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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Terrell Stoglin Will Actually Enter the 2012 NBA Draft

Posted by mpatton on May 1st, 2012

It was only a few weeks ago that some were (optimistically) projecting Maryland as a Top 25 sleeper out of the ACC next year. Sure the Terrapins lost Sean Mosley to graduation, but the combination of Terrell Stoglin‘s return, Nick Faust‘s development and a very promising recruiting class brought plenty of hype. But some reports suddenly connected the ACC’s top scorer with the NBA Draft again earlier this week. Since the initial release, more details have come out: Stoglin was suspended for the year for violating the University of Maryland Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. In essence, the suspension tied his hands and forced him to sit out next year or give the draft a try. Patrick Stevens’ source provided background on the suspension, saying it was connected to failed drug tests. The “code of conduct prescribes a one-year suspension for three failed drug tests.”

Terrell Stoglin Will Not Be Returning To College Park Next Season.

Stoglin’s departure is obviously a huge blow to Maryland’s prospects next year. Specifically, the Terrapins will need to replace his 20 points per game and face defenses that no longer have to focus extra energy on stopping one player. The silver lining for Maryland fans is that Stoglin had a rocky relationship with Mark Turgeon, which couldn’t have helped team chemistry. With Stoglin and Mosley now gone, I expect the torch to be passed to Faust and (possibly) Pe’Shon Howard to act as team leaders. I also expect Maryland to struggle a lot offensively, especially early in the season. But this team will be more talented than last year’s version and significantly better on defense. The question is how much Mark Turgeon can develop his young frontcourt.

It should also be noted that sophomore wing Mychal Parker was also suspended for a full season and will transfer elsewhere. Parker averaged four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes a game last season.

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ACC Morning Five: 03.21.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on March 21st, 2012

  1. Fox Sports Carolinas: Andrew Jones does a solid job breaking down Duke‘s struggles this year. The article is specifically relevant on the end of the season, as I think the “lack of spirit” only settled in after the North Carolina game at Duke. But the issues are definitely there. I’d probably order my list like this (in order of greatest to least importance): (1) lack of a leader, (2) defense, (3) reliance on one player, (4) reliance on the three, (5) point guard issues. Some things are interconnected. The depressing thing for Duke fans is things may get worse before they get better depending on who stays and who goes this year.
  2. Duke Basketball Report: Barry Jacobs took a look at the scoring decline in the ACC. Since 2001 when the league peaked–averaging 79.3 points a game–the scoring has been steadily dropping to this year’s low of 68.5. In 2001 the league’s lowest scorer (Florida State) actually averaged higher scoring than this year’s league average. Part of the recent drop can be associated with coaching turnover and conference expansion creating diluted talent and new styles (see: Boston College and Virginia, respectively). The rest is probably a part of the national trend of offenses getting more efficient while slowing down. I hope someone analyzes the roots of this phenomenon.
  3. Raleigh News & Observer: Want to know one reason NC State looks a lot better as of late? Richard Howell is seeing more playing time. Howell and fellow frontmen CJ Leslie and DeShawn Painter all improved significantly, but Howell’s tendency to pick up quick fouls kept him off the court during the regular season. Howell’s presence is going to be extra-critical this weekend against Kansas, as he’s a significantly better rebounder than Painter. The Wolfpack will need his presence on the glass to help limit the Jayhawks to one shot.
  4. Testudo Times: Ben Broman over at Testudo Times took a look at Nick Faust‘s season and very promising prognosis. Faust started the year horrendously on offense–largely because he was forced to take too large a role on an offense with too few weapons–but his talent has always been evident. Multiple people have said this throughout the year (especially down the stretch when things started clicking for the freshman): next year Faust could easily find himself on an All-ACC team. Frankly, he should probably find himself on two if his defense continues to improve and he gets his offensive mojo back.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: This is a very interesting interview with Brian Gregory. Probably the most insightful comment is on one thing he learned about the ACC, which was the physical nature of the conference. For a long time the Big East and Big Ten were known as the tough leagues (they still are), but the ACC is definitely becoming a tougher conference (Duke, Florida State, Miami and Virginia are very physical teams). I also thought Gregory’s reflection on his team was interesting even after taking it with a grain of “coach speak” salt.
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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: 02.23.12 Edition

