The Maryland Terrapins visited Bloomington on Tuesday night to face the Hoosiers in their piece of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It looked to be a long night for the Terps as Indiana was up to the challenge, but the Terps took control late in the second half and came away with a 80 – 68 win.
I’m excited for this team, but they have three major areas to improve on during the year, otherwise, they aren’t going to go to far. First, they need to work on making their free throws. They are a paltry 67%. They need those free points and it will help in close games, possibly put them over the top. Second, they need to box out. This is due to playing two freshman at center, but they need to learn a little faster as they have gotten out rebounded in a few games so far. This is more apparent on the defensive end where they are allowing other teams to get double-digit offensive rebounds. Things will change once Dino is back and the young guys have more games under their belt. Lastly, they need to defend the perimeter. Teams see that as a weakness for the Terps and opponents have been gunning from downtown on them. Indiana went 7 – 26 against the Terps and it wasn’t because the Terps were guarding well, Indiana flat out missed shots
Some of these things will work themselves out such as the boxing out and the free throws. Guarding the perimeter, I’m not sure of as it was a problem last year for these guys. Things I like so far has been their pressure and zone defense. Their pressure defense has been a little spotty, but when it’s been on, the Terps have been stifling teams on their own end of the basket. The Terps zone has been very good as Gary has gotten these kids to play great zone and its shown during games with Wisconsin, Indiana and Gonzaga. They are 1- 2 in those games, but give it a little more time.
All in all, these kids look well improved from a year ago, but it’s still early. Milbourne has been consistent, Hayes has been more aggressive as a scorer and Mosley has come out of no where with offensive skills. Jordan Williams has been impressive under the basket albeit a few missed easy lay-ups, but he’s only going to get better. These guys share the ball more assisting on close to 60% of there shots made.
The Terps play host to a Villanova team that is pretty legit at #3 in the nation even though their wins have been to lower end schools. Maryland will be their biggest test of this early season, but the Wildcats have five players averaging double-digit points. This will be a good test for both teams and let’s see if the Terps can come out on top.