Pressed to Lose

Welcome to the grind. The grind is a place where our team leader (Strawberry) does not understand the fundamentals of team basketball. The grind is a place where the head coach insists on pressing regardless of whether or not it is working and regardless of the number of layups it causes on the other end. The grind is a place where our guards are too young to be counted on away from home.

Clearly, we played bad, but I am sick and tired of the officials in the ACC being completely overmatched. What was the foul shooting disparity tonight? 3 to 1? Teams cannot win on the road when they play the entire second half in foul trouble. It is not unrealistic to expect a fairly called game.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am not blaming this loss on the officials. The Terps lost because of the game plan, not the poor officiating. We start a freshman point guard (Vasquez) and a shooting guard (Jones) who is not known for his defense. The Cavaliers start two experienced guards (Singletary and Reynolds) and may have one of the best backcourts in the ACC and perhaps, the nation. Their guards are faster than our guards. Yet, Gary insisted on pressing for the majority of the game!

Why? Is it stubborness? I’m not sure, but this was not a good game plan. The Terps had a clear size advantage and pounded the ball inside with success. However, we negated our strong half court play by giving up layups and wide open threes on the other end. Those easy shots were sparked by Singletary consistently beating our press after made Terp buckets. How did Gary not see this? We played right into UVA’s strengths, and allowed them to take advantage of our weaknesses.

The Terps will be a big underdog on Sunday night, which means we should all expect them to be 1-4 in conference play. The schedule becomes easier after that, but we need to start playing consistently and it starts right at the top.

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25 Comments

  1. I think we might as well just admit that these guys aren’t very good, Jeremy. Oh sure, there’s some good individual, situational talent. Mike Jones can hit open threes and DJ Strawberry can pad his stats against mid-major teams. Gist and Ibekwe can block a lot of shots. But those blocks come at the expense of solid rebounding, Jones’ threes come at the expense of running a real offense (and not the ridiculous and outdated flex system Gary uses), and DJ is simply a mediocre major college player. As a team, there’s little hope. For the fourth year in a row, we have a squad that either doesn’t want to hear what the coach says or can’t execute his game plan. Or maybe the coach is over the hill. I’ve pretty much given up on a chance at consistency or NCAA representation this year. I love Braxton DuPree, but we’ll suffer next year too. Somehow, I don’t think the answer is adding two more years to the coach’s contract.

    Soupy

  2. It’s hard not to press when you’re down by 20 points. This team will live or die by its defense. You can’t give up 100+ points and expect to win on the road. That said, the free-throw disparity was RIDICULOUS. I’m pretty sure refs across the league just hate Gary. When he argues calls, that stuff trickles down to the players, and pretty soon the refs are calling more stuff against you than if you had never argued in the first place. We hardly ever get that kind of disparity in our favor at home.

  3. I just don’t know anymore. I have racked my brain the last three years to try and figure out what is missing. And I have no clue. What I do know is that last night’s game plan was horrible. You’ve got to know the personnel. The Terps cannot expect to have success pressing against super-quick and experienced guards like Singletary and Reynolds. As much as I have Coach K, he would have had a game plan to attack UVA. It would not have been the “I’m driving this square peg into the round hole no matter what” philosophy that Williams displayed last night.

  4. Yeah. Gary + refs + mid-to-bottom tier ACC talent= another rough year. I seriously question Gary’s commitment to anything (recruiting, coaching) that doesn’t involve yelling at his players to play harder or the refs to be fair. He’s Bill Murray and it’s “Groundhog Day.”

  5. Jeremy has a good point re last night’s game plan. As much as we’ve struggled to execute a decent half court offense, slowing the game down a bit would’ve definitely helped against UVA, particularly in the first half, as our freshmen guards just couldn’t keep up with Singletary and Reynolds. I missed the run in the second half. To what extent was it fueled by full court pressure/turnovers?

    Also, Soupy is correct re next year’s prospects. There are a lot of things not to like about DJ, Mike Jones, Ibekwe, etc., but they provide the bulk of our offense. Unless Gist really steps up his production, and Hayes and Vasquez develop consistent outside shots, we’ll struggle to score in 2007-08.

    I’ve spent the last three years adamantly defending Gary, and I still think he deserves a lot of flexibility as a result of having brought the program so far. But at 1-3, our chances of making the Tournament aren’t looking too good. If we end up in the NIT again this year, I hope Gary does some serious soul searching re changing his approach. Wishful thinking?

