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Big 10/ACC Challenge Preview: #4 Virginia vs #24 Maryland Preview

#4 Virginia vs #24 Maryland Preview
Photo credit to Darryl Morsell via Twitter

College Basketball

Big 10/ACC Challenge Preview: #4 Virginia vs #24 Maryland Preview

  • Matchup: #4 Virginia Cavaliers (6-0, 0-0) vs. #24 Maryland Terrapins (6-0, 0-0)
  • Date: Nov. 28, 2018
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. (est)
  • Network: ESPN
  • Location: College Park, Maryland
  • Venue: Xfinity Center
  • Seating Capacity: 17,950

In a battle of unbeaten teams, the Virginia Cavaliers face the Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday.

The Terps have yet to play in any high-profile tournament or against ranked opponents so far but did obtained an impressive win over Marshall last Friday. The win over the Thundering Herd resonated among many Associated Press (AP) Top 25 voters which ranked Maryland for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers started the season ranked at #5 overall. Since Week 2, Virginia has maintained their #4 ranking. Nonetheless, the Cavaliers are coming off a 53-46 win against #25 Wisconsin on Friday in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game.

The Terps and Cavaliers will resume their old ACC rivalry as they meet for the second time in interconference challenge since switching to the Big Ten in 2014.

#4 Virginia

Virginia’s win over #25 Wisconsin on Friday crowned them the champions of the Battle 4 Atlantis championship tournament. The game featured two defensive and similar in style-of-play teams, with plenty of clock-melting stretches while reducing the number of possessions. Nonetheless, sophomore De’Andre Hunter contributed with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting which placed him as the tournament’s MVP. Additionally, this was his third 20-points game this season.

However, the Badgers’ most dynamic player, Ethan Happ, finished the night with 22 points on 11-for-19 shooting. Happ was perhaps the most difficult player to guard by the Cavaliers. The 6-10 senior’s ability to pass accurately and to score in the post made things even more difficult. However, he had six of the Badgers’ 13 turnover which all went to the advantage of UVA.

The Badgers got as close as five on four separate occasions in the second half but were unable to overtake Tony Bennett men’s defensive performance.

#24 Maryland

After showing its best version of itself against Marshall, Maryland is poised for a huge win over long-time rivals Virginia. They have gone as far as hash-tagging the match #BlackoutUVA. Perhaps in efforts to recall the shocking upset by UMBC last season that saw the Golden Retrievers defeat the Cavaliers in a first-ever #16 over a #1 upset in the NCAA tournament.

Maryland fans have been known to not only be passionate but vociferous.

However, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon will have to break out the pressure defense against Virginia as mentioned by Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams on his weekly podcast. Williams suggests that if there is ever an opportunity to surprise a team, this is the right time. The 73-year-old coach spent the month of October helping Turgeon implement his patented 2-2-1 fullcourt press during practice. He also pointed out that Dayton successfully used the three-quarter court press against UVA that resulted in a close win by the Cavaliers.

Despite their huge win against Marshall, the Terps will have play a much better defensive game against Virginia. Against Marshall, Jannson Williams score eight unanswered points to make the game 34-32 with 5:24 left to play in the first half.

Nonetheless, Anthony Cowan and Bruno Fernando will have to also duplicate their performance. Against Marshall, the duo scored 26 and 18 points, respectively. Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell also followed with ten points and five boards each. Eric Ayala didn’t stay behind with 20 points and four rebounds of his own.

Prediction

Perhaps the biggest opponent yet for Maryland this season and the second for Virginia after having faced Wisconsin last Friday. Turgeon is 1-6 against Bennett, with the sole win coming at home in the Terp’s final ACC game. Despite Maryland having five players with 10+ points per game, Virginia is shooting 40% from beyond the arc, which could pose a problem for the Terps. Additionally, the Cavaliers have one seven of the last eight meetings between the programs and are 7-6 all-time at Xfinity Center. However, the Terps lead the all-time series with Virginia at 107-75. The Terps will continue rolling on and give Virginia their first loss of the season.

Virginia: 61

Maryland: 69

 

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Photo credit to Darryl Morsell via Twitter

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