Maryland-Alabama Preview

Alabama could be poised to reach the NCAA tournament this season

for the first time since 2006.

Maryland, meanwhile, has a new coach and an inexperienced

roster.

The No. 16 Crimson Tide are the only ranked team in the Puerto

Rico Tip-Off tournament, which they’ll begin against the Terrapins

on Thursday.

Alabama (2-0) is in its third season under coach Anthony Grant

and this looks like his best team. Three preseason All-SEC

selections are back – JaMychal Green, Tony Mitchell and Trevor

Releford.

Green suffered a hyperextended elbow and did not play for the

final 10 minutes of Monday’s 74-57 win over Oakland, but Grant

indicated his top scorer is OK. The coach felt his team played well

in his star’s absence.

“It was good to see,” Grant said. “We are obviously a better

team with him on the floor, but I was really proud of the way our

young guys responded.”

Grant referred to Maryland (1-0) as one of the more storied

programs in the nation, but the Terrapins are in transition. Former

Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon has replaced longtime coach Gary

Williams, and only one current player has made more than 15 career

starts.

Maryland is also without point guard Pe’Shon Howard, out up to

three months with a broken foot. His replacement, Terrell Stoglin,

came off the bench in Turgeon’s debut, a 71-62 win over UNC

Wilmington on Sunday.

Stoglin looked like Maryland’s best player with 22 points, and

could start Thursday. Turgeon said he was impressed with the

guard’s defense after not being happy in practice leading up to the

opener.

“I felt like I was more concentrated,” Stoglin said. “I wanted

to show coach that I wanted to play defense this game and I wanted

to get my teammates involved also.”

The Tide are playing a three-game November tournament for the

third straight season under Grant, going 2-1 in 2009 at the Old

Spice Classic and 0-3 last year at the Paradise Jam.

“When you look at the teams in this tournament it will be a

great opportunity for us to find out where we are as team against

great competition,” Grant said. “It’ll be a very tough test, having

to play three games in four days. You’ve got to be ready to go once

you get there, which can be difficult with a young team.”

Turgeon is also anxious to see how his new team fares away from

home.

“We’ll have all our meals together, six days we’ll be together,”

he said. “It will be a great bonding experience for us and for me

to get to know the guys better.”

Maryland leads the series, 3-0, although these teams have not

met since the 1985-86 season.

This quarterfinal matchup is on the same side of the bracket as

the Colorado-Wichita State quarterfinal, which means one of these

teams will meet the Shockers on Friday. Alabama lost to Wichita

State in the NIT championship last season while Turgeon coached the

Shockers from 2000-07 before leaving for Texas A&M.