North Carolina Can't Overlook Maryland Tonight

By Anthony Lenahan
Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

A battle of two ACC opponents that always seem to have a tightly-contested game when they square off will take place tonight as the North Carolina Tar Heels head to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins.

The Tar Heels go into tonight’s contest with a 21-8 record and a firmly in the NCAA tournament.  Maryland, on the other hand, is 20-9 and fighting for their lives to get an at-large bid come selection Sunday.

Maryland has a perfect opportunity to get a resume-building win tonight over a red-hot North Carolina team who just may be looking ahead to their rematch with Duke on Saturday night.

If Carolina is looking ahead to Saturday, the Terrapins can steal a win and have themselves in a good position to make the tournament. Carolina still has a lot to play for in their last two regular season games, even though they are more than likely going to be dancing.

A loss tonight can knock the Tar Heels off their five-game winning steak — a streak in which they have looked like a team who could make a run in the NCAA tournament and has them playing with confidence.

In their winning streak, the Tar Heels have gone down from a projected double-digit seed to about a seven-seed. Their next two games give them the potential to can an even better seed, but a loss tonight could knock them back down to an eight or nine-seed which is one of the worst seeds possible.

Also, a win in each of their last two games will lock up a first round bye in the ACC tournament. A bye would be crucial for the Tar Heels as it would be one less game they would have to play, and that means less chance of an injury.

You want to keep on your winning streak late in the season and that is what the Tar Heels have going. ACC seeding and NCAA seeding are also on the line as the Tar Heels look to keep on rolling with a win over Maryland on the road.

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