Maryland basketball vs. Florida State: Previewing the game


(AP Photo/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (13-10, 5-5 ACC) vs. Florida State (14-8, 5-5)
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center.
TV: ESPN2 (Carter Blackburn, play-by-play; Sean Farnham, analyst).
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (third season, 55-38). Seminoles – Leonard Hamilton (12th season, 233-151).
Kenpom rating: Maryland 67th, Florida State 28th.
RPI: Maryland 82nd, Florida State 42nd.

THE SCRIPT

The Maryland men’s basketball team hosts Florida State — which routed the Terrapins by 24 points in Tallahassee on Jan. 12 — looking to rebound from another sluggish, inconsistent outing versus North Carolina. Both teams sit at .500 in the ACC, though the Seminoles are markedly higher-ranked according to both the RPI and Ken Pomeroy, so a victory would at least give the Terps some good vibes heading into their brutal two-game road swing at No. 20 Virginia and No. 11 Duke.

“I just know in the league we’re 5-5,” Coach Mark Turgeon said Friday. “It’s not ideal. But it’s better than being 3-7. We just want to try to win tomorrow. That’s really what we think about. I know that sounds cliché and all that kind of stuff, but you really don’t have time to think about much else when you’re playing so many games and preparing for Florida State, a team that whipped us pretty good last time. We’ll handle tomorrow, but like you said we do have a lot of teams on the schedule that will have a number in front of their name. Gives you opportunities to beat good teams. Florida State’s a good team. We just want to play well tomorrow, figure out a way to win.”

THE QUESTIONS

1) Limit the three? Maryland hasn’t forgotten what happened in Tallahassee, and chances are neither have the Seminoles. At the Donald L. Tucker Center, the hosts lit it up with 16 three-pointers, including nine total from Ian Miller and Aaron Thomas off the bench. Florida State was a bad outside shooting team entering that game but, since destroying the Terps, has only gotten better. Thomas is making 50 percent of his three-pointers during ACC play. Miller is shooting 40.5 percent and Devon Bookert is at 53.6 percent.

“Yeah, you got to game plan a little differently,” Turgeon said. “They weren’t shooting that way going into the game for the year and they got it going. And even 32 [Montay Brandon] made some shots in that game and he’s more of a driver. They all made them that night. Would I change a thing about that night with our game plan? Probably not. I wish we would have played a little harder and executed better.”

2) Free up Layman? In a typical quiet effort that has defined his ACC season, Layman attempted just six shots against Florida State in the last meeting. He went 5 for 6 from the free throw line and finished with 11 points, but Turgeon wants more aggressiveness from the sophomore forward, though given how the Seminoles block shots that might not come at the rim. Look for the Terps to throw some new action into their offense to spring Layman free, like using him as a screener and rolling him to the basket. Otherwise, it’ll be more of the same: standing in the corner, waiting for shots that rarely come.

“I’m pretty conscious [of being patient], but Coach has been telling me lately to be more aggressive and shoot the ball more,” Layman said. “I’ve been trying to think that too, so it’s just balancing.”

3) Stop fouling? Maryland leads the ACC in fouls committed this season and it has become a bigger and bigger problem. Blame the ACC-swan-song refereeing all you want, but the reality is that the Terps haven’t been very disciplined on defense, which has led to silly things like clipping three-point shooters or reaching in late in the shot clock. Foul trouble pretty much derailed any second-half comeback hopes against North Carolina, especially for big men like Charles Mitchell and Shaq Cleare, both of whom are committing roughly six fouls every 40 minutes. Florida State also makes a respectable 71 percent of its free throw attempts.

THE STATS

2: Times in history Florida State has swept a season series with Maryland, but a victory would give it three wins in the past two years.

.909: Maryland’s winning percentage (10-1) in games holding opponents to less than 70 points. The Terps also happen to be 12-1 when shooting a higher field goal percentage (makes sense) and are 10-1 when leading at halftime.

1.16: Layman’s points per possession this season, highest on the Terps, though his 17.7 percent usage rate ranks seventh.

THE LINKS

In today’s WaPo: Terps have yet to get on point

Terps still looking to free Layman for looks

Amid so much frustration, Turgeon finds hope

Early stretches doomed Maryland against UNC

Video: Trick shot from Smotrycz to Dodd

THE QUOTES

“We were just really bad and it wasn’t where we are now as a team. In terms of them, they’ve definitely improved their shooting from that game on, so now we need to be more conscious of those shooters.” — Layman.

“We are a completely different team than we were when we played Florida State. We played more individually that game. Defensively, we didn’t really play team defense. That’s what we’re going to change.” — point guard Seth Allen.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

“We Come Running” by Youngblood Hawke.

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 · February 7

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