Greetings from Comcast Center, about 90 minutes until the Maryland basketball team (6-1) tips off against winless Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-7). The Terps are coming off a solid undefeated week with wins at Northwestern during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and at Verizon Center against George Mason for Sunday’s BB&T Classic.
The game is being broadcast on the usual radio affiliates and can be viewed on ESPN3.com. Check out the pregame links and notes below, and drop your comments in the discussion thread. Follow along on Twitter and check back postgame for blogs. Enjoy the game and thanks for reading.
>> No more asking Coach Mark Turgeon about the weak nonconference schedule. We all cool with that? He’s fielded questions practically every presser, and always politely notes that he scheduled teams like UMES before knowing that Charles Mitchell, Logan Aronhalt and Dez Wells would be around.
“Yeah, we got to quit talking about that, if that’s all right with you guys since we’re all friends here,” Turgeon said Tuesday. “We’re going to get better. We’ve got to get better offensively. We’ve got to give confidence to our young guys. We’ve got to be more efficient.
“That’s the way we’re going to approach it. I love what we have over the next month as far as practice times and games. We’re getting better, we’re defending and rebounding pretty well, but we have a long way to go until we can compete in the ACC.”
That schedule includes an eight-day break between games on Dec. 21 and Dec. 29, allowing the Terrapins to return home for the holidays.
>> Through seven games, Alex Len ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in the following categories: blocks (1st), blocks per game (1st), offensive rebounds (2nd), total rebounds (5th), field-goal percentage (6th), rebounds per game (6th) and field goals (7th) not to mention a host of other metrics. So what’s the next step?
“The next step is handling double teams better, recognizing when he is and not,” Turgeon said. “A couple times when they doubled him, we got great looks. That would be the next step for him, because defensively he’s playing pretty well. I think he’s doing a much better job staying out of foul trouble, and he’s one of the best shot-blockers in the country. Those won’t be fouls as the season goes on.That’s how I’ll say it. I think he’ll earn the respect he deserves defensively.”
>> Maryland is still not ranked in either the AP or coaches poll, but the hype seems to be swirling nonetheless. At least, on the outside.
“From 1 to 10, we’re at about a 2 or 3,” Wells said. “You have to factor in all the freshmen who aren’t playing as well as they want to be. We have to straighten those guys along. No rush, but we’ll just keep getting better each day.”
>> Getting to Comcast Center so early means watching Aronhalt’s fairly extensive pregame shooting routine. The senior has an army of red Maryland polo shirts and suit pants around him, feeding him passes as he hoists jumpers. At one stretch, Aronhalt went around the perimeter and made 35 of 45 three-pointers. Maybe that’s why he has a .833 true shooting percentage.
>> Per Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn, last week just two Division I players snagged 20 percent of both offensive and defensive rebounds: Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley and Mitchell. Mitchell’s offensive rebound percentage sank to 18.2 percent, dropping him out of Winn’s “20-20″ club, but nonetheless impressive company for the true freshman.