I've had just about as much as I can take. The bad part is we know it's not even near over.
Maryland continued their losing streak against American University, 67-59.
I drove 45 minutes to go to the game today, a game most would consider not even worth their attention. Let me tell you: not worth it. The gameplay itself was not as bad as the Ohio game, and I saw some hustle, but overall just very bad.
Now, what's wrong with this picture? Take a glance at the American roster. Now the Maryland roster. Notice anything? Like we own the biggest height advantage ever? Their starting point guard, Derrick Mercer, played 40 minutes and led his team with 18 points. AND HE'S 5'9!!! Eric Hayes was guarding him for most of the game, and he's a long-armed 6'4. The Eagles' leading rebounder, Jordan Nichols, is 6'5!!! And he was guarded mostly by Boom and Braxton Dupree.
Once again we were outrebounded and generally outplayed by an inferior team. To American's credit, every time we looked like we could come back, they hit a big circus shot, usually a 3-pointer with a hand in the guy's face.
But let's go to the stats. Here's how these "bad" teams are beating us:
- American played a tight zone that took away the inside. Every time a big man got an inside feed, they were immediately triple-teamed. Usually, this led to a turnover. For evidence, see the 8 combined points by Gist, Boom and Dupree compared to their 5 combined turnovers. Ohio did this successfully as well.
- The interior defense kept our guards on the perimeter, forcing them to take outside shots. Besides Greivis Vasquez, who single-handedly made this a game with a whopping 28 points (I'm very right about him), we klunked a lot of shots. Vasquez made 6 shots, and Hayes made 4 from behind the line; everyone else missed.
- We have no midrange game. Jumpers went in and out. We shot 5-for-24 in the first half. Yuck.
- American killed us with their small, quick starting guards, who combined for 26 points. Also, Bryce Simon, one of their wings, sat on the edge and killed us all day because whoever is playing the 3-spot (Tucker, Milbourne) never seems to be where they need to be. Perimeter defense is a big concern - Ohio did the exact same thing.
- Ball control: Both American and Ohio used almost entire shot-clock counts before they tried to score. This kept them fresh and slowed the game down a lot. It also was easier to dictate tempo later in the game with a huge lead.
- In the second half, Gary tried to go big with Dave Neal at the 3-spot. When that didn't work, with about 10 minutes left, Gary tried a 4-guard set, which was somewhat successful and made us faster. But too late - why didn't we do that when we were losing by 5 in the first half? These adjustments have to be made. We can't just "keep playing our game" because we really weren't playing our game anyway, and whatever our game is, it sucks.
We are dead last in the ACC standings and we honestly deserve to be there. This team won a national championship only 5 years ago - name one program that misses as many NCAA tournments as we do that's won a national championship in the last 10 years.
I'm not starting the "fire the coach" chant, but this is very questionable. Our recruiting class from the national championship team never panned out and we are still suffering from it. I think Terp fans should definitely expect more than they are getting from this team, and the finger of blame is slowly drifting upward.
Also, I'm still really upset. So that may have something to do with how angry I am. But you would be too if you made a trip and had to park in College Park (a daunting task) just to watch your team lose a game they should've dominated.
No more excuses.
Photo credits: AP, Washington Post