In each of his first three seasons at Maryland, men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon had has Terps play a closed-door scrimmage against another Division I team and an exhibition game against a non-Division I team.
Maryland is going a different route as it gets ready for a regular season that begins Nov. 14. The Terps are playing preseason games against two Division II teams, including San Francisco State on Saturday at Xfinity Center.
"I think, in the end, it will be good for us," Turgeon said Friday at a downtown Baltimore luncheon benefiting the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. "Private scrimmages are nice, competition is usually at a high level, but just getting out in front of people twice for so many new people [on the team], I think it will be good for our team."
Saturday's preseason game will give Maryland fans a chance to see Turgeon's well-regarded recruiting class, led by point guard Melo Trimble, who is expected to start, and 7-foot Slovakian Michal Cekovsky, who will get minutes at power forward and center.
Turgeon said the second preseason game came about after he canceled a previously scheduled regular-season game in December against Bowie State, which the Terps now will face next Saturday.
"We were going to play Bowie State during the regular season and then realized we needed to make some changes in our schedule," Turgeon said. "Bowie helped us out. We were able to add a game that helps our strength of schedule."
Just how many Maryland fans will show up for the 2 p.m. game Saturday is a bit of a concern for Turgeon, who scheduled the exhibition game “banking” that the football game at Penn State would be played at night. Kickoff instead is scheduled for noon.
Fans attending the basketball game will be able to watch the football game on the newly upgraded video board above the court before tip-off.
"It will be really cool," Turgeon said.
Turgeon said he expects to see a lot of zone defense from San Francisco State. Though he said the Terps haven't worked much on their zone offense until recently in practice, Turgeon believes he has a team that should be better against it than it was last season.
"I do think we have a few more shooters, but the shooters have to make shots," Turgeon said in a teleconference Friday. "We have a lot of guys that pass it well. That's a key in any offense. In the end, you also have to get second-chance points. Hopefully, we'll rebound it well."
After opening the past two seasons with nationally televised games at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. — a pair of one-point defeats to Kentucky and eventual national champion Connecticut — the Terps are taking a different approach.
Maryland opens with Wagner and follows with games against Central Connecticut State and Fordham before facing Arizona State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 23.
"That's what you use these early season games [for], hopefully you see all kinds of different things and it helps you work on those things and get better and get prepared for the league," Turgeon said.
Note: Cekovsky, who missed some time in practice this week with an infected toe, returned to action Friday and will be available to play Saturday, Turgeon said.