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Mythbusters: Maryland basketball edition

Breaking down certain myths that people seem to think are facts.

Well this is lazy defense, why aren't his hands up? I hope someone notices this.
Well this is lazy defense, why aren't his hands up? I hope someone notices this.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After seeing some of the comments this past week, I thought it would only be fair to have some fun based off a TV show I never watched, but I think I got the gist of based on the name "Mythbusters" alone.

I'm looking forward to breaking down some walls. Mostly, this is centered around the point guard position, but we'll have some fun with some other topics as well. All stats will be courtesy of for these studies. It's time for me to grow a walrus-style mustache and find some glasses and a beret ... or is it fedora? I don't know, I get the two confused.

1) Roddy Peters would do well with more playing time

Fact or Fiction: This one is absolutely fiction.

Evidence: The obvious reason is poor play extrapolated over more time is more poor play. That's the obvious meat and potatoes answer.

Here are the veggies -- Peters has the lowest offensive rating (84.4) on the team from anyone who sees major minutes (basically everyone but Ram and Dodd). For comparison, Seth Allen has a 112.5 (Layman has the highest on the team at 113.5). Peters also has the lowest effective field goal percentage on the team, at 43.6, and by a wide margin (Nick Faust is next with 47.3).

The most egregious statistic right now is his turnover percentage, which currently sits at 32.3, more than double Seth Allen's (16.0). Just as a note, that would rank him 89th in the ACC, if he qualified, which he doesn't, meaning it would probably be much worse. 89th in the ACC. Just to be Shaquille Cleare about it, there are currently 89 guys qualified right now, and somehow, someone is worse than him handling the ball -- so there's that?


2) Seth Allen and his five turnovers were the reason Maryland lost to Syracuse

Fact or Fiction: Fiction

Evidence: This one came straight from the comments, and I realize it's an overreaction to a loss, but let's be clear -- Seth Allen's five turnovers weren't directly responsible for the loss, not when Allen scored 22 points. Did his turnovers help? Clearly not, but let's not be naive enough to think that Allen, who is not a point guard by nature, and is one in name only, was responsible for this loss with his turnovers.

If Charles Mitchell finishes around the basket like he did against Wake Forest or Duke, Maryland wins. If Evan Smotrycz hits a shot, any of his shots because he only took three's, Maryland wins. If Nick Faust hits a shot (or gets that final foul call) Maryland wins.

Allen, to date, has the lowest turnover rate on the team and was given a majority of the ball-handling duties against the #4 team in the country -- which, just so happens, boasts the 9th best defense in the country. This isn't justifying his five turnovers, but more of why it happened. Syracuse and their zone (is for cowards) defense is tough to crack, especially when asking someone who isn't naturally a point guard to lead a turnover-prone team against an elite defensive team.

Seth Allen isn't a point guard, and is only doing so due to the lack of viable options on the bench. As stated in the first point, Peters is too risky on the court right now and Varun Ram is, unfortunately, Varun Ram. Allen is on the floor because of his ability to create for himself and his shooting ability, two things Maryland desperately was lacking on Monday night.

Allen's positives far outweigh the negatives and I shudder to think what the team would have looked like with him in a lesser role or him not in at all on Monday night. The idea that Allen is somehow more of a hindrance to the team is preposterous, so it's safe to officially say this is busted -- and to the guy who insinuated Seth Allen wasn't very good, the numbers say otherwise.


3) Point guards need to be pass first

Fact or fiction: Shades of gray

Evidence: In the ideal world, every point guard is Chris Paul, but this isn't the ideal world and there's only one Chris Paul. Look at the NBA right now and look at starting point guards and think of pass-first point guards right now other than Chris Paul. John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Ty Lawson, Ricky Rubio.. Steph Curry is a bit of both, and one of my favorite players because of that.

However, looks at guys like Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, Monta Ellis and Kyrie Irving -- all guys who are scorers first, and point guards second. Basically, there's no wrong way to do it, it's all on preference.

Essentially, Allen isn't a point guard yet, but he has improved in both assist rate (20.1 in '12/13 to 22.0 in '13/14) and turnover rate (23.8 in '12/13 to 16.0 in '13/14) which would lead me to believe he *could* become a better point guard in the future if need be. Would he have to work on his decision making and not having silly double-dribble/carrying calls? Absolutely. Will that hopefully be irrelevant because Melo da gawd? Yeah.


4) This Maryland team doesn't care and neither does the coach

Fact or fiction: Absolute fiction

Evidence: Heart, desire and will aren't quantifiable... yet. I'm working on getting in touch with Ken Pomeroy to set up some sort of statistical formula for it.

The email would go as follows:

Dear Mr. Pomeroy,

I know you're really busy with tournament season coming up, but I had a request:

Step 1) Quantify heart and/or desire

Step 2) ???

Step 3) Profit


Your biggest fan, Brendan

We'll see how it goes, but in the meantime, I can tell you from the players I have talked to that none of them have given up. You can also see it on the court. Let's be honest, at the beginning of the season everyone here put this Syracuse game down as a loss, and they were the #4 team in the country. There's no shame in taking two top-five team's to the brink. It sucks your team lost and missed opportunities to get wins that would help a fledgeling tournament resume, but it could be a lot worse. See: Hokies, Virginia Tech and Eagles, Boston College

Still, this team has had multiple opportunities to let games slip out of their hands and become ten, twenty or thirty-point losses. Instead, they fought, scrapped and hold their own, but unfortunately keep falling short in their biggest games. This isn't how anyone predicted the season would go, but a couple weeks ago some of you saw doomsday with fire and brimstone -- Middle of the pack in the ACC isn't 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead. It definitely isn't Titanic, Jack, so lets take it easy on the hyperbole, shall we?


I think this will turn into a series, be on the look-out for more.