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After yet another starting lineup, Terps running out of frontcourt options

Maryland used another new starting lineup -- its 11th of the season -- in the 75-63 loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night. Forward Charles Mitchell started for the first time this season.

At some point -- practically, if not, mathematically -- the Terps are going to run out of frontcourt options.

The frontcourt players have appeared overmatched at times this season, unable to contend with good teams without fouling.

The low-water mark was the second loss to Pittsburgh in which Maryland surrendered 47 foul shots. Last night at the Dean Smith Center, the Tar Heels went to the line 37 times.

Remember Alex Len? Terps fans sometimes seemed frustrated with the center who became an NBA lottery pick. But Len had the ability with his size and athleticism to consistently guard the middle, allowing Maryland defenders to take risks on the perimeter without getting burned.

This year, the Terps are playing inside defense by committee, with inconsistent results. Five Maryland players had four fouls last night, and Mitchell fouled out.

“We committed some dumb fouls and some fouls we thought wasn’t fouls," Mitchell said. "We’re on the road. You always get some bad calls."

Coach Mark Turgeon hinted at the same thing. But nobody was suggesting that the officiating alone was responsible for the disparity in foul calls. The Terps went to the line 20 times.

With so many players in foul trouble, you would have thought Maryland would have employed all available help. But Shaquille Cleare played just 15 minutes and Damonte Dodd didn't play.

Turgeon can only hope somebody -- anybody -- steps up soon.

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