Preview: Maryland opens season with Catholic exhibition

Preview: Maryland opens season with Catholic exhibition
November 3, 2013, 9:30 am
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With an injury to starting point guard Seth Allen on Tuesday that will keep him out for close to 10 weeks, Maryland's 2013-14 season had gotten off to a slightly different start than even the team itself expected.

But Sunday comes the end of intrasquad scrimmages and preseason planning. Sunday, the real thing (almost) begins.

The Terrapins take on Catholic University at Comcast Center in College Park at 1 p.m. Take a look below at the "Three-Man Weave" which highlights three things to watch for on Sunday.

DEZ WELLS TAKES THE REINS AT POINT GUARD

Wells said this week in no uncertain terms that he's confident in his abilities to make the transition between Seth Allen and himself seamless at the point guard spot. On Sunday, he'll get his first chance to prove it against a group other than his own teammates.

The key for Wells will be limiting turnovers, one season after having nearly a one-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. His size gives him the ability to bully his way to the rim, but it will be a matter of his decision making and court awareness once he gets in the paint that will dictate how fluidly this offense runs.

Head coach Mark Turgeon has praised Wells as having improved in that area since last season.

WILL OUTSIDE SHOOTING TOUCH BE THERE?

Maryland finished toward the bottom of the ACC in three-point shooting last season at just a shade under 34 percent.

This season, thanks to the developing confidence of forward Jake Layman and the eligibility of Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz, they have an opportunity to claw their way toward the top in that category.

With Wells' driving ability, there will be openings on the perimeter and Layman and Smotrycz will have to find them. In preseason scrimmages, Layman was particularly dangerous as a trailing three-point threat on the break, much like forward James Southerland was last season at Syracuse.

HOW DOES DEFENSE ADJUST WITHOUT RIM PROTECTOR ALEX LEN?

Turgeon admitted early in the preseason that this year's No. 5 overall pick in the NBA Draft, Alex Len, erased a lot of deficiencies that this defense had last season. As a shot blocker at the rim, poor perimeter defense was masked by his ability to protect the basket.

This season, that won't be so. Big men Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell are space-eaters and rebounders on the interior, not shot blockers, which means we'll need to see improved perimeter defense from the Terrapins.

The situation is made more complicated by the changes in refereeing style being implemented this season, which will likely result in more fouls on the outside. With Maryland's backcourt depth issues, that could be a problem in and of itself.

Tip-off is at 1 p.m.