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Terps Plagued By Continuing Communication Issues

Junior guard Greivis Vasquez acknowledged yesterday that constant defensive communication is not nearly as crucial in nonconference play as it is when facing ACC opponents. Sure, having everybody on the same page against teams like Michigan State or Georgetown is important, but when you're playing Bryant or Youngstown State, you can get away with a little sloppiness or lack of attention to detail.

Perhaps, though, the bad habits the Terps formed against their opponents in December are catching up to them now. North Carolina shot incredibly well in Tuesday night's win, but at the same time, the Tar Heels took many shots uncontested, specifically those from beyond the arc. Afterward players attributed the lack of perimeter defensive pressure to faulty communication.

"We didn't talk as well as we should have, and we gave them a lot of open looks early in that game," senior forward Dave Neal said afterward.

Neal later added: "I don't see how they're that much better than us. I think we can hang with them. I just think we have to talk better on defense and man up, pretty much."

Those comments should sound familiar. At several points throughout the season, Maryland has cited communication problems as the source whenever defensive shortcomings arose.

For the most part, this bunch is quiet by nature. Vasquez aside, there simply aren't a whole lot of outspoken personalities on the roster. That may contribute to the communication problem. But the players clearly understand the problem and that it has existed for quite some time. One would think at least one or two of them would force themselves to be more assertive in terms of barking out instruction on the defensive end of the court.

Maryland's defensive stingyness has waned since conference play began. Obviously, the opposing offenses in the ACC are significantly tougher than those the Terps faced in December, and one wonders if the team's confidence has been shaken in recent weeks by the reality that its defense is not as tough as it originally thought.

"I don't think we're scared to play defense," Vasquez said. "It's just one skill that you need to have when you play defense is you got to communicate. When we don't communicate, that's when we struggle because we don't have guys who can block shots or do stuff for us on defense like we used to have. We've got to help Dave (Neal), for instance. Everybody is taller than Dave, so sometimes we've got to double-team 'em and rotate everybody on defense. And if we don't talk, they gonna hit threes and drive by us and hit the open man. To me, it's just we don't communicate, and I think we're a great defensive team. We just got to talk."

By Steve Yanda  |  February 8, 2009; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Lack of focus and laziness...

Coach's fault.

Inexcusable.

Posted by: petecard | February 8, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Steve Yanda must go!

Posted by: Barno1 | February 8, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

@Barno1

I hope you're being facetious. Steve does Terps fans a great service. Where else are you going to go to find this type of reporting?

Posted by: Terptwin | February 8, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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