Maryland Terrapins vs. North Carolina Tarheels Preview and Pick

Maryland Terrapins (14-7) +21.5 at No. 3 North Carolina Tarheels (19-2) -21.5
Dean Dome, Chapel Hill, N.C., 8:00PM Eastern, Tuesday

By Jay Horne of Predictem.com

The No. 3 North Carolina Tarheels jumped up in the rankings this week after two top 5 ACC schools Duke and Wake Forest both received losses last week. The Tarheels still trail the Duke Blue Devils by one game in the ACC and they will be big favorites when they host the Maryland Terrapins on Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. North Carolina has knocked off 5 straight wins and they will look to continue the streak as they have the huge rivalry clash with Duke on the horizon one week away from Tuesday. Maryland will be attempting to play the spoiler role just as they did one year ago when they knocked the Tarheels off the number 1 ranking in America after a close 82-80 upset in Chapel Hill. Maryland will once again be trying to knock off a highly rated North Carolina unit on Tuesday night.

Maryland is a team that is having a down year compared to their prestigious hoops reputation. The Terrapins have commonly been one of the better teams in the ACC for much of the last decade. However, the Terrapins have struggled tremendously since they started conference play losing 4 out of the last 6 games. Maryland holds a disappointing 3-4 mark in the ACC this season and was completely blown out by Duke 85-44 in one of the biggest losses in recent memory a little more than a week ago. However, Maryland did respond on Saturday by closing the deal on a solid win over Miami 73-68. Maryland has had a tough time keeping opponents off the glass as they rank as one of the worse schools in the nation in rebounding allowing 36 boards per contest. That does not fair well for the Terrapins as they will be matching up against the best rebounding team in America on Tuesday night.

North Carolina has dominated the inside this year averaging an NCAA best 43 rebounds per contest. The Tarheels sport one of the most talented lineups in all of basketball with 6 players averaging 10 points or more. Former Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough had one of the lowest scoring nights of his career last Wednesday against Florida State when the star forward was held to a season low 8 points. However, Hansbrough responded nicely last weekend posting a team high 31 points in the Tarheels big win over North Carolina State 93-76. The starting lineup for North Carolina combined for an insane 83 points in the contest and showed why they are Americas number 2 ranked scoring offense as they pose dynamic weapons all over the floor.

Vegas opened the betting line favoring the No. 3 ranked North Carolina Tarheels by 21.5 points. Interestingly 3 of the last 6 games have been decided by a single basket while 2 of those 6 meetings were decided by more than a 21.5 point margin.

Maryland is only averaging 71.5 points per game this season. While that may not sound bad it has not got the job done in the strong scoring conference of the ACC. The real statistic that has haunted Maryland is the poor shooting as they have shot 41% from the floor as a team that ranks toward the very bottom of the nation. Greivis Vasquez leads the Terrapin scoring with 16.1 points per game along with 6 boards including an 11 point, 10 rebound double-double against Miami. Landon Milbourne aids Vasquez for the Terrapins scoring attack posting 13.1 points and 6 rebounds. Milbourne also had a solid night against Miami dropping 17 and these two solid basketball players will have to step up big for Maryland on Tuesday.

North Carolina poses as one of the best shooting threats in college basketball knocking down 49% of their shots from the floor. The North Caroline lineup is loaded with talent from star standouts Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson to an emerging nation respect Wayne Ellington. The North Carolina starters average an amazing 76 points per game. That total alone would rank in the top 50 in scoring offense without the help of their bench. Add to the fact North Carolina has quite possibly the best bench in America and you quickly see why so many people say they are the most talented team in America. Tyler Hansbrough is averaging 22 points per game while Lawson and Ellington are averaging near 15 points per contest. The Tarheels will look for another strong scoring performance when they host Maryland inside the Dean Dome.

Betting Trends
Maryland is 4-2 ATS in their past 6 games on the road and have reached the under total in 9 of the last 14 games. North Carolina sports a 5-6 ATS record at home and both teams have slit against the spread in the last 10 meetings as the Tarheels are 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games against Maryland.

Jays Pick - North Carolina is inconsistent in conference play and Maryland normally plays them very strong. While the Tarheels will have a load more talent compared to previous meetings with Maryland, I like the Terrapins to keep it within the points. Take Maryland +21.5.