Yes, our favorite Turtle-related blog, Testudo Times, is back. Take that MortisTheSafetyTortoise.blogspot.com!
"This show is most likely nowhere near as good as my nostalgia would lead me to believe" via johnnorrisbrown.com
We saw them before and I'm sure we'll see them again later this year. But they are back to help answer some questions about the upcoming game between Cal and Maryland in the NCAA Tournament. We are working feverishly on answers to their questions (no joke, many of my answers make as much sense as ones feverish hallucinations). When they have those up, we'll send word. But for now, enjoy their answers to our questions about the game. And Go Bears!
1. Cal has some of the sharpest 3 point shooters around. What is Maryland's plan for slowing Cal's 3 point success?
Cal seems to be very similar to another team that Maryland has happened to play 3 times this season - Duke. Maryland has played a lot of 2-3 and 3-2 zone recently, which has slowed down both NC State and Wake in Maryland's last few games. In their last game against Duke, however, Maryland played mostly man D, as they didn't really have to worry about dropping someone down in the post to double team because Duke didn't really outsize MD in the front court, which I feel is the case with Cal as well. Cal seems to be very efficient on offense, so I think Maryland needs to be patient and keep fresh legs on the court to guard Cal's perimeter players.
2. What types of players has Maryland had the most trouble containing this year?
Two types - big players that are really dominant inside and 3 point specialists. I think the Terps have figured out had to solve the front court-big man problem on defense, but they struggled with how to contain guys who meet that profile earlier in the season. Maryland seems to also struggle with 3 point players when the team also has a good post presence, as it makes it hard for the Terps to guard both the outside shot and still double team a big guy inside.
3. If the Terrapin's tournament life came down to one possession, would you want it to be on offense or defense? Why?
Maryland is pretty streaky on both sides of the ball, so it’s tough to say. But if I had to choose, I’d pick offensive. Greivis Vasquez is far and away the best player on Maryland. He’s made a few game-winning/tying shots before (Vermont game, for one) and he usually seems better in a clutch situation. He’s messed up before in big spots (Virginia game, for one) but the odds of him screwing up are far lower than the odds one of the five players on defense will, especially with the problems Maryland has with big men and 3pt specialists.
4. Obviously, Greivis Vasquez is your go-to guy. What kind of player is he? How do teams counter him (such as when Duke limited him to 4 points in January)?
Greivis is very confident and emotional, and his game shows it - when he’s on, he’s really on; same for when he’s having a bad day. As for his actual game, Vasquez creates a lot of matchup problems with his size and length. He’s not particularly quick, but he’s long and strong enough to make up for it. His trademark move is a runner in the lane; he’ll either come off an off-ball screen at the free throw line or try to muscle his way past his man, then throw up a floater or a layup, and it can be tough to stop.
The Duke game isn’t really an indicator of what to do to stop him. That game was doomed from the start, and no one had an impressive stat line. I guess that if you’re trying to do what Duke did, you’re 25 point lead at half. To truly disrupt him, you need someone strong and quick enough who can stay with him and contest those runners. If he misses a few early shots, he could get in a funk and let his emotions get the best of him.
5. Cal very much relies on slashing, kicking out to the open man, finding high percentage jumpers in a half court set (i.e. they score slowly, but score effieciently). Based on what you've seen out of your opponents this year, which team is similar in that regard and how did you handle them?
Maryland hasn’t played a team with Cal’s shooting ability, but what struck me about them is how similar they are to Duke. The most noticeable things about Cal are their shooting and lack of a true post presence, both of which are true of Duke. Both teams have lights out three point shooters, and both teams have soft 7 footers. I don’t think Cal has the athletes or defensive skill Duke does, but it’s the closest I could get. Maryland lost to Duke three times (including one blowout) but Vasquez was taken out of the game in the second matchup due to foul trouble and the it was Maryland’s third game in three days in the third one; the final two games were very close and the Terps came close to winning both of them.
Interestingly enough, Cal seems to play kind of like a mid-major. Know this: Maryland does not like mid-majors. They seem to have a lot of success against Maryland teams for whatever reason; Davidson almost took Maryland down in Curry’s freshman year, and Maryland lost to Butler that year. I can't remember the Terps ever shutting down a mid-major, at least not recently. I’m not sure if it’s a psychological affect or if it's really the style of play, but I guess we'll find out.