By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPN. Home Record: UM 13-3, UNC 16-1. Away Record: UM 1-7, UNC 7-2. Neutral Record: UM 2-2, UNC 2-1. Conference Record: UM 6-8, UNC 12-2. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 116-57.
GAME NOTES: The sixth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will attempt to build their case to earn a top seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament as they host the Maryland Terrapins for an Atlantic Coast Conference tilt at the Dean Smith Center.
UNC downed the Terrapins, 83-74, in the first encounter between these squads of the season on Feb. 4th in College Park. The Tar Heels have a two-game winning streak against Maryland and lead the all-time series 116-57 coming into tonight.
Mark Turgeon has compiled a 16-12 overall record so far in his first year at Maryland, which has the team on pace to string together its 19th winning season in a row. The Terps had a disappointing performance its last time out as it was dealt a 63-61 setback by Georgia Tech on Saturday. Maryland's stumble against the Yellow Jackets was came after it shot just 34.5 percent from the floor in the contest. The Terrapins are now 1-7 on the road this season and positioned in 8th place in the ACC standings with a 6-8 league record.
Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin gives opponents a reason to "Fear the Turtle", as he is leading the ACC and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring with 21.2 ppg on 45.2 percent shooting from the floor. Stoglin is only 30 points away from becoming just the third player in Maryland's storied history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau in two seasons. Senior guard Sean Mosley is second on the team with 10.4 ppg, while forward James Padgett adds 9.0 points and 5.7 boards per game. Freshman Alex Len has shown potential to be a fixture inside for the Terps as he has blocked 2.2 shots per game this season.
Roy Williams has guided his team inside the top 10 once again as UNC comes in with an imposing 25-4 overall record. The Tar Heels have won their last five games in a row and with a win tonight, will have a chance to capture the ACC regular season title as they square off with Duke in a winner-take-all finale on Saturday. UNC trails Duke by half a game in the league standings coming into tonight. The Tar Heels have dominated their opponents this season and enter with the third-best scoring offense in the nation with an average of 81.9 points per game. UNC's average of 45.9 rebounds per game is leading the country.
Harrison Barnes is second in the ACC in scoring with an average of 17.7 ppg while senior Tyler Zeller is providing 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Although Zeller is third in league in rebounding, he is second on his team as John Henson is grabbing an ACC-best 10.4 boards per game. Kendall Marshall has established himself as one of the top distributors in the nation this season as he is second in the NCAA in assists with 9.7 per game. Marshall has dished out 281 assists this season, which leaves him four shy of breaking Ed Cota's existing single season record of 284. Marshall needs 23 assists to break Craig Neal's ACC record which has stood since 1988.
Having a player like Stoglin gives Maryland a fighter's chance. The sophomore sensation will have to deliver one of the best performances of his career to led the Terps to an upset in this one. UNC's dominating front line which is orbited by Barnes and Marshall's talented play has given Williams a very good chance at yet another NCAA Championship. Expect Zeller to be especially aggressive inside as the senior plays at the Dean Smith Center for the last time in his career.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 86, Maryland 75
02/29 10:40:05 ET
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