Maryland basketball vs. Lafayette: Previewing the game

November 20, 2012

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (2-1) vs. Lafayette (1-3).

When: Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center.

TV: Comcast SportsNet.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 19-16). Leopards – Fran O’Hanlon (18th season, 240-262).

THE SCRIPT

Life goes on in College Park, even with the landmark announcement of Maryland’s move to the Big Ten. It will still take until July 1, 2014, to kick in, so Comcast Center still remains ACC country until then. The Terps, meanwhile, close out their Barclays Center Classic slate against Lafayette, which is coming off a 88-74 loss to Morehead State, which Maryland waxed by 22 points last on Nov. 12. The Terps have been outstanding on the boards in recent games, while the defense and offensive execution in the half-court offense is still developing nicely. But against these sub-par nonconference opponents, Maryland has excelled on the fast break, slowly wearing down teams with its relentless depth, constantly rotating 10 players in. More can be expected Tuesday night.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Pound the paint? Lafayette’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Dan Trist, has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, so even if he returns, the Leopards will still be hobbled in the post. This could lead to a massive output from Alex Len, Shaquille Cleare, James Padgett and Charles Mitchell. Opponents have focused on Len, doubling the 7-foot-1 center on one block, thereby leaving the Ukrainian’s relatively shorter teammates wide open, or shooters spotting up for a skip pass.

2. Keep the pressure? Mistake-prone Lafayette – the Leopards have tallied more turnovers than their opponent in all four games this season – is easily pressured in the back court, so Maryland’s speedy guards could have a field day with the press, using Tuesday night as an ample opportunity to continue improvement on its defensive schemes.

3. No distraction? Monday obviously marked a massive upheaval within the Maryland athletics department, given the move to the Big Ten. As of the afternoon press conference, Turgeon hadn’t told his team, but suffice to say all the Big Ten talk could prove a distraction. These Terrapins have been excellent at blocking out the outside noise thus far, and this shouldn’t be any different. After all, they get to keep playing basketball no matter what.

THE STATS

80: Percentage of Maryland’s field goals against LIU-Brooklyn that derived from assists.

63-13: Margin by which the Terps’ bench has outscored its counterparts over the past two games since getting outscored against Kentucky.

.100: Lafayette’s winning percentage (2-18) against current ACC teams, only beating Miami in 1991 and Virginia in 1972.

THE QUOTES

“It was situational. I was really stubborn tonight. I kept the big lineup in. I get tired of bailing kids out. I want them to bail themselves out.” – Turgeon.

“Basketball helped me feel more comfortable.” – Len. You don’t say?

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Wind of Change” by The Scorpions. 

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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