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Vasquez, One Last Time

The ACC's middle tier, three through eight, remains tough to sort, but one thing is clear: Duke and Maryland are the class of this league both offensively and in general.  Duke is Duke, separating itself as it usually does--with excellent play at both ends.  While the Terps have been plenty solid defensively, it's the offense that is largely responsible for their renewed success in conference play.  In a season that's seen offense decline across the board, Maryland has been the surprising exception, making huge strides in terms of both shooting percentage and offensive rebounding.

UMD Offense In ACC Play OFF_EFF (rk) eFG% 2FG% 3FG% TO% OR% FTR
2009 99.1 (10) 46.2 (11) 45.4 32.2 (11) 17.6 (2) 31.6 (12) 25.2 (12)
2010 108.9 (2) 51.4 (1) 47.4 (3) 43.0 (1) 19.1 (5) 37.2 (6) 31.3 (12)

(Note: the table is going to be cut off unless you click through to the permalink of this post, or switch your view setting to wide.)

Last year's Terps weren't diverse enough to support their frequently poor shooting efforts.  This season they're doing several things well, with good shooting to boot.   Maryland is the only team shooting above 50% in conference play (Georgia Tech is a distant second at 48.4%), they continue to take care of the basketball, and they're grabbing a lot more of their own misses.  All of these strengths were on obvious display in the Terps' first meeting with NC State.

Maryland's fortunes are, as always, tied to Greivis Vasquez, who's never had a bigger workload and never been better.  For the first time in his career, he is a consistent threat from outside and a major reason why the Terps have become the league's deadliest three-point shooting team. 

Last time out, Vasquez didn't really kill the Pack, at least not in the first half, but he had plenty of help all afternoon; Maryland averaged more than 1.3 points per possession.  It's not going to take much for NC State to improve on that, but I don't think there's any way the Pack can slow Maryland down enough to win the game.

The Pomeroy Predictor likes the Terps by 7.  (I've been doubling those predictions in my head in order to account for our DOAness.  You should too.)