Maryland is off to a 2-0 start in the season, with victories over Bucknell and Youngstown State. They were not pretty wins, but the Terps got the job done. We all knew that with the departure of James Gist and Bambale Osby that would leave a very young and inexperienced frontcourt, and that Maryland would have to adjust to that.
When asked about whether or not he was worried about his backcourt doing all the scoring with a problematic frontcourt, Gary Williams responded by saying "There's a team in Durham that gets away with that." Gary is right in that this type of team can work, but with the 3-point line moving back a foot this season, it only makes things more difficult.
Some thoughts on the first two games:
--It is possible that Maryland will be going with four-guard sets. Normally Gary likes going with either a 2-3 or a 3-2, but with the problems in the frontcourt, a four-guard set seems to be the best way for Maryland to play. I can not imagine a starting lineup with four guards, but do not be surprised if four-guard sets are used in the middle of halves.
--It is not clear who will be the Terps main player down low. Braxton Dupree is in the current starting lineup. Though he looks improved from last year, he still is having major issues against people he should be dominating, like players his size. Youngstown State was all over him in the first half, and it wasn't until the second half he started getting some big blocks. Dino Gregory and Jerome Burney have seen a little time, but none of the three look very impressive. They are all sophomores, and the competition seems wide open.
--Only two players seem to be up or above expectations right now. Greivis Vasquez had a fantastic game against Youngstown St, having the game highs for points with 28 and rebounds with eight. He is playing his normal aggressive style plus shooting a lot, and with the current play of the team, expect more of the same. The other is Cliff Tucker. Tucker, a starter but still competing for time, is also playing heads up on the court and showing great speed. This all is not to say only two players are playing well. Eric Hayes, Jin-Soo Kim, and Landon Milbourne are playing fine. But this is against teams Maryland should dominate; what will happen against the ACC?
--You know things are problematic when Dave Neal is seeing nearly 20 minutes a game. Enough said.
Maryland's next game is against Vermont, then the Old Spice Classic awaits. Let's hope the Terps are ready for the tournament.
(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)