Maryland hosts Florida State at 8 p.m. Wednesday night. So to help you make it through the work day until game time, here are some quick-hitting notes for the Terps’ second ACC matchup of the 2012-13 season. (And don’t forget to check out my story on how Dez Wells has become Maryland’s leader in mere months.)
>> Nick Faust remains on track to suit up against the Seminoles after playing just five minutes Saturday against Virginia Tech with back spasms. He practiced Tuesday and “looked pretty good” with “fresh legs,” according to Coach Mark Turgeon. Faust planned to work out again Tuesday night and get more treatment, then would spend all of Wednesday’s lead-up in the training room, trying to get healthy.
“I expect Nick to be full go tomorrow, but it’s a muscle so you never know,” Turgeon said. “He might get nervous and cramp up, but I doubt it.”
Having Faust on the wing would certainly boost Maryland’s defense, especially against 6-foot-5 preseason all-American Michael Snaer, whose length could pose a problem to the Terps’ back court. Dez Wells figures to guard Snaer, though Jake Layman could also take a crack at him.
>> Charles Mitchell has started over James Padgett the past two games, and Layman broke out with an 18-point first half in his second start against Virginia Tech, but Turgeon still has little idea who will take the floor first against Florida State.
Pe’Shon Howard, Alex Len and Wells have each started 13 of Maryland’s 14 games this season, and should continue to start. The other two spots remain in flux.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow,” Turgeon said Tuesday. “Really don’t. I’ll watch more film. I know how I want to play. Not 100 percent sure on other two spots.”
>> Speaking of Layman, his standout offensive performance against the Hokies made headlines, but the freshman swingman actually looked confident defensively. He fought over screens stronger, rebounded better and generally didn’t look as timid and lost as he did earlier this season.
“That’s really what matters to me,” Turgeon said. “I feel like early in the year, I was just giving guys minutes, but I think now guys are earning it. Every game will be different. He’s gaining confidence, and you’re seeing it in areas where he was really deficient.
“Seeing the ball, getting through screens, understanding help and rotations and team defenses, he’s gotten a lot better, and guarding the ball. He’s got great length, learned how to use his size guarding the ball, boxing out. Really, I can go through almost every phrase. Some have jumped a lot quicker than others. But give him credit. He never stopped working hard. He never stopped trying. Just wasn’t catching a lot of breaks. Now he’s caught a few and playing with confidence now.”
>> Asked whether all four members of his heralded freshman class have finally caught up to the speed of college basketball, Turgeon responded as follows:
“We’re close. I don’t think Charles [Mitchell] is there defensively yet. I think he’s the last guy there, whether it’s transition defense, post defense, trying to do it right every time. His motor doesn’t run quite as well in practice as the other three. But Charles is an offense machine. When the lights come on, he’s pretty good. He has to become a better box out guy. Gave up six second-chance points against Virginia Tech because he didn’t box out.”
And yet Mitchell still leads the ACC in total rebound percentage, ranking seventh nationally in that category.