Jeckyll and Hyde Terps Hold Off Wake Forest

I'm convinced that these kids are going to give us all heart attacks before the season is through. At least we can't say that we haven't been warned.  Ever since the Terps have gotten to full strength, a familiar pattern has been established.  Often (not always), the Terps run out to a big lead in the first half (see Cornell and Wake), only to go extremely and almost impossibly cold in the second half while letting the opposing team right back into the game.

It's the classic glass empty / glass full scenario.  As fans, should be happy that the team is capable of showing flashes of greatness when everything is clicking?  Or, should we be frustrated at how we continually seem to squander opportunities to put teams away and make things more difficult than they have to be? 

What is behind the pattern?  It's impossible to say, but I think that it is due to the Terps not having a solid number 2 option in the offense.  Stoglin is clearly the number 1 option and is often the main reason why the Terps are able to run out to big leads.  The problem is that he can't be expected to stay hot for 40 minutes.  There will be periods when his shot fails him.  In these instances, the Terps weaknesses become exacerbated.  When Stoglin is cold, the natural inclination is to get the ball to our bigs on the low blocks and let them go to work.  That is sometimes effective; but even in success, the Terps wind up hurting themselves.  The reason is our free throw shooting.  The Terps are terrible from the stripe.  It must be driving Turgeon nuts because it's driving me nuts.

Padgett, Pankey, and Len are incredibly inconsistent from the stripe.  They are constantly giving back points and turning a positive play (getting fouled in the act of shooting), into a negative one (coming away with only 1 point, or even worse 0 points).  This must change if the Terps are going to be successful this year.  I don't know how to fix it, so all I can do is just hope that it improves.

Teams like Duke, UNC, Temple, UVA, NC State, Miami, and FSU will make Maryland pay dearly for its misses.  Now is the time for the boys to iron out the kinks and play up to their potential.

As for the game itself, Alex Len had a quiet night, while Padgett and Pankey had big games.  Part of this is due to Wake having two 7-footers; but it also illustrates that Alex Len still has a long way to go.  It was interesting listening to Dan Bonner's commentary during the game in regards to Len.  He'd say things after Len turnover like "See, right there Len should have turned and faced the basket...".  It's clear that Len is oozing with raw talent but he is still learning the game.  Turgeon is definitely the guy who can teach him; but will we see those benefits in time to make a run for the NCAAs this season?  Remains to be seen. 

Up next is a suddenly scary Georgia Tech team.  The Yellowjackets are only 8-8 but recently took Duke to the wire and just handily beat NC State on the road by 9 points. The Jackets are a guard-heavy team with Glen Rice Jr. leading the way.  The Terps will need to play tough perimeter defense but Alex Len's presence in the paint should make that easier.  If the Terps can get by GT, they'll be 12-4 with the dream still alive in their hearts.
Author: Jeremy | 1/12/2012 4:16:20 PM | Tags: wake forest, recap, basektball |