Chairmen of the Boards. The biggest difference between Maryland in year one under Mark Turgeon and year two is rebounding. After collecting an average of 1.9 more rebounds per game than their foes in 2011-12, the Terps have upped the figure to +15.2 per game. The addition of freshman Charles Mitchell (7.8 rebounds in 17.8 minutes pg) and sophomore Dez Wells (5.2 rpg) and the transformation of 7-1 Alex Len (8.2 rpg) has made Maryland fearsome on the boards.
Lineup Upheaval? Is Maryland coach Mark Turgeon considering lineup changes? After his five backups logged 109 minutes on Saturday compared to 91 for the starters, Turgeon appears to be leaning toward some of his new players. Are senior forward James Padgett (17 minutes, three points, six rebounds) and junior guard Pe’Shon Howard (15 minutes, two points, four assists) on the outs? Are Mitchell (24 minutes, 13 points, 11 rebounds) and freshman guard Seth Allen (29 minutes, six assists, two points) on the ins?
Logan’s Run. There’s little doubt about the role of Maryland senior Logan Aronhalt, who has taken 13 shots this year with only two coming from inside the arc. On Saturday night the 6-3 senior, a transfer from Albany, made all four of his 3-point shots, scoring 12 points. Aronhalt said it has required an adjustment going from go-to scorer to a bit player.
“Coming from Albany I was playing basically 35 minutes a game,” Aronhalt said. “For me to flip roles and come in and play spot minutes here and there, just to come in and make shots, it’s different. It’s taken me a couple games to get used to it.”
Difference-maker. Mitchell changed the game on Saturday. After Maryland fell behind 9-1 early, Mitchell entered the game and scored the Terps’ first three field goals to energize the team on a lackluster night. Turgeon wasn’t happy with Mitchell’s work Tuesday in a win over Lafayette despite respectable numbers – 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting with five rebounds in 16 minutes.
“The last game he wasn’t very good. We watched film and it was not a fun film session for Charles,” Turgeon said. “He responded the right way. Some guys respond the right way. Other guys start pouting.”
The 6-8, 260-pound Mitchell is pushing for a starting job. But his active, high-energy game might make him more valuable off the bench as an inspirational super-sub.
“It seems like he’s everywhere – on the boards, getting easy layups, and doing all those little things,” Aronhalt said. “He’s just so physical, so big down there, teams have a tough time with him. I’d hate to try box him out down there. What could I do?”
Measuring stick. This will be a critical week as Maryland faces its first true road test at Northwestern (6-0) Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, then a game Sunday with a deep George Mason (4-2) squad that has quality wins over Virginia and Mercer.
“We gotta get ready to be running around, screening a lot, calling out screens. It’s going to be a physical game,” Shaquille Cleare said of Northwestern.