The Tar Heels play Maryland tonight in College Park where the Terps are desperately in need of a victory or you can all but banish their NCAA hopes away. The Tar Heels won the last meeting in Chapel Hill 62-52 behind a 24 point performance by Reggie Bullock. Both teams are vastly different than the first time around and in order for UNC to win their six game in a row in the ACC they will need to win several key components to the game.
One: PJ Hairston was 1-8 in the last meeting and with the Tar Heels new line up the newest post defender will have to be more efficient on the offensive end of the floor. Hairston will match up most likely on Shaquille Cleare who is not a big offensive threat to score. This could help his offense by not exerting too much energy on the defensive end of the floor.
Two: Alex Len was not a factor in the previous match up and the 7-1 center has averaged just over 12 points per game rebounding is the area where James Michael McAdoo will need to do a great job limiting his effectiveness. He only grabbed five rebounds in Chapel Hill and will be looking to bounce back with a big performance facing JMM.
Three: Dez Wells is the Maryland player that when hot can score in bunches. He went 8-11 in Chapel Hill for 21 points, but over his last five games he either plays big or is non existent in the scoring column. If the Tar Heels can limit second chance opportunities it decreases the Terrapin offense significantly. Keeping Wells out of the paint on dribble penetration will be an story line within the game to focus. Dexter Strickland is back to his old self defensively, but with the line up Roy is using Bullock could get the cover on Wells.
Four: Duke's students get the most publicity for being a raucous crowd however Maryland may be the worst place to visit as an opposing player. It is a surly environment and since they cancelled classes today in College Park the pre-game festivities could already be started. The last thing anyone needs is more time for Maryland fans to prepare.