There once was a time when Maryland Basketball had their way with the TIgers. From 1998 to 2004, the Terps defeated the Tigers 13 straight games. Since 2004, the record is only 2-6 including that 3 game sweep in 2005. Conversely, football is the opposite, but we are here to talk about basketball.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was thinking Clemson was really going to contend for the top spot in the conference (and they may still), but a recent three game losing streak to Georgia Tech, Duke, and BC. While the Terps come into this one in Littlejohn flying high, Clemson is not. Is it just me or, is there always some major streak to talk about coming into these games, that you are just waiting to be snapped? Anyway, overall on the season Clemson is 15-6 and 3-4 in the ACC.
The Tigers like to get up and down the floor and play a very aggressive pressing defense. They may however be missing one of the key cogs on the press in Demontez Stitt, who is also the second leading scorer. Still missed the last game with a sprained foot, and is still a question mark for today’s game.
The Tigers are led by Trevor Booker with 16 points and 8 boards. Stitt is averaging 11 points and almost 4 assists. If Stitt can’t go, he will be replaced with Andre Young (8 points, 2 assists) in the starting lineup.
The Tigers are averaging 75 points per game against all opponents, but against the ACC they are only scoring 65 points per game. Defensively they are allowing 66 points per game in ACC play and only 63 overall. The stat that all Terps fans fear is the three point shooting, and the Tigers are hitting 33.9% for the season and only 25.9% in the conference. After looking at these stats, it is no wonder Clemson is struggling as of late.
It has been a long time since I have been this excited about a game. I have been waiting all week for it, and I hate that it is Sunday night. I almost feel like I am wishing the weekend away, but alas this game is almost here, and it is going to go a long way in telling me what this team is really capable of.
The key for the Terps in this one is to keep their composure against the press. We all remember what happened last year in Littlejohn. The Terps need to get the ball into the hands of Vasquez and Hayes to beat the pressure, and then quickly get set up in their half court offense, where they have been playing very well lately. Defensively the Terps need to continue to help on the inside, most notably against Booker. Clemson doesn’t shoot the three as well as they have in the past.