Terps Host Virginia Tech

1/28/2012 11:21:34 AM

 The Terps have just finished a brutal three-game stretch and came up empty handed.  Not a pelt to speak of.  There were some encouraging moments and some discouraging ones. 

Terps hung in against FSU, Temple, and Duke.  In fact, most of those games were close to even with 10 minutes left to play. The Terps collapsed each time. 

In my view, the collapses are due to horrendous free throw shooting coupled with an over-reliance on Terrell Stoglin in crunch time.  In the Duke game, the Terps played incredible team basketball until the final 10 minutes. Even Bobby Knight (doing play-by-play for ESPN) gushed about how daring the Terps were in taking it right to Duke by driving on them so consistently.

Then, it became crunch time, and everyone deferred to Stoglin to try and win the game singlehandedly.  Stoglin is a phenomenal talent and we are lucky to have him; but no one wins games by themselves.  The Terps had the blueprint for success.  They had been executing against it for the first 30 minutes of the game. Yet, the rest of the team failed to step up.

Now, the free throw shooting in absolute abomination. It's getting worse and there is nothing anyone seems to be able to do about it. Mason Plumlee seems to have figured it out, why can't our guys?  The FT shooting has already cost the Terps 3-4 wins and will likely keep them out of the postseason if it doesn't improve.

What does this mean for today's game?  Well, the Hokies are not nearly as talented as FSU or Duke.  Maryland matches up well enough and the game is in College Park.  This is the kind of game that Maryland must win.  Beating Duke or FSU is aspirational at this point.  Virginia Tech is a middling team and the Terps are talented enough to win their home games against middling teams.

We'll see.  January has been a tough month.  Alex Len came in like lion and is going out like a lamb.  It'd be nice to see some progress from him today. 

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