The Terps Are 7-1 With Purdue Next
After beating Penn State 66-59 Saturday in the Big Ten opener, the University of Maryland Terrapins are 7-1, 1-0 overall heading into Thursday night’s game at Purdue.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Some Thoughts On What We’ve Seen:
– The Terps have 5 players (Cowan, Fernando, J. Smith, Wiggins, Morsell) averaging double figures in scoring, and a 6th (Ayala) who at 9.1ppg.
– Wiggins is averaging 40.5% from 3, on 5.3 attempts per. Ayala is shooting an extremely impressive 46% from outside, on 3.3 attempts per. These two continuing to knock down shots is vital for this team.
– Fernando is a big that actually likes playing like a big. He’s making 73% of his attempts! 15.4 ppg, 10 boards a game. He’s getting to line for 4.5 attempts per game (up from 3.2 last year). The boards are up. The blocks are up from 1.2 per game to 2.3. Every game, there has to be a concerted effort to get him the ball and let him control the paint.
– J. Smith is showing why he’s a possible 1 and done player. He had two of the sweetest moves against the Cavaliers. Then he followed that up by going 7 of 12 from the floor vs. Penn State. While he looks like he can shoot, he’s just 2 of 11 so far from 3. I know he wants to show the range, I’d prefer him to continue to play closer to the basket. He’s shooting 54% from the floor, but I’d like to see his attempts (8.9 per) go up. If he’s going straight to the league, get everything out of him you can this year. He’s getting to the line at a healthy clip (5 attempts per), but he’s averaging just 58% at the line. Improvement there would help.
– The Terps Top 6 players are all averaging over 25 minutes per game. Serrel Smith is at 11.9, and Ricky Lindo is at 8.9. Those are the best bets to have a true 8 man rotation. S.Smith is just 5 of 21 from 3, but I like the stroke. In-time, I think he could become a quality college scorer. Right now, I think he’s shown a willingness to scrap and play D. This year, MD is going to need him at times to provide some bench scoring. Lindo is undersized against opposing 4’s, but he’s good athleticism. Against Virginia and Penn State, he had just 6 minutes combined. MD is going to need him contributing before it’s all said and done.
– Joshua Tomaic has played in just 4 games. Ivan Bender has got into all 8 games, and after 9 minutes combined in the first 4 games, he’s played 27 minutes in the last 4. It was assumed by many that Trace Ramsey was going to Redshirt this year, but he got into both the Mt. St. Mary’s and Marshall games. For an unheralded guy, his HS/Prep highlights show better athleticism and size than you’d expect. He might never be more than a limited reserve, but if he isn’t RS, let’s use him. These three (Tomaic, Bender, Ramsey) should be your 9th, 10th, and 11th guys. If you are ever in a position where they have to play extended minutes, that’s not going to work. But if they can give you a couple of usable minutes per game, and extend the rotation that would help.
– Cowan has increased his FG attempts (12.5 from 10.7), and his FG% is up (47% vs. 42%). That increased FG% is with his 3 ball being off so far this year (29% this year, 37% last). His assists are down a bit (4.5 vs. 5.1), and he’s getting to the line less (3.9 attempts vs. 6 last year). One interesting thing is that after playing 37 minutes per game last year, he’s down to a more manageable 33.4 so far here in ’18-’19. He’s a gamer, he plays tough on-ball defense, but he’s not MD’s best player. His focus should be on penetrating the lane and creating opportunities for the bigs, and Ayala and Wiggins on the wings.
– Maryland is 32nd overall in the KenPom Ratings. As of this morning, the 22nd ranked offense, and the 58th ranked defense. Tempo is 165th, which I believe is higher pace than the Terps have been at the last several years. The Strength of Schedule is 279th.
– Morsell has established himself as MD’s glue guy. He does a lot of things well, but it gets lost at times with his inability to consistently hit shots. That said, he’s making 51% of his attempts (up from 42%) last year. I love how he goes to the basket. The thing I’d be asking him to do, is to be a lock down defender. His FT% is down (55% from 73%), but obviously the attempts are minimal.
– Ayala continues to grow on me. He’s one of those guys, the more you see, the more you like. You see him initially, and he doesn’t overwhelm you. He’s not particularly explosive. But he makes good decisions, is a capable passer. Willing to play defense, and he’s knocking down 3’s. He reminds of you of the old guys at the YMCA who just know how to play. I’ve been trying to think of former Terps he reminds me of, and one guy that sticks out is Terrell Stokes. Ayala feels like a bigger, stronger version of him to me.
– Wiggins is one to watch. He’s not going to jump out the gym like Laron Profit, or even Landon Milbourne; but he’s smooth. And like Ayala, seems poised beyond his years. For me, MD’s best chances of reaching their ceiling this year is J. Smith exploding – giving the Terps that frightening Twin Towers look – but also Wiggins coming on, and aggressively looking for his shot.
– MD is
49th in Scoring Offense
97th in Scoring Defense
220th in 3 point attempts
134th in Asst to Turnover ratio
45th in Defensive Rebounds per game
41st in Offensive Rebound per game
66th FG% Defense
336th in Turnovers Forced
84th in Total Blocks
– In the KenPom rankings, Michigan is 5th, Michigan State 9th, Wisconsin 10th, Purdue 14th, Nebraska 21st, Ohio State 22nd, Indiana 26th. Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern also in the Top 46.
MD still has Seton Hall (58th) and Loyola Chicago (73rd) remaining in the out-of-conference schedule; but what MD does in league play will determine if MD dances and their seeding if selected.
MD has two games with Michigan, one at @Michigan State, two with Wisconsin, two with Purdue, two with Nebraska, two with Ohio State, one with Indiana at home, one at Iowa, one more with Penn State (there), and one with Northwestern at home.
– Purdue has the 7th ranked overall offense according to KenPom, and the 43rd ranked defense. The Boilermakers are 5-3, with losses in 3 of their last 4. (Virginia Tech, @Florida State, and @Michigan). ESPN’s Basketball Power Index has Purdue as a 75.5% favorite to win Thursday.
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.
You can reach him via email at [email protected].