Maryland basketball vs. North Carolina State: Previewing the game

January 16, 2013

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (13-3, 1-2 ACC) vs. No. 14 North Carolina State (14-2, 3-0)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center.

TV: ESPN2.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 29-18). Wolfpack – Mark Gottfried (Second season, 38-15)

THE SCRIPT

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Could two teams enter Wednesday’s game with more opposite fortunes? North Carolina State is still riding the emotional thrill of toppling top-ranked Duke on Saturday, while the Terrapins have suffered consecutive ACC defeats, most recently an offensively challenged evening in Miami in which they set season lows for points, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. Questions abound for Turgeon’s squad, specifically at the point guard and power forward position, but the overarching question centers on its young 10-man rotation, which has received a rude awakening in conference play. The Wolfpack, on the other hand, are a talented group picked as the ACC’s preseason favorite that finally lived up to their potential at home against the Blue Devils.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Play like a veteran team? Turgeon’s whole “puppy vs. big dogs” analogy carries over from Miami. North Carolina State regularly rotates two juniors and two seniors, who help carry the load alongside three freshmen. Maryland, on the other hand, is simply young and not exactly receiving top-tier contributions from its thin list of veterans. But on Wednesday evening, the Terps will need to play smart and consistent, not making the same youthful mistakes that have caused their recent unraveling.

2. Point guard play? This question, posed before the Miami game, really only got answered in the negative down by South Beach. Neither Seth Allen nor Pe’Shon Howard played particularly well, leading Turgeon to ponder playing Nick Faust at point guard moving forward. Regardless of which enigmatic Maryland guard brings the ball up, the Terps certainly need more consistent offensive leadership, especially to help remedy a half-court offense that’s hit the skids.

3. Be the underdog? Expectations for the Terrapins were so high entering ACC play, and coming out of the Virginia Tech game, that perhaps they’re relishing the opportunity to become the underdog for once. The Wolfpack are riding high after their Duke win, so this could be a prime chance for Maryland to right the ship moving forward.

THE STATS 

4: Consecutive wins for Maryland against the Wolfpack in College Park.

12: Losses in 13 games for North Carolina State following a win over Duke or North Carolina in the past 20 years, per the News & Observer’s Joe Giglio.

5: Number of those losses that have been to Maryland.

THE QUOTES

“We’ve got to get it figured out. Some of it’s shot selection, some of it’s execution and decision-making. That comes into play. But we’ll be fine. Kids bounce back. Kids can lose confidence between timeouts and get it back between timeouts. Hopefully we’ll bounce back and get ready to play this week.” – Turgeon.

“The first thing that all of us coaches are trying to deal with is Alex inside. That’s where everything starts with them. Not a lot of teams in our league have a player like him. That’s the matchup or the part of the game that becomes critical. [When teams stop Len] it’s not been one thing. Some teams have doubled him, some teams have tried to be real physical, offensively got him to some foul trouble.” – Gottfried.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Who’ll Stop the Rain?” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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 · January 15, 2013