#12 Maryland vs Michigan State

12/28/2014 8:30:48 PM The Big Ten season has arrived.  Maryland has come through the out-of-conference slate in near pristine condition.  The lone blemish a loss to a top 5 while the Terps were without the services of their best player.

Now the Terps will have to deal with the rigors of life in the Big Ten and that means road game in difficult environments.  East Lansing, Michigan is one of those places.  Tom Izzo is a great coach and the Spartans are always tough.  This is a "Big Boy" game.  If the Terps can pull off a win, then as fans, we can ratchet up our expectations for the season.  Right now, I think the Terps have a ceiling as a Sweet 16 team.  If they can win at Michigan State, I think the Terps can be an Elite 8 team.  I'm not saying they will, I'm just adjusting my expectations based on their performances.

The Terps have shown marked in improvement with the new roster of last year.  It's beautiful to see what can happen when guys play the game the right way.  Turnovers are down, shooting percentages are up, free throw attempts are though the roof, and the defensive fg% is way down. These are the markings of a good basketball team. 

There are chinks in the armor though.  I'm concerned about a couple of things.  The assist per game are in the bottom of third of Division 1 teams.  So is the offensive rebounding rate.  Both of those are key stats and most good teams do well in both categories.  The Terps do not.  I get the rebounding.  We shoot a lot of threes which are harder to rebound and we are not a bulky team up front.  Rebounding is going to be a struggle.  The lack of assists is more perplexing.  The Terps shoot well and Melo has been sublime running the offense, so where are the assists?  I'm not sure and maybe it doesn't matter.  The only stat that matters is wins and the Terps are grinding those out.  That said, if we do hit some bumps in the road, my guess is that a lack offensive rebounding and assists will be the culprits.


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