Preview: Maryland welcomes Abilene Christian

Preview: Maryland welcomes Abilene Christian
November 13, 2013, 9:45 am

VITALS

Date: 13 November 2013

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: CSN+ (Channel Finder)

Spread: N/A

FASTBREAK PREVIEW

Coming off a season-opening loss to Connecticut last week, head coach Mark Turgeon told the media on Tuesday that there were lessons learned and adjustments to be made. Most prominent among those changes will be differences at point guard, where natural shooting guard Dez Wells carried the majority of the load against the Huskies.

If all goes as planned, Wednesday night provides a chance for Turgeon to tune the piano as the Terrapins move forward in their non-conference schedule.

Can Maryland put the game away early on Wednesday night?

MATCHUP TO WATCH

LaDarrien Williams vs. Dez Wells

Against a low-major opponent on Wednesday night, this is where Wells and his physicality should make it difficult for Abilene Christian to keep up.

Williams, who is averaging a solid 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists through two games, will have his hands full at 5-10 against the 6-4 Wells. With questions about how the game will be called by the referees considering the implementation of new hand-checking fouls, Williams’ job gets no easier.

Consider this a chance for Wells to use his physical gifts to create shots for himself and opportunities for others. Maryland’s playbook was limited in its opener against Connecticut. From a coaching standpoint, perhaps we’ll see some variation, but the real possibility for a show comes at the point guard spot.

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Roddy Peters, point guard

Turgeon said Tuesday that he was “really proud” of the things Peters did against Connecticut, especially considering the caliber of backcourt that he was facing in his first college game.

He looked best in transition, as was expected, but also showed that he has already made progress in the half-court over the course of the close to two months that Maryland has had organized practices.

With, as Turgeon called it, “a lot on his plate” for Wells, expect Peters to get more minutes at point guard, especially if Maryland is able to pull away considerably early.

“Dez is still going to play point guard.” Turgeon said on Tuesday. “He’s going to play a lot of point guard, but I also got to get him off the ball where he can really help us.”

If Peters looks solid, the transition game should be running smoothly as well.

ABILENE CHRISTIAN PLAYER TO WATCH

Austin Cooke, forward

Maryland did not rebound well in its opener on Friday night. They rebounded so poorly, in fact, that Turgeon said on Tuesday that he was getting texts from people around the country who were amazed at the team’s lack of rebounding, considering the history of Turgeon-led teams.

Cooke will be Maryland’s biggest priority to keep off the glass on Wednesday night. He has grabbed nine rebounds in each of Abilene Christian’s first two games. If Maryland wants to put the game out of reach early, it needs to keep Cooke off the offensive boards and fight to get second-chance points on the other end of the floor.

Coming out of high school, Cooke had drawn interest from some high-major programs, including Arizona State and Arizona.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

In part because Wells was at point guard and in part because, as Turgeon pointed out, shot selection was a team-wide problem against Connecticut, Nick Faust took 18 shots on Friday night.

Most evenings, Maryland will not and should not ask him to take that many shots. With outside threats like Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz or solid play inside from players like Charles Mitchell, those shot attempts should be redistributed.

Against an Abilene Christian team that Maryland ought to have little trouble with, we might not see the shot distribution that we’ll see in conference games, but shot selection will have been an issue Turgeon stressed in the days leading up to Wednesday night’s contest.