Maryland Basketball travels to Atlanta tonight to take on Georgia Tech and to try and add on to a modest two game winning streak. The Yellow Jackets on the other hand have won three of four with wins against UNC, Wake, and Virginia Tech, all at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. On the year the Jackets are 10-2 at home, and the two losses come from a combined 4 points. To say they are a different team at home is an understatement. Overall they are 10-9 and 3-3 in the ACC. They do have an impressive 78-58 win over North Carolina to their credit. I don’t know what to think of them. They have lost to Sienna, Kennesaw State and Charlotte, but beat Carolina by 20. Go figure.
Tech is led by Iman Shumpert and Brian Oliver. Shumpert is coming off Georgia Tech’s first triple-double since 1989. Shumpert had 22 points, 12 boards, and 11 assists in the win over Virginia Tech. On the season Shumpert averages 16.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. The one weakness appears to be his three point shooting as he is hitting only 26% on the season, but does have a game against Charlotte where he hit 6 of 10. So to dare him to fire away all day from beyond the arc could be a dangerous roll of the dice. Oliver on the other hand is hitting on 31% of his three’s and averages 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
For Maryland the key in the last couple of games is the improved perimeter play. Cliff Tucker has gotten on a roll lately, and in the second half against UVA, Adrian Bowie played like we all hoped he would. Bowie scored 22 points, mostly by driving the lane. It reminded me of that stretch in his sophomore year where he had 23 points against Miami, 14 against FSU, and 17 against UVA. If he can stay on a roll like that for a prolonged stretch and Cliff Tucker can continue to be an outside threat, that could stop teams from double and triple teaming Jordan Williams.
To Williams’ credit though, he did not get flustered or frustrated against the Hoos. Instead he made the smart passes to open teammates, and they scored the basketball. He had a season high 3 assists, and if it was hockey he would have a couple of more secondary assists.
Personally, I can’t see Tech triple teaming Williams, but they might try and force the guards to beat them. After all they have been streaky and why not take the chance that it could be one of those games where Maryland couldn’t throw the basketball into an ocean. I like Maryland in this one. They seem to have gotten on a little bit of a roll, and the seniors have stepped it up. To their credit Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin have as well. They seem a little more in control, and are not trying to do too much, just play within the system. If that continues, I think the Terps can steal another key road win. Tune in tonight at 7:30 on Fox Sports Net Nationally, or Comcast Sportsnet in the Maryland -Virginia area. This game is big with a match up with you know who looming on Wednesday night.