Every team in the nation with hopes of making a run in March has flaws. It may be clear that at this point in the season, rebounding is that flaw for Maryland.
Despite the fact that KenPom ranks Maryland as the nation’s 19th-best defensive team in the country in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, their inability to to close possessions with defensive rebounds has worked counter to that effort.
Maryland ranks 132nd in the country in defensive rebounding rate, meaning that although their first-possession defense has been strong they are often forced into either defending for an additional 30 seconds or find themselves caught out of position following an opponent’s offensive rebound.
Frustration from head coach Mark Turgeon followed Saturday’s loss to Purdue, saying, “I can only do so much.”
Five days later and there still seems to be a subtle, unspoken recognition of the flaw with Turgeon. Asked Wednesday if he had addressed the issue with the team.
“It’s an every day deal,” he said.
Purdue can in a way be regarded as an outlier. With all of that size both on the interior and on the wing, the Boilermakers made a flaw look like a mountain of an issue. As for Thursday, if Maryland cannot rebound against Illinois then maybe the problem runs deeper.
The Illini rank 321st of 351 teams in rebounding rate. Maryland has the size and athleticism to at least pull even on most nights. Thursday should be one where the pendulum should swing in their favor.
Perhaps the keys? Energy, effort, and fundamentals.