Mark Turgeon has done a pretty good job hiding his displeasure about the lack of attendance at Comcast Center since he took over last season at Maryland, making only occasional public comments on the topic.
But in talking about Sunday's matchup with George Mason in the BB&T Classic at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.,Turgeon's truth-serumed tongue got the better of him.
Asked if his Terps might have a difficult time adjusting to playing in what might be a half-empty (or worse) NBA arena after Tuesday's road game at Northwestern's nearly sold-out bandbox Welsh-Ryan Arena, Turgeon said: "We play in a big arena that's been fairly empty quite a bit this year, to be quite frank. I'm hoping it's a great crowd. I'm sure George Mason is excited for the game. I hope our fans are excited after Tuesday night. But we've been through that a lot. To me, our arena is almost as big as [the Verizon Center]."
Before he moved on, Turgeon smiled.
"Good question," he said. "Better answer."
Turgeon said this is the last year of the contract with the BB&T Classic and that he will have to reassess the situation after seeing the kind of crowd the game against George Mason draws. After playing defending national champion Kentucky at a sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn in the season opener, Turgeon will undoubtedly schedule more of those kind of marquee matchups in the future as his program grows.
For the second time in a week, Turgeon admitted he might have underscheduled this season -- for good reason.
"When I made the schedule, Terrell [Stoglin] was coming back, we had [Mychal] Parker and [Ashton] Pankey, we didn't have Charles Mitchell, Dez Wells, Logan Aronhalt, so I was thankful for Northwestern, I'm thankful for George Mason, thankful for Stony Brook -- I think Stony Brook's going to win a lot of games -- Kentucky, LIU is going to win 20 before it's over. I really like my job, so when we were scheduling last year, I was trying to keep it. I had no idea we would be this talented."