Sometimes, the numbers don’t lie.
They certainly don’t regarding the decline of Maryland’s defense.
Despite some foibles of late, Maryland surrendered 0.94 points per possession during the regular season.
But take a look at the last seven games:
@Boston College: 1.07
@Virginia Tech: 1.18
N.C. State: 1.14
Florida State: 0.87
@North Carolina: 1.09
On a per-possession basis, the Virginia Tech, Miami and Virginia games —- all losses —- were three of the Terrapins’ four worst defensive games of the season. Duke managed 1.27 points per possession in its Feb. 2 trip to College Park.
“Our defense hasn’t been as good as we’d like it to be,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said Monday during the ACC teleconference. “A lot of things go into being a good defensive team. Hopefully, we can look at some things and get ready to play Thursday.”
While Maryland (18-13), which meets N.C. State in the first round of the ACC tournament, never tracked down a signature victory early in the season, it usually played good defense. The Terps handily stifled inferior teams, but also kept Temple (0.94) and Duke (0.95) below a point per possession in the first half of the season.
That makes the defensive regression, something on a perceptive level is atypical of Williams’ teams, even more blatant —- and probably frustrating for the veteran coach.
“What we’d like to do is play better defense,” Williams said. “Going in, we’ve either gotten tired or whatever. We’ll try to amp up the defense.”
—- Patrick Stevens