You can count on one hand the number of teams that make Maryland look average in size on the front line. Purdue is one of them, anchored by the seven-foot duo of A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas in the paint.
But that only goes part of the way toward explaining why the Terrapins were -19 on the boards overall, allowing 19 offensive rebounds and 24 second-chance points in an 83-79 loss to the Boilermakers on Saturday in West Lafayette.
Head coach Mark Turgeon didn't even mention Purdue's size advantage when asked about his team's rebounding issues after the game. Instead, his comments came off like genuine frustration.
"They've got to fix it," he said. "I can only do so much. So you talk about it, you work on it, we ran. We've got to fix it."
It is an all-around struggle for Maryland, though, and not simply the fault of its front line. Look at the stats.
Hammons had seven rebounds and the conference's leading rebounder, Caleb Swanigan, had six. But Haas only had three. That means Diamond Stone (5) and Robert Carter (5) had as many combined rebounds as the imposing duo of Hammons and Haas together (10).
The difference for Purdue was rebounding on the wings and the perimeter. Forward Vince Edwards had seven. Fellow wing Raphael Davis had seven. Guard Johnny Hill had five. Together, that's 19 among three players. By contrast, Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, Melo Trimble, and Jared Nickens combined for nine.
Yes, there were times that Purdue's bigs kept balls alive by tipping them out, but that type of discrepancy among perimeter rebounders can be an indication of simply activeness and execution.
Every team has flaws. Perhaps this is the most glaring for these Terrapins as March approaches. The good news is that it is not a personnel issue. They have the size on the roster. You can try to fix energy, effort, and execution as Maryland did on Saturday in the turnover department.
After getting buried in that category in recent losses, they turned it over just six times against Purdue. Is this another fixable problem before we get to single-elimination time?
"It's the next step," Turgeon said."It's part of the process and so hopefully moving forward it gets corrected but they've got to want to do it.
"If we just could have rebounded, might have had a different outcome."