Terp Talk

Sports and Bets — February 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm by

Watching college basketball can be quite frustrating.  The officiating is awful, there are always stretches of sloppy play, and kids who could hit every open jumper in high school suddenly go through stretches where they couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat.  My perception is that the quality of play has declined on the college level over the last twenty years. It might have something to do with that one year and done rule, or it could just be my  perception of life in general has changed because I am getting old and bitter.  Regardless, the point is that watching these games can bring my blood pressure to a boil, and no team has more potential to send me to the ER than my beloved Terps.

Maryland is a young and talented team, and prior to the season there was a feeling around College Park that the Terps possessed enough talent to surprise some people in the ACC.  But the team has played very young and the lack of a pure point guard has hurt the Terps offensively. This lack of point guard problem has created a carousel at the position.  Pe’Shon Howard has hustle but his inconsistency is what put the carousel in motion.  Dez Wells is better at the 2, and Nick Faust makes a lot of bad decisions with the ball in his hands.  Seth Allen may be best suited for the job, but again Seth plays young, and his perimeter defense probably makes him a backup at the position.  But this is what Coach Turgeon has to work with, and it leaves him in the unenviable position of trying to figure out who will have the hot hand.

The real question facing this team now though is what the hell has happened to Alex Len.  Len beasted his way through the easy early schedule, posting double doubles and prompting scouts to whisper about Len being a lottery pick.  But once the ACC portion of the schedule arrived Len’s game suffered.  He’s been a little beat up inside, and his low post moves aren’t developed enough to get him enough shots. Not to mention the fact that no one has been hurt more by the lack of point guard than Len.  Along with his short low post repertoire, the lack of a pure passer has dramatically reduced Len’s shot attempts.  Over the last five games Len has attempted 6,6,7,6, and 6 shots respectively.  Though Alex Len has some limitations, and though he is not quite ready for the NBA,  he still remains Maryland’s best player.  Len should be getting  10-14 shots a game, and Coach Turgeon needs to figure out a way to get him these attempts.

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Where Maryland excels is on the glass.  The Terps are first in the country in defensive and total rebounding.  Len, Shaq Cleare, and Charles Mitchell do work on the boards, and I believe that Mitchell needs more minutes.  He plays angry and his physical, workmanlike attitude is the type of thing that’s needed on every team.  I hope Alex Len stays another year so this front-court can grow together.

Looking forward Maryland probably needs to beat Duke on Saturday to get themselves an NCAA bid.  The Terps hung with the Blue Devils last month before turnovers and poor shooting spelled their doom.  It will be a difficult task on Saturday, but if they are to pull it off, the win could propel them into a late season hot streak.  It would be huge for the Terps and the program that Coach Turgeon is building.  So don’t fear Terps fans, win or lose Saturday Coach Turgeon IS building a successful program, and the Terps will return to the national spotlight.  But in the meantime I’ll be watching with the 9 and the 1 already dialed.

 

 

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