Despite two convincing wins during the regular season, Clemson will go into Thursday's noon tip-off as the underdog. Maryland's backcourt of Jon Gilchrist, Chris McCray, and Nik Caner-Medley are a major reason the Terrapins are still favored. All three are capable of exploding for 20-plus points on a given day.
Vernon Hamilton, Cliff Hammonds, and Sam Perry will be called upon to do the work defensively. Hamilton has played masterfully in the first two outings against Gilchrist. Gilchrist has struggled to penetrate and create his own shot in a half court set against Hamilton. Gilchrist is a NBA talent, but his biggest flaw right now is his own emotions. If Hamilton can force him to struggle early, Gilchrist may take himself out of the game.
Perry will start out against Caner-Medley. Especially in the game at Clemson, Perry dominated Caner-Medley defensively. Caner-Medley was held to 9 points and had 6 turnovers.
One way Clemson's backcourt has answered is by attacking on the offensive end. Maryland's full court pressure has yet to pose any problems for the Tigers. The Tigers have been able to attack with great spacing that has led to many easy buckets. Also, the backcourt has done a good job of getting the ball inside to Sharrod Ford in a good position to score.
Maryland has yet to play any kind of zone to slow the Clemson attack. If Maryland sticks by their guns, it could once again be a big night for the Tigers.