Nick Faust attempts a shot in the first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their first round game of 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena.
If your first encounter with Maryland was today's NCAA Tournament game, you might find yourself pretty worried about UNC's opening opponent tomorrow. The eighth-seeded Terps ran the ninth-seeded Demon Deacons out of the building in a 22-point romp. Terrell Stoglin had a great game, with 25 points, 7 rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Nick Faust added a career-high 19 points. In addition, the narrative has already been set; Stoglin is irked about being passed over for first team All-ACC, and has a trio of UNC players upon which to have his revenge.
Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen Maryland. UNC has played the Terps twice already this season, winning by nine in College Park and the ridiculous margin of twenty-four in Chapel Hill. They did it mainly by forcing Maryland to take bad shots, and miss, keeping them to 41% or less from the field. They also push Stoglin to take bad shots – he's only hit 3 of his 17 threes against the Heels – and draw a lot of fouls, much to Maryland fans' chagrin.
But what it comes right down to, and this is what the Wake Forest game masked with their own horrible play, is that Maryland's defense is really poor. Of course, UNC is more than capable of missing shots without the defense's help, but they've had a couple of good shooting games of late (against Duke and N.C. State) and this team seems to finally be settling into a rhythm. We'll see how the week off treated UNC, and whether they can continue to pay at the level they did in the Duke game. Maryland shouldn't be a problem either, but the Heels have played to the level of their competition way too often this season. Now that we're in the tournaments, that needs to stop.