Terps at a glance

College Basketball Preview

November 07, 2007|By HEATHER A. DINICH

COACH -- Gary Williams, 19th season at Maryland (378-200), 30th overall (585-328)

AFFILIATION -- Atlantic Coast Conference

2006-07 -- 25-9, 10-6 in ACC (tied for second); lost to Miami, 67-62, in first round of the ACC tournament; lost to Butler, 62-59, in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

RADIO -- ESPN (1300 AM), WJFK (106.7 FM)

ARENA -- Comcast Center (17,950)

CONSENSUS ACC FAVORITE -- North Carolina

CONSENSUS MARYLAND PICK -- Sixth

STARTERS LOST -- Three

STARTING LINEUP CANDIDATES -- G Greivis Vasquez; G Eric Hayes; F James Gist; F Bambale Osby; G-F Landon Milbourne.

BACKCOURT -- Vasquez and Hayes, both sophomores, already have proven themselves among the most talented young guards in the conference. Hayes is a pure shooter but needs to have the confidence to take more shots this season. The question mark will be at the guard-forward position, where Landon Milbourne appears to be the front-runner. He was stuck behind D.J. Strawberry last season but has shown improvement in the offseason and is ready to take over the starting job. Freshman Adrian Bowie should be a backup point guard. Cliff Tucker could be an option at small forward.

FRONTCOURT -- Gist, a senior, is a strong shot-blocker but also has improved his scoring each of the past three seasons. His jump shot has become more reliable, which is why he has spent some time at practice at small forward. Osby was a steal from the junior-college ranks and gave the Terps an imposing presence off the bench last season. He should be Maryland's most physical post player and make a smooth transition into a starting role. Three newcomers - Braxton Dupree, Shane Walker and Dino Gregory - will compete for minutes, and Dave Neal and Jerome Burney also could figure into the mix.

OUTLOOK -- With six new players, there are bound to be some freshmen fumbles early in the season, as they will be thrust into the eight- or nine-man rotation. This team has the talent to be good. It's just a question of how quickly that talent will develop. After the team lost three of its top four leading scorers from last season, younger players will have to help generate offense. The league is deep, and it will take a lot for the young Terps to compete with the likes of North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State, but a return to the NCAA tournament is a strong possibility.

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