Maryland basketball vs. Virginia: Previewing the regular season finale


(Associated Press)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (20-10, 8-9 ACC) at Virginia (20-10, 10-7).

When: Sunday, 6 p.m.

Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville.

TV: ESPNU.

DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 37-25). Cavaliers – Tony Bennett (fourth season, 73-51).

Pomeroy ratings: Terps 67th, Cavaliers 22nd.

RPI: Terps 83rd, Cavaliers 71st.

THE SCRIPT

Locked into the ACC tournament’s No. 7 seed, Maryland can still salvage a .500 ACC record with its regular season finale at Virginia. Hopes of an NCAA tournament bid are still faint, redeemable at this point by only a deep ACC tournament run, but the Terps look to end things on a positive note by becoming the first team since Nov. 13 to beat Virginia in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, don’t exactly have history on their side either. Just two teams in the past 20 years have secured an at-large NCAA tournament bid with an RPI of 70 or worse. Virginia currently ranks 71st. Maryland boasts its own dubious resume, one that can be bolstered with its third conference road win but still not rubber-stamped without a massive burst next week.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Withstand the double-teams? The last time Maryland and Virginia met, an 80-69 Cavaliers win at Comcast Center, Alex Len was bombarded with relentless double-teams and finished with just six field goal attempts over 26 minutes. Len said the Terps will rotate a smaller, perimeter-heavy lineup on Sunday to open up passing lanes for Maryland’s frontcourt, but Turgeon’s unit has struggled at times with four guards on the floor.

2. Keep the trend? The Terps have alternated wins and losses for the past eight games. They lost against North Carolina on Wednesday. What will their next game bring?

3. Win in an unwinnable environment? The great college home-court advantages now includes John Paul Jones Arena, at least this season, where North Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina State and Duke have already lost. The Cavaliers haven’t lost at home since Nov. 13 and already have a school-record 17 home victories in 2012-13.

THE STATS

18.7: Points per game for Dez Wells over the past three games.

46.7: Three-point percentage for Nick Faust over the past four games.

88.8: Virginia’s adjusted defensive efficiency, which ranks 21st nationally, according to Kenpom.com.

THE QUOTES

“I think every game, during the year, win or loss you have to move on. It’s such a grind. This time of year, if you can’t be excited about this time of year, what a great day on TV today for basketball. It psyches the hell out of me. I’m so excited for the next few weeks. And it starts tomorrow. Moving on, we thought it was the best thing to do.” – Turgeon.

“I don’t know. We try not to think about it. Obviously we’re very aware of it. We just talk about going out and playing and just having fun. I think we kind of gotten away from it. It’s almost like we’re trying so hard not to lose in some situations. We kind of forget about enjoying it and playing with our teammates. We’ve been talking about it.” – Harris.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Sweet Virginia” by The Rolling Stones.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · March 9, 2013

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