Greetings and happy Sunday from Verizon Center, where the Maryland basketball team (5-1) tips off against George Mason (5-2) in about one hour. Game is televised on MASN, radio broadcast on the usual stations.
We’re debuting a cool in-game live statistics feature at the top as well to enhance your in-game experience. Because, you know, we love you and all that.
Check out the pregame links and notes below, find me on Twitter if you so choose and toss your discussions into the comment thread below. Enjoy the game, folks. Thanks for reading.
>> Coach Mark Turgeon, your Terrapins have an absurd plus-17.3 rebounding margin through six games. Okay, rebounding margin is a dubious statistic, how about rebounding percentage? Charles Mitchell ranks first in the ACC with a 22.3 rebounding percentage, meaning that more than one out of every five rebound available when Mitchell’s on the floor, he grabs. Len is at 18.2 percent, better than the 14.5 percent he put up during his freshman season.
Turgeon’s teams have always placed defense and rebounding first, so last season appears to be more of an anomaly than anything. Any reason why Maryland has made such marked improvements, though?
“We’re bigger and stronger. We’re shooting the ball at a better clip, so there’s not as many rebounds for them,” Turgeon said. “If we don’t get a shot we throw it in the stands, so there’s not a rebound for them. We’re guarding better. More opportunities for defensive rebounds. Northwestern only had four turnovers, so most of the time there was a shot that went up. The numbers are a little misleading. I don’t think we’re boxing out as well as we’re capable. Very good rebounding team Sunday. Very good test for us – is it just our side or are we a good rebounding team.”
>> Dez Wells relayed an interesting statistic to reporters yesterday: The Terps are last in the ACC in turnover margin and first in assists per game. Yes, there are faults to find with this, namely that ACC play hasn’t started yet so it’s hard to judge, but taken in sole comparison to Maryland’s 2011-12 season, and it’s easy to see a vastly improved team in ball-sharing.
Turgeon knows his Terps turn the ball over way too much, especially on the perimeter. The opening few minutes at Northwestern revealed that painfully enough. But Maryland’s distributing far better. The Terps ranked around 300th nationally in assists per game at this time last season. Through Nov. 25, 2012, they were fourth.
“It’s willingness, it’s recognizing situations, it’s good players,” Turgeon said. “Some guys don’t like to pass as much as pthers, and you’re still fighting those guys.
“But guys coming to practice who know the game, keep telling me, ‘Wow, you share the ball.'”
>> Jake Layman was noticeably absent from the 77-57 blowout win over Northwestern, playing just three minutes and taking a seat after picking up two quick fouls. Of all the freshmen, according to Turgeon, Layman has taken the longest to catch up to the college game’s speed, but could be due for a breakout performance once things slow down.
“It’s more on the defensive end,” Turgeon said. “Today he was great. He had a great practice. It’s there. At some point it’ll happen for him. The other night, two quick fouls,that wasn’t Jake, that was more me.”