Saturday, January 24, 2009

Meet the Terrapins

It's been an up and down season for the Terrapins so far. Aside from a 6 game span against, well, less than adequate competition (GW, Delaware State, American, Bryant, Elon, Charlotte), their offense seems to trade good and bad performances - 121.26 against Michigan St, 76.56 against Georgetown, 120 against Michigan, 80 against Morgan State. Their conference performance has followed that same trend of inconsistency (does that mean they've been consistently inconsistent? does that even work? hmmm) - 80.07 against Georgia Tech, 103.72 at Miami, 91.22 at Florida State, and then 117.65 against Virginia. Unfortunately for them, their defense and offense can't seem to get on the same page - the defense against Georgia Tech and FSU was very good while the offense was bad, and vice versa against Miami and UVA.

Maryland's had two big problems this season. The first is shooting. On the season, this is the worst shooting team in the ACC. The struggles have continued in conference play - just 46.1% from two and 28.9% from three. Grievis Vasquez has particularly struggled - 37% from two and just 19% from three. The second problem for Maryland has been rebounding. This is directly related to size - no one over 6'8" plays any significant minutes, and Landon Milbourne (they're starting 4) is really a wing. In conference play, Adrian Bowie (a 6'2" guard) has been their second-best rebounder (and best on the defensive glass).

Bowie has had a really nice start to conference play. In something I thought I'd never see, he's used more possessions than Vasquez in the first four games - 27% against 25%. Bowie has been very strong going to the basket, hitting 66.7% of his twos. All three guards are strong distributors - Bowie, Vasquez, and Eric Hayes all assist on more than 20% of their teammates' field goals. As for scoring style, Bowie and Vasquez are slashers, where Hayes is a spot-up shooter - he's the only Terp hitting better than 30% from 3 in ACC play.

Landon Milbourne has been decent playing out of position on the front line - he's their best offensive rebounder, and a strong slasher to the basket. But he's struggled with turning the ball over all season, and is prone to disappear against better teams - against Michigan State, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech, and Miami, he averages just barely over 6/game. Maryland needs more from him more reliably. His starting frontcourt mate is Dave Neal. Credit Neal for working hard to turn himself into an ACC starter. The problem is, he's not an ACC-caliber starter, and is particularly unsuited to playing "center." He doesn't rebound, he can't score back to the basket, and his shooting is only ok.

Off the bench, Maryland has struggled to get production. Sean Mosley, a major prospect from Baltimore, has taken the role of sixth man reasonably well, although he's very turnover prone. Cliff Tucker has played himself from the starting lineup into getting barely 5 minutes a game. Dino Gregory and Braxton Dupree provide a little bit of size, but neither rebounds or scores very well.

This team is not one of Gary Williams' best. Making the NCAA tournament would be considered a big upset. So would beating Duke at Duke.

No comments: