The matchups

NCAA Tournament

March 24, 2001|By Christian Ewell

The matchups

Point guard

Michael McDonald vs. Steve Blake: Both are similar in that neither is from the penetrate-and-dish school of playmaking. The difference is that Blake, with 236 assists on the season, still manages to create scoring opportunities for his teammates more so than McDonald, whose main attributes are his long-range shooting (.515 field-goal percentage on three-pointers) and senior leadership. With longer arms and a height advantage, Blake is the better defender, and he has 56 steals on the season. Edge: Maryland.

Shooting guard

Casey Jacobsen vs. Juan Dixon: As evidenced by the amount of attention opponents pay to him at the expense of interior defense, Jacobsen is considered the most dangerous offensive player Stanford has. He lights it up anyway, using his 6-6, 210-pound frame to muscle past often smaller defenders. Dixon is smaller (at 6-3, 165), but he has a nose for the ball, demonstrated by his team-leading 91 steals (nearly 2.7 per game.) He is also an offensive threat. Edge: Stanford.

Small forward

Ryan Mendez vs. Byron Mouton: Mendez likes to shoot from the outside, cranking 116 three-point attempts on the season - more than any Terp except Dixon - usually getting the ball kicked out from a double-teamed Jason or Jarron Collins. Mouton is the more efficient player of the two, with the ability to play two or three positions on defense and slash to the basket on offense with more effectiveness than Mendez, though the latter will get to the line, where he is virtually automatic. Edge: Maryland.

Power forward

Jarron Collins vs. Terence Morris: If Morris always played the way his raw talent suggests, sizing up this matchup would be easy. Morris still averages 12.3 points per game, and his long arms and 6-9 stature have led to 78 blocks on the season. However, Morris is often liable to disappear, as he did against Georgetown on Thursday. With Collins, whose inside-outside skills aren't far from Morris' talent, you can be a little more confident of what you're going to get. Edge: Stanford.

Center

Jason Collins vs. Lonny Baxter: Shooting 62 percent overall and 48 percent from three-point range, Collins can make baskets inside or outside, and he had an uncharacteristic five blocks in the win over Cincinnati. Four inches shorter, Baxter's main attribute will be the hustle that carried him through against Georgetown, but his job will be difficult because of his team's added priority of guarding swingmen who shoot a lot better than the Hoyas. Edge: Stanford.

Reserves

In Tahj Holden, Mike Mardesich and Chris Wilcox, the Terps have three backups they can rotate in if Morris or Baxter gets in trouble. Danny Miller can come in for Dixon, Morris or Mouton, and Drew Nicholas hasn't been bad, either. Few benches in the country are better than this one. For Stanford, power forward Justin Davis is coming off an ankle injury, and Montgomery's reluctance to use him has been a subplot of Stanford's tournament run. That leaves Teyo Johnson to help the Collins twins if they get into trouble, while Julius Barnes and Tony Giovacchini fill in if Jacobsen or McDonald has to sit. Edge: Maryland.

Coaches

The records would suggest that Montgomery has done a better job of getting his team motivated/prepared/possessed on a regular basis than Williams. Still, Williams has had his team playing well throughout the past two months. Historically, neither has done particularly well with high-expectation teams in March. Edge: Push.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.