Coming off perhaps their best performance of the season, Maryland looks to win their first road game of the ACC schedule Thursday night against Virginia Tech.
Last Saturday the Terps throttled Wake Forest 86-60 in College Park, a win Maryland needed after suffering two straight defeats on the road. The victory over Wake got Maryland to 16-6 and within one win of .500 in conference play at 4-5.
Going to Blacksburg has historically been tough for Maryland, but the Terps need to beat a struggling Hokies team to have a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. Virginia Tech (11-10, 2-6) comes into the Terps game having lost four straight.
Despite the ugly record, the Hokies haven’t bailed on the season yet. In their last game, Virginia Tech took North Carolina to overtime in Chapel Hill, but the Hokies didn’t have enough to when in the extra frame, falling 72-60.
Virginia Tech guard Erick Green is an elite scorer that averages 25 points per game. He has the skill and talent to keep the Hokies in the game against most opponents.
In January, Green dropped 28 on Maryland, but the Terps still soundly beat the Hokies. In that game, Maryland scored 94 points and dominated throughout. Terps coach Mark Turgeon knows Green will score, but Maryland may again focus on shutting down the other Hokies options.
In the January win over Virginia Tech, Maryland got balanced scoring and controlled the glass. The Terps followed a similar pattern against Wake Forest last week.
Vegas believes the Terps to be four points better than Virginia Tech, but regardless of the odds Maryland needs to be careful going into the matchup. Terps sophomore Nick Faust will start at point guard, and while lately he seems capable in the role, Faust and the other Maryland players often get sloppy with ball.
Turnovers allow any team to stay within striking distance, and a rowdy Blacksburg crowd will be looking for any reason to get excited. Maryland would be well served to get out to an early lead in this one.
The Terps also need to beware of looking ahead to Sunday’s game against Virginia. The Cavaliers were a chic NCAA Tournament sleeper just a week ago, prior to a bad loss against Georgia Tech, but Maryland needs to remain focused on the Hokies.