With George Mason Out Of The Way, The Terps Prepare For UMES

Quickly, here are 3 quick thoughts on the George Mason game:

 1- Ok Dez, I see you:

Against Northwestern, Dez Wells used his supreme athleticism to make thing easy for him. The George Mason game, on the other hand, was a showcase for his far reaching and impressive skill set. With a net-seeking jumper and some nice interior passing, Wells showed off the complete package and dominated a game in a way that cemented him as the 1a to Alex Len’s #1 option on this team.

Although George Mason’s Sherrod Wright is a nice player, Wells’ true tests (VA Tech’s Erick Green, Duke’s Seth Curry) won’t come for a while. But that doesn’t take away from that fact that he’s acing every quiz that’s being thrown at him.

2- Fundamentally flawed:

Looking at the shooting percentage numbers (UMD – 44.9%, GMU – 31.0%) and the rebounding disparity (UMD finished +13 on the boards) this game shouldn’t have been close at any point. But yet again, carelessness with the ball (19 team turnovers including 5 from Wells) and a stingy effort from the charity stripe (23/39 – 59%) allowed an inferior team to hang around and even take the lead in the second half.

Maryland has had 15+ turnovers in 5 of 7 games this season, and during this 6 game win streak they’ve lost the turnover battle in every game. As good as they look at times, this team has a bad habit of slipping into sloppy basketball and compounding mistakes – a trademark of last year’s team.

Maryland is averaging 25 free throws a game (a lot), and making only 66.3% of them (226th in the country – terrible). There are 7 teams shooting a worse percentage in the Top 25, but only one of those teams is taking more than 25 per game (San Diego State). Translation: the way Maryland is currently shooting from the line doesn’t mesh with the profile of being a top 25 team. Because Maryland hits the offensive glass so hard, they’re going to get fouled underneath a lot. Time to spend some more time in practice making those fouls pay off.

3- Where was Logan?

In a game where Maryland couldn’t knock down anything from beyond the arc (2/11), their lone shooter might as well have been a branch on the pine. Logan Aronhalt logged only 3 minutes against the Patriots, while the heretofore disappointing Jake Layman received a surprisingly robust 16. More than anything, I’m just confused as to why Turgeon chose to leave a hot shooter on the bench in favor of a cold on, especially in a game that was within two possessions for the majority of the second half. It bears watching to see if it was a tactical maneuver or if Aronhalt has found his way into the dog house.

Quick Notes on a Gimme

Who: University of Maryland vs. University of Maryland Eastern Shore

What: The easiest game of the season

Where: The Comcast Center, ESPN3

When: 7:00 PM

Line: Maryland by a whole lot

In all of these previews, I’ve been able to find SOMETHING complimentary to say about Maryland’s opponent. That could end here. University of Maryland – Eastern Shore is an abomination. In the major offensive measurable (PPG, APG, RPG, FG%), they rank as one of the worst 50 teams in college basketball, including 2nd to last in field goal percentage at a Philip Seymour Hoffman-like 34.5%. To give some perspective on that, there are 141 teams that have a better 3-point percentage than Eastern Shore’s field goal percentage. Speaking of three pointers, UMES might as well be shooting them from half court, because they only make 23.1% (an improvement at 4th worst in the country). The Hawks are 0-7, and have yet to lose a game by single digits. Yes, this is a win.

Gotta watch out for

Flu season. They say it’s going to be brutal this winter.

Three things to look for in a demolition:

1- Is Dez Wells the alpha dog?

Although Alex Len is the most talented player on the team, Wells has played the most minutes and – since the Kentucky game – has taken more shots. Len’s touches seem to come in spurts, while Wells has the ball in his hands nearly every possession. This is definitely a good problem to have, but it will be interesting to see whether the offensive flow takes the fork towards Len (working the ball into the post and having Len negotiate the offense from there) or Wells (more drive and kick based with Wells’ penetration forcing help).

2- Shaquille Cleare’s continued improvement:

This is big for when the games get important. Every other frontcourt player is a known commodity at this point besides Cleare, who is definitely 4th on the big man depth chart behind Len, Padgett, and Mitchell. Tonight would be an ideal time to throw a big chunk of minutes Cleare’s way and allow him to make some mistakes while getting comfortable with the offense. The garbage minutes now could pay big dividends down the road when he’s called upon for them later in the season.

3- Pe’Shon maybe scoring a little bit?

Don’t get me wrong, I love what he’s bringing everywhere else (with the assists and also as a great rebounder). But he’s had 2 points or less in 4 games this season. If that trend continues, at some point teams are going to stop respecting his shot, and sag off of him to clog the passing lanes. It’s clear he’s not all the way comfortable with his offensive game yet, which is another reason to urge him to be a little more selfish tonight. There’s no way Maryland can lose this game, so use it to improve some weak spots.

Prediction: Maryland in a blowout 82 – 61