A few days removed from being embarrassed in Chapel Hill, I’ve got only a few thoughts on the matter before we move forward.
1.) If you turn the ball over, you’re going to have a bad time
To start, the trend that has continued all season long (the turnover issue) was clearly present against North Carolina, to the tune of 21. You would be hard pressed to find any team in the nation capable of overcoming such carelessness with the basketball. If five of your first six possessions end up with a turnover, you can pretty much expect to be in a hole for the rest of the game, especially when you consider that Reggie Bullock was channeling his inner-Jordan.
How do you solve it? That’s a good question. Pe’Shon Howard may have officially lost his position in the rotation with how poorly he has been playing as of late. His seven turnovers in just 14 minutes of play was hard to watch for a guy who, at the start of the season, was incredibly careful with the ball and a fantastic floor manager. Dez Wells, for as great as he has been, still makes decisions with the ball that make you say “Oof.” The Terrapins really just need to get back to basics, and practice basic, fundamental passing drills. Other than that I really have no answers.
2.) This team cannot shoot the basketball well, at all.
The Terrapins are severely gimped on the offensive end at times. They are, put simply, Jekyll & Hyde, and this is one trend that won’t be changing any time soon. In the first half, thanks to a lot of turnovers and bad shooting, the Terrapins only scored 20 points (hitting 9 shots and missing 19). In the second half, they were significantly better at scoring, but that isn’t to say the offense looked particularly deadly, either.
The Terrapins just turned the ball over fewer times in the second half, which is really the only reason they looked that much better. Shooting 39% from the floor isn’t a recipe for success, and neither is going 1-of-15 from long range. The team’s “sharp shooters” Logan Aaronhalt, Seth Allen, and Jake Layman, can’t really shoot all that well. Aaronhalt in particular is unfortunately getting exposed as a streaky three ball shooter.
In Albany, Aaronhalt’s best mark from long range on a season was 37%, which is nothing at all to scoff at. At Maryland, he’s hitting 48% of his three point shots, which makes him appear virtually unstoppable from deep. But statistically I look for his mark to drop off significantly to around his career averages. That’s unfortunate not only because all he does is shoot three pointers, but also because our best three point specialist is just “pretty good” and not “unstoppable” from deep.
3.) The defense is still, well, really good.
The Maryland Terrapins are still a very good defensive team, and that is one of the major things they can build upon as the season continues. No matter how putrid the offense gets at times, on the defensive end the Terrapins are still one of the best in the country. The rotations are fantastic, and even though athletic wing/hybrids like James McAdoo are hard for the Maryland bigs to stop, they still manage to do enough to slow them down.
They faced a team with fantastic ball movement and deadly three point shooters in North Carolina, and still were able to hold them to poor averages (35% from the floor, 29% from deep). Maintaining those averages on a game-by-game basis will most certainly allow Maryland an opportunity to win almost every game they play in. Now if only that offense would get on board…