Maryland basketball vs. LIU-Brooklyn: Previewing the game

November 16, 2012

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (1-1) vs. LIU-Brooklyn (0-2).

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center

Internet: Game streamed at ESPN3.com.

DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 18-16). Blackbirds – Jack Perri (First season, 0-2).

THE SCRIPT


LIU-Brooklyn forward Jamal Olasewere. (Associated Press)

Maryland continues its Barclays Center Classic games with a home matchup against LIU-Brooklyn, the two-time defending Northeast Conference champion that features two Springbrook High School products in Jamal Olasewere (25.5 points per game) and C.J. Garner (13.5 points per game). The Terps, meanwhile, enter on the heels of a blowout against Morehead State, the largest margin of victory in a nonconference game during Turgeon’s tenure in College Park. With relentless balance and depth, the Terrapins wore down the Eagles with 10 players scoring. Turgeon said he will continue to work with a 10-man rotation, so LIU-Brooklyn can expect more of the same line-change mentality flooding from Maryland’s bench.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Keep the defense? Ranked among the ACC’s worst last season, the Terps’ defense has been stellar, save some porous moments in the first half against Kentucky. Turgeon has drilled a defense-first mind-set into his team over the past week, and it showed as Morehead State shot just 31.7 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three-point range all game. Maryland also reached its goal of holding an opponent to less than 50 points. As the season goes on, expect to see more of that tempo-changing press that Turgeon likes to insert with his younger lineups, too.

2. Distribute the load? Depth was the key to the Morehead State win, but Maryland wouldn’t have even been close against Kentucky had Alex Len not stepped up with his 23-point, 12-rebound coming out party. So which way will this one go? The Eagles doubled Len down low to some effectiveness, leaving James Padgett on the weak side. In response, Maryland pulled Len away from the basket and worked through him at the high post, cutting off back screens and showcasing Len’s distribution skills. Either way should suffice for an offense still finding its groove.

3. Stay out of foul trouble? Olasewere, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, topped the nation with 31 free throw attempts over the season’s first week. He’s been a monster inside for LIU-Brooklyn, averaging 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game as well, so limiting him will be a tough task for Len, Shaquille Cleare, Charles Mitchell and James Padgett. Keeping Olasewere off the free throw line and forcing him to beat them down low should be a top priority.

THE STATS

.609: Maryland’s second-half shooting percentage against Morehead State.

21: Division I teams with 25 wins in each of the past two seasons. LIU-Brooklyn is one of those teams.

34: Seasons since a Maryland freshman had as many rebounds as Mitchell did in his debut. Mitchell had 10, while Buck Williams debuted with 13 against Bucknell in 1978.

THE QUOTES

“We spend way too much time on offense, which is why we could not guard anybody the whole first half of the Kentucky game. We have spent a lot more time on defense since that game and I think it showed. Offensively, we have a lot of good players and good scorers, so I am confident that the offense will come.” – Turgeon.

“He wants everything to be done perfect. We understand that. Sometimes we mess up and he won’t stop until he gets it perfect. We’ll do drills for hours. We know we’re messing up. One thing I like about Coach Turgeon, he doesn’t give us anything easy. He wants us to work for everything. That’s what a lot of the players like about him. If your coach isn’t on you, he doesn’t care.” – Cleare.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

“Blackbird” by the Beatles.

THE POLL

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt | November 16, 2012