Maryland has yet to win an ACC road game going into Wednesday’s matchup with Florida State in Tallahassee. In fact, the Terps have won only two of 12 games they have played away from Comcast Center under second-year coach Mark Turgeon.
Considering what has happened in the ACC this seaon, Maryland has plenty of company in its road misery. Going into this week, ACC teams have won just 10 of 39 road games in the league this season – including only two of the last 21 played before Tuesday night.
The Terps, who have lost their first three ACC road games, are one of four teams without a victory. Duke (0-2) has lost at North Carolina State and got crushed by 27 points at Miami last week. N.C. State (1-2) has lost at Maryland and Wake Forest.
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In his news conference Tuesday in College Park, Turgeon said that winning on the road has become tougher this season because he believes the conference is better from top to bottom.
“You just can’t go on the road and show up and beat a team because they’re not any good,” Turgeon said. “Even Boston College is 1-5, [and] they had Miami beat. They had North Carolina State right there and could have beat them, too. I keep saying the league is better. We might be 5 [as a league] in the RPI, but the league is better. It’s harder to win on the road.”
Turgeon said the Terps have become a much better road team than they were a year ago, when they won only once – at Clemson – on the road. Their first road game this season, at Northwestern in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in late Novemmber, resulted in an impressive 20-point win.
Except for the first half of what turned out to be a 10-point loss at North Carolina on Jan. 19, Turgeon has been happy with the way his young team has handled playing in hostile environments.
“I thought we were really good at Northwestern, a little anxious the first half but we played better in the second half, and Northwestern has beat some pretty good teams,” Turgeon said. “We go to Miami and Miami’s pretty good, we competed, we shot 31 percent and it never really got away from us until about the three-minute mark.
“We didn’t handle a good victory [at home] against North Carolina State and we weren’t prepared at North Carolina and they whacked us the first 20 minutes [leading 42-20]. Duke was off the charts the other day. I don’t know if anybody in the country could have beaten Duke the other day. We’re not that bad, we competed and we played pretty well. “
Turgeon’s teams in four years at Texas A&M were respectable (18-18) on the road. During his seven years at Wichita State, the Shockers were over .500 ball (33-26) in his last five seasons there after winning only four of 18 road games his first two years.
After Wednesday, Maryland’s remaining road games are at Virginia Tech (Feb. 7), Boston College (Feb. 19) Georgia Tech (Feb. 27), Wake Forest (March 2) and Virginia (March 10).
“I expect us to be a really good road team before this season is over,” Turgeon said.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams said on Monday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference that the quality of the teams in the ACC is making for a more balanced league this season. As tough as some homecourts are to play on, Williams said, “I’ve never lost to a building, I’ve never lost to that guy in the 13th row cussing me or anything like that. [It’s] having confidence in feeling that you can do it, having the poise to handle the tough moments.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday that experience is probably the biggest factor in becoming a good road team, as evidenced by what Miami (3-0) has done so far.
“The oldest team in our league by far is Miami – [Kenny] Kadji is going to be 25 in May, [Reggie] Johnson is 23, [Julian] Gamble is 23,” Krzyzewski said. “You’ve got guys who are men who are well-coached and play together. They are going to handle the road better than others. I don’t know if it’s immaturity as much as it inexperience.”