Posted on 18 April 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 13 April 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 04 April 2012 by Luke Jones
At the Ravens’ season-ending press conference two months ago, general manager Ozzie Newsome stated his team’s most glaring needs entering the offseason.
The Ravens have boosted their special teams and retained center Matt Birk and inside linebacker Jameel McClain in free agency, but limited cap space has hindered their ability to make improvements in other areas. As a result, the organization will rely on the avenue in which they’ve thrived over the last 16 years — the draft — to make improvements at the positions Newsome and the front office referenced in early February.
“I don’t think that has changed much from the end of the season,” Newsome said. “We need to add some players on the offensive line. We can add another receiver. We still feel that we can add some depth at the pass-rush position or at SAM ‘backer.”
With Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs signing a five-year contract to join the New Orleans Saints, the Ravens have a huge hole on the offensive line they will desperately try to address in the early rounds. While coach John Harbaugh has expressed optimism that second-year tackle Jah Reid can make the transition to the inside, a viable competitor for the position is a necessity in trying to replace the team’s best offensive lineman.
Director of player personnel Eric DeCosta offered no surprises in assessing the top interior lineman in the draft, mentioning Stanford’s David DeCastro, Kevin Zeitler and Peter Konz of Wisconsins, and Georgia’s Cordy Glenn. DeCosta praised Glenn’s ability to play multiple positions on the line, but his comments were lukewarm when asked about Konz’s potential to be moved from his normal center position to guard as some have suggested with Birk back at center for 2012.
Of the aforementioned names, the Ravens are unlikely to have each at their disposal with the 29th overall pick, but they remain confident in their ability to land a quality offensive line prospect in the first few rounds.
“I think we have players in every round that we like,” DeCosta said. “One of the things we try to do is ascertain the value, league-wise, and then look at our value, how we value players. And usually, there’s a match there for us. At any point in any round we have a couple of players to choose from in any given position, for sure.”
Though not as pressing as left guard, wide receiver is another position at which the Ravens would like to add depth behind starters Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. A speedy receiver with size would bring more diversity to the passing game and provide another red-zone target for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Georgia Tech wideout Stephen Hill has stolen draft-season headlines with impressive workouts, ideal height (6-feet-4), and a 4.33-second 40 time even though his college production was underwhelming in a run-first offensive attack. His measurables have propelled his draft stock as high as the second half of the first round, according to some prognosticators.
“He’s an explosive guy who plays in that triple-option offense and really jumped off the film in terms of vertical speed,” director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. “He’s raw, like a lot of guys are who have come out of that offense, [like] Demaryius Thomas. Their route polish isn’t quite there, but his athletic traits are really outstanding and exceptional, rare for the position.”
The Ravens will also look at versatile wide receivers who can add to the return game, an area in which they struggled in 2011. Coach John Harbaugh admitted in a perfect world he would like to have a backup handle punt return duties rather than starting cornerback Lardarius Webb but would not go as far as saying he won’t return punts in 2012.
With the departures of backups Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura via free agency and starters Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard entering the final year of their respective contracts, safety is a position at which the Ravens need to add depth as well as potentially search for long-term solutions.
Alabama’s Mark Barron is the consensus top safety in the draft, but it’s unlikely he’ll be on the board by the time the Ravens pick in the first round. Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith might be a more realistic option at the end of the first round or early in the second if the Ravens would choose to trade back.
“Harrison Smith is an interesting guy, too,” DeCosta said. “He’s a big, rangy safety who runs pretty well. He’s got good ball skills. He’s very smart. I think he’s a two-time captain at Notre Dame, which tells you about his personality, intangibles and leadership. Both guys are very good players.”
While only so much should be taken from Wednesday’s pre-draft press conference — nicknamed the “liar’s luncheon” over the years — the Ravens will maintain the same philosophy that’s brought them so much draft success in the history of the franchise.
“Some needs have to go into play, because we have to fulfill them,” Newsome said. “But we still — and we have said this for 16 years — we will not take [a lesser player for] need over a real good player at another position.”
