18. 44. 1. Those are some odd numbers but here’s the run-down. 18 are the amount of wins Maryland has when outscoring their opponents at the free throw line. They have outscored 20 of their 32 opponents this year and are a staggering 18 – 2 in those games. 44 are the number of rebounds the Terps had last night against the Deacons making up for a 50 – 32 rebound Wake edge from the last time they played each other. Maryland out rebounded Wake Forest 44 – 40 and at times looked like the only team around the basket. Finally, 1 is the amount of games they need at this point to solidify an NCAA bid. Joe Lunardi of ESPN has them in at this point, but its still too close and a win today against Duke would seal the deal for the Terps. It may even help the Terps get in if they lose but play a close game losing by single digits.
Maryland had a great game defensively last night holding Wake to 64 points on 29 percent shooting in winning 75 – 64. The Deacons are a good offensive team averaging 82 points a game and to deny them of their average by 20 points is great work. Maryland had their zone defense working again last night and their rebounding was unlike any game this year. The Terps were able to attack Wakes zone defense as well and when they did, it paid off by attempting 26 free throws and making 21. This is what guards should do in attacking the basket and that is what this team is made mostly of, guards. Greivis personified this by scoring 22 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing 8 assists. Over the last 7 games, Vasquez has averaged 22 points a game. There were a couple downsides, but nothing they can’t fix in a day. They turned the ball over 16 times which is off their average by 5 usually only turning the ball over 11 times a game. They also had a bit of foul trouble where Greivis and Neal picked up their fourth fouls around the five minute mark. Picking up a fourth foul with ten minutes to go would have sank the Terps in a close game, but they had a double-digit lead and very little time left on the clock.
No doubt about it, Maryland is making a strong case for a NCAA bid by beating good teams in the ACC tourney. It also helps that some other bubble teams such as Virginia Tech, Miami, Kentucky, Penn State, Providence, Wisconsin have lost in their own conference tournaments. Maryland though plays a Duke team today that they’ve had mixed results with. In their first meeting Duke beat them in Durham by 41 points in an ugly game. The second meeting in College Park, Duke still won the game, but the score was much closer only losing by 9 points. In the College Park match-up, Maryland actually led the game with 6 minutes to go and that was without Greivis for almost ten minutes in the second half. Look for Maryland to avenge that defeat today as they continue their march to the championship game. Go Terps!