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Maryland will use ‘tag team’ defense to slow down Virginia Tech’s Erick Green

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Since falling to Kentucky on opening night in Brooklyn, Maryland has rallied off 12 consecutive wins heading into conference play. However the best wins of those dozens were a 20-point blowout against Northwestern and a single-digit win against a pretty good Stony Brook team.

The Terrapins will have a chance to go for lucky No. 13 on Saturday, but they’ll have to do it against the nation’s second-leading scorer, Erick Green and Virginia Tech.

While the Terrapins are looking to add another ‘W’ in the win column and try break the top-25, the Hokies are in much need of a victory following a pair of blowout losses to Colorado State and BYU to close out 2012. Green, averaging 24.4 points per game will look to bounce back against a team he has had success against following a loss to BYU where he scored a season-low 12 points off a dismal 4-of-17 shooting.

To make sure the dynamic scorer doesn’t go off, Maryland will hit him with a tag team defensive effort, according to Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

This tag team defense, is part of Maryland’s man-to-man defensive set, as the Terps make sure a particular player, in this case Green, is covered wherever he goes on the floor.

“We don’t play just one-on-one defense, we play team defense and we’re responsible to our man and the man next to us,” sophomore swingman Dez Wells told the Sun. “We’re doing whatever we have to do to help guard our man and the man near us.”

“I think he’s going to get his points, we just want him to earn them,” added Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.

This could be another long day for the 6-foot-3 Green. The Terrapins will look to throw size at him with 6-foot-6 Nick Faust and the 6-foot-5 Wells.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: