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Cats vs. Terps - Word from the Sports Writers

We did a quick survey of what the professional sports writers are saying about tonight's game. Some of the more interesting excerpts are provided on the next page.

Don't forget to post your prediction in our "Closest to the Pin" contest. The window closes at 7:30 PM tip-off.

From CBS Sports: 

"The Wildcats are familiar with the Verizon Center, going 6-1 all-time in games against Big East rival Georgetown."  Note:  Maryland hasn’t faced Villanova since 1986, and Nova leads the all-time series 2-1.

"We were playing really good defense and I'm encouraged to see that," Wright said. "I thought the Drexel game was our best defensive game this year."

"The Wildcats have five players averaging in double figures, led by Reynolds' 13.9 points per game. King, a Duke transfer, is averaging 11.3 points and shooting 48.3 percent on 3-pointers this season. "When those two guys get into a two-man game, it is pretty tough on the other team," Wright said. "They both can really shoot it and can really pass it."

From the Washington Examiner:

The last two weeks have been brutal for the Terrapins (5-2), who returned to the continent to beat Indiana after consecutive losses to surging Cincinnati and Wisconsin in Maui, where leading scorer, forward Landon Milbourne (14.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg) struggled with foul trouble.

"Three Keys to the Game: (1) Greivis Vasquez, the Terps senior PG, remains in a shooting slump (32% shooting) but he was aggressive against Indiana, getting to the line where he made 13 of 14 attempts.   (2) Neither team has been impressive from behind the arc, but both like to shoot from deep. Timely threes are hugely important.   (3) These teams aren’t familiar with one another but the players are. Villanova has made a living recruiting around the Beltway, and have four players on the roster who played their high school basketball in the Washington area (Reynolds, Sutton, Yarou and Armwood)."

From the Washington Post:

"Villanova’s Jay Wright is faced with a team of two extremes -- those with a lot of experience and those with none. "Our focus in the early season has been to develop some chemistry where we can have to two or three experienced guys on the floor and maybe two freshmen at a time. When we get those lineups where we have four freshmen on the floor at one time we can look a little sloppy. We've got some talent, but we can look sloppy."

"Another player Wright is counting on is junior forward Antonio Pena, especially in light of the recent development regarding freshman forward Mouphtaou Yarou. Pena is averaging 13.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. He is shooting 58.2 percent from the field. "Antonio, as a junior now, really is developing into a go-to player," Wright said. "He's been a double-double guy. He always showed signs. He started some games last year, but again, it's the consistency of an upperclassman."

"We redshirted Maurice Sutton last year, but he just came in and has really been a great chemistry guy for us," Wright said. "He's smart offensively. He takes care of the basketball. He's a shot-blocker. He rebounds well. He's a great team defensive player."

"Villanova's top producer off the bench is sophomore forward Taylor King.  King is averaging 11.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and has connected on 48.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. He also has recorded 10 steals. "I think everyone knows him as a shooter, but where he's really helped us is he's a much better rebounder than people know," Wright said. "And he's also got a great passion for the game. When he comes in the game, the energy level goes up immediately."

From The Baltimore Sun:

"Maryland has switched between zone and man-to-man defenses this season. Williams and most of his players prefer man-to-man because it allows them to be particularly aggressive. But the coach said "you have to be open" to playing zone when opponents have the ability to consistently get into the paint."

"At the season's outset, Maryland -- bolstered by the return of senior guard Greivis Vasquez and by the addition of two freshmen forwards -- was expected to be a squad whose NCAA tournament bid was all but locked up long before the day the bracket is released. Nearly one-fourth of the way through the schedule, though, that pocket ace sure sounds enticing."