Maryland (14-3) at North Carolina (11-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Smith Center (21,750) -- Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Television: ESPN. Home Record: UMD 12-1, UNC 7-1. Away Record: UMD 1-1, UNC 2-3. Neutral Record: UMD 1-1, UNC 2-1. Conference Record: UMD 2-2, UNC 1-2. Series Record: North Carolina leads, 118-57.
GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins will try to find some rhythm on the offensive end as they tangle with the North Carolina Tar Heels in an Atlantic Coast Conference tilt at the Smith Center.
The Terrapins shot under 40 percent for the third consecutive outing on Wednesday, but they still managed to knock off the No. 14 NC State Wolfpack, 52-51, after a last second putback by sophomore center Alex Len. The decision improved Maryland to a 14-3 overall record and a 2-2 standing in the conference. Coach Mark Turgeon's team had a 13-game winning streak snapped as it dropped consecutive contests to Florida State and Miami-Florida prior to downing the Wolfpack. Despite the recent offensive slump, the Terps are still ranked fifth in the ACC in scoring (73.4) and have been steady on the other end with only 59.5 points allowed per game.
Len has been a big part of Maryland's success this season. The 7-foot-1 Ukrainian center is pacing the team with 13.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game after scoring in double-figures in all four of the Terps' league games. Dez Wells has been made a substantial contribution in his first season in College Park. The Xavier transfer is second on the squad with 11.7 ppg. Wells was held to four points on 2-of-10 shooting from the floor by NC State, but he was not the only one to struggle as Maryland shot 34.4 percent from the field including a 3-of-18 mark from beyond the arc versus the Wolfpack.
The Terps will need to step it up on the offensive end as they get set to take on UNC. The Tar Heels own a sizeable 118-57 all-time series lead after winning 10 of the last 14 encounters, including the last four meetings.
Roy Williams's Tar Heels notched their first ACC win after two unsuccessful attempts last Saturday when they defeated Florida State, 77-72, on the road. UNC ended its own shooting slump in the contest and rose to an 11-5 overall record. It is one of the top teams in the nation ranking in the top 10 in points (79.7), rebounds (43.2) and assists (18.3), but defensively North Carolina is second to last in the ACC with an allowed average of 69.4 ppg.
The Tar Heels are led by the trio of James Michael McAdoo, Reggie Bullock, and P.J. Hairston. McAdoo's sophomore season has not been quite as spectacular as projected, but the talented forward is still providing team-bests of 14.4 points and 8.1 boards per tilt. Bullock (13.5 ppg, 3.3 apg) and Hairston (12.3 ppg) are both carrying double-digit scoring averages as well while the point guard rotation of freshman Marcus Paige and senior Dexter Strickland deals out a combined average of 8.2 assists a game. Hairston was the hero against FSU as he provided a huge spark off the bench with 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. The Tar Heels connected on 48.3 percent of their field goal tries including 8-of-20 from distance in the contest.
The Tar Heels will struggle to light up the scoreboard as easily against Maryland, but they should be well rested after having the past week to recover. The Terps are clearly going to be a tough out throughout their ACC slate, but keeping up the intensity after a close call on Wednesday will be tough to do in Chapel Hill.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Carolina 70, Maryland 66
01/19 10:56:21 ET