Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
Sunday, 5:30 p.m., FSN (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski)
Maryland Outlook: Simply put, if Maryland wants to make the NCAA Tournament, they must beat North Carolina. The Selection Committee will not look favorably at the Terps' resume thus far, especially since losing senior star Chris McCray (15.2 ppg, 2.2 spg). McCray was declared ineligible in late January, and since then, Maryland has gone 3-6 and has no "quality wins" without him, a key for the Committee. Their only chance left in the regular season for a "quality win" is Sunday in Chapel Hill. "Our backs are against the wall," junior guard D.J. Strawberry said. "I can't wait to play on Sunday against Carolina. We have to win."
Road Woes: The Terps have only one road win all season, a Jan. 25 victory over Georgia Tech. The last two road losses have been particularly disheartening in double-digit defeats at Clemson and Florida State. They committed 26 turnovers against the Tigers and trailed throughout against the Seminoles. "This time of year, you'd like to think you could do the same kind of thing on the road as you do at home, but we haven't done that yet," head coach Gary Williams said.
Missing McCray: McCray left a void that has yet to be consistently filled by the Terps. Mike Jones, a 6-5 junior, moved into the starting lineup and has had some big games. In Maryland's two games last week, he averaged 20.0 points, shooting 67% on his three-point attempts and 70% from the field, but followed that up with a two-point performance at Florida State. Senior forward Nik Caner-Medley has been the Terps' most consistent offensive performer -- but opponents know it -- which has made the points tougher to come by. But Maryland is actually at its best when Caner-Medley isn't the go-to scorer. Case in point, he scored only 10 points in both of the Terps' last two wins.
First Meeting vs. UNC: The Tar Heels dominated the second half, outscoring Maryland 39-22, to pull away for a 77-62 win in College Park on Feb. 2. Carolina held the Terps to 26.5% shooting in the second half, while recording a convincing 52-34 advantage on the boards, in the win. Reyshawn Terry had a game-high 20 points, and David Noel added 19 points and 12 rebounds. Caner-Medley had a tough 15 points (6-19 FG) to lead the Terps.
Projected Starters: 5 D.J. Strawberry (6-5, 201, Jr.) – 10.5 ppg, 4.0 apg 23 Mike Jones (6-5, 204, Jr.) – 9.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg 22 Nik Caner-Medley (6-8, 240, Sr.) – 15.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg 25 Ekene Ibekwe (6-9, 220, Jr.) – 11.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg 15 James Gist (6-8, 223, So.) - 8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg Key Reserves: 30 Travis Garrison (6-8, 241, Sr.) – 8.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg 2 Parrish Brown (6-1, 175, Jr.) - 2.6 ppg 14 Will Bowers (7-1, 262, Jr.) – 2.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg 14 Sterling Ledbetter (6-4, 198, Sr.) – 2.2 ppg
Series History: The Tar Heels lead the series with Maryland, 112-53. Carolina has won four in a row and five of the last six in the series. Carolina is 13-7 against the Terps at the Smith Center and 52-16 overall at home against Maryland. Roy Williams is 4-1 versus Maryland as Carolina's head coach.. (by UNC Athletic Communications)
Strawberry ... Caner-Medley
Ibekwe ... Gist
Jones ... Garrison