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Maryland visits Ohio State Wednesday for Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Posted on 03 December 2013 by WNST Staff

Terps Head to #5 Ohio State for Big Ten/ACC Clash

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland travels to Columbus, Ohio for its first road game of the season Wednesday at 6:00 pm as it takes on future Big Ten foe No. 5 Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It is the first meeting between the teams since 1985.The game will be aired live on ESPN.

Watch: ESPN – Dave O’Brien (Play-by-play), Bob Knight (Analyst)

Storylines

• The Terps are tied for the second-most wins in Big Ten/ACC Challenge history since the tournament’s inception in 1999 (Duke-12, Maryland-10, Wake Forest-10, Clemson-9). Maryland also has a tournament-best road mark of 4-1 amongst teams that have played at least four games, defeating Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. last season.

• Winners of four games in a row, Maryland was highly efficient offensively in an 89-62 victory against Morgan State last Friday, shooting 33-of-53 (.623) from the field en route to victory. The team also dished a season-high 26 assists, including six from freshman Roddy Peters.

• Maryland was lights-out from beyond the arc against Morgan State, connecting on 13-of-20 (.650) shots from beyond the arc. It was the first time the Terrapins made 13 3-pointers since they shot 13-of-30 in an overtime victory against North Carolina on Feb. 21, 2009. Jake Layman led the way Friday, knocking down seven 3-pointers for a career-high 27 points.

• Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz has played Ohio State more times (six) than Maryland in its entire history (five). Smotrycz’s Wolverines played the Buckeyes three times in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Last Time Out
Maryland put on an incredible shooting display last Friday when it handily defeated Morgan State by its largest margin of the season, 89-62. After scoring a season-high 45 points in the first half, the Terps shot 67-percent in the second half to cap a strong offensive outing.
The Terps posted 14 points in the first 3:51 of the game and never looked back as they shot 33-of-53 (.623) from the field, including 13-of-20 (.650) from beyond the arc.
Jake Layman led the way in the outing, tallying a career-high 27 points on 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. In the second half, Layman scored 16 points in just 13 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Evan Smotrycz posted his second consecutive double-double with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State enters Friday’s contest as one of the nation’s hottest teams, beginning the season 6-0 and climbing into the top-5 in the national rankings. The Buckeyes have dominated opponents, winning by an average margin of 19.6 points.
The Buckeyes are led by standout senior guard Aaron Craft, who earned 2013 First Team All-Big Ten and 2013 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Craft ranks second in the Big Ten in steals (2.5/g) and fourth in assists (5.3). Lenzelle Smith, Jr. leads the Buckeyes with 11.6 ppg, in addition to 4.6 rpg.
Ohio State has played suffocating defense thus far, holding opponents to just 53.3 ppg (2nd in the nation). OSU’s strong defense is coupled with its ability to avoid fouling opponents, ranking first in the Big Ten in fewest fouls (97).

Smotrycz Returns to Columbus
In two years as a player at Michigan, Evan Smotrycz amassed more experience (six games) against Ohio State than Maryland has in its entire history (five games). In six games, including two contests in the Big Ten Tournament, Smotrycz averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20.2 minutes of action. His best performance came on January 12, 2011, when he scored 14 points and added six rebounds in a 68-64 loss.
Smotrycz has found early success in the Maryland system, notching back-to-back double-doubles in his last two performances. He is the first Terrapin to do so since Jordan Williams in 2011. After being named to the Paradise Jam All-Tournament Team last Monday, Smotrycz poured in 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against Morgan State.

Lights Out Layman
Sophomore Jake Layman had his best game in a Maryland uniform against Morgan State last Friday, turning in career-high marks in points (27), field goals made (9) and 3-point field goals made (7). Layman shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc and 9-of-12 overall in the victory.
The Wrentham, Mass. native has been lethal from 3-point range this season, connecting on an ACC best 3.3/game (23rd nationally). His .511 percentage (23-45) from beyond the arc ranks third in the conference behind Joe Harris (UVA) and Ben Emelogu (VT).

Terps Support Toys for Tots
The Terps have partnered with the UMCP Campus Police and Prince George’s County Police for the Toys for Tots drive. Donation bins will be located outside Gates A, B and Terrapin Trail Garage entrances for the Men’s Basketball game onDecember 14 vs. Florida Atlantic. Fans are encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys for boy or girls to the game.

