Preview: Maryland faces Florida State in ACC tourney opener

Preview: Maryland faces Florida State in ACC tourney opener
March 13, 2014, 7:45 am

VITALS

Date: 13 March 2014

Time: 12 p.m.

Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, N.C.

Television: ESPN

Spread: Maryland (-1.5)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

It’s win or a long ride home for Maryland. All the way home like the NIT. Without an ACC tournament title, that’s where the Terrapins are likely headed. Their first matchup in this tournament is a winnable game against a team who split the first two regular-season contests with them.

Tourney time in Greensboro. Preview it all below.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Seth Allen/Maryland’s offensive sets vs. Florida State defense

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon says that the biggest reason why his sophomore point guard scored a career-high 32 points in the last meeting between these two teams was because nearly every basket was a product of the offense that the team planned to run.

That meant limiting forced shots, which limits bad shots, which limits run-outs in transition, which limits a facet of Florida State’s offense. If Allen is in the zone from long range, that will also open up driving lanes for himself, Dez Wells, Nick Faust, and others.

[RELATED: Can the offense work for Seth Allen again?]

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Evan Smotrycz, forward

Turgeon admitted this week that there have been times this season when the junior forward has forced the action too much, trying to be too large a part of the offense. In the team’s regular-season finale against Virginia, Turgeon said, he did his best job of fitting into the flow of the offense and finished with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting because of it.

Like Allen, it’s about manufacturing good looks for Smotrycz. A poor shooting night will sink the rest of the offense. Efficiency is the tide that raises all ships.

FLORIDA STATE PLAYER TO WATCH

Ian Miller, guard

Miller lit up Maryland in the first meeting between these two teams, scoring 20 points including 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range. He did not play because of injury in the second meeting.

His absence wasn’t why Maryland won the second time around, but it certainly made playing defense easier not having to worry about a 40-percent three-point shooter who can also drive the ball. The Seminoles rank 62nd in the nation in three-point percentage as a team, so Maryland will need to step up its defensive effort to avoid a repeat of its Jan. 12 performance.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Maryland will be playing with a lot on its mind after the passing of former manager Zach Lederer, who lost his long battle with cancer on Tuesday. The team attended a candlelight vigil in his honor on campus Tuesday before heading down to Greensboro.

Meeting with the media on Wednesday, Turgeon and a handful of players expressed their condolences. Allen said he planned to write Lederer’s name on his shoes during the tournament.