  6. you guys are all crazy (except for gregg). even if we lose to va tech this weekend and start 1-4 in the acc we’ve still got a great shot at making the ncaas. 3 of those 4 losses would’ve been on the road….we’re only one game down at home. as long as we defend comcast for the remainder of the season, we’ll be fine. we’ve got all season to steal one (or more) on the road and finish 8-8 or better in the acc. with road games against nc state, wf, etc. still remaining on the schedule, i like our odds.

  7. Yeah. We’ve been “crazy” the last two years too. Look, to defend our home court means beating UNC (not probable), Duke, (borderline), and Georgia Tech (which should happen, but isn’t guaranteed). We already lost to a bottom-feeding Miami team. So, we’re supposed to believe that we’ll rebound from a likely 1-4 start by winning out at home? And we’re “crazy?”

  8. You guys are crazy for bashing one of the most successful head coaches in history. Just check the stats. Gary is a great coach and just because some highly touted recruits crapped the bed doesn’t mean he can’t coach. He has two Final 4’s and a National Title. Give me the list of coaches who have done that. I don’t care if it was 5 years ago.
    This team struggles, but it’s obvious to anyone who can relax and use common sense that they are still a good team, but need to be more consistent.

    They are like many many other teams and they have as good a shot as anyone to make the tourney.

    I’m not saying this team will rebound from a likely 1-4 start, but to assume they suck and won’t is ridiculous. This team won big games earlier this year and you don’t beat teams like Michigan State and Illinois if you suck.

    I’m as frustrated as anyone with the fact that Ibekwe has the basketball IQ of a doorknob, Mike Jones likes to stand behind the 3 point line and expect the ball instead of trying to get open, and Strawberry should never EVER take a 3 pointer. But we have guys with heart and they will not quit. Sure, they are not as talented as a lot of other guys, but heart wins and I’m still a believer.

  9. ok, well….maybe i’m crazy. or maybe all of gregg’s damn optimism has been rubbing off on me! quit it man!

  10. Couple of comments.

    Gary has been pressing forever and he will not stop. That his game plan period and always will be.

    It’s hard to say with any optimism at all that the Terps have a shot at the NCAA. They have no post player, no go-to guy that can create on his own and only one real three point threat (maybe two with Vasquez). So they are a terrible half court offensive team. I have never seen a team make so many dumb plays (passes, fouls, turnovers, etc.). Check that….it’s been the same the last three years.

    So I think it is crazy to be optimistic. Be a pessimist and when they do win you are pleasantly surprised.

  11. No go to guy?
    Bambale Osby isn’t exactly chopped liver? Given more chances he will score more.
    Everyone on this blog has “some” incisive observations and predictions. Someone out to take the best of the best and the worst of the worst and
    put this team (future) in perspective.We are already
    seeing this year’s ACC as producing a rare bumper crop of upsets. VT losing to cellar dweller FSU!!!
    Duke struggling. UNC not playing that super. BC just lost two players …they can’t continue to win.

    Best record in ACC this year may be 9-7 or 10-6. When’s last time that happened?’

    There’s a fairly level playing field on the ACC this year and some team (s) are going to recognize it,
    take advantage and silence all the 20-20 hindsight
    prognosticators.

    Love the site. Stay positive and believe.

    Go Terps

  12. Defending Comcast for the remainder of the season is far from a done deal, considering who we have left to play at home. I do believe those games are winnable; there’s a lot of parity in the ACC this year, and the Terps are capable. But thus far the team hasn’t shown anywhere near enough consistency to expect to run the table at home for the rest of the year.

    Also, when it comes to the conference schedule, no road game is an easy game, regardless of who you play (case in point: ACC giant killer VA Tech lost to Florida St. last night, in Tallahassee; Florida St. was 0-3 in the ACC coming into the game). I’d like to believe that NC State and Wake away are locks, but I also fully expected to beat bottom feeder Miami, at home.

  13. va tech lost to florida st last night?! crap! i was hoping that their win streak would breed some cockiness/laziness and we could catch them off-guard this weekend. always better to a play a team after a win than a loss. i’d like to believe that if uva wasn’t so desparate after their 3 game losing streak entering tuesday night they might not have been so desparate and we may have had a better chance at winning that game.

