Pregame notes: Turgeon pondering lineup change

(Associated Press)

By now, Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon has decided whether to tweak his lineup for Tuesday’s non-conference finale against IUPUI. Any potential change will be revealed shortly before the 3 p.m. tip-off, but Turgeon offered the thought during his Monday teleconference.

“Right now, it hasn’t mattered to be quite honest with you, who starts and that stuff,” Turgeon said. “There could be a change in the lineup for tomorrow. I’ll sleep on it tonight and decide.”

Smart money says it will be Charles Mitchell, who posted his third double-double with a 19-point, 14-rebound performance against Delaware State, starting in place of James Padgett. Padgett, one of two seniors on the team, has been very consistent this season, albeit in the fewest minutes among Maryland’s regular starters. 

A little Twitter crowdsourcing showed fans expecting either Mitchell-for-Padgett or freshman guard Seth Allen starting over Pe’Shon Howard. However, based on Turgeon’s comments about Howard — “I’ve been impressed. It’s great.” — that doesn’t seem as likely.  

“I have a good feel for what lineup I think’s our best lineup, what lineup I think is the best defensive, best offensive,” Turgeon said. “I think we’ve gotten a feel for that. The thing that’s been nice, a lot of guys have gotten better. Across the board, guys are improving at a fast rate. We don’t have as many holes when we play.”

>> Turgeon didn’t seem too concerned about Alex Len‘s performance against Delaware State, when Len posted season-lows with two rebounds and six points. Turgeon has substituted out Len early for Shaquille Cleare in three straight halves now, but was confident Len will bounce back soon.

“I think it’s an anomaly,” Turgeon said. “Alex didn’t play well. He was lethargic, got a little out of shape over Christmas. I thought he played a little soft. That’s why I did it last game. I’m gaining more confidence in Shaq, and Shaq’s playing better, so it’s easier to do it. I don’t think that’s going to become a habit. Alex has been great for us and a guy we’ll need to play well for us to be successful.”

>> Today’s print advance looked at Jake Layman, whose career at Maryland through 12 games hasn’t quite gone the way he expected.

From speaking with both Turgeon and Layman, it seems they’re both pretty realistic about the entire situation, looking more to the not-too-distant future than dwelling on how the first semester went.

“They’re all happy to be part of a good group of guys,” Turgeon said. “They get along and have a common goal. We know what lies ahead is a lot tougher than what we’ve done. Our guys are happy. We just want to win and contribute. Jake would be more upset about not being able to play the way he wants to play than playing time. That’s the kind of guys we have.” 

When asked whether Layman seemed different after returning to College Park from Christmas break, posting arguably his best half this season versus Delaware State,  Howard turned to perhaps Layman’s most famous attribute.

“Haircut. Haircut,” Howard said. “Everyone needs that break to go home, see your family, stuff like that. Clear your mind. Especially with him, he has so much to think about every day. Just to go home and see his family, friends, have fun for a little bit, then come back, our practices have been really good. We’ve had a lot of energy lately.” 

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 31, 2012

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