Maryland faces Northwestern in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

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Maryland faces Northwestern in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Much news has been made concerning Maryland and the Big Ten over the last few weeks, but none of it has had to do with two teams competing against one another.

That will change Tuesday night as the Terps square off against the Northwestern Wildcats in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The 4-1 Terps will take to the road to take on undefeated 6-0 Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.

For Maryland, the game presents a set of challenges. It will be the Terps first true road game of the year, and the Wildcats will be the stiffest competition Maryland has faced since a season-opening loss to Kentucky.

Vegas set the Terps as five point underdogs, and with a young team Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon stressed the difficulty of the game.

"It's a tough challenge for our team where we are right now,” Turgeon said to the press.

 After an impressive comeback attempt fell short against Kentucky in the season-opener, Maryland has faced weaker non-conference competition at home in the last four games. Though the Terps won convincingly in three games, the Lafayette Leopards gave Maryland trouble.

Turgeon said that the game against Lafayette, which Maryland won 83-74, will help the Terps defend Northwestern’s shooters.

“They have shooters all over the floor,” Turgeon said of Northwestern.  “You saw us against Lafayette against great shooters as the game went on. They got hot against us, and we had trouble guarding it.”

Maryland should be better prepared for this game. The Terps will probably roll out a starting lineup with Pe’Shon Howard, Nick Faust, Dez Wells, James Padgett and Alex Len and Turgeon has stressed closing out on Northwestern's gaurds.

While Maryland must focus on defending the Northwestern shooters, the Terps present offensive problems of their own. Big man Alex Len proved against Kentucky that he can dominate against any competition. If Len is on his game in Evanston the Terps could certainly pull off the upset.

Dez Wells and Nick Faust can also create problems on the wing, though both players are still figuring out there roles on the team and playing with one another.

Northwestern comes into the game fresh off its South Padre Island Invitational Tournament title. The Wildcats (6-0) followed up a blowout win over TCU with a thrilling 72-69 OT victory over 2011-12 MVC runner-up Illinois State on Saturday.

Northwestern is led by senior guard/forward Drew Crawford (13.7 PPG), who's taken over as the leader of the Wildcats after the departure of the school's all-time leading scorer John Shurna.

Senior guard Reggie Hearn poses as a threat from the three-point arc, averaging 2.7 per game. The Wildcats don't have much depth in the frontcourt, with their leading rebounder Jared Swoopshire only pulling down 6.5 RPG. 

Considering the Terps frontcourt size with Len, Padgett, and freshmen reserves Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, Maryland may have an advantage down low.

But Maryland has had limited recent success playing Big Ten teams, where Northwestern probably wishes it could play more ACC teams.

The Wildcats have been unstoppable the last four years in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with victories over Georgia Tech (2010, 2011), North Carolina State (2009) and Florida State (2008).

With a senior-led squad, the Wildcats are searching for the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.

On the other side, a young Maryland team could use a win in Evanston to springboard the team to a competitive ACC schedule and a return to college basketball's elite. 

Thanks to Scott Krinch of CSN Chicago for contributing to this preview. 

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Nats name Giolito as Sunday starter vs. Padres, Ross to rehab soon

Nats name Giolito as Sunday starter vs. Padres, Ross to rehab soon

The mystery of who will pitch the series finale for the Nationals against the Padres on Sunday is over, as manager Dusty Baker revealed the team's plans to call up top prospect Lucas Giolito to make his third career MLB start.

With Giolito on his way to Washington, the Nationals will have to determine a corresponding move. And three players - Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross and Sammy Solis - all nearing their returns from the disabled list, there could be a lot of shuffling on the Nats' roster in the coming days and weeks.

Giolito, 22, joins the Nats after making one start at Triple-A Syracuse. Through two big league starts this season he has a 4.70 ERA across 7 2/3 innings. Both of his outings came against the New York Mets.

Zimmerman (left ribcage strain) has made two rehab appearances with the Single-A Potomac Nationals. He went 2-for-4 with a double in his first game and 1-for-5 with two RBI and a run in his second. He was set to play his third game with the P-Nats on Saturday evening.

