COLLEGE PARK -- Robert Carter, Jr. can rattle off his favorite memories of Madison Square Garden performances he has seen on TV -- from Kemba Walker in the Big East tournament to Stephen Curry dropping 54 points on the Knicks, all the way back to seeing highlights of Reggie Miller butting heads with Spike Lee.
Rasheed Sulaimon has played there as part of the team that, against St. John’s last season, helped Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski win his 1,000th career game.
Even Ivan Bender, newly eligible for this team by way of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been to Madison Square Garden, having watched his brother, elite 2016 NBA Draft prospect Dragan Bender, play there twice.
Those who haven’t experienced it will for the first time when Maryland travels to New York City to face Connecticut as part of the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday night.
“It’s amazing, growing up watching people play in Madison Square Garden, knowing it’s The Mecca,” Carter said, saying also that he has not personally played at the venue. “It’s always a good experience to go up there … I’m very excited to just go up there and try to put on a show.”
This will be Maryland’s third marquee, nationally televised game this season after beating Georgetown in the season’s second game and running North Carolina to the wire last Tuesday.
But head coach Mark Turgeon says this game is not the same as those prior two.
“They are two different animals. This will be a different animal, too,” Turgeon said. “We had the first home crowd that was huge, lot of pressure on our guys in the Georgetown game. North Carolina was our first true road game. The building was electric. This is a neutral court game. The building should be electric again.”
Connecticut fans typically travel well, especially to Madison Square Garden. The first half of the double header, Virginia vs. West Virginia, will probably mean there are carryover fans that aren’t exactly warm toward Maryland.
The first four minutes could go a long way toward determining Tuesday’s outcome against Connecticut.
“It’s always fun to play at Madison Square Garden,” Sulaimon said. “I had a little bit of jitters, but at the same time what we do is play basketball so once the tip-off goes off, any jitters you might have had before the game kind of goes away and you kind of just get into your zone.”