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Recapping '05 and Lookin' Ahead -- Maryland

The Terps had a disappointing season, at least when you compare their results to the preseason expectations that were laid on them.

Maryland (19-13, 7-9) lost four sraight games to finish the regular season, two of which were to Clemson. Yes. Clemson. The second loss to the Tigers--in the ACC tourney--sealed Maryland's NIT fate. Not surprisingly, the Terps made a run to the NIT final four (they were one of the more talented teams in the field), but South Carolina ended their run in the semis.

Maryland had an erratic conference season, highlighted by a significant split in home/road performance. The contrast was staggering, and it was basically unmatched by any other ACC team. For conference games only:

UMD Offensive Efficiency at Home: 112
UMD Offensive Efficiency on Road: 96

That difference (+16) is rivaled only by Wake Forest (the Deacs' splits were 130/119, but when you score 119 pts/100 poss on the road, it's not so much a problem. The Deacs were simply amazing at home.).

On the road in conference play, Maryland posted an offensive efficiency of 100+ just twice, with a high of 103.7 (against UVA). At home, the Terps never had an OFF EFF below 100, with a high of 120.9 (versus Clemson, which was, ironically, a loss).

So what was the deal with that? Heckifiknow.

Conference ranks in the Four Factors:

Adj FG%: 10th
O-Reb Rate: 6th
TO Rate: 7th
FTA/FGA: 4th

The Terps' adjusted field goal percentage wasn't good, mostly because they played up-tempo and didn't take very many three pointers. So they took a lot of shots, and the majority of them were deuces. About 3-out-of-4 field goal attempts taken by Maryland players were two-pointers--the lowest proportion in the ACC. Fortunately, the Terps were serviceable offensive rebounders, so they were able to cash in a fair amount of second chance points. If they were as poor at rebounding as Virginia...yikes.

Here are the individual numbers (find definitions here):

Terrapins 2004-2005PlayerO Rtg% PossMin/GPPGFG%3FG%Floor %Pts Prod/GPPFGANik Caner-Medley11122.2%31.516.04634.10.5114.91.11Chris McCray11620.1%30.814.145.731.70.5213.81.17John Gilchrist11321.6%32.213.942.638.30.5215.11.09Travis Garrison11118.9%24.310.144.437.50.539.81.08Ekene Ibekwe8922.7%21.58.440.915.80.468.30.92Mike Jones10722.5% Gist10117.6% Strawberry9518.1% Bowers8813.9%12.52.84000.442.90.90Sterling Ledbetter8614.7%17.13.442.423.10.414.21.06
[note: DJ Strawberry played in just 14 games.]

In an offseason in which a lot of ACC teams have lost a bunch of guys, the Terps have made out pretty well. Among major contributors, only John Gilchrist is abandoning ship. Travis Garrison, Nik Caner-Medoodily, and Chris McCray will represent one of the stronger senior classes in the conference next season. Whether or not that transfers into more wins, well, that's another story. One would think that Maryland will play better on the road next season (if only because they can't play much worse).

The question is: how do they replace Gilchrist at the point? Will DJ Strawberry be recovered to the point where he can make Maryland fans forget about JG? Or will one of the other guards assert themselves?

For a team running at Maryland's pace, its turnover rate (about 21%) was pretty solid. That was at least partially thanks to John Gilchrist, who sported a low individual turnover rate (under 20%). Will Gilchrist's replacement be as reliable handling the ball? Strawberry had a 27% turnover rate in his limited action; Sterling Ledbetter had a ghastly rate of nearly 40% (but, again, not in a huge sample).

Mike Jones was the team's most proficient scorer on a per-minute basis, so I'd expect an increase in his role next season. He'll have to contend with Chris McCray for minutes at the 2-spot.

The Terps will get balanced scoring again in '06, especially if DJ Strawberry plays a full season. Travis Garrison is a good post player with range, and one of the team's better rebounders to boot. Ekene Ibekwe is an excellent rebounder, but he's got to improve his field goal percentage. Forty percent ain't gonna cut it.