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To Shoot, Or To Defend The Shot?

Which is more important -- having a high field goal percentage or holding an opponent to a low field goal percentage? Ideally, a team would like to be able to do both, but only the country's elite programs are so fortunate.

Currently, the Terps are shooting 43.0 percent from the field, which ranks 11th in the ACC*. Maryland's percentage took significant hits in losses to Gonzaga (37.3 percent) and Georgetown (31.6 percent), but even if you excluded those two contests, the Terps still would be shooting only 44.7 percent from the field, which would rank them eighth in the conference.

*Two quick reminders: 1) Maryland's past five opponents were Elon, Bryant, American, Delaware State and George Washington, none of which are known for particularly stellar defense; 2) the only ACC team shooting worse from the field than the Terps right now is Florida State at 42.9 percent.

"We didn't shoot the ball as well as we can tonight," Gary Williams said Tuesday after a win over Elon in which the Terps shot 44.8 percent from the field. "You have to finish when you get fouled a lot of times going to the rim, and there were several plays like that when we didn't finish and then we missed some lay-ups that you have to make."

So that's the bad news. The good news for all you Terps fans out there is that Maryland makes up for its sub-par shooting with, on most nights, staunch defensive performances. Maryland opponents are shooting 39.1 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from three-point range. In the ACC, the Terps rank 5th in field goal percentage defense and 3rd in three-point field goal percentage defense.

To recap, Maryland is not shooting the ball well but is not allowing its opponents to fare any better. My question for you all is, Does one make up for the other? Is it okay if Maryland continues to shoot poorly so long as they keep opponents from attaining a higher field goal percentage? Can the Terps survive, or even thrive, on being more defensively stifling than they are offensively proficient?

By Steve Yanda  |  January 2, 2009; 7:21 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Defense wins championships. And while te Terps don't soot the highest percentage their offensive efficiency ranks (adjusted for competition) 7th in the contest becuae they don't turn the ball over. Add that in with the second best defensive efficiency (adjusted) in the conference (which takes into account the disadvantage the Terps have giving up offensive rebounds) and we're looking at an 8-8, 9-7, 10-6 with some breaks team in conference. I am quite bullish on the Terps in the new year...

Posted by: Lee26 | January 2, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

The thing everyone has to remember is Maryland is not turning the ball over as much as they did last season which means you get more looks at the basket which gives you the opportunity to miss or make more. As long as they shoot around 45% and only turn the ball over 10-12 times, they're going to score around 80 points give or take a few which should win you some games but not all. Remember, they are a guard oriented team without much in the middle so they won't have as many close looks at the basket unless they are taking it to the hole.

Also, they have been jacking a lot of threes, more than usual. I think that will change come Saturday and in the conference part of the schedule.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | January 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I've wondered for several years why Maryland can't seem to shoot. Reminds me of some of the John Thompson Sr. teams at G'town -- all defense and speed. Look at the current incarnation of Hoya squads and you see an obvious difference: there are folks out there who can score from the perimeter.

I suspect the Terps are 1) not developing their perimeter shooters, or 2) not recruiting jump shooters in the first place.

Notre Dame is the current model of a good permiter-shooting team, but they're not much above UNC or Duke.

Just a thought.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 2, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Maryland will finish with a 15-16 record and 4-12 in the ACC

No NCAA

No NIT

How can any parent let their son - play for a program with a 10 % graduation rate.

Go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | January 2, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@hclark1

ACC Basketball:
MARYLAND 82 - unc 80 (Saturday, 1/19/08)

ACC Lacrosse:
MARYLAND 13 - unc 8 (Saturday, 3/22/08)

ACC Soccer:
MARYLAND 2 - unc 1 (Friday, 11/7/08)

ACC Football:
MARYLAND 17 - unc 15 (Saturday, 11/15/08)

ACC Soccer:
MARYLAND 1 - unc 0 (Wednesday, 11/12/08)

NCAA Men's Soccer Championship:
MARYLAND 1 - unc 0 (Sunday, 12/14/08)

Meineke Bowl
WEST VIRGINIA 31 – unc 30 (Saturday, 12/27/08)

Posted by: Terptwin | January 2, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear hclark1,

If you went to such a great school and are so smart, then why do you spend time on other people's message boards? If you notice, no bashes North Carolina but you can't find anything better to do with your life than to bash Maryland. You're doing a hell of a job representing UNC.

This is what I criticize Maryland fans doing occassionally and if I went to UNC and saw what you were doing, I would not stand for it and I don't stand for it when Maryland fans do it. Everytime Maryland fans do what you're doing on this blog, it disgraces anyone associated to that school. So great job making yourself look horrible and making North Carolina look horrible.

What you do is not being a fan or a respectable opponent.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | January 2, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

DiehardTerp:
I don't mind hclark's presence on this blog. He's kinda like the court jester. When I read his utterly ridiculous posts I have to laugh. He feels he has to put down Maryland, but notice he doesn't put down anything good about UNC. This is because he knows we OWN them. We've beaten them in sport so far this year. Sure, UNC is #1, but wait until conference play starts and baby Tyler get popped in the mouth by the Dookies again.

Thanks hclark for the comic relief.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | January 4, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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