ACC Summer Recess: Maryland Terrapins

Posted by mpatton on July 19th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Maryland.

Where They Stand Now

Mark Turgeon’s Second Year Doesn’t Look Any Easier Than His First.

Unfortunately it appears to be “two steps forward, two steps back” for Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins. Last season Maryland became a darkhorse contender on the backs of a solid coach, Terrell Stoglin, Alex Len‘s improvement, and a very good recruiting class. Then Stoglin was suspended for violating team rules, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the sophomore guard who had many public confrontations with Turgeon last season went pro rather than sit out next year. Maryland also suspended Mychal Parker, who took his talents to Loyola though he probably won’t be academically eligible there. With a disappointing 17-15 season in the rearview mirror, Turgeon’s Terrapins need immediate improvement to keep the suits in College Park from getting nervous. Speaking of suits in College Park, keep an eye on athletic director Kevin Anderson, who was reportedly headed to Stanford before everyone denied the claim and leading to this tepid retraction.

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ACC Tournament: Three Thoughts From North Carolina – Maryland

Posted by mpatton on March 9th, 2012

Maryland ended up losing by 16 thanks to five garbage time points. But the story of the game was John Henson‘s injury, which forced Roy Williams to use alternative line-ups for much of the game.

  • There may be a more serious chasm between Mark Turgeon and Terrell Stoglin than I originally thought. Stoglin kept Maryland in the game. He got trigger happy at times, but his shots fell far more than any other Terrapin starters. At one point in the second half according to Adam Smith (I was behind the North Carolina bench), “Turgeon, stomping: ‘I can’t coach him!’ after Stoglin wasn’t listening.” Obviously, you don’t want to read too much into Turgeon’s frustration in a game that was spiraling out of control quickly. But those two need to be on the same page.

    Terrell Stoglin And Mark Turgeon Need To Resolve Their Differences.

  • North Carolina has an embarrassment of riches up front. Even after Henson’s wrist injury, the Tar Heels got 14 points and eight rebounds from James Michael McAdoo in just under 30 minutes of playing time. McAdoo got criticized after preseason expectations were much more than he delivered. But his game looked a lot more polished against Maryland. Offensively he brings a lot of things that Henson doesn’t (after the game Kendall Marshall mentioned his ability to face up and slash to the basket). He’s also an incredible worker. Even potentially losing first team All-ACC forwards Henson and Tyler Zeller, North Carolin should still own one of the best front lines next year thanks to McAdoo.
  • Maryland’s front line needs some work. Alex Len blocked a couple of shots early, but he and James Padgett combined to go 0-7 from the field (and 0-2 from the charity stripe) and only hauled in four rebounds in 34 combined minutes of play. That’s not going to cut it. Ashton Pankey and Mychal Parker put up a strong effort off the bench, combining for 15 points and 12 boards.

Miscellaneous notes:

Henson’s wrist was x-rayed and the results reportedly came back negative. He didn’t play because he was having trouble grabbing the ball. Sounds like there will be a MRI and he’ll be reevaluated tonight and tomorrow.

It’s also worth noting that Kendall Marshall continued his improved offensive play, knocking down 3-4 threes. It can’t be said enough how much harder that makes the Tar Heels to guard.

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ACC Tournament: Three Thoughts from Wake Forest – Maryland

Posted by mpatton on March 8th, 2012

In the end it was a dominant win by Maryland. Jeff Bzdelik pulled his starters at the under-four media timeout (to be fair, Nikita Mescheriakov and Tony Chennault had already fouled out by that point).

