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Maryland vs (#22) Indiana

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Just now, Finisher said:

Still find it absolutely mind blowing teams were lukewarm to Fernando when he kicked the NBA tires.

Yea I don’t get that either.   But what a gift to us.   

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I know Cowan just committed a foul, but not sure why he backed off that much on the next possession.   

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OF COURSE that dbag has to hit that three at the end of the game and kill my bet.

Anyway, have to feel good about where we're at.

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Congrats on a nice, convincing win. The final score was a bit close, but at its core this was a 6-10 point Maryland lead/win.

I mentioned in the beginning the beginning of the thread the defensive mediocrity of #55 Fitzner and he really killed IU - letting Cowan walk in for uncontested layups, playing 18 minutes with 2 turnovers, 2 rebounds, no points and a +/- of -24!  Several of the defensive collapses into the paint during Maryland's strong run started with Fitzner getting beat one on one.  Fitzner was on the court so much because of Justin Smith's foul trouble.  Not complaining about the calls themselves, Smith's absence really hurt IU and several of his fouls were ticky-tack reach-ins that he has to avoid.  While +/- has benefits and drawbacks, IU was +22 when Smith was on the court tonight.  Our defense was simply loads better with him in the game.  Very disappointing the coach didn't think anyone on his bench could defend better tonight than Fitzner.  That's the most glaring issue IMO on why the game was lost from an IU perspective - along with a halftime lead of only 8 after a first half with a 56%-32% FG% advantage.

I really liked Maryland's power game as it is a good recipe for success in such a competitive, grinding league like the B1G.  As they said tonight, 11 teams in the top 60.  If Cowan stays as aggressive and effective as he was, Maryland has a strong chance to emerge as the likely 3 behind Mich and Mich State - ahead of IU, Wisky, OSU and Nebraska.

Congrats again!

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I had a viewing party at my house followed by poker so I wasn't able to comment last night on this game.

Strangely enough, and maybe it was the beers, but I didn't get too upset when the team got down early. It was clear Indiana was red hot to start and Maryland was ice cold, but knowing that all teams will make a run at some point, I was too, too worried.

Let's start with the positives. Obviously we need to start with Bruno Fernando who has clearly become one of the top players in the big man players in the country right now. He can do little wrong right now and his court awareness and understanding of his inside play has become something special. He's man among boys inside and is showing a soft jumper from outside that makes him more than just a slam or jump hook inside threat. He made the right decision to come back to Maryland because it's clear he's getting the playing time against top competition that has made him into the player he is today. I'm guessing he'll end up a lottery pick by the end of this year. Last night he as the difference maker between these teams and that may be a constant going forward.

Cowan has also become a much better player this year and he was outstanding last night as well. 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds is a pretty good night for anyone. He made up for Ayala having a bit of an off night. His decision making and lack of dumb turnovers this year shows his growth as a player. This team will go as far as Cowan and Fernando take them.

The down side was that outside of those two, most of the rest of the team struggled last night (shot 22.9% on 8-35 shooting) starting off with Jalen Smith who had his worse shooting game of his college career (0-for-9). The good news is that even though he was awful offensively, he did collect ten rebounds. I fully expect Smith to rebound. 

Although Ayala scored 14 points, he was just 4-12 shooting and didn't record an assist. The rest of the bench didn't provide much either, so really Maryland beat a ranked team with only two players having a good night. That shows us that this team can potentially be much better.

Of course, they will need to be with the next four games being against Wisconsin at home then Ohio State (#16) and Michigan State (#6) away before returning home at Illinois. I think this team could go 3-1 but they need to at least to win their home games over this stretch and play the other games close.

The Ohio State game is winnable since they just lost to Rutgers, but the Izzo curse is staring them down.

The biggest take away I've taken over this stretch is this may be one of the better Turgeon teams and definitely one of his better if not best recruiting groups. The Freshman struggled again Indiana, but they stilled never panicked and were all mature enough to feed the hot hands.

 

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