2011-2012 ACC Preview: #7 Maryland

The 2011-2012 ACC season is about to begin. Over the next three weeks, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order that we think they’ll finish this season – from the bottom up.

Let’s take a look at our projected 7th-place finishers, the Maryland Terrapins.

Never fear, the Turtle has been much scarier in years past (photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet)

2011-2012 Record: 10-3

Key Wins:
November 18- Maryland 78, Colorado 71
December 4- Maryland 78, Notre Dame 71

Tough Losses:
November 20- Iona 89, Maryland 63
November 29- Illinois 71, Maryland 62

Starting Lineup:[table id=20 /]Last Year Against Duke:
January 9, 2011 at Duke- Duke 71, Maryland 64
February 2, 2011 in College Park- Duke 80, Maryland 62
March 11, 2011 at ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC- Duke 87, Maryland 71

This Year Against Duke:
January 25, 2012 in College Park
February 11, 2012 at Duke

The Good: The Terps boast the leading scorer in the ACC in sophomore Terrell Stoglin, who has averaged 21.5 points per game so far this season. Stoglin has been held under 15 points in just one game this season, and notched 31 and 32 points in crucial victories over Notre Dame and Colorado, respectively. Especially during an intensely competitive conference schedule, it is possible to beat a superior team when you have a player that can score at will.

The Bad: This is a Maryland team that struggles on the defensive end of the floor, and they don’t have nearly enough offensive firepower to offset that. The Terps are one of just two teams in the ACC who have been outscored thus far, the other being the lowly Boston College, who we predicted to finish dead last in the conference this year. To make matters worse, if Maryland can actually take a lead late in the game, they might have trouble keeping it, as they’ve struggled mightily from the line this year. They rank dead last in the ACC this season, shooting just 63.6% from the charity stripe.

The Crazie: The greatest loss Maryland suffered from last year’s team was not a graduated player, but their head coach. The Terrapins entered this season with a new coach for the first time in 22 years following the departure of legendary head coach Gary Williams. New head coach Mark Turgeon entered the fold at Maryland after four straight NCAA tournament bids at Texas A&M, and although he is amply qualified, this is not a program that is used to leadership changes, to say the least. The most interesting thing about this Maryland team does not concern the coaching change, however, but rather how untested this team is. Although it faced a few quality opponents in its non-conference schedule, the Terrapins did not play a single game on the road. They did play four neutral site games, but one of the keys to a winning team in conference play is the ability to play in a hostile environment, which Maryland has not yet had to do this year. This could pose a problem down the road for a team that is already quite inexperienced to begin with.

Player We Love To Hate: Terrell Stoglin is the type of player that Duke hates to face. He is overwhelmingly his team’s primary offensive option, having taken twice as many shots as any other player on Maryland’s team. He is not afraid to take the ball to the rack and gets to the line consistently, but is also not afraid to step out and hit from deep. He has a scorer’s mentality and the capability to drop points on a team in bunches. With a team like Maryland, they’ll only pose a significant threat to upset you if Stoglin takes over the game.

The Bottom Line: This team has been difficult to read because it is widely inexperienced and generally untested, but despite these drawbacks it will benefit by being more talented than a few teams in a depleted ACC this season. It has the ability to beat bad teams and give better teams a run for their money if Stoglin is connecting and their defense learns how to shut somebody down. This team should finish somewhere toward the middle of the pack this year. But unless they overachieve significantly in conference play or make a deep ACC Tournament run they likely will not see an NCAA Tournament bid in large part due to a weak non-conference schedule.

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Crazie-Talk’s 2011-2012 ACC Preview:

Boston College | Wake Forest | Clemson | Miami | Georgia Tech | Maryland

North Carolina State | Virginia Tech | Florida State | Virginia | Duke | North Carolina