Welcome to a second season of Morning Shootaround. We will follow the Terps throughout the 2013-14 season, but in this space this year, we will provide a look ahead, rather than back. We will try to analyze Maryland's strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of its upcoming opponent. We also hope to provide quotes and anecdotes from practices to give some idea of what coach Mark Turgeon and his team are doing.
Here are a few things to look for as the Terps get ready to play Florida State in Tallahassee at 8 p.m. Sunday.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The basketball education of sophomore Jake Layman has had its share of scoring binges and droughts along the way.
After starting this season scoring in double figures in the first five games and 11 of the first 13, Layman has gone cold the past three games, scoring a total of 17 points.
Going into tonight’s game at Florida State, Layman is coming off one of his worst offensive performances of the season, having finished with three points on 1-for-7 shooting in a 20-point loss at Pittsburgh.
The recent shooting streak has seen Layman make just seven of 26 shots in the past four games and has resulted in a three-point drop in his scoring average, to 13 a game.
I suggested in Friday's Terps Trio that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon should consider taking Layman out of the starting lineup because of his recent struggles, but the Terps will likely need the 6-foot-8 forward to start the game on Florida State’s Okaro White.
Maryland fans might remember White from the game he and the Seminoles had in College Park last season. The 6-9, 204-pound forward had 20 points and nine rebounds and helped the ‘Noles erase a 12-point Terps lead at Comcast Center.
NOT READY TO START
Turgeon said after his team’s practice Saturday in College Park that sophomore guard Seth Allen is not quite ready to assume a starting position, whether it’s at the point or on the wing.
Despite scoring a season-high 18 points in 26 minutes against Pittsburgh last Monday, his longest stint since coming back from a broken foot, Allen is not playing at a high level defensively.
“He’s scoring pretty well, but he’s just not doing it at the other end,” Turgeon said. “I imagine he’ll be better [Sunday] night than he was at Pittsburgh. He’ll get himself ready.”
Asked whether he thought he was ready to start, Allen said, “I feel I could. I don’t want to think about it. I’m just trying to, whenever I do get in, try to make an impact and bring energy whenever I can.”
The problem with playing Allen and freshman point guard Roddy Peters together — along with junior Dez Well at the other wing position — is that if Allen is not 100 percent, it could compromise Wells' and Peters' own defensive responsibilites.
Wells and Peters often try to disrupt passing lanes, and if Allen is a step behind, it makes that even more difficult. The Terps know all about that against Florida State.
A year ago at the Donald L. Tucker Center, Wells tried for a block and missed, allowing Michael Snaer to hit a 3-pointer for one of three game-winners he had in a 13-day stretch last season.
Fortunately for the Terps, Snaer is now playing in Italy.
ATTACKING THE ‘NOLES
Speaking of last year’s game in Tallahassee: The only reason Maryland was in position to win was because of Wells, who finished with 19 points, 13 of them in the second half, and dominated at times.
Sophomore center Alex Len, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss in College Park, finished with just four points and was badly outplayed by Boris Bojanovsky, Florida State's 7-3, 240-pound center from Slovakia.
So what are the Terps going to do this season against Bojanovsky, who has taken over as the starter, and 7-1, 290-pound Nigerian Michael Oho, who makes Shaquille Cleare look like a small forward?
The Terps had trouble gettng the ball inside for much of the second half of Monday’s 79-59 loss at Pittsburgh, with Layman getting blocked twice at the rim and Wells getting the ball stripped a couple of times on drives to the basket.
It will be more difficult against the ‘Noles.
“This is a different animal because of their length and protection of the rim,” Turgeon said Saturday. “I don’t know if they’re the best team in the country around the rim, but obviously on film … they take away a lot of baskets by the rim.
“You’ve got to figure out how you can get baskets,” Turgeon said. “You’ve got to get it on the break. You’ve get to get to the foul line. You’ve got to get second-chance points. It’s hard to run your half-court offense against them.”
Said Wells, who is coming off a five-point performance at Pitt: “When you get into the lane, you’ve got to make a smart play. You have to go in there with the mindset of, ‘We’re going to put our shoulder in your chest and try to get fouled or [an] and-one.’”
Sun producer-editor Jonas Shaffer contributed to this article.