-23 lead at halftime but failed to seal the deal and get the road victory. Adrian Bowie led the Terps with 23 points, and Jack McClinton had 18 points, including some huge threes down the stretch.

In the second game, Greivis Vasquez missed a triple-double by one assist -- 11 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists -- and Landon Milbourne led Maryland with 17 points. The Terps' 3-2 zone also had success as Miami shot just 10-31 (32.3 percent) from the three-point line. McClinton again led Miami with 18 points, and interestingly enough he shot six of 15 from the field -- the same as in the first game.

Other notes from Miami's win:
  • 12 Miami turnovers, 10 for Maryland
  • Miami outrebounded Maryland 36 to 28
  • 43.9 percent shooting for Maryland, 39.3 percent for Miami
  • Nine free throws (four made) for Miami, six free throws (four made) for Maryland
Other notes from Maryland's win:
  • 15 Miami turnovers, seven for Maryland
  • Miami outrebounded Maryland Maryland 37 to 34
  • 41.5 percent shooting for Maryland, 40.7 percent for Miami
  • 14 free throws (10 made) for Miami, 17 free throws (14 made) for Maryland
I don't think it's a coincidence that Maryland won the game where they rebounded better, forced more turnovers, and got to the free throw line more often. By the way, getting to the free throw line just six times in any game is simply unacceptable -- especially for a solid free throw shooting team like the Terps.

I might be looking at the two previous games a little too much, but Maryland absolutely has to beat Miami on Thursday. If they do, they'll face either North Carolina or Duke (the one seed) depending on who wins their battle today. That'll be a touch matchup either way, but first things first for Maryland: beat Miami. If not, it's back to the NIT.

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