Looking back at Tuesday’s three games of note …
FORTUNES RISING, TEAM
Maryland. For a half, the Terrapins offered a hint of just how capable they can be in a 77-57 rout of Northwestern.
Maryland won its fifth straight, but more importantly blistered the Wildcats after an entirely forgettable first half. A 13-1 spurt —- concocted largely by going through Alex Len and James Padgett —- shortly after halftime turned a tenuous two-point lead into an imposing advantage shaky-shooting Northwestern had little hope of erasing.
If Maryland tops George Mason on Sunday in the BB&T Classic, it will probably roll into conference play at 12-1 (the most realistic threat left before the Jan. 6 ACC opener is a visit from Stony Brook). That should leave a fair bit of time for coach Mark Turgeon to tinker with his rotation and set things up for the second half of the season.
FORTUNES RISING, INDIVIDUAL
Erick Green, Virginia Tech. The Hokies faced their first power-conference foe Tuesday, and Green was every bit as dominant against Iowa as he was in Virginia Tech’s first five games.
Green is averaging 24.3 points (easily the most in the ACC) and 35.7 minutes (third in the conference) for the 6-0 Hokies. Both numbers figure to dip at least a little as time wears on, but the preseason consideration that Green might as valuable to his team as any player in the ACC has not waned at all.
Calvin Thompson, Howard. The senior didn’t play in Howard’s 70-46 loss at Pittsburgh, just two days after he returned from a shoulder injury in the Bison’s first victory of the season. It might have been a precautionary measure —- there’s not a whole lot around the Web on Howard’s performance last night —- yet it is still another missed game for the talented guard who has faced his share of injury issues over the last few years.
Consecutive ACC/Big Ten Challenge road games won by Maryland. The Terrapins triumphed at Illinois (2006), Indiana (2009), Penn State (2010) and Northwestern (2012) in what will likely be their final Challenge road games as a member of the ACC.
Navy (3-4) plays host to the (mighty) Mastodons of IPFW in the front end of an in-season home-and-home. … Virginia (4-2) travels to Wisconsin which could actually turn into a first-to-40-wins affair. …
American (2-3) meets Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia. … George Washington (2-3) looks to recover from Monday’s loss to Mount St. Mary’s in a NBC Sports Network-televised trek to James Madison.
Loyola (6-1) plays its second local rival in three days as it heads to Coppin State (1-4). … George Mason (4-2) completes a home-and-home when it plays at Rhode Island; the Patriots needed overtime to dispatch the Rams in last year’s season opener in Fairfax.
—- Patrick Stevens