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Style of play won't be an issue for Terps as they enter Big Ten, Turgeon says

ROSEMONT, ILL. — Moving from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten means new foes and unfamiliar arenas, but Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon said Thursday that he doesn't anticipate the Terps neeing to adapt to an overall different style of play.

"There's going to be finesse teams, there's going to be real physical teams, there's going to be fast teams, there's going to be slow teams," Turgeon said in his debut appearance at the Big Ten's annual basketball media day at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. "You've just got to figure out who they are and adjust and play."

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Still, there will be adjustments as the Terps' focus shifts from the East Coast to a Midwest-centric league.

"Obviously right now we probably don't have a rival," Turgeon said. "But five years from now we'll have a rival in this league, and there will be big games for us in this league and ones that our fans get excited about."

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The Terps (17-15 last season) were picked to finish 10th in the 14-team Big Ten in a media poll assembled by the Columbus Dispatch. Wisconsin— which returns four starters from last year's Final Four squad — is a unanimous pick to win the conference.

Maryland will be working in a number of new pieces after having five scholarship players transfer in the offseason, but their newcomers include a highly ranked freshman class.

"We have good players," Turgeon said. "I think our assistant coaches have done a good job of piecing together a really good team. We had a really great recruiting class, and that gives them more opportunities."

Adding Maryland and Rutgers to the conference will give the Big Ten an increased presence in the East, and it could also pay dividends for other schools in terms of recruiting.

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"It can only help," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said Thursday. "I started as an assistant in the '70s. We were able to get some players from the East ... Well, then the '80s came, and the Big East came in, and the players from the East were not traveling to the Midwest anywhere near in the numbers they were before. So when you ask a person like myself that saw that happen, now you're opening up the East more to the Midwest."

The two new members have also forced the Big Ten to change its scheduling format. Each team will play home-and-home series against five opponents and single games against the other eight.

Maryland's inaugural Big Ten home slate features games against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Those games could help replace what had been the marquee opponent on the schedule for years — Duke.

"We'll miss the Duke rivalry in the ACC. Everyone's going to miss that," Turgeon said. "That was a big part of Maryland basketball. But hopefully we'll create new rivalries."

After spending two years at Michigan before transferring to Maryland, senior forward Evan Smotrycz knows the Terps will face their share of challenges in the Big Ten.

"There's a lot of tough venues in the Big Ten. No easy road wins there," said Smotyrcz, who averaged a career-high 11.8 points and six rebounds last year. "I know a little bit about of what teams like to do. I'm sure they've changed due to personnel. A lot of the guys I played with are gone now. [But] I'm sure I'll have a little hand in the scouting for the games."

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