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Maryland Preview: Winning on the Road Edition

Maryland’s slow and steady fall from prominence is continuing in the 2010-2011 season.  Maryland is 11-7 overall and 1-3 in the ACC, after falling to Virginia Tech on Thursday night. 

Maryland had question marks coming into this season.  Namely, how were they going to replace starters Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne.   Because of those question marks, Maryland was picked to finish 6th in the ACC this season.   But even with those guys departing and the mediocre prediction by the media, Maryland fans held out hope for a good season.  Gary Williams seems to get his teams to thrive when they are underdogs.  The Terps had two good reasons to believe they wouldn’t completely fall off the map: Jordan Williams and Sean Mosley.  


Jordan Williams has had an excellent season.  He is a double-double machine.  He recorded his 12th straight double-double on Thursday night against Virginia Tech, scoring 11 points to go along with 11 rebounds.  Williams won’t wow you with his athleticism.  In fact, he has been working hard to get his weight down since he got onto campus.  But, he has tremendous footwork and touch around the basket to make up for any disadvantage he may have in quickness and leaping ability. 

If I were Coach Brownell, Williams would be keeping me up at night.  Clemson has to find a way to minimize his impact on the game.  There are two ways to do that:

  1. Constant double-teams whenever he touches the ball. Force Williams to pass out of the double-team and make Maryland’s guards make shots.  Maryland’s supporting cast doesn’t worry me in the least.  As a team they shoot 32.6% from 3.  Only Cliff Tucker has a good percentage at 37.7%. 
  2. Get Williams in foul trouble.  Williams is prone to fouls and will commit dumb ones if you keep going at him.  When our big men get the ball they need to be aggressive and take it right at Williams, not fade away.  The guards can get him in trouble too, because when Williams gets tired he tends to reach and not move his feet.

Mosley has been a disappointment and hasn’t stepped up like some thought he would.  He had been a great role player the past two years, but many people thought he would step up this year with the loss of the other starters.  It hasn’t happened.  He is averaging just 8.4 PPG.

The same can be said for Adrian Bowie, who had been playing behind Vazquez and Hayes for the last 3 years.  He hasn’t taken his game to the next level and is, at times, being outplayed by freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard.   He is averaging just 9 PPG.

Cliff Tucker is probably Maryland’s second best player. He is a very streaky player.  If he gets hot, he will shoot it well and shoot it with confidence.  But he also gets himself into Gary Williams’ doghouse because when he isn’t shooting well he seemingly disappears all together.  If Clemson does double-team Williams in the post, Tucker is the guy they should stick with on the perimeter.  Make Bowie, Mosley, Howard, and Stoglin knock down 3’s.  If we lose that way, I can live with that.  I just don’t want to lose by letting Williams and Tucker get theirs.

The Comcast Center in Maryland is a very tough place to play.  Generally, the crowd is very raucous.  A win at Maryland would be huge for Clemson and Coach Brownell. 

Statistically, this is how the two teams stack up against one another.