Maryland basketball vs. Tulsa: Previewing the game

December 29, 2013

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (7-5, 1-0 ACC) vs. Tulsa (4-8)
When: Sunday, 7 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
TV: ESPNU (Mike Cristino, play-by-play; Cory Alexander, analyst)
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Third season, 49-33). Golden Hurricane – Danny Manning (Second season, 21-24)
Kenpom rating: Maryland 68th, Tulsa 167th.

THE SCRIPT

The Maryland men’s basketball team returns to action after another lengthy break. After the last one, which bridged final examinations, the Terrapins emerged listless against Boston University and suffered another disappointing home non-conference loss. This time, against a familiar face in Coach Danny Manning and Tulsa, Maryland looks to — again — right the ship. So which Terps team shows up? The precise and spirited group that stomped through the Paradise Jam? Or the mistake-filled, low-energy bunch that lost to Oregon State and the Terriers? At this point of the season, it’s become a dice roll.

THE QUESTIONS

1) Look refreshed? The Terps claimed their recent Christmas break, in which the players could return home to see family, has left them mentally refreshed and ready for the grind ahead. Of course, Maryland had one week to prepare for Boston University and that turned into a six-point loss.

2) Win the turnover battle? Tulsa doesn’t do many things well, but its 16.9 percent turnover rate ranks among the top 70 nationally. Maryland, on the other hand, is one of the nation’s worst teams at committing turnovers, coughing up the basketball on nearly one-fifth of possessions. During recent practices, ball-security offenders have been running the student section stairs inside Comcast Center or full-length sprints in the auxiliary gym before returning to the court. Turgeon must hope this methodology works against the Golden Hurricane.

3) How many minutes for Seth Allen? Point guard Seth Allen is expected to return. As of Saturday, though, the sophomore was practicing and running like he never left. If he doesn’t experience much soreness, the plan is to play Allen several minutes each half for his season debut. With Georgia Tech and the bulk of ACC play around the corner in January, Allen’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.

THE STATS

4: Points needed by Dez Wells to reach 1,000 for his career.

29.2: Evan Smotrycz’s three-point shooting percentage in December.

45.5: Smotrycz’s three-point shooting percentage in November.

THE LINKS

Terps fresh after time off

Sunday a reunion for Turgeon, Manning

PG Allen practices, nears return to lineup

THE QUOTES

“If you look at Danny’s schedule, he hasn’t been afraid to schedule. They’ve played some pretty tough teams. We thought they were going to be pretty good, which they have a chance to be. They play hard. Danny’s done a nice job with them. I keep saying, we wanted to schedule good teams. We didn’t want to schedule a 319 RPI team. We wanted to schedule teams that have a chance to win. That’s why Tulsa is coming in.” — Turgeon.

“We had a slow start. We haven’t been playing so good. Just getting away, it helped everybody work on what they need to work on to bring to the team. I think we should be good when we come back.” — point guard Roddy Peters.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

“Come Together” by The Beatles.

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 | December 28, 2013