Maryland vs. Virginia: Three things to watch
There should be few surprises when Maryland and Virginia meet in the NCAA tournament final, marking only the second time in postseason history that two teams from the same conference will vie for the national championship. The Terps (13-4) last won an NCAA crown in 1975 and are 0-5 in title games since then. The Cavaliers (12-5) have captured four national championships, the most recent occurring in 2006. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Monday.
1) Virginia’s shot selection. Everyone knows about junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick, who warrants almost constant attention. But the Cavaliers have scored 40 goals on 92 shots in the tournament, which is a robust 43.5 conversion rate. Their offensive efficiency is an area that has caught the attention of Maryland coach John Tillman. “Forty percent is just unheard of,” he said. “It’s probably a culmination of a number of things. They’re being very patient, and they’re waiting for the best shot. They’re moving the ball and getting excellent looks. So that makes you concerned. After we watched four games since last night’s game, you can figure out why they’re doing such a great job. It’s either unsettled or it’s Stanwick throwing to a guy that’s a terrific shooter in a good spot. I give [offensive coordinator] Marc Van Arsdale and Coach [Dom] Starsia a lot of credit. They’ve redefined the way they play offense in the last five games, and they’ve changed who they are given their personnel. They’ve put all the pieces in the best spot possible, and that’s a credit to them. It’s tough to do that mid-season, but it’s made all the sense in the world.”