Who: Maryland (8-1) vs. Monmouth (5-5)
When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 25-16). Hawks – King Rice (Second season, 17-25)
With a nine-day break on the horizon, the Maryland basketball team guns for its ninth straight victory, which would be the Terrapins’ longest winning streak since they won 13 straight in 2002. Maryland has hardly been tested during this winning streak. In the Terrapins’ most recent victory, 61-46 over South Carolina State, they weathered frustrating stall tactics and pulled away early. With less than a month remaining until the Jan. 5 ACC opener against Virginia Tech at Comcast Center, the Terps will be seeking to develop consistency throughout their 10-deep rotation during these final four non-conference tune-ups.
1. Be more consistent? Piggy-backing off the aforementioned script, Turgeon is still looking for about seven players to begin playing more consistently, so he can confidently enter ACC play with the backbone of a rotation. Right now, Alex Len and Dez Wells have proved themselves, and while Nick Faust’s shots aren’t falling lately, he has provided a transition spark and demonstrated enough defensive improvements to justify substantial playing time. But the four freshmen – Shaquille Cleare, Seth Allen, Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell – need to step up. Playing relatively weak teams such as Monmouth provide that opportunity.
2. Figure out the lineup? Turgeon shuffled his starters the past two games: Cleare, Allen and Layman started against Maryland-Eastern Shore, while Mitchell and Logan Aronhalt got the nod versus South Carolina State. But Turgeon wanted just two games of experimentation, to give his younger players more experience, before settling down entering the new year. Tonight’s game could give a solid indication of his current thoughts.
3. Clear the bench? Maryland has emptied its bench in each of the past two games, a solid sign that the Terps are taking care of business. Will they be able to put away the Hawks early Wednesday night and enter this lengthy break on a high note?
Plus-144: Maryland’s reserves are outscoring their counterparts 252-108 this season.
68.5 percent: Throughout the eight-game winning streak, the Terps have assisted on 152 of 222 field goals.
2nd: Maryland’s national rank in rebounding margin (plus-15.2).
“We don’t try to go with the hype. We just try to do whatever Turgeon needs us to do. Right now, I think we’re an okay team with a chance to be really good.” – Shaquille Cleare.
“We don’t event think about what you’re asking and talking about. That’s just a bunch of dummies who’s never played basketball and do all those mock drafts.” – Turgeon on Len’s NBA draft prospects.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Moth’s Wings” by Passion Pit.