Posted by mpatton on February 23rd, 2012

  1. Testudo Times: Who’s up for a 2,000-word epic on the development of Nick Faust over the season? Faust started living up to his potential in the last four games. He’s scored effectively, distributed well and continued his lock-down defense. He even stepped up big to replace Pe’Shon Howard at point guard, where he struggled mightily in the first part of the season. This is just another story we hear constantly. The fact is: Outside of the top 10 recruits, no one is a sure bet to succeed right away. The college game is bigger, faster and more physical than anything most players see in high school, and 24/7 recruiting coverage leads to sky-high expectations that almost always disappoint.
  2. Orlando Sentinel: The ACC Coach of the Year award is getting pretty interesting. If Florida State wins the regular season title, I don’t see how you give it to anyone other than Leonard Hamilton. If the Seminoles don’t win, I like Steve Donahue. If Duke wins out, there’s no doubt in my mind that the award should go to Mike Krzyzewski. I don’t think Krzyzewski will win it because expectations are always high for Duke regardless of the talent on the roster. Hamilton probably should be the front-runner, though Donahue has a legitimate claim to the award based on his work with the youngest team in the conference.
  3. Miami New Times: I think Miami needs to go 3-0 over its last three games to guarantee a spot in the Big Dance. Beating NC State and Boston College is mandatory. Beating Florida State would go a long way in the marquee win category. That said, beating a big fish in the ACC Tournament would work wonders too. Miami should get some leeway for a mediocre start because Reggie Johnson was out of the lineup, but the Hurricanes need to back up their win at Duke with another selling point for the Selection Committee.
  4. Carolina March: Deon Thompson just won MVP of the 2012 Slovenian Cup by leading Union Olimpija to victory. This team seems to be a popular destination for Tar Heels waiting for their shot in the NBA, as Danny Green recently left Union Olimpija after being signed by San Antonio. My favorite part of this article though is Thompson’s quote. The quote started in English and was translated to Slovenian before being transferred back to English. Needless to say the sentence structure leaves a lot to be desired.
  5. Streaking The Lawn: Here’s your chance to follow a rivalry game on Twitter retrospectively through the eyes of a Cavalier.
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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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The Way Too Early ACC Freshmen Review

Posted by KCarpenter on February 3rd, 2012

It’s been something of a down year for sensational ACC freshmen after last year’s excellent class. Still there have been some real gems, and though the Rookie of the Year Honor was pretty much wrapped up by the time the first conference game was tipped, most spots on the ACC All-Freshman Team are wide open. A lot of highly-touted recruits have flopped or underperformed, a lot of talented guys haven’t won minutes over their more experienced teammates, and in general, the youngsters have played pretty inconsistently. If voting for the All-Freshmen team was held tomorrow, here’s who I would vote for.

  • G Austin Rivers (Duke)

Rivers Was Anointed An All-ACC Freshman a Long Time Ago

Barring a miracle, Rivers has Rookie of the Year wrapped up. Leading a top-flight Duke team, he’s the only freshman whose average has cracked double digits. He leads the balanced and talented Blue Devils with 14.1 PPG. Rivers game isn’t perfect; he struggles to do much beyond scoring and his offensive efficiency leaves something to be desired at 103.2. Still, he’s the leading scorer on the best offense in the ACC and that makes any other deficiency seem somewhat trivial. If highlight reel appearances were a statistical category, Rivers moves would leave all the other rookies in the dust.

  • G Shane Larkin (Miami)

With an expected backcourt of Malcom Grant and Durand Scott leading the talented Hurricanes, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of room for 5’11″ freshman like Larkin to get a lot of playing time beyond spells off the bench. Somehow though, Larkin proved so valuable to Jim Larranaga that the Hurricanes went to a three guard lineup starting the energetic guard alongside his more experienced teammates. In his first year, Larkin has already managed to jump to the top of the ACC steals charts, averaging 1.9 SPG alongside Lorenzo Brown and Jontel Evans. In terms of tempo-free statistics, Larkin leads the ACC, getting a steal on 4.8% of opponents posessions (this also happens to be the 14th best mark in the nation). Outside of being an all-round pest on defense, Larkin leads ACC freshmen with 2.5 APG and shoots a very respectable 37.5% from behind the arc. With these skills, Larkin is going to be breaking the hearts of other teams fans for the foreseeable future.

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ACC Game On: 02.02.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on February 2nd, 2012

Wednesday night was a night of valiant efforts, but no surprises. Despite the underdogs’ collective success at keeping games close, Goliath withstood David’s slings and the ACC standings are starting to finally look understandable. Without Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech was no match for the still-hot Florida State Seminoles who put the Yellow Jackets in the rear view with a dynamic closing stretch. Boston College, formerly a high-octane scoring attack, tried a more traditional underdog approach with a hideous burn offense that slowed the game with North Carolina State to a crawl. Despite some notable efforts to try to give away the game in the second half, Boston College still faltered in its end-game execution and Mark Gottfried and his crew walked away with the win.

Turgeon Got Run, But Maryland Proved It Has Some Fight

The real excitement of the night was in the Maryland at Miami game. While it looked like it was going to be a by-the-numbers blow out, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon took exception to a referee call late in the second half, kept arguing, and finally got ejected. The Terrapins, rallying behind the guy who stood up for them, suddenly started playing some inspired ball. That combined with the absence of any true post players for Miami (Kenny Kadji was injured while both Reggie Johnson and Raphael Akpejiori fouled out) resulted in a remarkable turnaround that turned a double-digit deficit into a double-overtime thriller. It wasn’t the prettiest game, and before all was said and done, Durand Scott, Sean Mosley, and Nick Faust also fouled out of the game. Scott’s 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists would prove to be the deciding line of the night. Though Terrell Stoglin scored an impressive 33 points, he did so only after taking an I-still-can’t-believe-it 20 three-point shots. Though Maryland lost, Stoglin’s will, and the key defensive play of Alex Len means that the Terrapins leave Coral Gables feeling that their team is tough enough to hang in the big games and that their coach believes in them.

The Only Game In Town

  • Duke at Virginia Tech at 7:00 PM on ESPN
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Set Your TiVo: 01.25.12

Posted by EJacoby on January 25th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC contributor and correspondent. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

There are no Top 25 matchups or truly ‘great’ games on tonight’s schedule, but it is another packed Wednesday of important conference battles so there will be plenty of action worth monitoring.

Villanova at Louisville – 7:00 PM ET on ESPN (***)

Peyton Siva Looks to Get Louisville Back on Track Tonight Against Another Top Point Guard (Getty Images/A. Lyons)

  • In what would have been billed as a big-time matchup at the beginning of the season, this game now features two unranked teams (Louisville is still #25 in one poll) with a combined 6-9 record in the Big East. But this will still be a fun game to watch, and the away team is playing its best basketball of the season. Nova has won two straight games and lost by only four points at Cincinnati in the game before, as Maalik Wayns has finally taken his game to the next level. His averages over the past three games are an insane 30.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. He’s also gone 30-33 from the free throw line in that stretch. He’s second in the conference in scoring (18.7 PPG) and leads the Big East in free throws made. Nova needs other players to be strong with the ball against Louisville’s high-pressure defense, as the Wildcats average a terrible 17 turnovers in conference games, worst in the Big East. If Jay Wright’s team can take care of the ball and get to the rim instead of settling for outside shots, they have a chance in this game. Jayvaughn Pinkston will play a key role as an emerging threat (18 points, 11.5 rebounds in his last two) at the forward position that can attack the rim.
  • If Louisville wants to get back into consideration as a ranked team, they must win this game at home. The Cardinals continue to deal with injuries but have all of their key cogs healthy in this one, as leading-scorer Kyle Kuric (13.4 PPG) returned from an ankle injury to score 21 points against Pittsburgh in their last game. Louisville has the advantage on the wings with Kuric, Russ Smith (12.5 PPG), and Chris Smith (10.1 PPG) and they will try to swarm Villanova defensively, who only has one true ballhandler in its lineup. Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng have tough matchups with Maalik Wayns and Mouphtaou Yarou, respectively, that are worth watching to see who has the edge on the perimeter and in the paint. Overall, Louisville’s depth and defensive pressure should prove too much for the Wildcats.
  • Louisville is a nine-point favorite at home in the KFC Yum! Center and cannot lose this game if it wants to be taken seriously in the Big East. The 10-10 Wildcats come in with some confidence and will look to play the role of spoiler as Wayns tries to prove he’s the best point guard in the conference. Expect the Cardinals to wear out Villlanova in the second half and come out with the win.

#8 Duke at Maryland- 9:00 PM ET on ESPN (***)

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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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ACC Morning Five: 01.02.11 Edition

Posted by mpatton on January 2nd, 2012

  1. Boston Globe: Al Skinner got fired from Boston College because of the perception that he wasn’t recruiting at the same level he used to (currently, he’s still looking for that next college job as an AAU coach). But if you look at the recruits he had lined up for the Eagles before he left, they’re all performing very well at various schools around the country. I still don’t see a go-to guy on Boston College’s team if you add this bunch to the roster, but it’s certainly worth mentioning after the Eagles fell to 5-8 after being blown out by Harvard.
  2. Orangeburg Times and Democrat: It was a long flight home for Clemson after losing two of its three games in the Diamond Head Classic. Because of Oliver Purnell’s notorious non-conference schedules the Tigers are off to their worst start since 2003 at a disappointing 7-6. Despite generous preseason numbers, Clemson saw its ranking from Ken Pomeroy drop steadily over the first few weeks as the losses continued piling up. Barring a miraculous conference season (read: winning the ACC Tournament), it looks like Clemson’s streak of five straight NCAA Tournament appearances will end.
  3. Washington Times: Maryland quietly bettered its resume with six straight wins, albeit against unimpressive competition. The Terrapins finally got a wire-to-wire win against Samford Saturday thanks to strong games from Pe’Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust. The win came after Mark Turgeon threw the entire team out of practice the day before. Faust finally found the basket from long range (playing off the ball has helped his game). Today the team looks to continue its winning streak against Cornell before heading into conference play.
  4. Baltimore Sports Report: Luckily, expansion speculation and rumors have died down, but the moves from earlier this year leave several conferences with the challenge (or in the ACC’s case, opportunity) of rebranding (or reestablishing) the conference with its new members. The Big East has the most work to do, trying to move from a regional to national footprint, while the ACC looks to reclaim its basketball dominance with Syracuse and Pittsburgh preparing to join in the next couple of years. It was one thing to talk about, but the augmented conferences will be very interesting to watch going forward.
  5. Wilmington Star News: What were the top 10 ACC stories of 2011? Brett Friedlander does a pretty good job paring the list down, but I totally disagree with his ordering. I know Miami‘s scandal has fallen out of the news with other scandals and its ongoing investigation, but it or conference expansion has to be number one. Mark Gottfried‘s hire was a big splash in North Carolina, but it was way less important than Gary Williams’ retirement or overall coaching upheaval for the conference. The list is still worth a read.

EXTRA: Finally, take a second and read over the inspiring story of a Duke fan who couldn’t pull against Pennsylvania yesterday because the school saved his life after his liver failed.

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