Virginia Tech (9-4) at Maryland (12-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Comcast Center (17,950) -- College Park, Maryland. Television: ACCN. Home Record: Virginia Tech 7-1, Maryland 10-0. Away Record: Virginia Tech 1-1, Maryland 1-0. Neutral Record: Virginia Tech 1-2, Maryland 1-1. Conference Record: Virginia Tech 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Series Record: Maryland leads, 28-10.
GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins and Virginia Tech Hokies open up ACC play on Saturday, as the two teams collide at the Comcast Center in College Park.
The Terrapins dropped their season-opener to defending national champion Kentucky, but haven't lost since. The team won its 12th straight game with Tuesday's 81-63 blasting of IUPUI and its 12-1 record is its best entering league play since the 1998-99 campaign.
James Johnson has gotten off on solid footing in his first season in Blacksburg. The Hokies opened the year with seven straight wins, but have hit a wall of late, with two straight losses and four in the last six outings overall. The last time Tech was on the hardwood it was dealt a humbling 97-71 loss to BYU in Salt Lake City.
Maryland holds a 28-10 lead in the series with Virginia Tech and won the only meeting between the teams last year, 73-69 in College Park.
Virginia Tech was manhandled on the boards against BYU, suffering a 48-39 disadvantage in rebounding, leading to a lopsided loss. Jarell Eddie led the team in defeat with 17 points. Robert Brown finished with 13 points, while Erick Green added 12. Tech never had a lead in the game and was down by 25 at the break (56-31).
Green, who was just 4-of-17 from the floor against BYU, has been much more efficient on the season, converting 49.3 percent from the floor, while ranking second in the nation in scoring at 24.4 ppg. Green also finds the time to get teammates involved, leading the team with 4.6 apg. Eddie is a distant second at 14.8 ppg and leads the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg). Brown is the only other double-figure scorer at 10.6 ppg. Finding other reliable options at the offensive end has not been easy, as no other player on the team is averaging more than 6.9 ppg.
Maryland has the ability to win games at either end of the floor, boasting of a +17.2 scoring margin. The team has been highly effective at the offensive end, shooting 50.3 percent from the floor (ninth nationally) and putting up 76.5 ppg. The Terrapins don't have the kind of dynamic scorer that Virginia Tech has in Green, but the team does make the most of its trips down the floor. Alex Len leads the team in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) and is converting 58.1 percent of his shots. Dez Wells is a close second in scoring (12.3 ppg) and is also shooting at a high rate (.571). Nick Faust (9.8 ppg) and James Padgett (7.5 ppg, .654 field-goal percentage) give the team some options.
Freshman guard Seth Allen led the team in the win over IUPUI last time out, netting 13 points. Logan Aronhalt added 10 points off the bench, as Maryland knocked down a scorching 54.7 percent of its shots. The play of the bench was vital in the lopsided win, as Maryland's bench outscored IUPUI's bench 43-2 in the game, including 22-0 in the first half.
Green isn't likely to have two sub-par games in a row. That being said, Maryland is playing well at both ends and with the homecourt advantage, should be able to open league play with a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 73, Virginia Tech 62
01/05 10:30:44 ET