Preview: Maryland opens ACC play against Boston College

Preview: Maryland opens ACC play against Boston College
December 12, 2013, 9:15 am
Share This Post

Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House

(USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 12 December 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Television: ESPNU

Spread: Maryland (-3.0)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

After a strong showing in the Virgin Islands, Maryland has struggled since coming back to the States. A blowout loss to No. 5 Ohio State was followed by a buzzer-beating defeat at the hands of tough mid-major George Washington.

Now coach Mark Turgeon is searching for answers and trying not to let his team fall to .500 as Maryland opens  ACC play on the road against Boston College on Thursday night. Preview it all below.

[RELATED: ‘Everybody thinks the world is coming to an end’]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland PG Roddy Peters vs. Boston College PG Olivier Hanlan

The carousel at point guard has been spinning for Maryland since Seth Allen went down with a broken foot. It might finally be coming to a close. Turgeon said on Wednesday that freshman guard Roddy Peters is the “clear cut” best option at point guard, so expect him to get the start on Thursday.

That should have positive residual effects, especially the fact that Dez Wells will now be allowed to move off the ball and create in space without having to worry about running the offense. Turnovers will happen, but it’s hard to imagine Maryland ends up any worse than the 0.85-to-one turnover ratio it is already averaging.

Peters’ counterpart, Hanlan, is a threat. He is fifth in the ACC with 19.2 points per game and shoots a respectable 36 percent from three-point range. The real concern for Maryland, though, should be his ability to drive.

Peters is still coming along defensively, so Maryland will need to help on the perimeter and play defense without fouling before Hanlan gets into the lane. The more he gets into the lane, the more trouble he’ll cause, especially because the sophomore shoots 83 percent from the free throw line.

[RELATED: Is Roddy Peters the ‘clear cut’ option at PG?]

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Dez Wells, shooting guard

It feels odd to write “shooting guard” next to Dez Wells’ name, considering what he has been asked to do for Maryland so far this season. Turgeon said on Wednesday that he could still see a few minutes at the lead guard spot, but most of his minutes will be off the ball where he is most effective.

Now that he is in his natural position, look for him to be more aggressive coming off of screens and driving to the basket. Maryland’s hope is that this then leads to the start of a chain reaction, where Wells draws defenders and opens up shooters like Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz on the perimeter.

Will one positional change spur an offensive overhaul?

BOSTON COLLEGE PLAYER TO WATCH

Ryan Anderson, forward

Aside from Hanlan, Anderson is Boston College’s biggest scoring threat that Maryland will need to be aware of on Thursday night. At 18 points per game, he’s also efficient, shooting 51 percent from the floor and knocking down 80.6 percent of his free throws.

Maryland’s interior defense has left a lot to be desired, especially if there happens to be foul trouble along the way, too. This is where Penn State transfer Jonathan Graham could be useful. Graham had five points, five rebounds, and three blocks in 15 minutes against George Washington.

If he can provide more solid minutes against the 6-9 Anderson, it will help the Terrapins on Thursday night.

[RELATED: Will Graham get more meaningful minutes?]

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Boston College ranks 333rd in the country in rebounding and 304th in the country in rebounding percentage, both putrid numbers of which Maryland should be trying to take advantage. Expect forward Charles Mitchell to be throwing his weight around in the paint when fighting for position and, Maryland hopes, getting offensive rebounds and putback opportunities.

A double-double could be on the horizon for him.

More Team Talk