  14. Hey terp grad!
    Gotta believe every team in the ACC is “desparate”
    to win. Winning one game feeds the drive to win another. We had as good a chance at winning the UVA game as it gets. We got good guards that will be great and they already have great guards. That
    Di-an-e should never have gotten the looks he got.
    Cain had a career game. Md experienced the return
    of the …..NO “D” perimeter D”. UVA’s trey’s were
    like SCUD’s raining down on the battlefield.
    And, of course, Billy Boy (Bowers) did his best
    to “assist” UVA. Yes, his few points contributed
    every now and then are a pleasant surprise. However he is a “desparate liability” on defense.
    At 7’1 he is pathetic. Has he ever blocked a shot?
    Will he ever?

    Sorry for the diatribe on him but he deserves it and
    more.

  15. I think he blocked one against Clemson. That was a career day for him!

  16. i don’t believe that all teams are equally desparate. the desparation factor can change drastically, depending on context, and have a huge impact on how the team plays. for example, if we didn’t lose against miami i guarantee we wouldn’t have played as well against clemson and may have even lost that game as a result. let’s just say that good teams (like va tech appears to be this year) tend to play great after an unexpected loss.

  17. does anyone know how next yrs recruits (dupree, bowie, walker, gregory) are performing thus far in their senior season?

  18. DuPree=Monster
    Gregory=Good glue guy with skills and athletic upside
    Bowie=Solid, but limited offensively
    Walker=Should redshirt. He’ll hold down one end of the bench.

  19. Soupy, what other news have you got on our recruiting? Any word on John Lucas’s son or any other multi-star prospects?

  20. Barring a miraculous turnaround which I fervently hope for, it will continue to be the NIT for at least the next few years. The Terps have been a mediocre ACC program for the past 3 seasons and this year has started off the same way with the occasional solid effort (Clemson) negated by the most lackluster, bone-headed play seen in college basketball. The record last year was 8 and 8, and for the previous two years, it was 7 and 9. We now get no respect from the refs, who treat the Terps as if they were the Washington Generals playing the Harlem Globetrotters. Gary has the team playing pressure full-court defense, which works great against cupcakes, but ACC teams burn it consistently for easy layups and open 3-pointers. Last year, we had a senior run into sexual harrassment problems and the senior team leader was suspended for blowing off classes. None of our top recruits over the past few years have ever developed at all. Something is very wrong. I wish I could do something. I’ve been following the program since I was 10 years old in 1975, and it has not been this bad since the Bob Wade days.

  21. The Terps scored 92 and 91 points their last 2 games, but Soupy says it’s antiquated. I better look that word up, cause it doesn’t seem to mean what I thought it meant. Hmmm, “obsolete, out of date.” That sounds bad. But 91.5 points per game is a lot of points in the college game in case you didn’t know. You knew that though.

    GW should be criticized for sticking with a press that led to foul trouble and 900 FT attempts, but harping on the flex and its “antiquity” is stupid.

  22. The flex hasn’t worked for years. Especially against zones (think the Miami game), it is completely ineffective and Gary hasn’t adapted it to be competitive. The reason we scored against UVa. and Clemson is because the games were fast-paced, there was plenty of scoring in transition (without use of the flex), and Clemson is a horrible defensive team. I stand by my statement: The flex is old, outdated, and has been scoped out by opposing coaches. That’s why no more than a small handful of teams run it anymore.
    As for recruits: Jai Lucas is now being courted by, gasp, Duke. I don’t have much hope for him coming to Maryland. Same with Cliff Tucker who supposedly “loves the Terps” but has repeatedly hedged on making a commitment. The coaching staff is concentrating more on junior guards (Brian Walsh) and sophs now (Maurice Creek, Terrell Vinson).

  23. Thanks, Soupy, for the recruiting scoop. Where do you get this stuff?

  24. http://www.terpssportsreport.com, and a couple of sources I’ll keep to myself. You can register at the above address and get connected to a whole community of Terp lovers.

  25. Can’t get that link to work for the life of me, and yes I removed the comma at the end of it. I’ve stopped blogging about Terps basketball personally, because it led to some really depressing, angry posts. I can’t believe Gary said we’ll be fine if we keep playing like we did against Va Tech. Since when is losing to Va. Tech acceptable?


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