Who: Maryland (19-9, 7-8 ACC) at Wake Forest (12-15, 5-10 ACC)
When: Saturday, Noon.
Where: Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, N.C.
TV: ACC Network/ESPN3.com
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 36-24). Demon Deacons –Jeff Bzdelik (Third season, 33-57)
Pomeroy ratings: Terps 64th, Demon Deacons 122nd.
RPI: Terps 75th, Wake Forest 156th.
Maryland hobbles into Winston-Salem on the heels of another lackluster road performance, this time a 10-point loss at Georgia Tech, where the Terps never truly challenged after halftime. With the team’s NCAA tournament chances all but irreparably damaged, without perhaps a deep ACC tournament run, Turgeon already has begun talking about having “a lot of guys coming back next year” and not waiting “until next year to figure out this road thing.” Indeed, the Terps have been a dreadful traveling bunch, recently sinking to 1-6 away from College Park during conference games. Wake Forest, meanwhile, returns to Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where the Demon Deacons dealt Miami its first ACC loss, after falling by 12 points at Florida State.
1. Defend? The Terps communicated poorly and defended worse, allowing Georgia Tech to cobble together its best 40 minutes of basketball this season. Against a streaky-shooting Wake Forest bunch that hung 80 points on the Hurricanes at home, Maryland must bring its top defensive effort. Otherwise, C.J. Harris may go off like he did last weekend.
2. Play smart, with urgency? Turgeon and the players insisted they played hard against the Yellow Jackets, but that sense of urgency hardly translated into positive results. They missed shots and attempted foolish passes. They failed to get back on defense and let Robert Carter Jr. successfully perform, in Alex Len’s words, the same move over and over again. Top to bottom, Maryland needs to be smarter to go into Wake and steal a win.
3. No more letdowns…again? Seems like this should become a question whenever the Terps travel. They’ve now laid eggs at Boston College and Georgia Tech over the past week, so what evidence is there to suggest they’ll flip the script against the Demon Deacons?
5th: All-time program rank for the 67.3 shooting percentage the Terps put up against Wake Forest in their first meeting.
3.7: Dez Wells’s assists per game in ACC play, a team-best.
5: Players who have scored 20 points at least once this season (Wells has three, Logan Aronhalt, Seth Allen, Alex Len and Jake Layman each have one).
“There’s no one really great on the road except Miami in our league. Am I disappointed? Yeah I think we should have one or two more wins on the road in our league. But we don’t. You keep striving, saying ‘guys, we’re a young team,’ but we’ve got a lot of guys coming back next year, we’ve got to get this thing figured out. Let’s not wait until next year to figure out this road thing, let’s figure it out right now. You try to press certain buttons, but if we don’t defend and rebound any better, we’re not going to win any road games.” – Turgeon.
“Obviously we’re struggling, winning on the road, so priority number one is when we have a road game next, to just get that win. We’re not going to start a winning streak if we can’t win the next one. That’s the message from coach, and I think the guys are pretty on top of it in terms of being focused and trying to get this next one.” – Logan Aronhalt.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring.