UNC's two-week tour of the new coaches of the ACC concludes today in College Park, with Mark Turgeon's Maryland Terps. In case you're just coming out of a coma, Gay Wiliams retired after 22 seasons this past spring, the entire internet spent a month hanging out at Testudo Times, and then Turgeon was hired. He, of course, got his start as a Larry Brown assistant at Kansas, and stayed on through the first few seasons of Roy Williams' tenure. But don't expect a lot of Williams' philosophy in this Maryland team – Turgeon almost always runs a slow-paced game.
In fact, this is faster-paced than most of his squads, in part because he's yet to bring in his own players and in part because the team just isn't good enough to impose its will on the speed of play. In addition to losing Gary Williams, the Terps have also lost Jordan Williams, Cliff Tucker, and Adrian Bowie. This leaves the team almost exclusively in the hands of Terrell Stoglin.
Stoglin, only a sophomore, takes a higher percentage of shots than anyone east of the Rockies. He leads the ACC in scoring by over four points per game more than his nearest competitor. His shooting percentage has dropped a bit from last season, because everyone and their mother realizes he's the guy to stop on this team. He's still an offensive force, though. He burned the Heels for 28 points last year, and although Reggie Bullock's defense has been very strong lately, there's only so much that can be done.
Fortunately, the rest of the team doesn't measure up. The Terps haven't really settled on a point guard, mostly relying on Pe'Shon Howard since he returned from a broken foot, but neither he nor Stoglin is a true PG, and it shows. In also manifests itself on the defensive end, where Maryland is one of the worst teams in the country at generating steals and turnovers. Maryland fills out their backcourt with a collection of average-type players, primarily Nick Faust, Sean Mosely, and Mychal Parker all some purpose on the floor – Parker's is to turn it over, apparently – but don't present much of a threat.
Which leaves the paint. And that means James Padgett. Padgett's strength is on the offensive boards, cleaning up his team's numerous misses. He probably could stand to be involved in the offense more, but he'll have trouble with Zeller and Henson. He's most often paired with freshman Ashton Pankey, another strong rebounder. He has one of the worst +/- stats in the ACC, though. I'd expect to see more of Alex Len, a 7'1" freshman from the Ukraine, who has a decent block rate on the strength of his size alone.
Let's face it, Turgeon's first season has been a bit of a disappointment.The team is trailing below .500 in a weak year for the conference, and has lost four of their last five. There's the potential for a good team in there, like the one that came back from 16 points in the second half to force two overtimes against Miami. But there's the other team, the one that falls behind by sixteen in the first place. If Carolina doesn't get caught looking ahead at Duke, this is an excellent opportunity to shake off their recent road woes and keep the momentum strong coming into the first game against the Blue Devils.
(And as for those road problems, tickets in College Park are embarrassingly cheap. Fan interest has been waning of late.)