Thursday, March 19, 2009

The First Round: Terps Take on California

10-seed Maryland is set to begin their NCAA Tournament with their first round match against 7-seed California today in Kansas City.

This will be a matchup of a lot of three-point shooting plus problematic front court play. Neither team has very good big men and rely on perimeter play for needed points.

They have one of the best three-point shooters in the country, Jerome Randle, who coming into this game is a 46.8% shooter beyond the arc. He is a 5'10'' guard who is speedy, and will be an interesting matchup with either Bowie or Vasquez. All the perimeter shooting will come from three people, Randle, Patrick Christopher (37.6%), and Theo Robertson (49.1%, 60 less shots than Randle), who combine for 408 of Cal's 468 three-point attempts this season. As a team they shoot 43.4%.

Their main big man is 6'8'' Jamal Boykin. If that name sounds familiar, it is because he is a Duke transfer. He averages nearly 9.6 points and 6.4 boards a contest. But like Maryland, they don't have many big men and do not rely on winning the boards.

So where does this leave the matchup? This game will be decided by the better perimeter defense. Both teams will expect big shooting from the other; Cal's trio of Randle, Christopher, and Robertson vs. Maryland's perimeter trio of Vasquez, Hayes, and Neal (yes, Neal). Teams hate to live and die by the three, but these teams are very similar in style of play.

Maryland fought hard to get here amist all the turmoil from critics and the media, but they are here now. Good luck to the Terrapins on Thursday.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

No comments: