We’re at halftime of the Maryland/Notre Dame game, and the Terps are down 34-25 in a tough one. Notre Dame is shooting lights out (go figure), hitting 50% of their three pointers and 58% of their shots for the game. Meanwhile, the Terps are at the opposite end of that spectrum, hitting a lousy 32.4% from the floor. Let’s break down what’s going on with this team here…
1.) The Terps still struggle against the zone
I arrived late, but from listening to the radio broadcast it was evident that Maryland was aggressive early, with their first three shots coming from just below the basket. Then I got to the gae, and Notre Dame was running a zone defense. Lo and behold, the Terps were down by ten points halfway through the first. Shocker, Maryland has taken 16 three point attempts and made only three of them.
If Maryland can’t get their shots falling on those open looks in the zone, they’re dead in the water. Or the hardwood. Or whatever material is used on the court nowadays. The point is, they can’t continue to struggle shooting against them and expect to win.
2.) Layman can’t guard Connaughton
This can’t be stressed enough. Connaughton is going to abuse Jake Layman the entire game if Turgeon doesn’t stop putting them on one another. Layman may have the size advantage, but he gets beaten off the dribble around the perimeter so easily. Layman is much better suited playing closer to the basket on the defensive end because of how adept he is at blocking shots as a help defender.
Faust or Wells are just about the only two guards athletic enough to stop the shifty Connaughton, and Turgeon should make that adjustment in the second half. He can’t keep getting these looks from three point range, but that’s been the story of this Maryland team all year.
3.) Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding.
I actually think the effort is there tonight, based on their rebounding numbers. It’s hard to complain about outrebounding a team 20 to 15 and shooting ten more shots than them. That’s a result of effort, and the team is moving the ball around really well on the offensive end while also crashing the offensive glass.
That’s a strategy conducive to success, and I think they should see their efforts bear some fruit in the second half. If they can finish at the rim…