Even though it's only the second full week of the Atlantic Coast Conference season, Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell is calling today's 3:30 p.m. game against Clemson in Cole Field House "a must win" for his Terrapins.
Both Maryland and Clemson are struggling in conference play after puffy, early-season schedules. In the ACC, only Duke has a worse defense than Clemson. The Tigers have also had trouble rebounding and playing transition defense.
The Tigers' leading rebounder is Vince Hamilton, a 6-foot-5 guard, who is also the leading scorer. Horace Wyatt, Clemson's 6-10 center is averaging 11 points per game, but only five rebounds. Clemson basketball should not be confused with Clemson football.
To win, Maryland must shoot for a higher percentage while making fewer turnovers. Clemson's lack of rebounding intensity should help Terrapins Herman Veal and Charles Pittman--the third- and fourth-leading rebounders in the ACC--control that aspect of the game.
Despite Driesell's reluctance to employ a slowdown offense, the Terrapins' performance against North Carolina and Virginia have forced him to stick with that strategy, at least against Clemson.
In another ACC game, Georgia Tech is expected to go to a slowdown against No. 2 Virginia at 1 p.m. in Charlottesville.
On Sunday, No. 9 Georgetown visits Syracuse in a regionally televised contest from the Carrier Dome, and Clemson is at Virginia. Both games start at 1 p.m.