  • Starting with Wake Forest, this game didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. The Demon Deacons played Maryland tough the first 15 minutes and fell apart. After leading 26-21, Maryland went on a 35-9 run including the beginning of the second half. The biggest issue all afternoon for Jeff Bzdelik’s squad was production from players not named Mescheriakov, CJ Harris and Travis McKie. Those three scored 52 of Wake Forest’s 60 points (it would’ve been more had Bzdelik left them in to the bitter end). Chennault and Carson Desrosiers combined to go 1-13 from the field. That won’t cut it coming from starters. Period.
  • On Maryland’s end, it’s really tough to judge how impressive the Terrapins were against Wake Forest. There’s no argument that they didn’t dominate the game, but Wake Forest also lost all of its will to win after giving up its five-point lead in dramatic fashion down the stretch in the first half. The best news from Mark Turgeon’s standpoint is that he got to rest his thin line-up for much of the second half, which will keep the teams’ collective legs fresh for a game tomorrow against North Carolina.
  • In contrast to Wake Forest’s starters, Maryland’s combined to go 25-43 from the field (58%) thanks to one of Nick Faust‘s best games of the year (19 points on ten shots) and a very strong game from James Padgett (5-6 from the field). This Maryland team could make North Carolina work tomorrow if Faust and Padgett can combine for more points than Terrell Stoglin.
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ACC Morning Five: 02.27.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 27th, 2012

  1. Streaking The Lawn: Virginia lost a brutal game to North Carolina on Saturday. Mike Scott played poorly, going 3-of-13 from the field, but he never got into the flow of the game because of foul trouble. What didn’t impress Brian Schwartz (or most Cavalier fans) was the acting from John Henson on two of the calls against Scott. I fall somewhere in between Schwartz and Roy Williams’ opinion: I think Scott got hosed by the officials, but that’s not what cost them the game. You could just as easily argue that not having Assane Sene because of injury cost them the game. The deciding factor was Virginia missing shots down the stretch. Calls would’ve helped, but it’s all for naught if you don’t knock down those shots.
  2. Baltimore Sun: James Padgett is too nice. He’s developing into one of Maryland’s better players, but he just isn’t aggressive enough to become the Terrapins’ second option this season. There’s also the question of why his defensive rebounding lags so far behind his offensive rebounding. The obvious reason is that Alex Len and Ashton Pankey clean up the glass for the Terps, but with Len often going for blocks you’d assume Padgett would have plenty of defensive rebounding opportunities.
  3. Charleston Post and Courier: Milton Jennings woke up after Brad Brownell suspended him for a couple of games in early February. The former McDonald’s All-American is proving to be a (somewhat inconsistent) creator, averaging just under 12 points a game in the Tigers’ last five contests. But Brownell wanted to be clear that the Tigers’ recent success wouldn’t affect Jennings’ off the court struggles: “He knows he’s walking on thin ice with me.” At least for now the suspension seems to be effective. Obviously, we can’t see Jennings life outside of games, but his improved production is certainly a good sign.
  4. Fayetteville Observer: NC State‘s bubble burst after falling to Clemson over the weekend. The Wolfpack are heading back to the NIT barring a very strong run to the ACC Tournament finals (beating Duke or North Carolina on the way). The team showed spurts of promise, playing with the best teams in the conference, but even a 20-point second half lead against Duke resulted in the loss column. More than anything, Mark Gottfried’s talented recruiting class should give his team critical depth for competing against top schools in conference play.
  5. ACC Sports Journal: I found this breakdown of the DukeFlorida State game very interesting, mainly because it points to why Duke was so effective shooting threes, even against elite defenses like Florida State. The Seminoles smothered Duke inside, but the Blue Devils knocked down perimeter jumpers to answer every Florida State run. Denny Kuiper points to help defense leaving Duke shooters wide open, which certainly created plenty of open looks for Andre Dawkins against Florida State. But Austin Rivers and (to a lesser extent) Seth Curry have both shown the ability to score at the rim this year. Not helping to stop Rivers seems like a recipe for disaster, though I can almost guarantee you that would be the strategy that Mike Krzyzewski would employ if he had to craft a game plan to guard his uber-freshman.
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Considering Maryland’s Perimeter Surprise: Pressure Defense

Posted by KCarpenter on February 6th, 2012

The Terrapins lost to North Carolina on Saturday after a valiant and hard-fought game where it looked like Mark Turgeon had his old mentor Roy Williams on the ropes early on. How did Maryland get the jump on the Tar Heels? By relying on a tactic that Turgeon has been reluctant to embrace all season: perimeter pressure. On the season, Maryland has forced fewer turnovers than almost every team in the country, posting a defensive turnover percentage of 16.9% which puts them at somewhere around the 325th best in the country in this category. Worse, when it comes to steals, Maryland is the second worst team in the entire country, managing a takeaway on only 5.8% of defensive plays.

Mark Turgeon Should Consider Letting His Team Gamble More On Defense

Yet, going into the under-eight minute timeout in the first half, sure-handed Tar Heel Kendall Marshall already had five turnovers. Mark Turgeon unleashed the dogs on the Tar Heels and their perimeter pressure rattled North Carolina. It was an effective tactic that kept UNC’s guards off-balance and helped key an early lead for the Terrapins. Certainly North Carolina rallied to win the game and Kendall Marshall going forward only turned the ball over once more on his way to a 16-assist game. Still, the game was competitive when it probably shouldn’t have been.

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ACC Morning Five: 01.25.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 25th, 2012

  1. Baltimore Sports Report: Patrick Guthrie offers his three suggestions for Mark Turgeon going forward. First, play Mychal Parker more. Parker was Gary Williams’ prized recruit coming into last year, but never really found a spot in the line-up. This year, he’s shown sparks of greatness and been more effective than freshman Nick Faust in particular. Second, get the ball to James Padgett. You never would’ve heard anyone say those words last season, but this year Padgett has shown flashes of developing a little like Richard Howell did over the last season for NC State. Finally, Guthrie asks Turgeon to pump the brakes on Alex Len. Here I’m a little more wary, as Len could be a crucial building block going forward. And his major “needs work area” seems to be adjusting to the physicality and athleticism of ACC play.
  2. Bright House Sports Network: Newly elected baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin sat down with Tiffany Greene to talk about his son at Miami. Shane Larkin has served the invaluable role of spark plug (think very poor man’s Nate Robinson) off the bench this year. Most people expected him to see very limited playing time because of Miami’s depth in the backcourt, but his strong play seems to earn him more and more minutes.
  3. Washington Post: Dorian Finney-Smith came to Blacksburg as the most touted recruit of Seth Greenberg’s tenure. He started the season off on fire, dominating the Hokies early opponents with double-doubles. The majority of his work was on the glass, but he was a capable scorer too. But the rigors of conference play have undermined Finney-Smith’s play. Having to guard Harrison Barnes certainly didn’t help, but based on all of Greenberg’s praise I expect Finney-Smith to end up just fine.
  4. Washington Post: Virginia‘s newest addition, Teven Jones, said the transition to college wasn’t too bad. Jones reclassified to join the Cavaliers this month. He won’t play (except on the scout team), but the time should give him the chance to learn Tony Bennett’s offensive system as well as get in some valuable academic credits. Luckily, Jones’ postgraduate school, Fishburne Military School, employed the pack-line defense. Probably the most interesting part of the article was Steve Yanda’s point about midyear classification becoming more popular in football (it basically gives you extra practice time), but not as much in basketball because it would take recruits away from their high school coaches midseason.
  5. Morganton News Herald: Roy Waters’ “Birth of ACC Hoops” is back for its third installment. This one is a little more local in taste, but I think it’s a good reminder of how regional sports used to be. To be fair, Roy Williams was born and raised in North Carolina. But none of the other conference coaches hail from their schools’ respective states (though, one interesting potential trivia nugget is both Brian Gregory and Jeff Bzdelik are from Mount Prospect, Illinois).
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Maryland Refuses To Feed The Post

Posted by KCarpenter on January 24th, 2012

Being a big man is tough. Your job is to set screens, battle for position, and when you get it, hopefully your guards will get you the ball so that you have a chance to score. Failing that, you can always hope to grab an offensive rebound from a missed shot for a putback. Good coaches of course get their big men to do more complicated things than that, but boiled down to the bare essentials: This is the life of a forward or center.

If you have a big man who is skilled on offense, you want him to get as many touches of the ball as possible to give him plenty of chances to score. In general, this is the easiest way to score in college basketball (provided you have a skilled offensive big man). For some reason, Maryland has decided to ignore this principle. The Terrapin forwards and centers take a good number of shots, but it’s mostly due to their own skill at getting offensive rebounds. Outside of that facet of the game, the Terrapin big men barely get a chance to score. At least, that’s what my eyes kept telling me after watching Maryland play against Temple and Florida State. So I decided to go to the numbers and check.

Poor Maryland Bigs

Sure enough, outside of super role-player Miles Plumlee, the main three Terps in the frontcourt rotation have fewer field goal attempts per game than any of the other talented rebounding forwards in the ACC once offensive rebounds per game are subtracted. This is odd, because though Maryland has the near-magical scoring power of Terrell Stoglin, this is a team that often has trouble on offense. While Sean Mosely is a very capable offensive player, Pe’Shon Howard and Nick Faust have not provided any kind of offensive efficiency from the guard position, posting offensive efficiency ratings of 80.0 and 83.9, respectively. That’s ugly. Meanwhile, touch-starved James Padgett, Ashton Pankey, and Alex Len are posting offensive efficiency ratings of 108.4, 113.4, and 96.5, respectively. Padgett and Pankey’s ratings are easily the second and third best on the team after Stoglin, and Len’s lower rating (caused by turnovers) hides the fact that he leads the team in true shooting percentage with an incredibly solid 63.0% mark.

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ACC Game On: 01.17.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on January 17th, 2012

Now, in the cool light of Tuesday we open up with a conference where Boston College and North Carolina have the same ACC record and we can answer the big question of the weekend with a firm nod: Yes, this is real life. The question that remains is simple: Which teams are for real? Florida State made a ridiculously impressive statement against North Carolina on Saturday, but the Seminoles had been maddeningly inconsistent up to this point. Meanwhile, Maryland has looked like a brand new team after Pe’Shon Howard and Alex Len joined with the team, though ironically, it’s been the play of neither that has been the most impressive.

Terrell Stoglin Takes 36.8% of Maryland's Shots. That's A Lot.

The Gut Check

  • Maryland at Florida State at 9:00 PM on ESPNU

Florida State may have pounded North Carolina, but they looked abysmal against a really rough-looking Clemson team. Florida State should be able to hammer Maryland without much difficulty at home, but the Terps have been full of surprises and this match-up has a number of pivot points that could make things really interesting. While the Seminoles have a sterling defense, they are (and have been for the past few years) curiously weak on the defensive glass. This is a problem because Maryland’s James Padgett‘s reign of terror on the offensive glass shows no sign of slowing. Padgett easily remains the best offensive rebounder in the country and his efficiency in the post, particularly on second-chance points, can be a deadly weapon. For Leonard Hamilton‘s squad, the strategy will be the same-as-it-ever-was: Pressure the perimeter to force turnovers and try to bait the team’s worst offensive players into taking too many shots. Sadly for the Terrapins, the shot-happy-but-accuracy-challenged tandem of Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard seems pretty susceptible to falling right into this trap. More good news for the Seminoles? Maryland doesn’t force many turnovers, which has been Florida State’s weakness all year long. Will it come down to  a shootout between Terrell Stoglin and a newly confident Deividas Dulkys? Stoglin shoots more than anyone in the ACC, but if anyone is prepared to match fire with fire, the Dulkys that we saw on Saturday was far from gun shy.

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Checking In On… the ACC

Posted by mpatton on December 6th, 2011

Matt Patton is the ACC correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter @rise_and_fire.

