The Maryland men's basketball team hasn't accomplished much yet. The Terps are 10-1, but they don't have a clear quality win and have only played one team worthy of beating them – which North Carolina went ahead and did.
But Maryland's underlying statistical indicators offer plenty of reason for optimism, with one of those sticking out above the rest: The Terps are shooting the lights out.
As of Saturday afternoon, Maryland's team field goal percentage is No. 3 nationally at 53.6 percent. Its effective field goal percentage, an advanced metric that gives extra weight to 3-pointers, is 61.2, which is also No. 3. By true shooting percentage, which includes foul shots, they're second-best. The Terps have made 61.8 percent of their 2-pointers, which would be better than any NCAA team since at least the turn of the century.
|Maryland's national shooting ranks
There's nothing that's going to be deeply revelatory about this post. Really, it's just worth pointing out – because I think it's flown under the radar – how ridiculously well Maryland has been shooting the ball this season. The Terps are just third in eFG%, because they're "just" No. 22 in 3-point percentage, making 40.2 percent of them.
Here's how Maryland's gotten to where it is:
- Every single Maryland rotation player is shooting at least 5 percent better (by eFG%) than the national average of 49.5 percent. Maryland's worst player is five-star freshman center Diamond Stone, who's at a meager 54 percent effective shooting (and raw percentage from the field, as he hasn't taken any 3-pointers). He has the highest usage rate among any of Maryland's nine rotation players.
- Damonte Dodd is shooting 77.8 percent from the field (21 of 27), which is the second-best mark of any qualifying player among the thousands across the country. He has the lowest usage rate among nine rotation players.
- Jaylen Brantley has quietly adjusted well, although he's still not shooting much: He's 5 of 10 on twos and 4 of 7 on threes.
- Jared Nickens has kept on trucking. His 64 eFG% is fueled by a 44.4 percent run from outside the arc, which is 5 percent better than he shot there as a freshman.
Of Maryland's nine regular rotation players, six of them take regular 3-pointers. All except Robert Carter Jr. are reasonable threats to make them. Carter is a grisly 5 of 20 from deep but a lovely 46 of 63 (73 percent!) on 2-pointers. He should be taking exclusively twos, because he's really good at them but not at shooting from outside.
On the whole, Maryland's shooting absurdly well. The Terps' 61.2 eFG% trails just Indiana (62.5) among power-conference teams, with Saint Mary's of the WCC ahead of everyone at a 65.9 mark. If you're into adjusting for quality of competition or also including foul-shooting in evaluating the sharpest-shooting teams in the country, there's hardly been anyone better than Maryland.