Preview: Maryland hosts Virginia Tech at Comcast Center

Preview: Maryland hosts Virginia Tech at Comcast Center
March 4, 2014, 7:30 am
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Maryland honors Alyssa Thomas

(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 4 March 2014

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: ESPN3

Spread: Maryland (-3.5)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

Following “another tough loss” to Clemson, as head coach Mark Turgeon put it, Maryland returns home to face a Virginia Tech team that is 2-14 in conference play. The window for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is all but closed, but the Terrapins have not yet fully turned their sights to the ACC tournament, seemingly their last hope for a bid.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Turgeon's additional plan for Peters takes back seat]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland’s interior vs. Virginia Tech rebounders

The Hokies don’t shoot a high percentage. They don’t score a lot of points. But they rebound the basketball. Virginia Tech ranks 58th in the country in total rebounds per game, including 24th in defensive rebounding.

That means second-chance opportunities will be scarce unless Maryland works for them, which they did in grabbing 14 during their last matchup. A solid shooting percentage in hand with an assertiveness on the glass should help the Terrapins to a win on Monday.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Seth Allen, guard

Allen had one of his most well-rounded nights of the season the last time these two teams played, scoring 16 points while adding five rebounds, seven assists, and just two turnovers. The key for Allen were those assists, which made the offense more fluid and helped three other players besides himself reach double figures.

He will need to find that balance on Tuesday, as well. Virginia Tech is a team that Maryland should beat handily, as it did in Blacksburg earlier this year. But a stagnant offense that plays down to the Hokies’ pace will mean trouble.

The responsibility falls to Allen, the starter at the point, to ensure that doesn’t happen.

VIRGINIA TECH PLAYER TO WATCH

Jarell Eddie, forward

Part of the reason Maryland was able to hop on Virginia Tech in the team’s first meeting was because Eddie struggled. He was 0-of-9 from the field, including 0-of-5 from three-point range, and went to the line just four times.

Maryland’s ability to keep him outside and force him into jumpshots is something they haven’t been able to do with the centerpieces of opponents’ offenses very much this season. They’ll need to do the same on Monday. Without Eddie producing, the rest of the Hokies will struggle, too.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

After long stretches without a game both before and after its home loss to Syracuse, Maryland is now forced to play Virginia Tech with just one day of rest after their double-overtime contest against Clemson.

“We’ll see how tough we are mentally,” Turgeon said in a conference call with the media on Monday. “It was the strangest year. We had a lot of time off and we haven’t handled time off very well this season.”

Will we see a fatigued team, which conventional wisdom would seem to predict, or will we see what Turgeon said he expects tomorrow? He believes the quick turnaround won’t allow rust to build on his team, thus allowing them to get off the block more quickly on Tuesday night.