Solis also played with Potomac on Friday night and struck out three in a scoreless inning. He will now move on to Single-A Hagerstown to continue his rehab back from right knee inflammation.

"Solis, he pitched yesterday and said it went well. He's going to throw again tomorrow," Baker said. "Him and Joe are both going to throw at Hagerstown. We'll keep our fingers crossed that that works out well, too."

Ross will be making his first rehab appearance with Hagerstown on Sunday as he works his way back from right shoulder inflammation. He has been on the disabled list since July 3.

The Nationals chose Giolito to start over Reynaldo Lopez, one of their other hard-throwing prospects. Lopez pitched against the Dodgers on Tuesday and gave up six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Lopez was brought up to replace Giolito's spot in the rotation for his July 19 debut after the Nats determined Giolito needed more work in the minors. They sent him to Syracuse hoping he could work on his fastball command and his curveball. Giolito responded with 6 2/3 innings and only one unearned run in his lone outing in Triple-A.

[RELATED: Nats' Trea Turner on his speed and how he got so fast]

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O'Day recaps Bowie rehab trip, doesn't think another is needed

O'Day recaps Bowie rehab trip, doesn't think another is needed

BALTIMORE—Darren O’Day wasn’t impressed with the uniforms worn by the Baysox to honor David Bowie on Friday night.

“I wore a pretty bad jersey, probably the worst jersey I ever wore,” O’Day said. 

While wearing that jersey for an inning, O’Day struck out two and allowed a hit while pitching for Bowie

“The outing was good. I felt good. I got to execute most of my pitches. It felt good to get back out there. I had a baserunner, so that was good,” O’Day said. “Altogether positive.” 

O’Day, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 3 with a strained right hamstring, thinks that is the only rehab assignment he’ll need before returning to the Orioles. 

MORE ORIOLES: DUQUETTE REITERATES ORIOLES' BIGGER GOAL

“I hope so,” O’Day said. He’ll talk with Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter and the trainers. “My delivery was in a good place. I was making a lot of good pitches. Everything was moving like it should.” 

Meanwhile, Joey Rickard will be in a splint for the next three weeks to rest the injured ligament in his right thumb. Rickard will probably not be able to play until September. Surgery is not required. 

“As soon as possible. My goal is to beat whatever they told me by whatever I can, so I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens,” Rickard said. 

Showalter said that Rickard would stay in Baltimore and not go to Sarasota since there wasn’t anything he could do there that he couldn’t do here. He won’t travel with the Orioles, Showalter said. 

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As trade deadline approaches, Duquette reiterates big picture goal for Orioles

As trade deadline approaches, Duquette reiterates big picture goal for Orioles

BALTIMORE—In the last day, there have been reports that the Orioles and San Diego Padres are working on a trade involving Ubaldo Jimenez and Melvin Upton. 

In the annual talk to Orioles’ season ticketholders, executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t directly address any rumors about possible deals. 

“What reports?” Duquette asked. “We want to play in October, so anything you see that we’re doing is to that end. We want to have the strongest club we can have in all areas.” 

One of the several hundred season ticketholders who gathered in back of the visiting dugout to listen to Duquette and manager Buck Showalter screamed: “Sign Trumbo.” 

Trumbo is likely to be a highly sought after free agent, and at last year’s forum, Duquette indicated that re-signing Chris Davis was a priority. He made no such assessment this time. 

MORE ORIOLES: GAUSMAN SEEKS ELUSIVE SECOND WIN

“I always focus on this year’s team,” Duquette said. “Trumbo’s having a fantastic year.” 

Duquette was also asked about an extension for Manny Machado. 

“We tried to sign Manny long term a couple of years ago, we didn’t quite do the deal, and then he got hurt. We revisited it in spring training,” Duquette said. 

“I’m sure we’ll revisit it again. Manny likes it here. He likes playing here. I'm encouragted that Manny likes it here, something that I'm sure we'll revisit." 

One fan criticized the July 2014 deal that sent left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox for Andrew Miller. 

“Given that same opportunity, we’d try to do that again,” Duquette said.