What The Terps Need From The Big Fellas
Tonight, John Beilein and the Michigan Wolverines come to College Park for a showdown with the Terps. One thing you can look forward to seeing a lot of from Michigan tonight at Comcast Center is a 1-3-1 zone defense. It has been one of Beilein's staples for a long, long time.
Yesterday, reporters asked Gary Williams and a few players about preparing to play a 1-3-1 defense, and the response was nearly unanimous: Tonight would not be a bad night for Maryland's post players to try being effective, as a collective group, on both ends of the court.
"When you play against a zone you always want to get the ball in the middle, so that's going to be the challenge," sophomore guard Adrian Bowie said.
Over the weekend, I got a chance to gather ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla's thoughts on the Terps. In regards to their post players, Fraschilla said with the way Maryland's team is built, the Terps don't need any one big man to come through each game, but rather for the group to compile enough stats to be effective.
"They need to be able to rely on, night in-night out, getting about 11 points and eight rebounds from (Braxton) Dupree, (Dino) Gregory and (Jerome) Burney, combined," Fraschilla said. "They have to be at a point where all they've got to do is be ready to get some put-backs, some drive-and-dish layups and just be sound defensively. It's a three-headed monster that has to be in there at the five-spot. They've got to be a little more productive than they've been. And it shouldn't all just fall on Dupree, although he's the most logical guy to step up, but between Gregory, Dupree and Burney, it'd be nice to get about 11 points, eight rebounds a night from them."
So far this season, the trio of Dupree, Gregory and Burney is averaging 35.7 minutes per game, 5.8 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game.
CBS college basketball analyst Clark Kellogg, after watching the Terps struggle to get the ball into the interior against Georgetown on Sunday, beleives Maryland likely will have to compensate for its lack of production in the post throughout the season.
"They don't have an established post presence," Kellogg said. "I think Dupree has the potential to be an effective post player, but it's a two-way street. You've got to have a guy in there that can work, get position, catch and finish, and then the guys that are handling the ball have to be able to find him, so it's a combination of things. You've got to get points in the paint, either off the dribble or passing it in there to somebody. That's an area that Maryland's going to have to work on, and if you don't, then you have to compensate for it by getting high quality perimeter shots and scoring off your defense in the open court. That's not always going to be the case, but when you do have some areas that are not quite established, then you've got to try to do it other ways, and it's harder when you face really good teams that kind of take away what it is you'd like to do."
Michigan's 1-3-1 defense certainly will try to take away good perimeter looks from Maryland tonight. I'll take a look later today at adjustments Williams said the Terps need to make in regards to improving their shooting percentages, which have been, well, undesirable of late.
But until then, what are your thoughts on the level of production Maryland needs from Dupree, Gregory & Burney to establish any sort of post presence? Are 11 points and eight rebounds, combined, enough?
And how does Dave Neal factor into this equation? Fraschilla didn't mention Neal, but the team's lone senior has been playing very well recently.
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