North Carolina (14-7, 4-4) vs. Maryland (13-9, 5-4)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Smith Center
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
ACCN (Tim Brant, Mike Gminski)
“It’s part of coaching. It happens. The key is that we both have our teams playing better right now. You watch them on film, they’re much better. You watch us on film, we’re much better than we were, you know, two weeks ago. As coaches, you just never stop just trying to figure it out.” – Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon on coaching against close friend and former boss Roy Williams
Season to Date: Maryland enters Tuesday’s contest with a 13-9 (5-4 ACC) record. The Terrapins opened the season with five wins in their first nine games, dropping games to No. 22 Connecticut (78-77) and Ohio State (76-60) without notching a signature victory. Mark Turgeon’s squad has been up-and-down – literally – in ACC play in winning two in a row twice and losing two in a row twice. Maryland has won its last two over Miami and Virginia Tech after losing a tough contest to No. 25 Pittsburgh, 83-79.
Wells Represented: Junior wing Dez Wells leads Maryland and ranks ninth in the ACC in scoring with 15.0 points per game. The Raleigh, N.C. native is shooting 48.7 percent from floor, including a 34.3 mark from long range, and pulling down 4.5 rebounds per game. Wells has been on fire of late, averaging 19.7 points on 70 percent shooting over Maryland’s last three games. He drilled a game-winning 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left in last Wednesday’s win over Miami.
Balanced Attack: While Wells may be the primary scoring threat, Turgeon has plenty of other options at his disposal. Four Terrapins not named Wells are averaging 10 points or more this season – Jake Layman (12.5), Evan Smotrycz (11.6), Seth Allen (10.5 in 10 games) and Nick Faust (10.1). The bad news is that quartet is shooting a combined 40.6 percent from the field. Maryland shot below 40 percent in four straight games leading up to the home loss to Pitt on Jan. 25.
Defense Proving Problematic: Maryland ranks 12th in ACC play in field goal percentage defense (46.0) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (38.1). The Terrapins have attempted to counter those statistics by forcing 11.6 turnovers, good for fourth in the league. Six ACC opponents have shot 48.0 percent or better against Maryland.
Bombs Away: The Terrapins are knocking down 35.9 percent of their 3-point attempts, good for fifth in the ACC. Their seven made 3-pointers per game - nearly doubling UNC’s 3.8 per contest - is also fifth in the league. Maryland has four players shooting better than 34.3 percent from long range, including three shooting 38.5 percent or higher. Smotrycz is the most lethal (39.8) while Layman has connected on a team-high 45 treys this season.
Stat to Watch: Maryland’s bench is outscoring its opposition 22.0-11.4 over its past five games.
Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Terrapins, 79-68, at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. on Mar. 6, 2013. P.J. Hairston led UNC with 22 points and eight rebounds while Reggie Bullock added 19 points and 12 rebounds. UNC overlapped halftime with a 20-4 run to build a double-digit lead and held off a late Maryland rally.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Maryland, 121-57. The Tar Heels have won seven of the last eight at the Smith Center and 13 of the last 17 overall, including seven straight.
4 Seth Allen (6-1, 190, So.) - 10.5 ppg, 3.8 apg
32 Dez Wells (6-5, 215, Jr.) - 15.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg
10 Jake Layman (6-8, 205, So.) - 12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
1 Evan Smotrycz (6-9, 230, Jr.) - 11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg
44 Shaquille Clear (6-9, 265, So.) - 5.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
5 Nick Faust (6-6, 205, Jr.) - 10.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg
0 Charles Mitchell (6-8, 260, So.) - 6.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg
2 Roddy Peters (6-3, 195, Fr.) - 5.2 ppg, 2.8 apg
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(Photos by USA Today Sports)