Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Miami Blues

There isn't any way to make a horrible loss like this palatable. This is the worst loss of the recent NIT era that Maryland has suffered. Getting blown out by national champion caliber team isn't surprising since the Terps didn't have the talent to compare with those opponents the last few seasons. You really need to focus on how bad this Miami team is to appreciate how terrible this loss was. They came into the game with an 8-8 record, with very few ACC quality players, a sub 200 RPI and little chance of being an NIT squad. This is the team that Maryland lost to, AT HOME.

It was a game that Maryland's senior failed to show up for, especially Ibekwe and Strawberry. Jones may have scored a fair number of points but went only 3-11 from the floor and couldn't finish around the basket. Not that any of his teammates played better.

The offensive efficiency was non existent. Greivis Vasquez had an atrocious night from the floor and has become a totally ineffective shooter from outside. It might be time for Gary Williams to switch back to Eric Hayes as the starter at point. Vasquez showed some really poor shot selection and decision making.

I was very surprised that Eric Hayes and Parish Brown didn't get more looks with the offense struggling so badly. It seemed that Gary Williams was content to let James Gist, Ibekwe, Osby and everyone else keep missing point blank shots around the rim. It didn't seem that Gary Williams was able to make any effective adjustments to counter what Miami was doing or to minimize Maryland's struggles.

Defensive rebounding has been a problem all season and it got the spotlight placed on it by an undersized and hardly imposing Miami frontcourt. It has developed into a major weakness.

To give Miami credit the coaching staff did a good job scouting Maryland and mixing their zone and man-to-man defenses. It helped that Maryland couldn't have sunk a basket in the Grand Canyon if they tried, but the players executed the defense well. The Hurricanes hustled and scrapped all night and Maryland played badly enough to give the game away. Holding Miami to 63 points, a bunch of which came on late free throws, isn't bad but when you can't score yourself it doesn't matter much.
A very disheartening loss. I'm not sure where Maryland goes from here. They face an undefeated Clemson squad on Saturday and then go on the road to Virginia and Virginia Tech. Maryland could find itself out of the conference race by the end of that stretch if they don't improve quickly.

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