Raise your hand if you’re pleased that Maryland’s nonconference schedule is over. I think Maryland coaches and players would join you (and me) in a show of hands.
After 12 nonconference victories in 13 games, Maryland’s ACC schedule opens Saturday at noon against Virginia Tech. All but three of Maryland's wins were by double digits.
The Hokies are led by senior guard Erick Green, who is averaging a conference-leading 24.4 points per game and is particularly effective in Virginia Tech’s transition game.
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“I don’t want to make too big a deal of (finally opening the ACC season) it because I think everybody is,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “This is really what you came here for – why you came to Maryland.”
What is striking about Maryland is its depth. Look at the box score from its final nonconference win against IUPUI. Nobody took more than six shots, nobody scored more than 13 points, and yet the Terps still managed to score 81 points.
The Terps average 76.5 points per game. But no Maryland player ranks in the conference's top 10 in average minutes played. That's because the playing time is so spread out.
Maryland has been regularly playing 10 guys. I’ve been wondering if that will continue or whether the team leaders will see their minutes rise now that the conference schedule is upon us.
There is a balance to be struck, right? You want to wear down the other team with your depth. At the same time, you don’t want to shortchange your best players’ minutes. You want them in the game long enough to get comfortable.
I posed the question to Turgeon today. What is the ideal number of players to have in a basketball rotation?
I’ll let him speak for himself:
“Don’t know what my rotation is going to be,” he said. “I have 10 really good players. I needed all 10 the other day (against IUPUI) because my first five weren’t very good. Sometimes I don’t know who my best players are. I think what it’s going to come down to is, who I finish the game with more so than who I start.
“I think all 10 will get a chance. How much they play depends on who we’re playing, how we’re playing and how they’re playing. The luxury for me is I have a lot of choices.”