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?
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