North Carolina (21-8, 11-5) vs. Maryland (20-9, 8-8)
College Park, Md. -- Comcast Center
Wednesday, 7 p.m.
ESPN (Dan Shulman, Fran Fraschilla)
“We're fired up to play North Carolina because it's North Carolina. They're one of the hottest teams in the country.” – Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon
“We put ourselves behind the eight ball and lost a few games we shouldn't have lost maybe on paper. We did, so we are where we are. We’ve got 20 wins with this young team. Headed in the right direction. Proud of this group. Haven't been as consistent as we'd like, but hopefully we can get some wins down the stretch.” – Turgeon on his team’s position on the NCAA Tournament bubble
Since the First Meeting: Maryland enters Wednesday night’s contest with a 20-9 (8-8 ACC record). The Terrapins have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games, including a 83-81 win over then No. 2 Duke and a 78-68 loss at Georgia Tech. Turgeon’s squad is currently positioned on the wrong side of the NCAAT bubble with a RPI rank of No. 70, a 3-7 record vs. RPI top-100 teams and a poor strength of schedule (113th).
Stats Not Adding Up: In conference play, Maryland ranks first in rebounding margin (plus-6.6), second in field goal percentage defense (40.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (44.3), yet is currently sixth in the ACC standings. The primary culprit for the discrepancy is turnover margin, where the Terrapins rank dead last with a minus-5.0 effort.
Wells Playing Well: Sophomore wing Dez Wells is leading Maryland in scoring in ACC play with 11.8 points per game on a team-high 51.4 shooting percentage. With Maryland’s point guard problems, the Raleigh, N.C. product has taken on the role as lead assist man as well, dishing a team-high 57 assists in league play.
Musical Lineups: Turgeon has utilized 10 different starting lineups in 16 ACC games. Wells and center Alex Len are the only Terrapins that have started all of their league contests. Turgeon and his staff actually voted – based on defensive effort – on who would start at Wake Forest on Saturday. That starting five – Len, Wells, Nick Faust, James Padgett and Pe’Shon Howard – took the floor together for the first time since Dec. 29.
Bench Edge: Maryland’s depth versus UNC’s shortened rotation could be noteworthy. The Terrapins’ bench is outscoring its opponents 26.0-12.2. UNC’s bench is averaging 9.7 points since going small six games ago.
Giving Away Charity: Maryland is shooting a woeful 62.4 percent from the free throw line in league play, good for 12th place. The Terps’ 65.8 season percentage ranks 274th nationally, which may shed some light on their 0-8 record when trailing with five minutes to play.
Home Cooking: The Terrapins are 16-2 at home this season, including a 6-2 mark in ACC play. Maryland has announced a sellout for Senior Night against UNC. The Terps are 3-0 in sellouts this season (Virginia Tech, N.C. State & Duke). White uniforms, along with a forecast for 5-10 inches of snow, has led the school to labeling Wednesday’s game a “White Out.”
Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Maryland, 62-52, on Jan. 19. Reggie Bullock scored 21 of his career-high 24 points in the first half, while James Michael McAdoo added 19 points and 11 rebounds. The Tar Heels led by 22 points at the break and the Terrapins were never able to get within single digits in the second half. UNC shot just 35.4 percent to Maryland’s 39.6 percent, but scored 14 points off 21 Terp turnovers.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with the Terrapins, 119-57. The Tar Heels have won 11 of the last 15 meetings.
21 Pe'Shon Howard (6-3, 190, Jr.) - 3.3 ppg, 3.9 apg
5 Nick Faust (6-6, 205, So.) - 8.5 ppg, 2.8 apg
32 Dez Wells (6-5, 215, So.) - 12.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg
35 James Padgett (6-8, 235, Sr.) - 5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
25 Alex Len (7-1, 255, So.) - 12.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg
4 Seth Allen (6-1, 190, Fr.) - 7.4 ppg, 2.3 apg
2 Logan Aronhalt (6-3, 205, Sr.) - 6.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
0 Charles Mitchell (6-8, 260, Fr.) - 5.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg
44 Shaquille Cleare (6-9, 265, Fr.) - 4.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
10 Jake Layman (6-8, 205, Fr.) - 5.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
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(Photos by Getty Images)