Turned into a hell of a game, against all odds. The fact that it did says more about Maryland at the moment than Michigan, IMO.
First, Maryland…they have been a good defensive team all year, but not today. Simply could not deal with Michigan’s pick and roll game in the second half, and that tends to be mostly about communication…big surprise that the Terps are struggling in that area. Then the failure to locate and close on shooters in general was just awful. If you do those two things…handle their pick and roll stuff and don’t lose shooters on the arc…Michigan has no counter punch to turn to.
I think Trimble’s hurt. Someone here (forgive me, can’t recall which poster it was) mentioned that he knew some Terp booster types and they suggested there’s something going on with his wrist. I’m about ready to buy that. He was 3-10 today but what troubled me was just how bad the shots he missed looked. The shot is really, really flat and that’s not at all what his shot looks like when it’s right. I don’t know if Maryland can do much in March if he’s not closer to 100%.
The other thing which is troubling but not surprising if you’ve paid attention this year is the very obvious lack of chemistry on that team. Body language, chirping at officials and each other at times…not good. Carter was visibly frustrated to me today, but he’s not alone. Really good offensive teams, like an MSU or even an Indiana, succeed in large part because of unselfishness, but it’s more than just that…it’s that the team plays truly as one, together. People talk about defense being played as if all five guys are “on a string” but that can apply to the other end of the court as well. Maryland doesn’t have any one guy completely dominating the ball…there’s no Iverson type thing going on…but to me, it looks more like a group of guys taking their various turns as opposed to truly playing together. That’s a problem and considering we’re at Feb 21, I don’t know if that’s fixable this season or with this cast of characters.
Now Michigan…give them credit for not quitting when they got down big, I guess. Given how it’s gone for them against most NCAA caliber opponents, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them just sulk off the court and take their whippin’, but they didn’t. However, the old horseshoes and hand grenades line applies…close isn’t good enough for them right now.
More and more as I think about it, I don’t think a win over Northwestern alone gets it done for them. In fact, I’m starting to get hardened on the other side of that proposition, that it definitively won’t be enough by itself. Can they beat Iowa at home or Wisconsin on the road? Tall, tall order for that group. If that’s how it goes,a win over NU (no done deal itself, BTW) and two more losses, I think they need at least one BTT victory to get on the right side of the bubble. Tough spot to be in…Beilein’s never had a near miss as I recall but when you look at how it’s shaking out, this season looks a lot more like a couple that Tommy Amaker had.