It’s interesting how Maryland’s ACC schedule is laid out, giving the Terps three out of four games at home to start before they make their first trip to Tobacco Road to play North Carolina on Jan. 19.
Given Maryland’s 13-1 start, all four games appear winnable, though Wedneday night’s game against Florida State (9-5, 1-0 ACC) will certainly be a step up from Saturday’s rout of Virginia Tech.
In fact, Mark Turgeon called the game against the Seminoles “the toughest opponent since the Kentucky game, referring to Maryland’s season-opening three-point loss to the then No. 3 ranked Wildcats at the Barclays Center.
Said sophomore swingman Dez Wells, “You have to enjoy and appreciate the competition. You have to have the same mentality [as in previous games]. We’re ready to be tested. We’re ready to respond to everything they throw at you.”
Florida State has suffered some bad losses at home earlier this season to South Alabama and Mercer, and more recently at SEC bottom-feeder Auburn, but Turgeon said he was impressed when watching the Seminoles' 71-66 win Saturday at Clemson.
“I don’t know if you watched the Clemson game, unfortunately I did right before I tried to sleep last night,” Turgeon said. “I think he [Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton] is still searching for that right lineup, but you can see they’re coming. You can watch film from early until now and you see they’re really starting to get in a groove. Defensively is where those new guys are starting to get it.”
But the Seminoles rank ninth in the ACC in rebounding, while the Terps have been ranked at the top for most of the season. It’s the one area that Turgeon wasn’t happy with against the Hokies, so you know it has been a point of emphasis in practice.
Florida State will certainly the biggest team Maryland will have faced since the opener. Though the Seminoles lost Bernard James, they start 7-foot-1 transfer Kiel Turpin and have 7-3 freshman Boris Bojanovsky playing about 11 minutes off the bench.
“Leonard likes to play size,” Turgeon said. “We’ll see. We thought Virginia Tech was going to play size, too, and they didn’t. Good thing we were able to adjust because we have enough bodies. I do think it’s good for Alex [Len] that they have some size.”
Turgeon also said Florida State is “the best defensive team that we have played so far.”