Maryland team capsule
COACH: Gary Williams, 21 years at Maryland, 14 years in NCAA Tournament
HOW THEY GOT IN: At-large bid
MATCHUP BREAKDOWN: One of the more intriguing backcourt matches in the early rounds of the tournament will pit Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez (19.5 points per game) against Houston’s Aubrey Coleman, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.6 per game. The difference may be that if Houston gangs up on Vasquez, the Maryland star has the option of passing off to 3-point ace Eric Hayes in the backcourt. Maryland also looks to be in equal footing inside, where the Terps are most vulnerable, as Houston lost the boards by an average of 8.1 rebounds a game on the season.
GO-TO GUYS: There’s no question the Terrapins’ success revolves around senior G Greivis Vasquez. He leads them in scoring (nearly 20 points per game), assists (190) and steals (47) and was third on the team in rebounding in the regular season with an average of 4.6 a game. He beat out Duke’s Jon Scheyer for Player of the Year honors in voting by the ACC media. Senior F Landon Milbourne has been in a bit of a scoring slump recently but finished with a 12.4-point average. Senior Eric Hayes is a 40-percent 3-point shooter for his career but upped that to 45 percent in the regular season. Freshman Jordan Williams adds muscle inside.
THEY’LL KEEP WINNING IF: Vasquez controls the game. Sometimes he can try to do too much — his 100 turnovers in the regular season were more than twice any other Terp — but when he plays under control, he can take the Terps a long way. Williams emerged as a powerful force inside down the stretch and was in double figures in rebounds in five of his last seven games. Hayes and Vasquez also have developed a complementary relationship in the backcourt, with Vasquez getting the ball to Hayes for an open 3-pointer when the perimeter defense gangs up on him.
STRENGTHS: As the Player of the Year in the conference, Vasquez presents a major matchup problem for opposing defenders. He helped make the Terps the highest-scoring team in the league (79.8 points in all games, 77.9 in conference play). The Terps also shot 46.2 percent against ACC foes and 47.5 percent overall, which ranked them in the top 25 in the nation. The Terps held opponents to under 39 percent shooting in the regular season and were plus-3.13 in turnover margin. Their assist-to-turnover ratio (1.40) was tied for 11th in the country in the regular season.
WEAKNESSES: The Terps shot under 40 percent only three times all season but lost on all three occasions. More crucial is their performance on the boards. Though on the plus-side for the regular season (0.8 per game), they were outrebounded by nearly one a game in 16 ACC contests, and they lost the battle of the boards in eight of their last 11 games. Vasquez holds the key. In Maryland’s last two losses over the last 11 games of the regular season, he scored a total of only 27 points. In the nine wins, he averaged 24.7 per.