The Maryland Terrapins will battle the N.C. State Wolfpack tonight in College Park. Maryland will be looking to break a two game losing skid and improve on its 1-2 record in ACC play. The Terps dropped back to back ACC games to Florida State and Miami after winning their league opener against Virginia Tech.
The Terps rode the sharp shooting of freshmen Seth Allen and Jake Layman in downing the Hokies. The offense has fallen on hard times since, thanks in large part to the defensive prowess of Miami and Florida State. Junior PG Pe’Shon Howard has struggled mightily for Maryland during the two game losing streak. The normally dependable Howard has gone 0-for-8 from the floor with just two assists and four turnovers the last two games. Coach Mark Turgeon has replaced Howard in the starting lineup with Seth Allen. The freshman shot just 2-for-8, including o-for-3 from beyond the arc, in the loss to Miami.
The Terps couldn’t be getting the Wolfpack at a worse time. N.C. State is ranked #14 in the country and riding high after knocking off top ranked Duke over the weekend. The win over Duke improved N.C. State’s record to 14-2 on the season including 3-0 in ACC play. The talented and experienced Wolfpack are led by 6’9” Junior forward C.J. Leslie who scored 25 in the win over the Blue Devils.
Leslie presents a huge match up problem for Turgeon’s Terps who have struggled to establish a consistent presence at power forward. Turgeon has rotated Senior James Padgett and freshman Charles Mitchell at the four spot. Freshman Shaq Cleare was expected to get his first start at power forward against Miami but was relegated to bench duty due to back spasms. Leslie is joined in the Wolfpack front court by 6’8” banger Richard Howell who leads the team with 10.4 rebounds per game.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Terps after tonight. They’ll travel to North Carolina to battle the Tar Heels on Saturday, return home to take on Boston College, then embark on a two game road trip to Duke and Florida State. If they don’t find an answer to their offensive woes the young Terps could soon find themselves with a 1-6 ACC record.