6North Carolina Tarheels (19-3, 6-1 ACC)
Maryland Terrapins (13-8, 3-4 Acc)
Saturday, Feb. 4th at 4pm– Comcast Center: College Park, MD
Last game: UNC: def Wake 68-53 MD: lost to Miami 90-86, 2 OT
Leading Scorers: UNC- Harrison Barnes– 17.3 ppg MD- Terrell Stoglin– 21.8ppg
After watching SportsCenter all week and hearing the name Rob Gronkowski mentioned over and again, I invented a little drinking game whose rules are simple: every time he is mentioned or shown on television you drink. How does this parlay into the Maryland/UNC game? It’s simple: for every North Carolina fast break that is started from a Terps missed shot you drink. That game is sure to get you intoxicated and is the main reason why North Carolina is one of the favorites to win the National Championship. Not only do they have size and maybe the best player in basketball in Harrison Barnes, they also run up and down the floor on the offensive end putting pressure on their opponents to make shots and match them score for score. Where the Tarheels do struggle, however is against physical teams that can score inside, get the Tarheels in foul trouble, and also can rebound. Florida State was also able to that as well as knock down shots in their rout of the Tarheels earlier this season. While Mark Turgeon and his staff are sure to be watching film of that Florida State game, they will surely realize they don’t have that kind of personnel and will have to take a different approach. The Tarheels looking ahead to the Duke game in a few days might be the only shot, albeit slim, that the Terps have.
Maryland for years has always risen to the occasion and played well against top teams at home; that was their mantra under Gary Williams and one they look to continue. I have been hearing all week from other Terps fans that are saying, “We played Duke tough so that means we should play Carolina tough.” However, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Basketball is about match-ups, and Maryland’s erratic style plays right into the hands of the Tarheels. I love Terrell Stoglin but he is no Greivis Vasquez, and this Terps team is not like one of the teams from the Williams era that were proverbial giant killers. The only way to win this game is to be efficient in the half court offense, working the ball inside ad nauseam and get a lot of second chance opportunities to limit the offensive possessions for the Tarheels. James Padgett, Alex Len and Ashton Pankey will be key inside, and Nick Faust and Sean Mosley will need to knock down outside shots if the Terps want to compete at all in this game. I just think the odds of this happening are about as good as someone on the Wizards not tweeting something ridiculous. Of course, as Terrell Stokes once proclaimed after his Terps knocked off the Tarheels, they could “shock the world”.
I am by no means a hater: I am a loyal Terps fan and would love to see a win, but I tell it like it is. This game will not be close. Tyler Zeller will destroy the Terps on the inside and Carolina’s fast break will be too much to handle. They will run the Terps right out of their own arena.
UNC 89 MD 71.