For the first time, albeit in an exhibition game, Maryland fans will see what's in store for this year's team when the Terps take on San Francisco State Saturday afternoon at the XFINITY Center. Here are three things to look for in tomorrow's exhibition contest:
Who starts in place of the injured Evan Smotrycz?
With senior forward Evan Smotrycz out for a number of weeks with a foot injury, who will Mark Turgeon start in place of his veteran forward? We took a look at a few different scenarios, but Saturday will give us our first insight to what Mark Turgeon is planning to due during Smotrycz's absence. It will also give us some insight into how the new team members, both the freshman and transfer Richaud Pack, will be used this season.
Of course, this is just an exhibition game, so the coaching staff might try a lot of different things to get a feel of what will work best this season, but it still gives us our first glimpse of what they're thinking as the season begins.
How will Melo Trimble do running the offense?
Most Maryland fans know that a lot of how this season's team performs will depend on the play of freshman point guard Melo Trimble. Saturday will be our first insight into how well he can run the offense for Maryland and balance his ability to score. How will he get his teammates involved? Is his defense play as great as teammates and the coaches have made it out to be, especially after slimming down some this summer?
It will be good just to finally see Trimble playing with this team, after waiting seemingly forever for him to arrive in College Park. With the departures of Roddy Peters and Seth Allen, the spotlight will focus even more on the freshman point guard this season.
With so many new pieces, how well does this team play together?
One thing about this year's squad is that there will certainly be a lot of new faces on the court for the Terrapins. Between the four new freshmen and transfer guard Richaud Pack, there are a lot of new players who will have varying roles on a team aspiring to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time during head coach Mark Turgeon's tenure in College Park.
Maryland lost a lot of production from the five players who transferred out of the program last season. In total, the departures of Seth Allen, Roddy Peters, Charles Mitchell, Nick Faust and Shaq Cleare took 51% of their scoring, 64% of their assists, and 41% of their rebounds. That's a lot of production to make up for. Conversely, that also means there is a lot of opportunities for the new kids on the block to step up and immediately make an impact. Seeing how that happens and who fills in where is one of the most compelling things to watch for tonight, hopefully giving us some indication into how things will play out this season.