College coaching consultant Denny Kuiper analyzes Pitt’s 83-79 win at Maryland on Saturday.
If there ever was an opportunity for the Maryland Terrapins to get a signature win this was the game. Maryland had the game at home and Pitt had beaten the Terps fairly easily three weeks ago. But the Panthers were just too good to be beaten.
I thought Maryland played a good game, but not good enough to match Pitt’s experience and maturity. That experience and maturity showed up in not only decision making, but also in the toughness part of the game, notably rebounding. Pitt outrebounded Maryland 37-28, which contributed to the Panthers shooting 15 more free throws than the Terps.
Let’s go to the three pointers to take a look at this game.
What Does Maryland Need To Do to Move Up In The ACC?
The individual talent of the team is very good. What is needed is using that talent to help teammates become better. I saw several good plays in this game, but not enough in which a Terp player did a little thing that helped a teammate score.
What is lacking is experience. Maryland has no seniors playing any significant minutes and some of the juniors playing big roles are transfers. So the Terps are not a team that has played a lot together. The more games the team plays together, the more likely it is that improvement will come.
What will determine whether that improvement comes is the willingness of each and every player to accept the idea that he is playing for the team, not for himself. For example, I thought in Saturday’s game that guards Seth Allen and Nick Faust took too many tough three-point shots. They were a combined 1-of-10. Allen, especially in crunch time, tried to do too much.
What Makes Lamar Patterson So good
This is the second time I have had an opportunity to watch Patterson play. This young man is the real deal. He is a fifth-year senior who not only is very talented, but also clearly understands what it takes to win. He scored 28 points on only 14 shots, and had 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.
Everything that Maryland lacks in the areas of experience and making teammates better, Patterson has. He has an unbieveable feel for the game and is so unselfish. Patterson understands he cannot do it by himself, so he trusts his teammates. Right now he is probably the frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year.
Pitt’s Three-Point Shooting
The Panthers made only one of seven three-point shots they attempted but still scored 83 points. This is a team that is smart and takes what the other gives them. The Panthers realized they could get the ball inside to score or get fouled, so they did not have to settle for three-pointers.
Pitt is a capable three-point shooting team. But the Panthers’ maturity and discipline showed on Saturday in that they did what was best for them to win. You have to give a ton of credit to coach Jamie Dixon. He is one of the elite coaches in the country. His Pitt teams do not beat themselves. That is the ultimate compliment a coach can receive.
And One: Dixon’s First-Half Timeout
Often too much is made of coaching moves and strategy, but Dixon made a move on Saturday that I thought was very good. After scoring a basket with 26 seconds to go in the first half, he called timeout. Normally the offense will call a timeout to set up a play in that situation, but this time the defense did.
When play resumed the Panthers were in their normal man-to-man defense. Maryland held the ball waiting to take the last shot. However, with about nine seconds to go, Pittsburgh quickly switched to a 2-3 zone, totally catching the Terps off guard, causing a turnover.