Maryland men’s basketball must seek to improve offensively against Virginia Tech

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Wednesday’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge will feature two teams looking to recover from rough holiday breaks. Maryland men’s basketball will play host to Virginia Tech. Both teams enter the game with records of 5-2, but both suffered setbacks last week. 

The Hokies lost both of their games in Brooklyn for the NIT Season Tip-Off, falling to No. 9 Memphis 69-61, then No. 25 Xavier 59-58. Meanwhile, Maryland traveled south to the Bahamas. The Terps escaped their game against Richmond with an 86-80 victory, but were not as lucky against Louisville. They lost to the Cardinals by a score of 63-55, in yet another game where their offense really struggled. 

Offensive letdowns have been the story of the season so far for the Terps. According to, Maryland’s offense is ranked 155 in terms of offensive efficiency, and 153 in points per game, scoring 71.1 points per contest. 

As a team, Maryland is shooting just 42% from the floor, and a paltry 28% on three point shots, ranking them number 297 out of 358 eligible teams. They have been stout defensively throughout the season, and have the ability to really lock it down on that end of the floor, but their offense must improve as they enter the heart of their schedule. 

“We just have trouble scoring the ball, we have trouble passing the ball, we have trouble moving the ball,” head coach Mark Turgeon said “It’s something that we continue to work on. We were better there than we were before we went down, hopefully we’ll be better [against Virginia Tech].”

A big part of their offense is center Qudus Wahab, who started the season with games of 17 and 18 points respectively. Since then, he has seen a barrage of quick double teams, and has failed to score more than three field goals in a single game over the last five games. The Terps need to get the big man back on track. 

Outside of Wahab, Maryland’s wing players have all taken turns having breakout games, but none have found a consistent scoring touch. Outside of Wahab and fellow center Julian Reese, only Hakim Hart is shooting 50% from the floor, and that mark is largely bolstered by a 24 point game from Hart in Bahamas when he only missed one shot. One way or another, some of those perimeter players need to start knocking down some shots. 

Virginia Tech is led by guard Naheim Alleyne and Maryland product Keve Aluma. The Hokies rank in the top 60 nationally in offensive efficiency, and their balanced attack will be a good test for an otherwise dominant Maryland defense. Meanwhile, their defense is the 7th most efficient unit in the country, so the Terps will need to find some answers to their offensive troubles, or it could be a long night. 

The game will be a celebration of the great Len Bias. The first 4,000 students at the game will receive free Len Bias jerseys, and a ceremony is expected to take place at halftime.