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Shooting 3: Maryland Q&A

I know we usually keep our Q&As with out of town writers strictly to football, but with ACC play really heating up and the Canes (12-3, 1-1) set to take on Maryland (12-3, 1-0) tonight in a rather large early conference game I figured I'd try to do it with hoops.

This week, I exchanged emails with Terps beat writer Patrick Stevens of The Washington Times, who shared my thoughts on the game with his readers over on his blog D1SCOURSE. This 3-point shot of questions should get U ready for tonight's big game.

Q: Considering Miami has won five of the six meetings since it joined the ACC, I've got to imagine the Terps are very much looking forward to this meeting Wednesday night. Is this a game Gary Williams and his players circled on their calendars with red ink? Or, is it just another ACC game?
A: It's certainly an important game for Maryland, but it is probably best the Terps don't think too much about their repeated debacles against Miami.

MarylandThree things stand out about Wednesday. First, it is Maryland's first true road game of the season. The Terps have played four neutral-court games, but they might be the last team in the country to actually venture into an opponent's home gym (determining that, by the way, is my Tuesday morning project). Three, Maryland is the only team in the league playing Duke and North Carolina twice, and it gets a home-and-home with Miami on top of that. That is a big hole to climb out of on paper, and poaching one of those three opponents on the road would go a long way to making a successful season.

Q: The Terps haven't participated in the NCAA Tournament in two of the last three years. I know they've gotten off to a nice 12-3 start. But why should people believe this Maryland team will get back into the tournament this year? How are the Terps better?
A: It's three of four years in the NIT, as a lot of cranky fans in the Baltimore/D.C. area would no doubt quickly remind anyone who asked.

In terms of resume analysis, Maryland is better because it has a couple nonconference victories (vs. Michigan State, Michigan) that should hold up for the rest of the regular season. As for actual on-court reasons, this team defends better (out of necessity) than the Terps have in the last few years. Though it is prone to spells of shaky play, those woes are more a function of ability than effort.

In many ways, this is a true test of Gary Williams' ability to coach up his kind of players. All the highly Grievis_vasquez regarded recruits who entered the program in the years immediately following the 2002 national title are gone. In their place are a bunch of steady, useful players --- but of them, only Greivis Vasquez qualifies as a standout right now.It's anyone's guess if this actually can be a tournament team. Certainly, the last week offered plenty of reasons doubt it can happen. But if there's a logical argument in support of a team without a true consistent post option making the postseason, it's the presence of a wily coach with a shiny national championship trophy on his resume who still feels he has plenty to prove.

Q: When you look at this matchup, what is the one weakness you think Miami can expose to win this game?
A: Maryland is going to feel like it's stuck in "Groundhog Day" by the time the ACC tournament rolls around. Assuming a team (a) is smart; (b) has some decent size in the post; and (c) doesn't commit 28 turnovers like Georgia Tech did, it is going to try to maul Maryland inside.

Gary_williamsThe Terps start the 6-foot-7 Dave Neal at the five. The interior rotation also includes the 6-foot-7 Dino Gregory and the 6-foot-8 Braxton Dupree. Both are Baltimore products, and Dupree in particular has looked lost for much of the season. That's a harsh blow for the Terps, because he is the one true big body they have even after dropping 20 pounds in the offseason. (Miami fans might remember sophomore Jerome Burney, who played well off the bench last year in Coral Gables. Burney, a truly unlucky fellow who redshirted his first season because of foot problems, hasn't played since early December with a stress fracture in his right foot).

If I'm Miami, I am trying to figure out how to get it to Dwayne Collins. And Cyrus McGowan. And Brian Asbury and Adrian Thomas. And Collins again. And again. And again. That's not to say Jack McClinton couldn't fill his usual role as perimeter assassin. But Maryland is more vulnerable inside, and even Williams conceded last week the Terps still must figure out how to counteract bigger teams. Wednesday represents a huge test in that regard.

Comments

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thanks for the work you do, manny. good stuff.

This is going to be a great game and the Canes come out with a victory .
UM 84 Maryland 73
Lets Go CANES.

Nice job manny thanks for the insight!

Keep the bball comin Manny...

The more bb the better Manny .......

Manny,

Can you give us some vision on Bryce Brown? Depending on which site you go to (rivals or scout) it either has him committed to Miami or leaning towwards Oregon (amoungst others). Where is this kid at mentally? He is going to be a star and its going to be really disappointing to see him bail on the U

Thanks

Sooo let me get this straight, no tv tonight for Canes BBall. Instead I can watch, Gaytor nc celebration, Gaytor basketball, or American Idol...Nice!

its on ESPN360, if you have that.

Game on TV and Radio:

TV: Raycom (WBFS-My 33 in South Florida) Radio: 560 WQAM

hurricanesports.com lists the coverage for the games.

the game is on MY33 on directv.

Anyone know where a fella could watch this streaming online if he's out in California?

channel 724 on directv has the game

35-23 at the half. WE BLOW.

Manny,

Can you give us some vision on Bryce Brown?

Posted by: Shawn | January 14, 2009 at 06:24 PM

Hey stupid. In case you haven't figured it out yet, Manny could care less about football. All he cares about it Nascar and BBall. Just wait til either Susan writes a story, ESPN publishes something on their recruiting page, or rivals/scout post something new. Then after 2 days pass, Manny fill "update" his blog. Obviously you're new to Eye On The U. I have a website that you could come over to and chat though!

Fake SOUP...U are NOT even convincing. Give it a rest.

I miss green :(

Fake 86, where's Tom?

The U wins!! great comeback... Kids have heart and never gave up!!! Great WIN!

whoah!!!whoah!!!!did anybody just see that!!!! HUGE HUGE win!!! playin from behind!!! thats what im talkin about baby!!!! i had lost hope!!!! but we pulled it out!!!

Same here.. I started watching the Heat game and came back because I thought we were going to be blown out.. But these kids showed me something tonight.. They battled.. and protected their court...

BIG win tonight

Great great comeback......they were asleep early on. The 2 three-pointers that McClinton hit down the stretch of the game were ridiculously difficult......what a player he is at the end of games.

Great come from behind win for the CANES!!! against a quality ACC opponent. Circle this win. This could be the one that decides our tournament fate. We still must cut down on turnovers, make foul shots and feed the ball in the post to Collins. The offense should run threw Collins.

just want o know what bryce brown is doing, anyone know

i had lost hope!!!! but we pulled it out!!!

Posted by: Nate | January 14, 2009 at 10:54 PM


I started watching the Heat game and came back because I thought we were going to be blown out..

Posted by: oby-1 | January 14, 2009 at 11:01 PM

Front running fans are U ? Typical

35-23 at the half. WE BLOW.

Posted by: SOUP | January 14, 2009 at 10:03 PM

No SOUP. You Blow. Just like your "gator tail" feelings toward Canes football.

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