Who: Maryland (4-2) vs. Morgan State (1-6)
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
TV: ESPN3 (Game notes say ESPNU, but ESPN’s schedule says it’ll be online only)
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (third season, 46-30). Bears – Tod Bozeman (eighth season, 129-106)
The Maryland men’s basketball team returns home elated after winning the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands with wins over Marist, Northern Iowa and Providence. Morgan State was there, too, playing on the other side of the Bracket, and the Bears also beat the Red Foxes to earn their first win this season. The close quarters allowed Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson to compile his scouting report for Friday’s matchup at Comcast Center, and presumably for the Bears coaching staff to do the same. With the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next on the docket at seventh-ranked Ohio State, Maryland can use this game as a tune-up and an opportunity to keep the momentum from St. Thomas going.
1) No Thanksgiving hangover? The building might be half-empty, and Coach Mark Turgeon expects this. Between Thanksgiving break and the sub-par opponent, Comcast Center won’t exactly be a thumping environment on Friday. The Terps took Wednesday off except for weightlifting and free throw shooting, and returned to practice on Thursday morning.
“A little bit concerned, but I also think our guys have gained a tremendous amount of confidence,” Turgeon said. “We weren’t a very confident team when we went down to St. Thomas. It showed in the first half against Marist, but as the tournament went on we just became more and more confident. We’ll get rested up.”
2) Transition seamlessly? The coaching staff received a major overhaul on Wednesday afternoon when assistant coach Dalonte Hill resigned, former director of basketball operations Dustin Clark was promoted and legendary Maryland guard Juan Dixon was hired to serve as a special assistant to Turgeon. This shouldn’t affect the day-to-day operations much, because Clark has assumed Hill’s responsibilities since Hill took a leave of absence on October, and Dixon’s role will mainly be behind the scenes. But with another chance for distraction at hand – think Seth Allen’s injury, or Dez Wells’s lawsuit against Xavier, or Hill’s arrest last month – the Terps can seamlessly transition into the new order without much fuss.
3) Contain Chiles? Morgan State center Ian Chiles (he’s 7 feet 2) exploded for 25 points, nine points and seven blocked shots against Marist, and will be a handful for Maryland on Friday. Center Shaquille Cleare has been a solid low-post defender this season, using his strength to prevent back-downs towards the rim, but how will Chiles influence the Terps on the defensive end?
62.8: Maryland’s free throw shooting percentage, the worst of any Turgeon-coached team.
16.5: Charles Mitchell’s offensive rebounding percentage, which ranks 53rd nationally.
22.2: Maryland’s percentage of forced turnovers, the 30th-best rate nationally and the only time a Turgeon-coached team has topped 21 percent.
“I think he can, I think he will. It’s a sad day for me. I really, really like Dalonte. I think he’s a tremendous person. That’s a thing that hurts the most. I really tried to help. I think he’s got a lot of qualities that are tremendous, and he’s just got one thing that he’s got to get corrected. Once he gets corrected, I think it’s a forgiving world, and I thnk he’ll get his chance and he’ll do well. I hate that its’ come to this, but I do think he’ll get another chance. We’re going to miss him. He’ll always be a part of my family, but not a part of the coaching family anymore.” — Turgeon.
“I didn’t care about that. I was tired. Yeah, I was tired. But I pushed through it, just like any other guy would have done who wants to win the game. We all had it together and we all did it together.” — Wells after the Paradise Jam.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Come Back Home” by Suburban Legends.