Tony Bennett's squad is back home after a fruitless two-game road swing in which the Cavs dropped decisions at North Carolina (70-52) and then Clemson (60-48). The consecutive losses have dropped Virginia to a modest 6-5 in ACC play, despite sporting a solid 19-6 overall mark. The Cavalier are seeking their first 20-win campaign since the 2006-07 season.
Mark Turgeon's first season in College Park has come with mixed reviews thus far. The Terrapins are five games over .500 overall, but one game under the mark in league play. Maryland was able to earn a win earlier this week with an 81-65 victory over Boston College.
The Terrapins hold a 106-69 series advantage, although the two teams split a pair of meetings last season.
As a team, Maryland has struggled to produce on a regular basis at the offensive end, averaging just 69.2 ppg on a modest .434 shooting. It is a bit strange, considering the team boasts the ACC's top point producer in sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin, who ranks seventh nationally at 21.7 ppg. The problem is a lack of scoring depth behind Stoglin, as backcourt partner Sean Mosely represents the only legitimate complement at 10.3 ppg.
Stoglin was at it once again in Maryland's recent win over Boston College, as he knocked down five three-pointers, went 9-of-16 from the floor and finished with a game-high 24 points. Three others added double figures in a balanced effort. James Padgett tallied 15 points, followed by Nick Faust and Mosley at 14 and 13 points, respectively. Maryland converted 50 percent of its shots in the game overall as well as from three-point range (8-of-16).
The Cavaliers have even less offensive punch, but that really hasn't been a problem, since the team plays some of the best defense in the country. Virginia ranks second nationally in scoring defense (52.2 ppg), allowing foes a mere .392 from the floor, including just .273 from behind the arc. Veteran Mike Scott is the go-to-guy for the team and is one of the ACC's top frontcourt players, averaging 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, while converting nearly 60 percent of his shots (.596). A trio of guards follow in the scoring column in Joe Harris (12.0 ppg), Sammy Zeglinski (8.0 ppg) and Jontel Evans (6.9 ppg, 3.7 apg).
In the 12-point loss at Clemson on Tuesday, Evans led the way with 17 points. Scott was 6-of-11 from the floor and tallied 13 points and eight rebounds. Despite the Cavaliers shooting a healthy .500 from the floor overall, the team was an ugly 3-of-16 from behind the arc (.188) and made it to the free-throw line just once.