Maryland basketball vs. Georgia Southern: Previewing the game

November 24, 2012

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (3-1) vs. Georgia Southern (2-2).

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center.

Internet: ESPN3.com

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 20-16). Eagles – Charlton Young (Fourth season, 31-67).

THE SCRIPT

In one final tuneup before the ACC/Big 10 challenge at Northwestern next Tuesday, the Terps host Georgia Southern at Comcast Center on Saturday, looking to keep improvements high among this young squad. The Eagles, like Maryland’s other nonconference opponents thus far save Kentucky, are undersize in comparison, with their tallest player listed at 6 feet 8. This should give Alex Len and the Terps’ other paint presences another field day, searching for high-percentage looks at the rim while dominating in transition. Maryland was given fits by Lafayette in a 83-74 win on Tuesday, unable to pull away thanks to the streaky-shooting Leopards. With the post virtually cut off thanks to Len, Charles Mitchell, Shaquille Cleare and James Padgett, expect Georgia Southern to look elsewhere for points, even though the Eagles are shooting just 35.5 percent from three-point range this season.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Stay sharp? Maryland has, so far, been able to stave off any detrimental collapses at home since the Barclays Center matchup against Kentucky, rolling through Morehead State and LIU-Brooklyn before taking down a hot-shooting Lafayette bunch. The Terps will look for it to continue against Georgia Southern before heading to the Windy City for arguably its toughest non-conference test since the defending national champions. Staying sharp, getting a blowout win and resting up for Northwestern will go a long way.

2. Defend the perimeter? Though the Terps’ defense has been vastly improved this season, they still have at times struggled to defend lane penetration, merely one step behind dribble hand-offs that can turn into open floaters or pull-up jumpers. Some of that had to do with matching up post players against shorter, quicker forwards, though.

3. Regain the shooting stroke? Maryland has hit key shots when necessary, but those occasions have rarely surfaced through four nonconference games. In their three wins, the Terps have gotten up big thanks to interior offense and transition buckets. But there will come a time when Maryland will need to shoot better than it currently has been. Granted, it’s very early in the season, but the Terps rank 11th in the ACC with a 31 percent shooting percentage from three-point range.

THE STATS

9: Terps who are averaging double-digit minutes this season.

894: Career points for Georgia Southern’s Eric Ferguson.

Plus-13: Maryland’s rebounding average through four games.

THE QUOTES

“We’ve slowed it way down since the Kentucky game. We’ve gone back to basics and drills. I think we’re better. Lafayette got hot the other night, made a lot of shots, kept it interesting. Give them credit. But I think we’ve made huge strides since the Kentucky game. We’re nowhere where we need to be offensively and defensively. We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be. We’ve practiced harder since Wednesday. Dialed in, learned a lot for film.” – Turgeon.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America.

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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