Maryland basketball vs. Wake Forest: Previewing the ACC tournament first round


(Associated Press)

THE INFO

Who: No. 7 seed Maryland (20-11) vs. No. 10 Wake Forest (13-17)

When: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Where: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.

TV: WDCA-20, WNUV-54 in the Washington-Baltimore region, ESPNU elsewhere.

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

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (second season, 37-26). Demon Deacons – Jeff Bdzelik (third season, 34-59).

Pomeroy ratings: Terps 64th, Demon Deacons 127th.

RPI: Terps 86th, Demon Deacons 167th.

THE SCRIPT

Maryland stumbles into its ACC tournament opener on a two-game losing streak, including that 17-point collapse at Virginia in Sunday’s regular season finale. Wake Forest, the 11th seed, beat Virginia Tech last weekend but had lost three straight before that, including a 67-57 decision against Maryland on Chris Paul Day in Winston-Salem, N.C. The two teams met in last season’s ACC tournament, where the Terps won in an 82-60 rout behind 25 points from Terrell Stoglin and 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting from Nick Faust. The winner Thursday gets second-seeded Duke on Friday.

Check out the story from Thursday’s Post, on the newly relaxed and seemingly rejuvenated Terps.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Get the offense flowing? The Terps were a well-oiled machine against the Demon Deacons on March 2, and again in the first half vs. Virginia. But the offense fell off a steep cliff in the second half, shooting 8 for 32 (25 percent) across the second half and overtime. In fact, Maryland is shooting just 21.1 percent (16 for 76) from beyond the arc over the past four games.

2. Use the depth? The Terps spent Wednesday afternoon talking about their 10-man rotation, and how they believe this has them “built” for a multi-day tournament. Of course, this is predicated on the notion that they won’t suffer a letdown against Wake Forest and can actually channel that depth into a productive 40 minutes

3. Take care of business? This builds off the last question. Maryland has already beaten Wake Forest twice this season, so there’s no reason it can’t take care of business on a neutral floor. If the Terps fancy themselves even remotely close to an NCAA tournament team – a dubious proposition at best by this stage — they’d be well served dispatching the Demon Deacons and moving on to Duke, rather than returning home to College Park with another disappointment.

THE STATS

1.000: Maryland’s winning percentage against Wake Forest in their past six ACC tournament meetings.

20: Years since Maryland got shut out of the first-, second- and third-team all-ACC teams before this season.

6: Wake Forest freshman Devin Thomas’s ACC ranking in rebounding and blocked shots per game.

THE QUOTES

“Yes. Yes. Machines don’t stop working. And we’ve got a bunch of machines in this room. All the offseason training, the stairs and sleds and suicides, this is what we’re made for right now – the end of the season, not the beginning.” – freshman center Shaq Cleare.

“We’ll see tomorrow night at 9 o clock if we’re cracking jokes. We stayed on the road after Georgia Tech, and I think that changed us. We went out to the movies, we went to dinners, cut practices down but we’ve been pretty precise. Cut the playbook down. I’ve tried to have more fun. I was so frustrated during the year that I couldn’t make us as good as I wanted to make us as quickly as I could. At some point, you have to go, ‘Okay. This is who we are. Let’s have fun. Maybe that’ll help us.’ Really, since the Georgia Tech game, I think we’ve had a good time and we’ve been really focused. “ – Turgeon.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

One Chance” by Modest Mouse.

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 | March 13, 2013