– Maryland –

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McPhee Takes Big Risk With Erat for Forsberg Trade

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McPhee Takes Big Risk With Erat for Forsberg Trade

Posted on 03 April 2013 by Ed Frankovic

For all of those people in Caps land who say that George McPhee is not a risk taker, you have no case after today.

The Capitals GM basically went all in on his current team and perhaps his job today, by moving top prospect, Filip Forsberg (1st round pick in 2012), to Nashville in return for 31 year old winger Martin Erat and minor league center, Michael Latta. After the Caps picked up five points in three road games combined with the collapse of the Winnipeg Jets and the Carolina Hurricanes ahead of them in the Southeast Division, it became pretty clear that McPhee’s team has a great chance to win the division, grab the number three seed in the Eastern Conference, and perhaps get a favorable matchup in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It is a move that could net his owner millions of dollars in playoff revenues which would likely get McPhee and his staff not only a playoff bonus, but a contract extension (it is believed McPhee is in the final year of his current contract). As I’ve blogged recently, most fans focus on the “winning a championship” aspect of sports and are only emotionally invested in those teams. But for those in the game, it is their livelihood and as a result, the short term survival route is often the one chosen over what might appear to be the smarter long term plan.

That is what happened here today with the Caps. Washington needs to make the playoffs from a business and personal standpoint for those involved with the club and therefore, McPhee was going to do whatever he was allowed to do to increase the probability his team makes the postseason. If he doesn’t make the playoffs, there is a very good chance he would no longer be the General Manager of the Washington Capitals next season.

From a strictly hockey standpoint, this trade appears to favor the Nashville Predators. Forsberg is believed to be a potential long term top six forward in the NHL. He was the third forward drafted in the first round last season (11th pick overall) and many felt the Caps hit a “home run” when the Swedish right wing fell to Washington when a run on defensemen occurred at the top of the draft. This player could turn out to be an elite one based on input from people I’ve talked to around the league. Of course, the Caps, having drafted and watched him play quite a bit this season, likely know the ins and outs of the young player that other teams may not know about. In addition, the Capitals also have two talented young forwards already in their system in Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson (2012 1st round pick, 16th overall). With Alexander Ovechkin signed long term and Troy Brouwer inked for three more years, the Caps clearly had an abundance of right wings so perhaps in order to get a top six left wing they felt that Forsberg was the best asset to move in order to acquire Erat? After all, you do have to give up something to get something decent in return.

That brings us to Erat, the return on Forsberg (for all intensive purposes Latta is pretty much an AHLer). The speedy and shifty left wing has not had a good year (21 points in 36 games) on a Preds club that struggles to score and it was no secret that Erat had requested to be moved. The question is can he become energized again and produce at a higher level like he did in his previous seasons with Nashville? Washington is banking on that with him likely sliding into the top line left wing spot with Ovechkin on right wing and Nicklas Backstrom at center. Who wouldn’t be energized by playing with those guys?

This trade, unlike some other deadline deals, was not a rental move by McPhee. While they gave up Forsberg, they get Erat under contract for this season and the next two after that at $4.5M against the salary cap. As expected, center Mike Ribeiro was not dealt and he will test free agency in the summer and likely find a higher bidder, so the Caps had to hedge against going down another top six forward.

The question is did McPhee get enough in return for Forsberg in Erat? Based on what I saw in other trades and people I’ve talked to in and around the league, Washington paid a big price for the lefthanded shooting winger.

But the price may not matter, especially if Erat starts scoring playing with Ovechkin and Backstrom and the Capitals win the Southeast Division. In that case no matter what happens with Forsberg long term, it is a success for Leonsis and McPhee. However, if the Caps miss the playoffs while Forsberg turns out to be an elite player down the road, this trade will be pointed to and ridiculed for many years by Capitals fans and those around the game. It would become worse than Jorgen Pettersson for Doug Jarvis, and that would be saying something.

McPhee took a big risk today, no matter how you slice it. But he had no choice since the Caps have to make the playoffs. Standing pat was an even worse option given the lack of depth and the need for a top six forward.

So the general manager did what he had to do individually and for his team. McPhee put himself out there and now his club needs to deliver for him. The Southeast Division and a nice playoff matchup is there for the taking. Adding Erat should be enough to put the Capitals over the top. But if it doesn’t, then you can bet changes will be coming.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be on with Drew Forrester on the Morning Reaction at 745am talking Caps and the NHL trade deadline. Listen Live via WNST.NET

 

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