Maryland basketball vs. Wake Forest: Previewing the game


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (14-12, 6-7 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (14-11, 4-8)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus (Tom Werme, play-by-play; Dan Bonner, analyst.)
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (third season, 56-40). Demon Deacons – Jeff Bzdelik (fourth season, 48-71).
Kenpom rating: Maryland 52nd, Wake Forest 112th.
RPI: Maryland 76th, Wake Forest 101st.

THE SCRIPT

After all the emotions had been drained from their systems following a devastating two-point loss at Duke, the Maryland men’s basketball players returned home to again pick up the pieces. It was easier this time, both because the Terps had played so well against the Blue Devils but came up just short, and because a team that has now lost five straight is coming to Comcast Center on Tuesday night. Wake Forest hasn’t won since Jan. 25, and hasn’t won a road game since Jan. 22. This bodes well for Maryland, provided it can avoid the type of letdown consistent with this type of game – following a heartbreaker, against a bottom-feeder. Really, for the Terps, Tuesday night should be a minor speed bump. They haven’t lost to the Demon Deacons in the Mark Turgeon era and could use a segue into this final five-game stretch, which includes a date with No. 1 Syracuse next week.

THE QUESTIONS

1) Avoid the letdown? It’s certainly a concern for Turgeon. He gave the Terps an day off on Sunday, something he had planned to do, win or lose, after the Duke game. It was an opportunity to recharge and refocus, but will there be any sort of mental lapses against Wake Forest, the type that allows the visitors to hang around for far too long?

“Guys were good today,” he said Monday. “We were dialed in. Wake Forest does a lot of stuff. Had a really good practice.”

2) Ensure Thomas doesn’t get going? Wake Forest sophomore Devin Thomas, the brother of Terps star forward Alyssa Thomas, is still an energetic handful without much qualms about getting physical. Remember when he and Alex Len got into it last season? He’s averaging 11 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, but scored just two points over a foul-plagued 23 minutes against Florida State on Saturday. If Maryland can attack the basket and send Thomas to the bench, it can avoid the type of interior battles Thomas has proven he can win.

3) Keep the turnover count low? Wake Forest does not force turnovers. Its steal percentage ranks 257th nationally per Kenpom.com and its turnover percentage is 270th. Maryland’s giveaway rate isn’t nearly as astronomic as it once was – 18.5 percent, right around the nation’s average – but a flurry of mistakes can still sap the life from any team.

THE STATS

1: National rank in turnover rate for Demon Deacons senior guard Coron Williams, who commits one every 20 possessions. He averages 24.4 minutes per game but has just eight turnovers all season.

40.1: Sophomore forward Charles Mitchell’s field goal percentage on two-point jumpers, a significant increase from earlier this season. That mark now leads all Maryland regulars with at least nine attempts.

7: Maryland’s winning streak against Wake Forest, dating back to Jan. 12, 2011.

THE LINKS

Meet the fun-loving, hard-working Maryland basketball scout team

Nine things to know about Spencer Barks

Terps forge ahead with moral victories, without real ones

Pregame notes: The high-wire act of Charles Mitchell

Freshman Damonte Dodd was ‘tremendous’ against Duke

ACC acknowledges possession arrow error

Breaking down Maryland’s final possession vs. the Blue Devils

On the big stage, Dez Wells nearly carried his team

Another heartbreaker ends a rivalry ‘second to none’

THE QUOTES

“Losing’s no fun. And it’s been a tough year. We didn’t expect this. We’re 14-12, we expected to be at least 20-6 at this point. But we’re not. We are what we are. But we get to play Wake Forest tomorrow night, which is great. We didn’t have to sit on this for long.” – Turgeon.

“After the game, I was like, ‘Man if I can do that in a big game like that, going on I can just be calm and do what I’m supposed to do.’ It was a big confidence booster.” – Dodd.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons.

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 18

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