Rushed Reactions: North Carolina 79, Maryland 76Posted by mpatton on March 16th, 2013
Matt Patton is an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report after the ACC Tournament semifinal between North Carolina and Maryland on Saturday afternoon.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Maryland Looked NCAA Good: This hasn’t been the case most of the year, but Maryland looked like an NCAA tournament team this weekend. The past couple of weeks, the Terrapins have looked much better. They’ve improved as much as any group in this league other than possibly Boston College. After the game, Mark Turgeon heaped the praise on Nick Faust, but credit also goes to the more active Alex Len and Dez Wells. Turgeon’s team — known to be very turnover prone — only finished with 10 turnovers against a very active defensive team (Faust, Pe’Shon Howard and Seth Allen combined for three between them). This team may not make the Big Dance, but there’s a lot to be positive about in College Park going forward.
- North Carolina Rebounding Struggles: The biggest concern people should have coming out of the game about the Tar Heels is one that will certainly rear its head against Miami. North Carolina couldn’t keep Maryland off the offensive glass. Despite only a 13-9 advantage on the offensive glass, the Terrapins owned a remarkable 24-4 advantage in second-chance points. Charles Mitchell had three offensive rebounds in 12 minutes. Jake Layman added two in 14 minutes. Len added three more. That could kill North Carolina against a team as big as Miami.
- Layman’s Reduced Role: After playing most of the game against Duke and acting as the Ryan Kelly stopper, Jake Layman saw his role dramatically reduced (even after starting) against North Carolina. Mark Turgeon turned to Logan Aronhalt instead, looking for another shooter and not needing Layman’s size. However the shift showcased Maryland’s youthful depth. Not only can the Terrapins execute hockey-style front line changes with Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, they have the ability to adapt their backcourt as well.
Star of the Game: Reggie Bullock deserves a ton of credit. He shut down Dez Wells for much of the game with terrific defense, and ended up tied as North Carolina’s leading scorer with 15 points on 10 shots, four assists and no turnovers. Bullock is the best player North Carolina has on both ends of the floor. He’s a ballhawk on defense and the most consistent shooter on the roster. The only thing missing from Bullock’s game is the attitude that he needs to shoot more and take over games.
Wildcard: Individual preferences are going to have a huge impact on whether Maryland can make the NCAA tournament. Normally a profile with this terrible a non-conference schedule and this many bad losses wouldn’t stand a chance. However, Maryland sports two wins against Duke (including the only such win with Ryan Kelly), and missed out on some major non-conference opponents thanks to a home loss in the Preseason NIT. This is one time that the ACC representative will probably have a lot of impact. My guess is that either Maryland or Virginia gets in but not both.
Quotable: “Sometimes you don’t win on the scoreboard but you win. And we won today as a program. Our program got better.” — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon
What’s Next: Roy Williams goes for his 700th career win and the ACC Championship against Miami, a team that whipped his team in Coral Gables and beat the Tar Heels soundly in Chapel Hill.