Wake Forest will not have history on their side Tuesday when they visit the Comcast Center in College Park, Maryland, where the Deacons haven't won in over five years. In fact, Wake hasn't beaten Maryland in any arena since 2005, which is also the last year the Deacons made that NCAA tournament.
Four years later, the Deacs are going to return to the Big Dance, while Maryland is just trying to get an invitation...
Both teams have a lot to play for Tuesday night as Wake Forest (22-5, 9-5 ACC) looks to extend its win streak to three, something it hasn't done since mid-January. Along with playing for confidence, momentum and to impress the selection committee, the Deacons are also playing to stay as one of the top four teams in the ACC, which would earn them a first round bye in the ACC tournament starting March 12.
The Terrapins have had an up-and-down season, leaving them right on the bubble of March Madness's field of 65. Maryland (18-10, 7-7 ACC) has two top ten wins already this year, beating Michigan State and UNC. In ESPN's most recent projected bracket, Maryland is in the "Next Four Out" category, meaning they are between five and eight places out of the field of 65.
A third top ten win would really help the Terrapins' case, and wouldn't you know it, Wake Forest is ranked tenth in the latest media polls.
On paper, Wake's offense would appear to dominate Maryland's. The Deacs have the fifth highest scoring offense in the nation, lead by a barrage of inside shots, earning Wake the nation's third highest field goal percentage. Maryland, on the other hand, doesn't even rank in the top five in the ACC in any of the following offensive categories: FG%, FGM, FTA, FTM, 3P%, 3PA, 3PM, PPG, RPG.
But knowing how much is on the line in this game, you can throw the paper out the window.
Here are the "stats" that really matter:
- Both teams are coming off little rest (Wake played on Saturday, Maryland late on Sunday).
- Maryland is significantly better at home (14-3) than on the road (2-5).
- Wake is significantly worse on the road (6-4) than at home (13-1).
- Wake is just 1-4 in its past five road games.
- Maryland's Greivis Vasquez is averaging 26 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 6.7 APG in his last three (two of which were vs UNC and vs Duke).
- Maryland's Landon Milbourne has fouled out in each of his last three games, his only three foul-outs of the season, and these were against the other three ACC schools in North Carolina.
- Despite Wake being ranked tenth in the nation and Maryland not receiving a single vote in the latest polls, the Deacons are only 1.5 point favorites.