The Maryland men's basketball team played a really good 34 or 36 minutes against South Dakota State in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament, then played miserably in the final few moments and almost – but not quite– coughed up its season. The Terps are on to a second-round matchup with Hawaii, and we're left to assess what happened on Friday.
This is the a breakdown based on the "four factors" of team efficiency: effective field goal percentage (eFG%), turnover percentage (TOV%), offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%) and free throw tries per field goal attempt (FTA/FGA). .
Maryland: 61.1 eFG%
South Dakota State: 49.1 eFG%
National average: 49.9 eFG%
The Terps shot better than the Jackrabbits, but the gap closed considerably as the game wore on. Maryland hovered right around 50 percent in both halves, with an effective rate made better by strong three-point shooting. SDSU couldn't hit the broad side of its team bus in the first half (27 percent) put could barely miss (60 percent) in the second. The Jackrabbits basically came up three points short (if you don't count the buzzer-beating exclamatory dunk from Rasheed Sulaimon after a late steal), and Maryland probably would've lost the game if that percentage were a few points higher.
Maryland gave up 52 second-half points to a team from the Summit League, and not even one with a particularly booming offense. The Jackrabbits are 73rd in the country in adjusted efficiency.
Maryland: 19.7 TOV%
South Dakota State: 16.7 TOV%
National average: 18.2 TOV%
Maryland lost the turnover battle again, albeit narrowly, with a 13-to-11 final count. Diamond Stone and Melo Trimble had three apiece, slowing down an otherwise sterling Maryland offensive attack. Stone was never able to become a factor, finishing with as many turnovers as shot attempts.
Maryland: 26.1 ORB%
South Dakota State: 32.4 ORB%
National average: 29.8 ORB%
The Terps lost on the offensive glass, too, 11-6. Here's where Maryland's really lucky. The Jackrabbits exchanged their 11 second-chance opportunities for just nine second-chance points. Had it been 12 or 13, Maryland could easily be going home, but the Jackrabbits weren't able to cash in.
Maryland: 0.6 FTA/FGA
South Dakota State: 0.288 FTA/FGA
National average: 0.367 FTA/FGA
The one area where Maryland really shined relative to SDSU. The Terps got to the stripe early and often, with Trimble and Jake Layman combining to shoot 17-of-17 there. Both teams made a ton of foul shots, but Maryland benefited from creating far more opportunities to shoot them. The Terps were 24-of-27, while the Jacks were 16-of-17.
Maryland is moving on, and that counts for a lot. But this game shouldn't inspire deeper optimism.