Reader’s Take


Top Storylines

  • Kentucky and North Carolina: College basketball’s “Game of the Century” lived up to the hype coming down to the last possession (even if it ended bizarrely) and was fun from start to finish (well, almost finish for Tar Heel fans). The game was a reminder that North Carolina can be the team people thought it would be coming into this season. The Tar Heels were aggressive, knocked down perimeter shots, and controlled a little over half of the game. Harrison Barnes was outplayed by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but Kendall Marshall was passable on defense [Author’s Note: That wasn’t meant to be a bad pun. He actually played solid defense on Teague most of the game.] and his usual self on offense (though I was very surprised he saw as much time guarding Marquis Teague as he did, considering Teague’s turnover woes). I’m not sure any college basketball fan would mind seeing a rematch this spring.
  • Terrell Stoglin Can Score: Unfortunately, his teammates are struggling to keep up their end. Only three BCS-conference teams (Penn State, Washington, and Utah) have players with higher usages, and none have players more likely to take a shot (shot percentage). Stoglin is the only player on the team averaging over 20 points a game with 22.4. His field goal percentage could be a little higher, but right now he’s the best scorer in the conference. For more on Stoglin, check out our post from yesterday on his scoring ability.
  • Sportsman of the Year: Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt joined the prestigious ranks of Sports Illustrated‘s “Sportsman of the Year” winners and are only the third and fourth college basketball coaches to be chosen for the honor (Dean Smith and John Wooden are the other two). Both are worthy choices, as they both signify excellence over the course of 73 combined years of coaching.

Terrell Stoglin is Maryland's Offense.

Power Rankings

1) North Carolina (6-2) lost to the #1 team in the country on the road by one point. But it was the second straight game that the Tar Heels were unable to control the tempo. Is this a problem going forward, or is the defense good enough to win ugly?
Ken Pomeroy Fun Fact: The only player in Roy Williams’ rotation that is not averaging over a point per possession? James Michael McAdoo (fellow frosh PJ Hairston leads the team with a 129.0 offensive rating).

2) Duke (7-1) hasn’t played since last week. My guess is this means a lot of quality time watching film on Ohio State.
Ken Pomeroy Fun Fact: Duke has the third worst free throw defense in the country, as opponents are shooting a whopping 80.6% from the charity stripe against the Blue Devils this year.

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Set Your TiVo: 11.17.11

Posted by bmulvihill on November 17th, 2011

Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter.  See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

Now that you have fully recovered from ESPN’s 24 Hours of Hoops Marathon, it’s time to jump into the first of the exotic preseason tournaments.  The Puerto Rico Tip-Off gets going today, along with the big boys’ rounds of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.  Let’s take a look at the action.

Maryland vs. #16 Alabama – 5:00 PM EST on ESPN2 HD (**)

JaMychal Green and Anthony Grant Lead Alabama into the Puerto Rico Tip-Off

  • Rarely do you see a team hit zero three-point shots and still win a game.  However, that is exactly what Maryland did in its first game of the season against UNC-Wilmington.  The Terps finished 0-9 from downtown, but managed to drain 58% of its twos.  Mark Turgeon’s squad is going to have a tough time hitting such a high percentage of shots inside the arc against Alabama’s vaunted defense.  While Terp forwards James Padgett and Ashton Pankey both scored in double figures in the opener, neither consistently demands enough attention to take scoring pressure off the guards.  Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin needs to have another big game in order for the Terrapins to have a chance.  If the Alabama defense can lock him up, there is not enough fire power elsewhere on Turgeon’s team to beat the Crimson Tide.
  • Alabama is all about defense.  They picked up right where they left off last year giving up only 0.8 points per possession through their first two games of the season.  However, senior forward JaMychal Green should not be overlooked as a big time offensive threat.  Green is averaging 18 points per game in only 25 minutes of action per night.  Coach Anthony Grant’s team needs to improve its shooting, though.  Alabama shot under 50% eFG in 20 of it’s 37 games last season and that trend is continuing again this season.  While they finished a remarkable 10-10 in those games because of a stellar defense, it’s very difficult for a team to have major success shooting under 50% eFG.  If the Tide is hitting more than half of its shots against Maryland, the game will not be close.
  • This game hinges on Maryland’s ability to create baskets in transition.  Maryland plays at a much faster pace than Alabama.  If they get locked down in a halfcourt match-up with the Crimson Tide defense, the Terps’ offense will bog down because they do not have enough weapons in the low post.  The team that dictates the pace and style of this game will ultimately win.

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