Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Terps winning ugly

It hasn't been pretty but Maryland has managed to squeeze out two home wins to improve their ACC record to 2-1. There have been a number of people on the radio and in the sports journalist world who have expressed surprise that Maryland is 12-4 and 2-1 in the ACC. I think Maryland has merely beaten the teams that they should have and expecting this team to lose 12 or more conference games in a league that is so weak is ridiculous. Given the awful middle of the stuck-in-the-glory-days-ACC if Mark Turgeon manages to lose 12 or more ACC games with Terrell Stoglin and a healthy roster then Kevin Anderson made a mistake in hiring him. I think the road loss to N.C. State and this road game at Florida State probably will give a more fair approximation of the current ability of this squad than beating Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.

Sean Mosley and James Padgett played very well against the Yellow Jackets. Though Padgett struggles to guard quicker players in the post his offensive rebounding is something of a wonder. The pair made 16/17 free throw attempts on a day when Maryland's shooting was atrocious. From the 2nd half against Wake Forest to halftime of the Georgia Tech game the Terps made just 14 of 56 field goals (25%). What saved their bacon was 23 free throw attempts which they converted at almost 83%. There was even a technical foul from Georgia Tech having six men on the court, weird.

I have a feeling we are not going to see a high powered offense from Turgeon any time soon, if ever. His teams play the same plodding tempo that he has employed everywhere else he coached. For now that is helping to keep Maryland from getting to far behind and has served this group well against some lesser opponents.

I think this team has done a good job defensively but they have not really been tested recently. The Wolfpack had little trouble with Maryland's defense a week ago (47.5% FG and 1.09 PPP) so their strong showing the following two games probably has more to do with Wake Forest and Georgia Tech than the Terrapins turning into a defensive buzz saw.

Alex Len has struggled to get involved in the offense the last two games with only a handful of field goal attempts. It isn't just Stoglin's high usage rate either. Len is a good passer for his size but probably needs to be a little more aggressive on offense. He gave up some really cheap fouls against the Yellow Jackets that could have come back to bite the Terps in the butt but Pankey and Padgett played well enough.

Pe'Shon Howard has really struggled since coming back from his broken foot. His offensive game is nearly non-existent as he is only shooting 32% from the floor. While he understands the position much better than Nick Faust he hasn't performed well in running the offense like many assumed he would. His attempts to make a more difficult play than is necessary are Vasquez-esque, but with a fraction of the talent. He has 12 assists and 10 turnovers in three conference games. That is not the ratio that Turgeon was probably expecting. Perhaps his conditioning is an issue, which would explain his awful defense against the likes of Scott Wood and Tony Chennault, but it doesn't really explain his poor decisions on offense. A number of times in recent games he has driven down the lane without any clear plan and ended up tossing a prayer towards the rim. Howard was supposed to be a dramatic improvement over Faust when he got back into the lineup but that hasn't happened. Faust and Howard have each been equally poor on offense (both shooting 32% with Oratings of 84.6 and 75.9 respectively) and while Howard gets more assists he also has turned the ball over more frequently.  Unless Howard begins improving Maryland shouldn't expect to keep a winning ACC record for very long.

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