Two Games In - A Tale of Two Statistics

11/19/2008 3:32:47 PM 1. 20 and 22 vs. 11 and 15

2. +17 and +16 vs. +1 and -11

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

What are these numbers you ask? The first line is the number of turnovers MD committed in the first two games of 2007-08 compared to the turnovers MD committed in the first two games this season.

Actually, MD averaged 5 turnovers per half through the first three halves of this season before committing 10 turnovers in the second half last night. To be fair, many of those TOs were the result of some sloppy play after MD had put the game out of reach. You may recall that during the Hampton game last year there was no garbage time. The Terps werre pushed to the limit in that game and only won by six points, 70-64.

The dramatic decrease in turnovers in the early going is incredibly encouraging. Turnovers KILLED the Terps last year. Clearly, moving Vasquez off the point and rotating in our young skill players has worked. Assists are up as well.

Now for the bad news. The second line represents the rebounding margins from the first two games in 2007 vs. 2008. Wow. That is ugly. It's not quite time to sound the alarm bells but our starting center, Braxton Dupree (all 6'8" 260 lbs of him) garnered a grand total of 4 rebounds against Youngstown State last night. Getting outrebounded by double digits against cupcakes like Youngstown State spells doom in the ACC.

How does one explain such anemic frontcourt play? Dupree should know his role by now. He does not need to score to be sucessful. Just box out and defend paint. That is his job. If he can do that successfully; Maryland will be good. If not, it is NIT Part IV.

As fans, we have to be realistic. We can't expect an inexperienced frontcourt like Maryland's to dominate in the paint. But, here's the thing: we don't need them to dominate. All the Terps need is for our bigs to keep the rebounding margin relatively close.

Maryland's deep bench and loaded backcourt should be able to make up for the rebounding margin by causing turnovers. That should keep the total number of offensive possessions relatively even over the course of a game.

So which is better? A team that can rebound but turns the ball over too much; or a team that can't rebound but takes care of the rock?

It's impossible to say this early in the season; but my gut tells me we are better off taking care of the ball. These may turn out to be famous last words; but I'd rather see a functioning offense as opposed to giving up too many second-chance points.

Besides, hopefully the interior players will toughen up a lttle as the season wears on. Let's just hope we don't take too many lumps before then.
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