Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Road

After Sunday's game against Clemson I began to wonder why this team has such a mediocre home record. In ACC play they are 4-4 and overall they have six home losses this season, which is a new record in the short life of the shiny new arena. In true road games they are 5-3 which makes it all the more perplexing why this team struggled at home against the likes of Ohio, American, Virginia Tech and Boston College. Those two ACC foes are only 6-13 in road games this year overall and have combined for a 4-10 road record in the ACC. Two of those four wins are at Comcast Center. Neither is a good road team and yet they came into College Park and stole a victory. I really don't know what the explanation is for that kind of inconsistency.

Here are the ratings for home and away games:

Offense(home/away): 104.3 /101.3
Defense(home/away): 103.4 /105.1

You would think that Maryland wasn't a very good road team with those kind of efficiency ratings and yet they are 4-3 on the road this year with their best win coming at North Carolina. They are still the only team to have defeated the Tarheels with a healthy Ty Lawson.

Perhaps you can partially explain those discrepancies by pointing out that Maryland has won a string of ACC road games by tight margins. The wins were all within a 5 point margin with the 70-65 victory over BC being the largest of the group. In essence you could say that luck has played a big role in their road wins. If you also consider that the two losses to Miami and Duke, though each was close in the 2nd half, turned out to be blowouts (or as close as this team will come to blowouts) that skewed the ratings a little. The other part may be mental. It doesn't appear that this group focuses well in the friendly confines of Comcast. The early season struggles against Hampton and Northeastern were an early indicator that this would not be a dominant team at home. My brother suggested that the pressure to win that surrounds this program is most acute playing at home, which could be true. The recent players that have come into College Park have mostly crumbled under the weight of lofty expectations. This group seems to be more at ease in a hostile gym for some reason.

You can't really claim that Comcast Center is an imposing venue when teams like Manhattan, Ohio and American have all won there since it opened. It just doesn't seem to have much intimidation factor for visiting teams. It used to be a special win for a road team but after teams like Miami and Virginia Tech can claim to have won there it has lost all its luster.

Fun Facts
Did you know that sophomore Greivis Vasquez has more 20+ point scoring games in ACC play than the entire NC State roster and as many as every player on Virginia Tech combined? The sophomore is putting together one of the finest seasons for a Terrapin sophomore in history. He is already 3rd all time in assists behind only Keith Gatlin and Steve Blake and has set records for 3-point shots attempted and made for a sophomore. Given that his percentage isn't all that great those may be more ignominious records. His 17.5 points per game would put him 8th all time by a sophomore behind a who's who list of Maryland greats including Joe Smith, Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Adrian Branch and Juan Dixon. The 526 points he has scored is already 8th all time and he could climb as high as high as 5th all time (Lucas sits at 564 points) with a strong finish to his season.

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