Maryland basketball vs. Florida State: Previewing the game

January 30, 2013

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (15-5, 3-4 ACC) at Florida State (11-8, 3-3).

When: Wednesday, 8 p.m.

Where: Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee.

DMV TV: WDCA-20, WNUV-54.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 32-20). Seminoles – Leonard Hamilton (11th season, 212-135).

Pomeroy ratings: Terps 57th, Seminoles 93rd.

RPI: Terps 64th, Seminoles 69th.

THE SCRIPT

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

Any Maryland player would be hard-pressed to forget how their last meeting against Florida State went. Up nine points at halftime, in position to blow out the visiting Seminoles and move to 2-0 in ACC play, the Terrapins instead lost 65-62. For better or for worse, things have changed plenty since that early January evening. The Seminoles have lost three of four, most recently a 71-47 bludgeoning by Miami (making them the second straight team to host Maryland after a bad loss to the Hurricanes), and only barely eked out a three-point win over Clemson last Thursday. The Terps, meanwhile, still have the bad taste lingering from a 84-64 loss at Duke this past weekend, and wrap up their season’s toughest stretch before hosting Wake Forest on Saturday.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Travel well? The Terps have been miserable on the road during conference play, and will need to avoid the lapses suffered against Miami, Duke (second half) and North Carolina (first half) to head into February on a positive note. Maryland’s start will help dictate its chances, but remember the second half of their last meeting with Florida State, when the Seminoles overcame a double-digit deficit. All told, it will take a full, 40-minute effort from the road team in this one.

2. Pound inside? Especially with Florida State missing its third-leading scorer Terrence Shannon to a scary neck injury suffered against Virginia, this question becomes even more vital to Maryland’s chances in Tallahassee. This means not only feeding Alex Len regularly, but working on the opposite block through Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, both of whom have proven they can post up ACC defenders this season. 

3. Black out White? Okaro White was a monster on Jan. 9, when Florida State won at Maryland for the first time ever. The junior tied his career high with 20 points, including 15 straight during one stage, and also swatted away six shots. It’s likely he won’t repeat those insane numbers, but look for the Seminoles to get him going. The onus, then, falls on Maryland’s aforementioned big men to keep the energetic White off the boards and out of the paint. 

THE STATS

.929: Maryland’s winning percentage when shooting better than 40 percent (13-1; Duke was the only loss)

.000: Maryland’s winning percentage when trailing at halftime (0-4) 

8.5: Points per game averaged by Florida State’s Shannon. 

THE QUOTES

“I don’t forget the whippings we took on the road last year and where we were and what we’ve lost and what we’ve brought in. At this level, unless you’re Calipari, you don’t go from 17-15 to the national championship game.

You just don’t. We’re improved. We’re better, the league’s better, it’s more of a challenge for us. I know there are some people around here who think we should be in the final four, but they’re not realistic. Who knows where we’ll be two months from now. We could be a heck of a team, but we’ve got a lot of improving to do that. I like the way we’re heading.” – Turgeon.

“It is a growing process. You’ll have your ups and your downs. It’s fine though. All of these games that we lost is a learning experience. We’ll go back on film, learn from our mistakes and go back for the next game.” – Terps center Shaquille Cleare. 

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Re-Education (Through Labor)” by Rise Against.

THE POLL

Vote in the WaPo’s new sports forums.

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 29, 2013