Preview: Maryland needs to embrace pace vs. Virginia

Preview: Maryland needs to embrace pace vs. Virginia
February 10, 2014, 10:15 am
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 10 February 2014

Time: 9 p.m.

Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.

Television: ESPNU

Spread: Virginia (-11)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

How’s this for some odds stacked against you? Second game in three days, this one coming on the road against a Top 25 team in a hostile environment and pushed back to a 9 p.m. start because of traffic created by a visit in the area by President Obama.

Oh, and you’re matching up against a team that allows the second fewest amount of points per game in the country. That is Maryland on Monday night against Virginia.

Preview it all below.

[RELATED: Turgeon has not “given up” on Roddy Peters]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland vs. “The Pace”

All hail the mighty pace. When you play Virginia, you’re not going to move very fast and you’re likely not going to score very much. The Cavaliers surrender just 55.6 point per game defensively, second only to Clemson nationally.

But it’s not just the pace that smothers you. The Cavaliers are efficient defensively, too, allowing just 0.867 points per possession. That ranks them third nationally.

For a team like Maryland that struggles with turnovers, there exists the possibility that this could get ugly. Less possessions in addition to a lot of turnovers amplifies the effect of said turnovers, which also give Virginia possession more often, which makes the game slower because the Terrapins will be unable to try to dictate any pace.

It’s all a cycle.

The one positive for Maryland? Their second time around against Pittsburgh and again against Miami, the Terrapins were able to score in the mid-to-upper 70s. Both of those teams prefer a slower pace.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Seth Allen, guard

In a game where Maryland can’t afford turnovers, it starts with Allen on the offensive end. Will he score somewhere in the 30-point range for a second straight game? Unlikely.

So what head coach Mark Turgeon would prefer is the Allen he saw against Virginia Tech, balanced scoring with distributing on his way to 16 points, seven assists, and just two turnovers.

[RELATED: Maryland commit scores 47 points in win]

VIRGINIA PLAYER TO WATCH

Joe Harris, guard

Harris’ scoring average is down five points this season, but that’s because he’s not forced to take as many shots as he did in the year prior. Still, though, he remains a versatile threat for Maryland on Monday night.

Expect Nick Faust to be stuck on Harris for much of the night, considering Faust’s athleticism and length will be able to do the most in the effort to slow him down.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Not only is this the second game in three days for Maryland, but it starts a stretch of three games against ranked opponents in the next four while simultaneously finishing a stretch of four road games out of the past five.

Exhausting.

Maryland is 2-1 through the four-in-five road stretch. If they can find a way to beat Virginia or Duke in the next two, Turgeon will take a 3-2 record as a success.