When: Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 28-16). Jaguars – Todd Howard (Second season, 20-29)
Maryland’s basketball team enters its final tune-up before ACC play begins on Jan. 5 against Virginia Tech against IUPUI, which has won two of its past three games but had lost nine of 11 before that. By all accounts this should be another rout for the Terrapins, who can extend their winning streak to 12 games entering the conference schedule. Now, it’s a chance for Maryland to keep building and improving, searching for the consistency that becomes even more paramount within the ACC grind. For some, like Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell, this means taking the next step after their solid performances against Delaware State. For others, like Pe’Shon Howard and Alex Len, it’s returning to the form that had them starring for the Terps earlier this season.
1. Make an impression? For the younger Terrapins looking to make an impression on Turgeon, this final non-conference game provides the perfect opportunity. Though the rotation likely won’t remain constant this season, Turgeon is still searching for consistency from his freshmen, the kind that gives him confidence to play them against ACC foes.
2. Rebound the ball? This shouldn’t be a problem against a Jaguars squad ranked 323rd nationally in rebounds per game, but the Terps struggled to rebound out of its zone defenses and pressure schemes against Delaware State. Len had a season-low two rebounds, and Turgeon said afterward that the margin would have been worse had Mitchell not broken out with a career-high 14.
3. Work inside? The same principle applies to this game as well, and will likely apply to all others moving forward. Maryland operates best when it works through the post, giving Len and company the primary option then running its motion sets off them. Len all but disappeared against Delaware State, so look for him to come out hungry against IUPUI, which has no player taller than 6-foot-9 on its roster.
13.3: Difference in rebounds per game between Maryland (43.7) and IUPUI (30.4)
130.9: Offensive rating, an estimate of points produced per 100 possessions, by Shaquille Cleare. That’s highest among Maryland’s regulars.
23.4: Total rebounding percentage by Mitchell, which tops the ACC.
“I like to more or less coach by feel. But I do think that, in certain games, we’ll play a 10-man rotation with pretty close to equal minutes. Other games we won’t. Who will be the guys not playing as much? I don’t know I think it might be different. We’ll see.” – Turgeon on the rotation.
“I think it’s an anomaly. Alex didn’t play well. He was lethargic, didn’t play well, got a little out of shape over Christmas. I thought he played a little soft.” – Turgeon on Len.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Obla Di Obla Da” by The Beatles.