Fordham provided Maryland with their best opportunity to date to measure where the Terps stand as a team this season. Here are three important takeaways following last night's win over the Rams.
Maryland is playing really well defensively so far this season. In their first three games, they've held opponents to 30.9% shooting from the field. That's something they're going to need to continue to do as they move into the next portion of their schedule, which features some pretty good teams.
When looking at Maryland's adjusted defensive efficiency, which measures the number of points allowed per 100 possessions and is adjusted for their opponent, Maryland currently ranks 22nd nationally, according to Kenpom. That means they're limiting their opposition's scoring even when you consider who their opposition has been so far this season.
Jake Layman continues to shine
Last season, Jake Layman improved from his 5.5 points per game average his freshman year to 11.7 points per game last season. Several national writers were really giving Layman a lot of hype entering the season. While Layman might not have lived up to the lofty expectations set by some last year, he still had a good sophomore campaign.
So far this season, with fellow forward Evan Smotrycz still out with a foot injury, Layman has shined, averaging 14 points per game thus far. He's shown more growth and aggressiveness as a player, especially while playing power forward.
Here's an example from last night:
Here's one of Jake Layman's dunks against Fordham tonight #Terps pic.twitter.com/OjzHDJr9Kx— Molly Geary (@mollyjgeary) November 21, 2014
Thanks to Molly for putting that gif of that dunk together and to the BTN for providing the footage.
If Layman can continue to pair that aggressiveness with good perimeter shooting, he should be a fantastic player this season for Maryland.
Richaud Pack is excelling in his new role
When Pack announced he was transferring to Maryland and would be eligible to play immediately, I was excited for what he was potentially bringing to this team. So far, Pack has met and even somewhat exceeded those expectations.
After averaging 17 points per game last season for NCAT, Pack has gone from being a primary scorer on a team that needed him to score often, to a veteran starter who has more of a supplemental role in Maryland's offense. He's done a great job sharing the ball and has been an extremely efficient rebounder. He's also shooting the ball at a 57% clip from behind the arc so far this season, but that's after only attempting seven shots. The only area he's really struggled is at the line, where he's been 10/18 so far this season. But considering that he shot 80% from the line last season, I don't think that's something we should worry about.
Last night Pack had another important but somewhat unnoticed performance for Maryland, scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out four assists, all while only turning the ball over only once. If he can continue to bring that to the Terps' offense on a nightly basis, it would be a fantastic contribution to this year's team.