Here are five storylines to watch during Maryland's opening game Friday night against Kentucky at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.:
How will Maryland's bulk — freshmen Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell each top 260 pounds — fare against a particularly tall Kentucky team?
The Wildcats have 6-foot-10 forward Nerlens Noel, 7-foot center Willie Cauley-Stein and 6-10 forward Kyle Wiltjer.
Which freshman or transfer will crack Maryland's starting lineup?
Freshman forward Jake Layman started last week's exhibition game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The guess here is that newly-eligible transfer Dez Wells gets the nod against Kentucky. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon will be tempted to give lots of time to Mitchell, who had 15 rebounds against IUP, and fellow freshman Seth Allen, a guard who is skilled defensively.
Which of the many talented freshman in the game will distinguish themselves early and which will be slower to adjust to a big-game atmosphere?
Kentucky's Noel was one of the top recruits in the country. Turgeon expects some jitters from his team. "I hope we can hit the rim the first few shots. We will be excited," the coach said. "Our kids will be excited that Dick Vitale will be there, so I will have to temper that."
How much can we expect from Dez Wells, the Xavier transfer playing in his first game for the Terps?
Lots. Wells is a rare player in this game with plenty of big-game experience after spending his freshmen year playing for a Xavier team that reached the Sweet 16. "He is a great leader," Terps guard Pe'Shon Howard said. "He has the experience of playing in a NCAA tournament."
What uniforms will the Terps wear?
Actually, we know the answer to this one. It's an Under Armour creation designed to mark the return of sports to Brooklyn. The uniforms are flannel gray — in honor of the old Brooklyn Dodgers — with "Maryland" in script across the jersey.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun