A Tale of Two Seasons

1/1/2009 5:36:46 PM I've got some trivia questions for you. The answers may surprise you:

1. What is the difference in 3PT shooting % between this year's team and last year's team?

Answer .001% (33.8% in 2007-08 vs. 33.7% in 2008-09). How is that for consistency? Don't expect much improvement. They are what they are from downtown.

2. Which team averaged more offensive rebounds per game (this year's or last year's)?

Answer: This year. 13.0 vs 10.5 rpg. Sure, you can chalk this up to playing against inferior competition but please remember that MD lost five non-conference games last year.

3. Last year, four Terps averaged at least 2.4 turnovers per game. How many Terps are averaging more than 2.4 turnovers per game this year?

Answer: 1 (Grievis Vasquez at 2.7). He averaged 4.4 turnovers per game last year. Hayes, Osby, and Gist were the others.

4. How many schools in the NCAA Division I have made more FTs than MD has attempted?

Answer: 30. If that doesn't illustrate how little we get from the inside; then nothing will. On the flip side, MD is hitting 79% of their FTs this year. That is currently leading the ACC and is nearly 10% better than last year. Still the Terps are attempting nearly 4 less FTs per game than a year ago.

5. Which of MD's returning starters are averaging more minutes per game than last year?

Answer: 1 (barely) Milbourne is averaging 1 more minute per game than last year. In 07-08, Hayes and Vasquez played a combined 70.4 minutes per game. This year, they are only averaging 63.6 mpg. This is huge. More rest for our guards means more energy down the stretch of close games. Let's hope these numbers hold up as the ACC schedule heats up.

How many Terps are averaging 2.5 fouls per game or more?

Answer: 0. Last year, three Terps topped 3 fouls per game (Osby, Gist, and Milbourne). There are many possible reasons for this and it is not possible to attribute the drop off to any one thing. However, I think it is safe to say that this year's team is more disciplaned than last year's squad. We are averaging nearly five less turnovers and three less fouls per game. The Terps are more disciplined. Plain and simple.

It is difficult to look at these statistics and not come to the conclusion that this year's team is far superior in almost every way to last year's squad. Soupers, fans, and pundits have yet to fully embrace this fact because the Terps are lacking in height and inside scoring. At some point, people will finally come around to the fact that better execution trumps a balanced scoring attack every time.  One thing is for sure. It is much more enjoyable to watch.
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