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A coach's view on the Hurricanes

Maryland's starting lineup has been fairly consistent this season, and it's easy to take such a fact for granted. Continuity affords stability, which is one reason why the Terrapins have been able to rise to top form as quickly as they have. In all four of its conference games thus far, Maryland has put forth the same starting lineup (Eric Hayes, Greivis Vasquez, Sean Mosley, Landon Milbourne and Jordan Williams). The Terrapins seem to be aware of and have accepted their given roles.

Miami -- Maryland's opponent Tuesday night at Comcast Center -- has not been so fortunate. The Hurricanes have started eight different players so far in five ACC games, and that, according to a coach whose team already has faced Miami this season, should be cause for concern.

"I don't think they're clear on who they want to start," the coach said of Miami. "If guys aren't clear on their roles, that can become an issue."

The two fixtures in Miami's starting lineup have been senior forward Dwayne Collins (6-foot-8, 241 lbs.) and senior guard James Dews (6-foot-4, 213 lbs.). Collins, Miami's leading scorer, withdrew his name from last spring's NBA draft, which was widely viewed as a wise decision. The coach agreed it was prudent for Collins to return, though he said he hasn't noticed much development in Collins's offensive game.

"I don't think he's a super-skilled guy," the coach said. "He's just a great athlete. I don't know that he's developed any more of a low post package. He's just very athletic and quick to the ball, and if he has a mismatch, he's able to score. But I think if you have somebody as athletic or big as him, you know, I don't think he's effective because I don't think he's got a great offensive package."

An array of teammates have lined up with Collins in Miami's frontcourt. Against Wake Forest on Jan.9, senior Cyrus McGowan (6-foot-9, 237 lbs.) and DeQuan Jones (6-foot-6, 219 lbs.) started. But the two played 17 minutes combined against the Demon Deacons, tallying zero points and three rebounds.

After another lackluster performance Jan. 13 at Virginia Tech, McGowan was replaced in the starting lineup Jan. 16 at Virginia by redshirt freshman Reggie Johnson (6-foot-10, 295 lbs.).

"He lost a ton of weight," the coach said of Johnson. "He was well over 300 pounds as a high school senior, and he's just gotten in shape. He doesn't really have much lift or athleticism, but he's got a good idea of how to play. He's got good hands, and he's really strong and big. He uses that to his advantage. Without really having to be athletic or getting off the floor, he's able to be effective just because he's big and strong and he knows how to play."

Also against the Cavaliers, freshman guard Durand Scott (6-foot-3, 195 lbs.) replaced redshirt sophomore Malcolm Grant (6-foot-1, 191 lbs.) as Miami's starting point guard.

"I'm not sure that they couldn't really play them together," the coach said of Scott and Grant. "I'm not sure why they don't, because Scott's a little bigger. I think Grant is more of a pure shooter, but Scott's a little more effective at getting to the basket because of his size. I think they're not sure which one they want to go with, and they haven't been convinced that they can start them both together."

Facing Boston College at home on Jan. 19, the Hurricanes made another lineup switch. Senior forward Adrian Thomas (6-foot-7, 229 lbs.) started in place of Jones. Thomas provides Miami a bigger body in the frontcourt, which would be great, the coach said, if he actually stuck around in the post to use it.

"I'm looking at his numbers, and it's absolutely absurd," the coach said. "He's so one-dimensional. He's only a three-point shooter. I mean, 100 out of 113 shots are three-pointers, and he's only been to the free throw line eight times. If he's your starting four man, then maybe he's a little bit difficult to guard because a big guy doesn't always guard the three well, but if you put him at the three and all he does is shoot threes, well, he's very guardable because a three man is a little bit quicker and used to guarding guys on the perimeter, so he's not going to get those open looks. And you lose some ball handling with him at the three."

If the starting lineup Miami used against Boston College holds, then Thomas will, indeed, be play the three tomorrow night against the Terrapins. Johnson will line up at center, and Collins will play power forward, leaving Thomas to play small forward. That means sophomore guard Sean Mosley -- Maryland's best perimeter defender -- likely will draw Thomas as his defensive assignment.

The coach pointed out that Boston College had considerable success pressing Miami early in the Jan. 19 matchup, and he suggested that if the Hurricanes open with a starting lineup that includes Johnson, Collins and Thomas, opposing teams should do like the Eagles did. Given Maryland's skill at executing its press defense of late, that's probably not a bad idea.

But given the way the Hurricanes have frequently switched up their lineup in recent weeks, don't be surprised if they come out with a new combination tomorrow night.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 25, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Because you can't get enough ... another Goins update


Loved the back and forth on the last posts about: a)the merits or demerits of Petecard's fandom; b) Maryland as an academic powerhouse; c) Barno's unfailing opinions and knowledge about the team; and d) the fact that the sniping is happening while (lets face it) the team is doing well - perhaps better than some of us expected. It reminds me of when three or more of my college buddies get together and start talking Terps. In all seriousness, these Terps have given a welcome distraction after the disaster of the Football season, the horrific on-field and front-office performance of the Skins and Gilbert's almost comical homicide of the Wizards franchise. Thank you JW for being a first rate big-man and start hitting those FTs.



Posted by: HughGRection | January 25, 2010 9:45 AM

Don't worry too, Hugh, soon enough baseball starts up and with all the young talent the Orioles have, the 2010 season should be more watchable. Or atleast more watchable than the Expos, I mean Natinals, ooops, I mean Nationals. Don't discount the Caps either. Oh and DCU starts up soon. That should be enough to wash away recent memories of the 'Skins and 'Zards. Plus, we can all finally rejoice since Vinny (Barno's BFF) is gone from Redskins Park.

As for Tuesday's game, the Terps needs to continue to hold serve at home (even if that comes at the expense of my 'Canes). I would also like to see (as pointed out before) more consistency, from the team as a whole, from the free-throw line. They didn't do too bad last game but it's something they still could improve on.

Of course who knows whether or not some of us are even on the bandwagon since it seems one poster has the final say as to who can and cannot be on the Terps wagon.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 25, 2010 1:45 PM

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 25, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Barno's last attack was an all time low, actually bringing my family values into it.

It was rather creepy.

Posted by: petecard | January 25, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Good lord, settle down Beaviscard. I didn't attack your family values, I made a joke questioning whether your disloyalty was just reserved for your Terps or included family and friends. Replacing your kids when they get Cs??? If you really think this was a serious question than you have much more issues than I originally thought.

Reminds me of the time I posted the Billy Madison line about all of us being "dumber for having listened to you, I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul." Your response was almost identical. My god you must be just a load of fun to hang out with there Peteboy.

I do find it just a bit ironic that you would complain about others spewing hate considering all the hatred you spewed at Gary Williams and the players on this team no long ago.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I like how criticism is labeled as "hate."

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 25, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Please see previous thread ( for a summary of Petecard's relentless attacks on Gary Williams and the players from last year.

Btw, for those interested there's a new class being offered at UMD that starts this week. This new course is being taught by Professor Petecard:


Course description: Breaking the common misconceptions about loyalty. It is alright to kick those you love when they are down, so long as you come back to them when they are up.

Course grading: Pass/Mediocre. Anything less than a 100% perfect score on each and every exam is equal to a Mediocre grade. No exceptions. Straight-A students will be sent home and replaced with new students if the Professor deems them to be mediocre.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 25, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Like I said, Barno just doesn't get it and never will. Too much Koolaide has killed too many brain cells...what little there were...

That Koolaid also causes "bubble brain," which is an affliction where one thinks having his team on the bubble year in and year out is euphoric.

Posted by: petecard | January 25, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Well I do think 1st place in the ACC is pretty euphoric, but hey that's probably just because I settle for mediocrity with mediocre players like Vasquez and mediocre coaches like Gary, right? It's too bad we are all stuck with such a mediocre team that can't live up to Professor Petecard's common sense standards of a national championship every year.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 25, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Great post Steve. The coaches view feature you do before games is fantastic. Keep it up.

Posted by: lavar609 | January 26, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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