Will James Robinson present another PG problem for Maryland?

Will James Robinson present another PG problem for Maryland?
January 5, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Gary Williams on Maryland, Georgetown and GW

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Two years ago, James Robinson was only a few miles away from Maryland’s campus running the point at DeMatha Catholic (Md.) after making his mark on the amateur circuit with regional powerhouse Team Takeover (D.C.).

Now the local recruit who left home to play college ball will be one of Maryland’s offensive priorities when the Terrapins travel to face Pittsburgh (11-1, 1-0 ACC) on Monday at Petersen Events Center.

On the surface, the stats aren’t necessarily eye-popping. Robinson in averaging 7.6 points and 3.9 assists per game. But the most impressive aspect of the sophomore’s game is his efficiency.

Robinson has yet to have more than two turnovers in a game. If fact, he has only turned the ball over twice in a game once, that coming a season-opening blowout win over Savannah State. He averages 0.8 turnovers per game and five assists for every turnover he commits.

That number ties for seventh nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. And there’s a parallel to Robinson who Maryland has already faced.

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Sophomore Maurice Watson, Jr. was a problem, remember? The 5-10, 165-pound Boston University guard had 13 points, seven assists, and just four turnovers despite having the ball in his hands on nearly early possession.

Despite Maryland’s attempts to pressure the ball and force turnovers, Watson, Jr. didn’t crack in an 83-77 upset win over the Terrapins on Dec. 21.

So how can Maryland beat Pittsburgh. It won’t be by forcing turnovers. The Panthers rank first in the ACC and 15th in the nation in turnovers with just 10 per game and Robinson is at the center of that.

If Maryland shoots poorly and falls behind early, don’t expect the press to be the saving grace in the final minutes. If they do, we could see some of the same problems we did against Boston University, with a poised and pragmatic point guard at the helm for the opposition.

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