Maryland men must make a statement against Virginia Tech

February 15, 2011|By Matt Vensel

With their NCAA tournament window rapidly sliding shut, the Terps need a win over the Virginia Tech Hokies tonight to prevent it from slamming on their fingers.

The Terps are 0-8 against teams in the RPI top 50, and their signature win was a two-point home win over the 17-8 Clemson Tigers last month. No, that 54-win over Longwood doesn't count.

Maryland's most impressive performances came in losses against top-10 teams from Pittsburgh, Duke and Villanova. But moral victories don't count as much as actual victories when the selection committee sits down together and sifts through that huge stack of resumes.

The good news is the Terps have six more regular-season games and the conference tournament to stand out in the unspectacular ACC crowd. The bad news is they have little margin for error from here on out.

Tonight's game isn't quite a must-win, but the Terps should probably find a way to beat the 16-7 Hokies in Blacksburg just to be safe. A victory over Virginia Tech would pull Maryland into a four-way tie for fourth place in the ACC. It would also replace that Clemson win as the Terps' signature win.

To do it, the Terps must do whatever it takes to get the ball to Jordan Williams, who has scored 21 total points in his past two games, on pretty much every half-court possession. If there is anyone who can keep that NCAA tournament window wedged open, it's Williams.

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