Maryland basketball vs. South Carolina State: Previewing the game

December 7, 2012

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (7-1) vs. South Carolina State (4-3).

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center.

Internet: ESPN3.com.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 24-16). Bulldogs – Tim Carter (sixth season, 63-96)

THE SCRIPT

Another day, another soft nonconference game and an opportunity to improve for this Maryland basketball team, fresh off a 100-68 waxing of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday night. Turgeon will trot out a brand-new starting lineup, one likely including Logan Aronhalt and Charles Mitchell after he started Jake Layman, Seth Allen and Shaquille Cleare alongside regulars Dez Wells and James Padgett versus the Hawks. The Terps have won seven straight since the season-opening loss to Kentucky, displaying marked improvements up and down the floor, though turnovers at times remain a problem. But they can get by with talent and depth alone, working on the installments and schemes that will become crucial once ACC play arrives.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Gain more experience? With Aronhalt and Mitchell likely in the starting lineup, it will be another opportunity for Turgeon’s young players to gain valuable experience, which should come in handy down the line. The rotation is still a work in progress, but the starters figure to be settled after South Carolina State. Next week will provide a clearer picture concerning Turgeon’s plans moving forward.   

2. Defend better? Turgeon gave the Terrapins a pass for their sluggish defensive effort against UMES because of how hard they’ve defended in practice and the massive strides made against Northwestern and George Mason, but he still wants to see players getting back quicker in transition and better ball-screen defense. Consider this postgame quote:

“The selfish turnovers bothered me, but not nearly as much as when we didn’t run back on defense,” Turgeon said. “That bothers me. I asked the guys: ‘You’re either out of shape or you’re selfish. Which is it?’ So we need to get in shape then, because they’re not going to say they’re selfish, so we’ll practice hard tomorrow of because it.”

3. Who will get going? The same question was posed before the UMES game, and it applies here. Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare turned in arguably the best efforts of their young careers against the lowly Hawks, but it could be an opportunity for another player to break out. Could Pe’Shon Howard make his first field goal since the Lafayette game? Maybe Cleare and Layman show even greater strides. Who knows. If things get out of hand, perhaps the Terps’ walk-ons will see substantial playing time down the stretch, just like they did against against UMES.

THE STATS

1993: The last time Maryland started three freshmen before Layman, Allen and Cleare all started against UMES.

15: Maryland’s national rank in both defense and offensive field goal percentage.

3: Terps ranked in the ACC’s top six in assist-to-turnover ratio (Pe’Shon Howard, Nick Faust, Allen).

THE QUOTES

“We’re a very young basketball team and we’ve got the cart way before the horse.” — Turgeon on Wednesday night.

“Everyone’s got the cart way before the horse.” – Turgeon on Tuesday afternoon.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Runaway” by Linkin Park.

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 · December 7, 2012

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