Maryland men's basketball is 2-0 in Big Ten play after taking it to Northwestern Saturday night in a 72-59 win that was never as close as the final score indicated.
After escaping by the skin of their teeth against Penn State, the Terps got out to an early lead and never looked back against the Wildcats in their second Big Ten game. They shot well and didn't turn the ball over (when the game mattered), but they did struggle to get offensive rebounds and get to the free throw line.
Here's how Maryland fared in the "four factors" in team efficiency: effective field goal percentage (eFg%), turnover percentage (TOV%), offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%), and free throw attempts per field goal attempt (FT/FGA).
Maryland: 56.0% eFG% / Northwestern: 39.0 eFG% / National Average: 49.5%
This wasn't Maryland's best shooting performance of the season, but it was certainly one of the team's best defensive efforts. Northwestern couldn't get anything going against Maryland's defense, finishing with a putrid effective field goal percentage of 39. That's two points better than Maryland's anemic shooting performance against Penn State. The Terps' eFG% was actually under their season average of 59, which ranks fourth in the country. A 3-for-12 night from Robert Carter and a 1-for-8 performance from Jared Nickens helped drag the Terps under that average, but they'll take an eFG% of 56 percent any day of the week.
Maryland: 14.8 TOV / Northwestern: 13.8 TOV / National average: 18.7
The Terps performance in this area was better than their season average of 19.1, and the Wildcats were also about a turnover under their season average of 15.3. While Maryland's turnover percentage was a point higher than Northwestern's, 10 of the Terps' 11 giveaways came in the second half, when the game was already out of reach, so don't take too much away from that number. However, Northwestern isn't particularly good at forcing turnovers, so this is exactly what we expected the Terps to do.
Maryland: 20.0 ORB% / Northwestern: 22.2 ORB% / National average: 30.3
Maryland did not have a good showing on the offensive boards, getting outrebounded by a Northwestern team that was missing seven-footer Alex Olah. The Terps' 20.0 offensive rebounding percentage was tied for its second-worst effort of the season. However, the Wildcats only held a 5-4 advantage in offensive rebounds at the end of the first half, before finishing leading in that category 13-8. Once again, it's unwise to put too much emphasis on stats from a second half that started with one team leading by 20 points.
Free throw attempts
Maryland: .121 FT/FGA / Northwestern: .220 FT/FGA / National average: .363 FT/FGA
Neither team made a killing at the free throw line Saturday. Melo Trimble and Diamond Stone combine to average nine free throw attempts per game, but the two only attempted 5 against Northwestern (they sunk every one). The Terps didn't get to the line often, but it didn't matter. Northwestern shot 22 free throws to Maryland's 12, but the Wildcats' FT/FGA of .220 was still pretty bad.
For a detailed accounting of Maryland's advanced-stats efforts in every game so far, go here.