Washington Wizards

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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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Chris McCullough has potential, but will he get any minutes?

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Chris McCullough has potential, but will he get any minutes?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Chris McCullough's season...

Player: Chris McCullough

Position: Power forward

Age: 22

2016-17 stats: 16 G, 5.0 mpg, 2.3 ppg, 0.1 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.1 spg, 0.5 bpg, 50.0 FG%, 14.3 3P%, 60.0 FT%, 51.6 eFG%, 37 ORtg, 98 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: McCullough appeared in just two games for the Wizards in the 2016-17 season after joining them in the trade deadline deal that brought Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington. McCullough was a mainstay on the inactives list in what was his second NBA season. Combined with the 14 games he played for the Nets last year, McCullough appeared in a total of 80 minutes all year.

McCullough's athletic potential is obvious, as he shows in practice all the time and as he showed in the 2017 Summer League in Las Vegas. He can run the floor, play above the rim and even has a smooth jumper from long range. How and if McCullough can put it all together are the real questions.

[RELATED: HOW THE NBA CAN PREVENT TANKING]

In the Summer League, McCullough showed an ability to finish strong at the rim and grab rebounds, but his shot was cold and he spent considerable time on the perimeter. It's not clear yet what type of NBA style suits him best. Will he be a stretch-4 or is he best served by simply focusing on rebounding and defense?

The Wizards won't be able to give McCullough much of an opportunity this year, either, and that's even with the expectation Markeff Morris will miss several weeks of the regular season. They have depth ahead of McCullough including veterans Jason Smith and Mike Scott at power forward. McCullough will likely see some time in the G-League this year as he hopes to start reaching his vast potential. Keep in mind the Wizards have to decide on McCullough's rookie scale contract option for the 2018-19 season. The deadline is Oct. 16, the day before the NBA regular season begins.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, offensive skillset, consistency

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

Will Tomas Satoransky's role expand in his second year?

Will Sheldon Mac be given a bigger opportunity?

Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE WIZARDS STORIES

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Need to Know: Some amazing Redskins numbers vs. the Raiders

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Associated Press

Need to Know: Some amazing Redskins numbers vs. the Raiders

 

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 25, seven days before the Washington Redskins play Chiefs in Kansas City.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3:00

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 28
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 34

Redskins vs. Raiders by the numbers

—The Redskins outgained the Raiders 472 yards to 128. The 344-yard differential was the largest for the Redskins since they had a 385-yard advantage over Bears in 1974.

—The Raiders were 0-11 on third down. It was the first time the Redskins allowed no third-down conversions since a game against Dallas in 2007.

—The Raiders’ 128 yards were the fewest the Redskins have allowed in a game since they also allowed 128 to the Broncos in 1992. This marked the fifth time since the merger that the Redskins have held an opponent to 128 yards or fewer.

—Chris Thompson had 150 yards receiving. That shattered his former personal best of 57 yards in a game. Going back to at least 1960, no Redskins running back has gained more receiving yards in a game.

—Thompson added 31 yards rushing. His 181 yards of offense easily beat the Raiders’ total offense of 128 by itself.

—Josh Doctson's first catch of the season was good for 52 yards and a touchdown. 

—The Redskins now have at least one sack in 27 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFC and the second-longest in the NFL (Bengals, 32).

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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