Maryland basketball vs. Wake Forest: Previewing the game

February 1, 2013

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (15-6, 3-5 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (10-10, 3-5).

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center.

TV: Comcast SportsNet.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 32-21). Demon Deacons – Jeff Bzdelik (third season, 31-52).

Pomeroy ratings: Terps 60th, Demon Deacons 132nd.

RPI: Terps 69th, Demon Deacons 124th.

THE SCRIPT

Returning home after consecutive road losses and in desperate need of a feel-good win, Maryland now faces a Wake Forest team that nearly upset No. 5 Duke at home on Wednesday. The Terps are fresh off a 73-71 loss at Florida State in which they were done in by a game-winning three-pointer by Michael Snaer, and are now looking to turn things around with a decidedly easier February slate, beginning with a home contest against the Demon Deacons. Maryland didn’t play particularly poorly against the Seminoles but let another second-half lead slip away, resulting in a long plane ride back north. After this game, the Terps will have reached the official midway point of their ACC schedule.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Forget the heartbreak? Easier said than done, given Snaer’s three-point dagger with 1.1 seconds left down in Tallahassee. Tears were shed and players were upset, understandably so: The Terps haven’t suffered a more heartbreaking loss this season. But there are 10 ACC games left, and plenty of chances to right the ship after having lost five of their past seven. It’ll take a short memory from this young Maryland team to move on and focus on the task ahead, rather than let Wednesday’s events affect its future.


(Associated Press)

2. Rediscover Alex Len? Turgeon had some pretty harsh words during his postgame news conference when asked about Len’s performance, arguably his worst of the season. But he’s a resilient sophomore, capable of rebounding from sluggish performances. Wake Forest rotates nine players, but none are taller than 6 feet 9, so Len will need to step up his assertiveness and aggression in the post.

3. Win? It’s simple. The Terps can’t afford another letdown. They’ve been excellent at home this season, winning 13 of 14 at Comcast Center, with the one loss coming against Florida State on Jan. 9. With their NCAA tournament chances shrinking with each loss, they need to open the month on a strong note.

THE STATS

.933: Maryland’s winning percentage in 15 games when holding a lead with five minutes left. That one loss came Wednesday at Florida State.

17.8: Dez Wells’ points-per-game average through four ACC road games. His home scoring average, however, is 6.5 points per game.

3: Consecutive games the Terps have shot better than 40 percent. Except they’ve also allowed their opponents to shoot better than 45 percent from the field and score 70-plus points in the past two games.

THE QUOTES

“Margin for error? I don’t know. Just trying to be the best team we can be. I’ll say this, the league is a lot better than it was last year. Top to bottom. Maybe not North Carolina with four first-round draft picks, but Wake Forest is much improved. There’s just no easy games. It’s a much tougher league.” — Turgeon.

“We’ve been working really hard. I think we showed that in the game. I thought we were a much improved basketball team the other night. We’ve been working on, not only as a group, on individually making players better. It’s showing. Might not be showing in the record. But it’s showing to me.” — Turgeon.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Jumper” by Third Eye Blind.

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 | February 1, 2013