Virginia Tech is coming off its most dominating performance of the season. It has a quick turnaround against Maryland, a team the Hokies were able to handle easily a month ago.
When the two met in College Park, the Hokies (16-7, 6-4 ACC) were able to contain Maryland center Jordan Williams (11 points, 11 rebounds) and enjoyed a career game from Erick Green (24 points, four assists) in a 74-57 win.
The Hokies are going to need another collective defensive effort if they want to come away with another win.
Maryland (16-9, 5-5 ACC) hasn’t been able to beat elite competition this season, but still prove to be a dangerous on any given night.
Williams has been a force inside for Maryland and his team’s success rides on his performance. The center is a lock to record a double-double any night. Although Williams has dominated the paint all season, he may not be the player with the largest spotlight Tuesday night.
Jeff Allen is in the midst of five straight double-doubles. Over the streak, Allen is averaging 20.2 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.
Like Williams, Allen struggled the last time the two teams met. He was only able to score seven points and grab 10 rebounds. Allen was relied on more to stop Williams than score to points. He and Victor Davila will have their hands full again if the Hokies wish to contain Williams.
Davila has had his ups-and-downs this season, but he has done a great job at not turning the ball over and taking high-percentage shots.
It isn’t the front court that will be the difference in Tuesday night’s game. Virginia Tech’s backcourt appears to be back on track with the sharp-shooting of Malcolm Delaney and confident decision making of Green.
Green was not expected to contribute much with the experienced backcourt of Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson. But after Hudson was shelved for the rest of the season and Delaney struggled to get good shots with defenses pressuring him more with the basketball, Green was able to fill the void and possibly elevate the production of the backcourt.
Seth Greenburg has shown his confidence in the sophomore point guard and Green has responded well. Green’s best asset is the fact that he doesn’t dwell on the past. He rarely has a game to forget, but when he does, he has been able to bounce back with strong games.
The Virginia Tech backcourt needs to exploit a weaker Maryland backcourt to take control of the game. Maryland has the ability to go deeper on its bench, but no one on the roster can match up with Delaney and Green. Adrian Bowie, Terrell Stoglin and Sean Mosley will have the task of slowing down Virginia Tech’s backcourt and limit easy transition baskets.
With the season coming to a close, Virginia Tech is looking for a win any way it can. Maryland’s RPI ranking of 85 suggests this isn’t a big game, but a loss for Virginia Tech could be devastating.
A loss would drop Virginia Tech from a comfortable fourth place in the ACC to an ugly four-way tie at fifth place. A loss would surely be the last red mark on their NCAA resume. Virginia Tech’s lack of victories over elite NCAA teams means the Hokies must continue to beat teams they are supposed to beat on their schedule.