Maryland takes on Wisconsin Feb. 24 in College Park, Md., for a 7 p.m. bout in the Xfinity Center. The day before the game, Terps head coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media in his weekly teleconference. Here’s what he had to say:
Can you use what you’ve done the last several years at home against top 10 teams Feb. 24 against Wisconsin, or does it not carry over because it’s a new team?
I don’t think it really carries over. It’s a year by year situation but obviously we’re more confident as a team at home. But it should be an electric atmosphere [Feb. 24] and it should be a fun night. We’re playing a heck of a team.
On whether frontcourt will play a bigger role Feb. 24 after Michal Cekovsky and Jon Graham saw limited minutes against Nebraska
Yeah, this is a different animal here. [Nebraska] was playing five guards the other night, and [Wisconsin] has legitimate big guys. So we’re going to have to play well. What our rotation is going to be, I don’t know yet. It depends on how the game is going, how guys play. But our big guys are going to have to step up against a really challenging Wisconsin team.
On how Wisconsin has maintained consistency aside from a loss to Rutgers
Well they have really good… veteran players, a really good coach obviously. But the thing that makes these guys go is 1) they’re really good defensively, 2) they don’t foul – they have the fewest fouls in the country – and 3) they don’t turn the ball over and hurt themselves. The stat that really sticks out is they’ve made 50 more free throws than their opponents have shot. That’s unbelievable. And actually it’s 75 more free throws than their opponents have shot. That’s pretty amazing.
So that’s why they’ve been successful, and they’re just really solid and can do a lot of things to really space the floor. There’s a reason they’re 25-2.
On off time being advantageous to Terps
Yeah, we’ll see. We played three games in six days and we actually played really well in two of those. We took time off before Nebraska, and I didn’t think we played great.
We’ve approached this time off between games a little bit different, so we’ll see. Hopefully we’ll sharp and we’re fresh, but you never know as a coach. You just do your best to get ‘em prepared and hopefully the guys are ready to go.
On getting to the free-throw line against Wisconsin; how do you adapt and score against Wisconsin?
I don’t think they’re going to foul, so we’re going to have to figure out ways to score against them. I think defense and rebounding has to be terrific for 40 minutes to give yourself a chance against these guys, because they’re so hard to guard. Spacing, ball screens, and just a lot of good players.
And we’re going to have to make shots, because they’re not going to foul us. They just haven’t – they don’t do it [commit fouls]. They go hands back on a lot of things, so hopefully we can get our offense going and make a few shots as the night goes on.
On being a potential top four seed in the Big Ten and whether that’s beneficial
We haven’t even talked about that yet, because there’s four games left. I think for the four teams that do [get the byes], it’s a huge benefit to get that extra day of rest going into it. The hardest game for those [top four] is the quarterfinal game, because you get that double-bye and the team you’re usually playing is coming off a win the night before and is usually a little more familiar with the surroundings. But [getting the bye] is big for the four teams it happens to.
On Maryland playing up or down to the competition
I hate to think that’s what we do. It looks that way sometimes, but I do think we get fired up for big games – I know that. We’ve tried to be consistent, but I think it’s hard for five months to be consistent and play well. Some teams can not play well and still win, because the talent level is there.
And we’ve been able to win a couple home games where we haven’t played well, but we don’t do that on the road. We don’t have a chance [if we don’t play well on the road]. But I’d like to think that as the season has moved on, our guys will continue to step up and play well, regardless of who we’re playing.
On limiting turnovers being key against Wisconsin
[Wisconsin] isn’t going to turn it over, and they’re not going to foul you, so you have to make sure you get shots against them and maybe get some second-chance points. But [Wisconsin] does a great job of boxing out on rebounding too.
So we’ll see how the game flows. Every game is different. But we’ve got to be us, play well and be dialed into our game plan. We’ll see what happens.
Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan
On what it takes to potentially go 18-1 in Big Ten and being favored in the rest of their games
I have no idea what you're talking about -- what the numbers are, being favored. You guys know me by now. I have no idea what you're referring to. All we're trying to do is get ready for Maryland and get the guys ready for the next game. I've never taken it past that. I don't know whether you have to be more intelligent to get past that or what you have to do, but I've never thought that way in 47 years of coaching. When the smoke clears and the record is what it is, so be it.
On Traevon Jackson being back from a broken foot and his recovery time
I really can't speculate, and Traevon has given his own opinion. He wanted to play right after he had his operation. But I have been given no timetable on when that will be. I can't even speculate.
On Maryland and the job Mark Turgeon has done and thoughts on this game
Mark has done a great job. They're a very good team with good players, good chemistry. Right now they're playing well, and we're glad to have them in the league. I've seen Mark's teams play over the years. He knows the game, what he has -- they're pretty good.
I don't do scouting reports on the phone [laughs], but if you take a stat sheet and look at their production ... they have really good players. Their volume of points doesn't just come from one person. They have weapons and are multi-faceted. They pound the glass, play good 'D,' and that's why they have the record that they have.
On Melo Trimble, Dez Wells and Jake Layman
Any player that has size and athleticism -- they have some, we have a couple -- it gives you a chance to do some things. I think everyone knows, if they've seen Maryland play at all, what they have. Our job will be trying to minimize their strength and maximize weaknesses, but that's what you try to do against every team.
By production, objectively, obviously [Trimble and Wells] are pretty good. Stats will tell you that.
Turgeon, Bo Ryan Talk Maryland-Wisconsin
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