Mar 1, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Trevor Thompson (32) shoots against North Carolina Tar Heels defenders in the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports
The Virginia Tech Hokies lost another close game to a really good team in their final home game of the season as the Hokies barely lost to a North Carolina team that is currently on a 12-game winning streak. Tonight, the Hokies face Maryland for what will be the final time that the Terps play the Hokies in the ACC in basketball unless these two play in the ACC Tournament. Virginia Tech is just looking to end its season with a couple of wins while Maryland is looking to avoid a losing record, especially since the Terps play 5th-ranked Virginia on Sunday.
Devin Wilson had a strong performance against North Carolina on Saturday and with Ben Emelgou likely still out, Will Johnston will oin him in the backcourt. The Terps are strongest in their backcourt with their top two leading scorers being guards in Dez Wells and Seth Allen. Wilson and Johnston have both played fairly well but both of these guys will be challenged by two quality scorers. Wells is very effective at attacking the basket and Johnston will have to try to keep him on the outside. Allen and Wilson are two of the top young point guards in the ACC and while Johnston will get outplayed by Wells, Wilson will have a strong game and outplay Allen.
Maryland’s big men are very good at stretching the floor with Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman both shooting over 37% from beyond the arc which is quite dangerous. The Hokies will likely need to rely on their zone a lot with Jarell Eddie and Trevor Thompson coming out to cover some of these guys in the corners. This will open up space for guys like Wells to attack so Joey Van Zegeren will need to be strong in the post along with Thompson who might take Van Zegeren’s spot if the Dutch big man is on the bench. Thompson and Van Zegeren will be challenged in this game and will need to hold their own in the post. Maryland also lacks a great shot blocker so Van Zegeren and Thompson should be able to be aggressive.
This has all the makings of a very good game but one that is low-scoring due to how Maryland and Virginia Tech are two of the more inefficient offensive teams in college basketball. The Hokies are going to come out aggressive on the road in what won’t be the toughest environment due to how Maryland fans seem to only strongly show up for big games. The Hokies will need to have very good shot selection to have a good chance to pull off the upset and while some players will, guys like C.J. Barksdale and Jarell Eddie may struggle to do that. This will be a closer-than expected game but the Terps will take down the Hokies.
Prediction: Maryland 69, Virginia Tech 63
Who do you think will win? Will the Hokies get it done or will Maryland protect their home floor?
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