Preview: Maryland faces Virginia in final ACC home game

Preview: Maryland faces Virginia in final ACC home game
March 9, 2014, 7:45 am
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(Associated Press)

VITALS

Date: 9 March 2014

Time: 12 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: CBS

Spread: Virginia (-3.5)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

Now 61 years later, it comes down to this for Maryland. The Terrapins face ACC rival Virginia on Sunday at Comcast Center in the program’s final game in that conference before moving to the Big Ten next season.

But for all the sentimentality and all the looks back that will come with it, the value in the game itself shouldn’t be lost. Maryland has a chance to get its first signature win of the season against the conference’s regular-season champions. That would help to boost a postseason resume that--barring a miraculous run in the ACC tournament--looks to have them bound for the NIT.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Terrapins unveil “61” display for final ACC game]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland’s Seth Allen vs. Virginia’s London Perrantes

Let’s start at the point guard position. We’re not sure if Seth Allen has reached the heights that Mark Turgeon spoke about the sophomore reaching during the preseason before his foot injury, but there’s no doubt that his return for ACC play has changed the complexion of the offense.

Perrantes’ performance, on the other hand, has been one of the most understated in the conference and perhaps the country, with a 3.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and the leader of a controlled and methodical Cavalier attack.

The question on Sunday will be which style wins out: the scorer, Allen, or the floor general, Perrantes.

For how good Virginia's defense is, the key for Allen and others will be taking good shots. Often the Terrapins are baited into quick three-pointers, which spur the opponent in transition. It starts with Allen when combatting that. His ball movement and shot selection will be integral to whether Maryland hangs with Virginia on Sunday.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Charles Mitchell, forward

Mitchell was sent to the locker room for part of the second half against Virginia Tech on Tuesday after exchanging words with assistant coach Scott Spinelli. Head coach Mark Turgeon decided not to discipline him further, allowing him to practice Friday and Saturday and keeping him active for Sunday’s game.

Turgon said on Saturday that Mitchell had “paid his dues” and “was embarrassed” by his actions on Tuesday.

His presence should give Maryland a boost on the interior. Over the past few weeks, no Terrapin has been more committed to rebounding than Mitchell. Despite some difficulties finishing around the rim, his intensity and emotion have been unmatched.

VIRGINIA PLAYER TO WATCH

Justin Anderson, guard

Way back when, Anderson was committed to Maryland. But following the retirement of head coach Gary Williams, Anderson flipped his commitment to Virginia and has now blossomed in his sophomore season.

In a role off the bench, Anderson is averaging 8.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. In the Cavaliers’ March 1 win over Syracuse, Anderson went for 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

What else? Maryland has planned festivities before Sunday’s game to commemorate the final ACC home game. There will be in-game reminders of the circumstances and a sellout crowd at Comcast Center.

Turgeon has kept the narrative focused on his team’s desire to win, for the most part, after acknowledging his gratefulness as being able to participate in such a game. Maryland still lacks a signature win. As it tries to solidify its NIT resume, this could be the one.

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