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Maryland gets little production from bench

First, some numbers: Maryland subbed in four players (Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory and James Padgett) off the bench Wednesday night against William & Mary, and those four players tallied a combined four points and five rebounds, two blocks and one assist. The quartet shot a combined 2 for 5 from the field.

That, as you might imagine, is not an ideal amount of production out of a team's reserves. It certainly is not an ideal amount of production out of this team's reserves.

At the season's outset, Maryland prided itself on its supreme backcourt depth. The effectiveness of the starters (Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Sean Mosley) was to be reinforced by the talent and athleticism of the back-up guards (Tucker and Bowie).

Maryland's frontcourt depth was not expected to be as much of an issue this season due to the influx of big, young bodies (Jordan Williams and Padgett). Then junior forward Dino Gregory -- expected to be one of the team's top rebounders and defenders -- was suspended for the first eight games of the season, which opened up a spot in the starting lineup for Jordan Williams.

When Gregory returned four games ago, one of the ancillary benefits was supposed to be that the addition would lengthen the team's bench. While that might eventually prove to be the case, it has not thus far.

Maryland's top four reserves are averaging* a combined 13.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 45.9 percent from the field. Whether or not you think that's enough production out of the Terrapins' bench, those numbers clearly indicate at least one point: There is a lot of pressure on the team's starters to perform well each and every time Maryland takes the court.

*Gregory has played only four games, so here are the combined averages of the trio of Tucker, Bowie and Padgett (12.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 47.0 percent from the field) and here are the stats of Gregory so far (3.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 33.3 percent from the field).

During Wednesday night's loss to William & Mary, Maryland's bench was outscored 11-4. But let's try to go beyond numbers for a moment.

The Terrapins currently are not playing so well on defense. They struggle to defend off the dribble, as well as out on the perimeter. They struggle to defend one-on-one, and they struggle with providing help defense, as well. Tucker and Bowie are two of the team's quickest, most athletic players. Those qualities would seem to come in handy when guarding quick, athletic opposing players. But if Tucker and Bowie are not playing well, Gary Williams isn't going to put them in simply to get them some minutes (the pair combined to play 19 minutes Wednesday). Maybe Maryland doesn't need those two to score, but it needs them to fulfill critical roles nonetheless.

As for Padgett and Gregory, maybe Maryland doesn't need them to score either. But the Terrapins certainly need them to provide some sort of rebounding and defensive presence in the post. They need Padgett and Gregory to represent more than simply extra fouls when in the game. The pair combined for three rebounds and one block Wednesday.

The loss to William & Mary was only one game, but it is not the first time this season the bench's performance has been underwhelming. Maryland's starters are talented enough to compete in the ACC, but they'll need some support -- more so than they are receiving at this point. The potential of the team's top four reserves is not in question. The group's current productivity level, however, is.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 1, 2010; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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2010 will be the year to fear the turtle!


Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 1, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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