It’s nearly postseason time, and the only question remains exactly where the Hoos will be seeded for the ACC Tournament. A win over Maryland gives Virginia a chance at a No. 7 seed, but that win might be hard to come by. Overall, turtles are nothing to be afraid of, unless they are the snapping variety, and Maryland often packs a huge bite.
Getting Offensive Maryland runs Gary Williams’ trademark flex offense, and leans heavily on screens to create openings. Maryland’s scheme is rather simple, and relies on moving the ball around through the perimeter players, which matches up nicely (for the Terps) with the Pack-Line defense UVa runs. In the last meeting, Virginia managed to shut down the Terrapins’ biggest threat, forward and standout post-player Jordan Williams, holding him to just four points. However, Maryland was able to put the ball in the hands of Adrian Bowie, who has no problem shooting from outside. Bowie had 22 points at JPJ, and caused the “Double Team Jordan Williams” plan to backfire. The flex requires offenses to read a defense, and Maryland is pretty good at picking apart weaknesses.
Under Pressure Virginia’s 42-point total in the last meeting with the Terps was one of the team’s lowest in JPJ to date, and, despite cold shooting from the Cavaliers, Maryland’s fullcourt pressure defense deserves a lot of credit. The high pressure applied by Gary Williams’ defense prevented the Hoos from ever getting comfortable with the ball and finding a rhythm. Maryland also got tricky the last time around, applying soft pressure during the second half and allowing the offense to run away with itself. The Hoos need to be more assertive on offense, and dictate the tempo themselves. A hot shooting hand and success from the charity stripe won’t hurt, either.
The Terrapins took it to the Hoos in their last meeting, but Tony Bennett’s team also doomed themselves through poor shooting. Last week’s win over N.C. State was one of the few complete games Virginia has managed to put together, and it will take another balanced effort to vanquish a hated ACC rival.