So if you're up late enough tonight to catch the game, here's the official INRCP scouting report.
Some of my readers enjoyed looking at last week's "Keys to the Game," so I'm giving it another shot. The Hokies beat the Terps last time, narrowly avoiding a comeback bid by Maryland when Greivis Vasquez clanked a potential game-winner in the closing seconds.
Much has changed since then: Maryland has only lost two games, both to Duke. Meanwhile, VaTech has fallen to a 5-6 record in-conference and a mediocre 14-11 record overall. Most are safe in assuming the Hokies will miss the tournament.
However, they can be a dangerous team and have the No. 1 scoring defense in the ACC (Maryland has the No. 1 FG% defense). Teams that play good defense have given the Terps problems this year - teams like UCLA, Duke and Boston College. And you can't discount that they beat us already.
On the other hand, scoring is their problem, as they only beat UVA in most scoring categories. Only three guys average double digits on the team, and I mean the low double digits. In fact, both Vasquez and James Gist average more ppg than VaTech's leading scorer (A.D. Vassallo).
Jeff Allen will be the one to watch. He'll likely match up with Boom. In the last game, he scored 17 and had 9 boards to go along with 5 steals. In addition, he hit the game-winning free throw. The frontcourt will have to play more effective defense (9 fouls last game between Gist and Boom). Besides that, the guards will have to concentrate on containing Vassallo, and perimeter D hasn't been great thus far this season (See: Duke).
So at last:
KEYS TO THE GAME
1) Contain Jeff Allen, scoring AND rebounding
2) Make outside shots (Last meeting only 2-12 for threes)
3) Don't force tempo - it leads to turnovers
I expect that this will be a physical and grinding game. I also expect Maryland will take advantage of a healthy Eric Hayes and protect their homecourt advantage. If Cliff Tucker is still sick, that could be a problem, but I don't grade the Hokies as a better team than Florida State.
Hopefully when all is said and done, the Terps will chalk up another win tonight. Go Terps!
Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun