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Taking Another Look At Maryland

Scouting Report / Game Plan / Preview of First Meeting
Season Stats

Maryland Offense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%53.255Turnover Rate21.5180Off Reb Rate35.599FTM/FGA28.084Maryland Defense 06-07Four FactorsPercentNat'l RankeFG%43.79Turnover Rate23.070Off Reb Rate36.5295FTA/FGA31.165

Hello, offense. Conference games:
 Off_Eff Def_Eff Margin
Last Six (6-0) 113.5 96.5 +17.0
Prev Nine (3-6) 100.1 103.9 -3.8
This is a turnaround akin to what North Carolina did in the second half of last season. In my original preview of Maryland, I was pretty harsh on the Terps' offense; at the time, they ranked 11th in the league in offensive efficiency. On the strength of just the last six games, they're up to 6th in the ACC.

They've scored at least 1.10 pts/poss in five straight games, and that includes two games against the best defenses in the conference (Duke and Carolina). They've shot 50% (eFG) or better in every game during the streak and they've also managed to cut down on turnovers.

I'd posted numbers for the Maryland starters to emphasize their offensive struggles; four of the five had offensive ratings below 100. Now take a gander at what they've done during the winning streak:
 ORtg %Poss eFG% PPWS %Shots PPG Pts/40 TO%
Gist 120.5 19.9 60.6 1.23 20.9 13.0 19.3 12.2
Jones 116.0 23.4 59.2 1.21 27.5 14.3 22.3 15.6
Vasquez 111.1 22.3 53.3 1.14 19.0 13.2 15.1 24.0
Strawberry 133.0 18.1 63.2 1.29 25.2 17.3 21.1 6.3
Ibekwe 101.7 21.3 45.5 1.03 19.9 9.0 15.0 20.1
DJ Strawberry has been unbelievably good. Prior to the streak, he was taking an average proportion of shots (20%), but he's asserted himself since then, upping that proportion to 25%. And check out that turnover rate: he has a grand total of four turnovers in the last six games. Everyone except Ibekwe is shooting the ball better.

It's good to be the point guard when everybody's making shots. Last six games:
 Ast/G Ast/40 A:TO AstRate
Vasquez 7.5 8.6 2.3:1 33.1
Hayes 4.8 8.2 2.4:1 27.2
The assist numbers are similar; the difference between the two is in the scoring department, and it is vast. Hayes has turned the ball over a bunch, and he's about the only Terp not enjoying an offensive renaissance lately (26.2 eFG% during streak--yowza!).

So can Maryland sustain all this for the rest of the regular and post-season? I doubt it. Wait until after the ACC tournament and re-assess, because who knows, maybe they really are clicking on a whole different level offensively, but I'd be careful with this team in your bracket. I just can't see them keeping up the torrid shooting.