Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tourney Preview: (6) Maryland vs. (11) Boston College

The tables below might not show up in an RSS reader; if all you see is text, either click back to the blog to see them, or click here to see the source spreadsheet.

The nightcap features the biggest mismatch of the day according to the oracle of TAPE. Maryland is slightly worse than average both offensively and defensively, scoring 1.034 and allowing 1.054 points per possession in conference play, while Boston College is just about dead average offensively (1.046 PPP) and horrible on the defensive side (1.114). The Eagles won the first meeting 81-78 (72 possessions) way back in the very first conference game of the year on December 9 in College Park, mostly thanks to BC attempting 41 free throws to Maryland's 17. Maryland evidently learned the lesson that it's hard to win when you send the opponent to the charity stripe on 27.4% of their possessions, as the Terps won the return game 70-65 (59 possessions) on February 6.

Looking at the numbers, it's apparent that while Maryland is definitely the better team, it's mostly due to being significantly better in just one area: making two-point baskets (and keeping the opponent from doing same, so I guess maybe that's two areas). BC's defense is completely reliant on a shotblocker cleaning up drives to the basket, and when they're not getting that (read: when Tyrelle Blair is either out of the game or otherwise occupied) things get ugly. Maryland's flex offense gets them better looks at two-point baskets than any team in the league. When strength meets weakness, things rarely go well for the weaker team. That said, a gameplan designed to take away the deuce might just leave the door open for an Eagle upset.

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