Greetings from Greensboro Coliseum, where Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan has already set an ACC freshman record with 41 points in the Eagles’ 84-64 win over Georgia Tech. Now, seventh-seeded Maryland (20-11) faces 10th-seeded Wake Forest (13-17) in the ACC tournament quarterfinals for the right to face Duke on Friday evening.
You know the drill. Pregame reading is below, the open discussion section is open and I’ll be on Twitter for all your 140-charactered thoughts. First, some quick notes.
>> Shaq Cleare hasn’t played in three straight halves, earning Maryland’s first DNP-CD this season that wasn’t discipline-related. The freshman center has logged single-digit minutes against Virginia Tech, Boston College (twice), Florida State, North Carolina and Miami this conference season, and is the only player in Maryland’s 10-man rotation averaging fewer than 15 minutes during ACC play.
Asked about the lack of playing time, Cleare basically shrugged it off.
“I’m just blessed to be here,” he said Tuesday. “There’s going to be some games…that was my first time not playing a full game, but I understand. We spoke about it. I understand as a coach. I’m mature enough. There’s going to be those games where the lineups are funny, and the momentum in the game is going, and he might not get everyone in. He had those players loose, getting the job done, so he stuck with that. I continue to just cherish the moment. It wasn’t a big deal for me. We spoke. I told him, ‘Coach I understand. I’m not a little kid. I understand.’”
>> I asked Logan Aronhalt (a.k.a. Old Man Basketball) if the Terps had picked out their ACC tournament gifts yet. Per Sports Business Journal, every player receives an Under Armour fleece pullover plus his choice of the following: A Samsung Galaxy tablet, Beats By Dre headphones, a 24-inch LED TV, a Blu-ray player with accompanying HDMI cable or a wireless portable speaker.
Aronhalt hadn’t perused the options yet. But told of the gifts, he paused and then cracked, “Those all sound like things for young people.”
Like Wells and Maryland’s four freshmen, Aronhalt is experiencing his first ACC tournament.
“I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I was juiced out there for practice today. Body’s feeling good, so that means something’s going right.”
>> By now, Dez Wells has made four trips with Maryland to his home state of North Carolina, so the experience has somewhat lost its luster.
“Eh, it’s whatever,” he said, when asked if this homecoming was particularly special. “I’m going to play regardless.”
>> This newspaper ad is making the rounds in Greensboro. Evidently some Wake Forest alums scrapped together the money to buy a front-page advertisement in the Greensboro News & Record calling for the firing of Coach Jeff Bzdelik.
(picture via @ACCSports)
In today’s WaPo: Despite two-game slide, Terps relaxed entering ACC tournament
Game preview: Wake Forest vs. Maryland