Who: Maryland (19-8, 7-7 ACC) at Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-10).
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Where: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta.
TV: WDCA (Channel 20), WNUV (Channel 54).
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, 1300 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 36-23). Yellow Jackets – Brian Gregory (second season, 25-32)
Pomeroy ratings: Terps 59th, Yellow Jackets 93rd.
RPI: Terps 67th, Yellow Jackets 140th.
With four games left in its ACC schedule, including three away from College Park, the Maryland men’s basketball team heads into the season’s stretch run with its NCAA tournament hopes still lingering. The Terps must take care of business first against Georgia Tech, which has lost two straight for the first time since Jan. 17-23. Most recently, the Yellow Jackets were blown out on the road at Virginia, five days after losing by 12 at home against North Carolina. Maryland, meanwhile, is looking to string together its own two-game winning streak, something the Terps have done just once since reeling off 13 straight through November, December and January.
1. Hit the road? How will the Terps handle their first of a two-game, NBA-like road swing, with no return flight to College Park in between? They’ve won just one ACC road game this season – at Virginia Tech – and recently, in Turgeon’s words, “laid an egg” at Boston College. Now they get Georgia Tech and Wake Forest in less than one week.
2. Win the youth battle? Like Maryland, Georgia Tech rotates several freshmen. Unlike the Terps, the Yellow Jackets’ two leading scorers (Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter) are first-year players. Wednesday night’s game could come down to how the respective freshmen handle the pressure, especially against big-bodied Georgia Tech, which figures to match Maryland’s physicality.
3. No more letdowns? It’s simple. Maryland’s NCAA tournament chances rest on its ability to avoid a letdown, much like the Terps suffered against the Eagles. Avoid that, and it’s onto the next game, still looking to salvage those slim chances. Lose, and it’s another nail in the coffin, or at least another turn toward the NIT.
2.3: Blocks per game by Georgia Tech junior center Daniel Miller, which leads the ACC.
80: Percent of Maryland’s scoring that comes from underclassmen.
.846: Maryland’s winning percentage over its past 13 games (11-2) against Georgia Tech.
“I hope there’s a sense of urgency out of our guys on Wednesday night. I kind of sensed it in practice the last couple days. Attention to details, scouting report, practicing hard, competing. I feel it. Doesn’t mean we’ll go on the road and win. But if they don’t have it now, it’s kind of scary. They should have a great sense of urgency. We didn’t paly well against Boston College. Hope we do tomorrow.” – Turgeon.
“We just have to take one game at a time. We shouldn’t be worried about the tournament right now. If we get there, good. But we have to worry about one game at a time. Eventually, we’ll get there. But we have to continue to be focused. Don’t worry about the tournament, worry about Georgia Tech tomorrow night.” – Shaq Cleare.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Swing, Swing” by the All-American Rejects