ACC Preview: Maryland vs. North Carolina State

Wednesday, March 11, 2009; 2:25 PM

No. 7 Maryland vs. No. 10 North Carolina State

Time: 7 p.m.


Radio: WJZ (105.7 FM), WJFK (106.7 FM), WFMD (930 AM), WTEM (980 AM), WJZ (1300 AM), WPTX (1690 AM).

Records: Terrapins 18-12, 7-9; Wolfpack 16-13, 6-10.

Zone Work: Maryland senior forward Dave Neal said North Carolina State used mostly man-to-man defense when the two teams met on March 1, but after Maryland's poor execution against zone schemes in its past two games, Neal wouldn't be surprised to see the Wolfpack adjust its approach this time around. Maryland held a 13-point first-half lead at Virginia on Saturday before the Cavaliers employed a 3-2 zone defense. The Terrapins became less aggressive and shot 37.5 percent in the second half of a five-point loss. "You can't be passive and just pass the ball around the top of the arc," Neal said. "You have to get the ball in the middle, kick it out and then you've got to be able to shoot the open shot. . . . Once you see that, you're getting the ball moving, and that hurts the zone because it kind of gets them all scrambled up and all over the court." Coach Gary Williams said off-the-ball movement was a point of emphasis in practice this week.

Fells to Play: N.C. State swingman Courtney Fells, named an ACC all-defensive team honorable mention selection on Monday, will play against the Terrapins after sitting out the Wolfpack's regular season finale on Saturday with a groin injury, N.C. State Coach Sidney Lowe said. Fells typically guards the opposing team's best perimeter player and matched up against Greivis Vasquez the last time these two teams played. Vasquez scored 33 points that night on 13-of-23 shooting.

Tall Order: The Wolfpack's starting front line consists of one 6-foot-8 forward and a pair of 6-foot-9 sidekicks. N.C. State outrebounded Maryland, 32-24, on March 1, and Williams said the rebounding battle will be a critical component in Thursday's game. "You've got to figure out a way to keep them from having a decisive rebounding advantage, especially on the offensive glass," Williams said. "That's where they can get points, so that concerns you."

-- Steve Yanda

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