RALEIGH, N.C. – Greetings from inside the Research Triangle, where the Maryland men’s basketball team begins its farewell jaunt along Tobacco Road on Monday night with a 9 p.m. tipoff against North Carolina State. In 15 days, the Terrapins will revisit the area against North Carolina and, 11 days after that, get Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. For the first time since the ACC began, none of those three teams will journey to College Park.
Today’s print advance looked back on Maryland’s happy-go-lucky halftime intervention against Notre Dame, and how the next step involves parlaying that into road success. On the blog, the game preview lists all the requisite links for pregame reading. Some quick notes are below.
>> This preseason, Coach Mark Turgeon scheduled practices for 8 a.m., mainly because he hated stewing around all morning while anticipating a midafternoon workout. He wanted to encourage discipline, so the Terps could finish their post-practice lift in time for 11 a.m. classes, then have the rest of the day to themselves.
This semester, Maryland switched time slots to 1 p.m. practices, but you can imagine how Turgeon feels about 9 p.m. tipoffs. The Terps were relatively fortunate in this regard; they play just twice at 9 p.m. this season, something only they, Virginia and Pittsburgh get to do. Miami and the Wolfpack, however, get the late start five times, while Duke has it four times.
An absurdly late 11 p.m. tipoff in the Paradise Jam tournament final against Providence – when radio announcers Johnny Holliday and Chris Knoche jokingly wore pajamas for a pregame photo opportunity – might help Turgeon prepare logistics for the long schedule on Monday, but he said the U.S. Virgin Islands experience should have little effect.
“We might do something different tomorrow,” Turgeon said Sunday. “We’ll be in class on the other one [against Miami on Jan. 29], so that helps. I don’t know what we’re going to do tomorrow. I know we have shoot-around at noon, but we might do something in the afternoon to get them out of the hotel, break up the day … It’s such a long season. Guys can’t remember way back when. You just hope tomorrow night you do the right things and we have energy.”
>> Charles Mitchell and Shaq Cleare delivered one of their more balanced post efforts this season against Notre Dame, combining for 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Mitchell grabbed six offensive rebounds, and while Cleare was largely kept off the boards, he excelled in defending center Garrick Sherman as Maryland mounted its comeback run during the second half.
Other games such as Marist (20 total points, 13 rebounds, 9 of 10 shooting) and Florida Atlantic (20 total points, 10 rebounds, 9 of 13 shooting) rival Notre Dame for the roommates and close friends, but as the Terps continue to beg for consistent front-court production, doing so against an ACC opponent – albeit a short-handed one – was viewed as a positive.
“I think a long time ago when people couldn’t figure out what I was doing with my post guys, we were creating competition,” Turgeon said. “I didn’t know who our best guys were. I tried Jon Graham, I tried Damonte [Dodd] after Christmas. I think it made them work a little harder. We’ve created some competition in practice, they’re both playing with more confidence. We’ve got to keep Charles out of foul trouble. That’s tremendous for us, in 35 minutes for them to do that.”
Mitchell, to follow up on Turgeon’s point, has been fouling at a rather high clip through five conference games, averaging 6.5 per 40 minutes during that span. Just for fun with small sample sizes, Mitchell has been whistled for 12.9 fouls per 40 minutes over the past two games, including a 16-minute foul-out at Florida State.
Cleare, who last season had fouls (68) than made field goals (58), hasn’t been much better. In five ACC games, he’s averaging 6.4 fouls per 40 minutes.
>> Your daily update on point guard Seth Allen, who continues to enjoy the gamut of treatment options including, in his words, “strengthening, balance, power, rehabilitation, massages, cream, stuff like that.”
“I’m getting better every day,” said Allen, admitting his healing left foot still gets sore. “Just time, a little bit more time, I just have to keep doing my therapy. It’ll keep on getting stronger. I think just the big answer is time. I need a little more time. We’re getting rest. Practices have been at 1 o’clock, middle of the day. I come early to do therapy.”
>> Looks like gold shoes may be in the offing.
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) January 20, 2014