February 27, 2009

Duke Postmortem - Gary is a Great Coach

I'm not going to repeat all the excellent post-game analysis I found at Testudo Times, Shell Games, and elsewhere, but I did want to make one point:

I know I keep going back to Gary's coaching, but the job he did this week was nothing short of amazing.  We had back-to-back games against top 10 opponents and the team played two of their best games of the season.  Not only that, but they used entirely different strategies in the two games.  The Terps aren't good enough to dictate the style of play to their opponents, so they have to adapt.  

Against UNC, Maryland played a lot of perimiter offense and relied on hitting jump shots against a bigger Tar Heels team.  On defense, we threw all our big men at Hansbrough and held him to 10 points, even though most of our front court fouled out.  

In the Duke game, the Terps looked like a totally different team.  Especially in the first half, Maryland showed no interest in taking 3-point shots instead concentrating on cuts to the basket and dribble-drive penetration against a smaller Duke team.  On defense, the Terps spread the court (even playing some zone) and trusted Milbourne and Neal to handle Duke's less athletic big men.

The Duke strategy wouldn't have worked against UNC and vice versa.  I think it's a sign of a great coach that he puts his players in a position to win no matter who the opponent is.  The way the Terps adapted to exploit their opponents' weaknesses makes me very optimistic for the rest of the season.

Other quick thoughts:
  • As much as I hate losing, especially to Duke, I came away from the game last night feeling pretty good about the Terps.
  • As others have said, Hayes looked great, Milbourne is a stud, and the team seems to be gelling at the right time.
  • The refs didn't help, but they didn't cost us the game.
  • We have at least 4 games left (3 regular season + at least 1 ACC Tournament) and if the Terps can win 3 of them, they'll probably make the big show.  That's not an ideal place to be going into March, but it's not that bad.  Maryland is hot right now and just needs to win games against beatable teams to make the tournament.  That's a lot better than things looked a few weeks ago.

1 Responses:

Jeremy said...

I really don't have anything to add because I think the post captures the coaching efforts of the past week just right, so I'll just say "ditto" to every single thought in this post.

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