Can This Be Fixed?

Last night was a watershed moment for me and many other Terp fans.  It's clear that Mark Turgeon is not getting the most of out this team.  The parts are greater than the whole.  Turgeon is a young coach and he's made a mistake that many young coaches make.  He's round pegging the Terps into his square hole. 

I've been wracking my brain to come up with some precedents where a coach realized what he was doing wrong and that catapulted the team to new heights.  Unfortunately, there aren't many of them.  Most turnarounds occur after the coach has been let it go.  I'm not advocated that with this post.  What I'm hoping for is that Turgeon can see that he is going about this the wrong way and he is the one who needs to change.  Maybe a story will help.

As many readers will remember; I follow the British Premier League (note:  it's no longer the English Premier League because 2 teams from Wales are in the top division).  The team I follow is Tottenham Hotspur.  Tottenham has a similar history to Maryland in that they are perpetually the third fiddle among the London clubs (Chelsea and Arsenal alternating between 1 and 2).  The historical parallels to UNC and Duke being top dogs in the ACC with Maryland a rung down are unmistakeable.  Similarly, Tottenham has just missed inclusion in the Champions League the last three years (soccer's equivalent of the NCAA Tournament).

This offseason, Tottenham sold it's best player, Gareth Bale for a world record $85MM to Real Madrid.  With that money, Tottenham bought a slew of young exciting players in to add depth to the roster and make a push for the Champions League this season. The Spur's coach was a young Portuguese guy named Andrea Villas-Boas or AVB.  AVB's style focused on holding possession as opposed to the attacking style that other coaches favor. 

As the first part of this season progressed, the Spurs would dominate time of possession but found scoring difficult.  So much so, that they became the lowest scoring team in the BPL.  Things went from bad to worse when Tottenham got blown out 6-0 and 5-0 in a span of four weeks.  After the 5-0 drubbing, AVB was fired.

The Spurs promoted an assistant, Tim Sherwood who immediately changed to an attacking style.  He started two strikers instead of AVB's one and the dividends were immediate.  Tottenham hasn't lost a league game under Sherwood (5 wins and 1 draw) and the Spurs are now back in contention for the Champions League.

The lesson here for Mark Turgeon is that just because you want to play a certain way and have sets you like to run that have worked in the past, does not mean that you have the right players to execute those sets. "Your style" doesn't work for everyone.  There are only two ways to coach college basketball:  only bring in players that can play your way or coach in a more malleable fashion that allows you to tailor your gameplan to the strengths or your players. 

Turgeon is doing the former but his players clearly don't fit the system.  The offense is disjointed with too many players standing around.  On occassion (usually when the Terps are down), Turgeon may switch to a defensive press and the team invariably responds by generating some steals and fast breaks.  This team needs to get out and run so they can best take advantage of their athletic ability. Turegeon's style actually reigns in the athleticism as the players are forced to play within the confines of the motion offense.

What offense does Mike Kryzewizzzzle run?  It depends, doesn't it?  Sometimes Duke is a three point shooting team.  Sometimes they are run and gun.  Sometimes, they pound it inside.  Coach K caters the offense to the talent on the roster.  Other coaches (Bobby Knight comes to mind) only recruited players that could excel in his system.  That works too.  What you can't do is to try and do both. 

Turgeon has been going out in a recruiting frenzy in the hopes of landing the best possible talent.  Then, he forces them into his offense regardless of their talents.  At Texas A&M, Turgeon couldn't get top recruits so he got guys who could run his sets.  Now, he has talent but he's not utilizing it the right way. 

Hopefully, Turgeon spends the next 2 months experimenting and learning.  This season is lost but if we are having this conversation next year, the calls for Turgeon's ouster will be deafening.


Author: Jeremy | 1/21/2014 8:42:15 AM |

Maryland vs NC State: The Quest For Consistency

The Terps have been a frustrating team to follow this season. Fans have watched them take two steps forward and one step back all year. What is desperately needed is for the Terps to build off their most recent victory against Notre Dame. Tonight's game is especially important because it is a road game. Maryland needs road victories to improve t [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/20/2014 3:55:14 PM |

Terps: Everytime I think I'm Out; They Pull Me Back In!

Ok.  That first half was dreadful but the Terps really turned it around with that second half.  They finally start to hit the inside/outside game with some nice contributions from Mitchell and Cleare.  That opened up the perimeter for threes and drives to the basket.  The 17 turnovers helped too as Maryland was able to get out and run for some easy [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/16/2014 10:17:24 AM |

Maryland vs Notre Dame: We Stink And It Is Depressing

The Terps are home after a disastrous two game road trip that saw them get outscored by 40+ points.  It's now time for some home cooking and that likely means that Maryland will play better.  In the end, what does it matter?  This team is way outside of the bubble looking in and there is no evidence to suggest that the team and/or coach are capable [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/15/2014 1:09:33 PM |

Maryland vs Florida State

The Terps 3-14 on the road under Mark Turgeon.  That stinks. The game in Tallahassee will offer yet another opportunity to pick up a quality road win.  The Terps are in desperate need of one.  I don't have the stats handy, but I'd like to see how many teams from power conferences that started 10-6 actually made the NCAA Tournament.  It's likely [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/9/2014 1:01:35 PM | Tags: basketball, fsu |

Maryland Takes It OnThe Chin As Pitt Whips Terps

I don't even know where to start. If we aren't shooting lights out, good coaches can figure out how to stop us quite easily.  Turgeon either doesn't know how to adjust or he is doesn't have the players capable of making the adjustment. you could actually see the moment in the game when Pitt figured us out. I could picture Dixon during the under 4 t [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/6/2014 7:43:36 PM | Tags: pitt, basketball |

Maryland vs Pitt

Maryland faces one of its toughest tests of the season when they travel to Pitt this evening to play the Panthers.  Can they win?  Of course.  Every team is beatable and if Maryland hits from distance like they did on Saturday, Pitt will have their hands full. If Wake can beat UNC, Maryland can beat Pitt.  I think it is unlikely but it would the [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/5/2014 9:46:22 PM | Tags: basketball |

Terps Cruise Past Georgia Tech 77-61

Wasn't it nice to watch a game where the Terps were the one with the big lead and fending off attempts to cut into the margin rather than the other way around?  The Terps played fantastically in the first half.  All 9 guys in the rotation contributed and Georgia Tech had no answer.  The second half was different but this team isn't used to play [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/4/2014 8:26:12 PM |

Maryland vs Georgia Tech

Maryland begins its ACC season in earnest today.  The ACC season is always crucial but this time it feels especially poignant.  The Terps have a lackluster non-conference schedule with embarrassing losses against BU and Oregon State and winnable games against UConn and GW that ultimately also ended in losses. These results put an extra weight o [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/3/2014 9:49:19 PM |

Maryland vs NC Central

The Terps have a matinee tipoff against a frisky and experienced NC Central squad. This is a game that is likely to be competitive throughout.  Turgeon is still figuring out his lineup as his bigs have underperformed and Seth Allen is back in the fold. Jonathan Graham and Damonte Dodd are on the ascendancy while Mitchell and Cleare are on th [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 12/31/2013 9:42:09 AM | Tags: basketball, nc central |
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