Posted on 27 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Women’s College Lacrosse-Towson @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm from Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex live on AM1570 WNST.net); Auto Racing: NASCAR Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 12:30pm from Martinsville, VA live on FOX), IndyCar Series Honda Grand Prix of Alabama (Sunday 2pm from Birmingham live on NBC Sports Network); High School Basketball: McDonald’s All American Games (Girls Wednesday 7pm from Chicago live on ESPNU Boys Wednesday 9:30pm from Chicago live on ESPN); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 63 (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on MTV2); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Hank Lundy vs. Dannie Williams (Friday 9pm from Mashantucket, CT live on ESPN2); Soccer: Team USA Women @ Japan (Sunday 6:30am from Sendai, Japan live on ESPN2), MLS-FC Dallas @ DC United (Friday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on NBC Sports Network); Bill Maher (Saturday 8pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome, Sunday 8pm Strathmore); Donnell Rawlings (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); “Goon” & “Wrath of the Titans” out in theaters (Friday); “Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)
10. Van Halen/Kool & The Gang (Wednesday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Mac Miller (Saturday 8pm Patriot Center); Blue October (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mr. Greengenes (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); The Bad Plus (Sunday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); All Mighty Senators (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Sleigh Bells (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), The Temper Trap (Saturday 6pm 9:30 Club), Andrew WK (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Patti LaBelle (Friday & Saturday 8pm Strathmore); Leon Redbone (Saturday 7:30pm Birchmere), Three Dog Night (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Of Monsters And Men (Monday 8pm Black Cat)
The new Van Halen is TERRIBLE (at least the song is-I haven’t listened to the record), but it doesn’t change how freaking awesome this is…
I don’t worship Bruce Springsteen. (Some of you would have to admit you do.) I DO freaking love this song though…
I have no idea what Three Dog Night even looks like at this point. I would be more than happy to sing along with this though…
Here’s another fantastic tune by a band called Of Monsters And Men. So now we’ve done that…
9. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers (Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (Sunday 6pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet), Milwaukee Bucks @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)
Since Sonny Weems doesn’t play for the Raptors anymore, he won’t be there when the ‘Zards visit Canada. It’s a shame because if he was he could bring his creepy foot…
I get the feeling there won’t be many folks willing to click on Page 2 or Page 3 after that, but we’re going to keep going here anyway.
(Continued on Page 2…)
Posted on 12 March 2012 by WNST Staff
“As of this morning we have already seen some trends on who the public is liking to take this thing down. Florida State who won the ACC and who we opened at 40-1 have dropped down to 30-1 and are a heavy liability for us already. Syracuse at 10-1 as a #1 seed has also taken quite a bit unlike Kentucky who are clear cut favorites at 9/4 but not seeing too much action at that short price. Michigan State took quite a lot of money when they were as high as 40-1 at one point during the season but now at 17/2 I guess some bettors feel they missed the boat on that one.”
-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager
Odds to Win the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship
Kentucky (1) 9/4
Ohio State (2) 11/2
North Carolina (1) 13/2
Michigan State (1) 17/2
Missouri (2) 10/1
Kansas (2) 10/1
Syracuse (1) 10/1
Duke (2) 20/1
Marquette (3) 30/1
Florida State (3) 30/1
Baylor (3) 35/1
Wisconsin (4) 35/1
Louisville (4) 35/1
Vanderbilt (5) 35/1
Wichita State (5) 40/1
Georgetown (3) 40/1
New Mexico (5) 50/1
Indiana (4) 60/1
Florida (7) 65/1
Memphis (8) 65/1
Cincinnati (6) 75/1
Kansas State (8) 75/1
Connecticut (9) 75/1
Michigan (4) 80/1
Belmont (14) 100/1
Temple (5) 100/1
UNLV (6) 100/1
Murray State (6) 100/1
Notre Dame (7) 100/1
St. Mary’s (7) 125/1
Gonzaga (7) 125/1
West Virginia (10) 125/1
San Diego State (6) 150/1
St. Louis (9) 150/1
Alabama (9) 150/1
Creighton (8) 150/1
Texas (11) 100/1
Purdue (10) 100/1
NC State (11) 100/1
Iowa State (8) 200/1
Virginia (10) 200/1
VCU (12) 250/1
Harvard (12) 250/1
California (12) 250/1
Southern Miss (9) 250/1
Long Beach State (12) 250/1
Colorado State (11) 300/1
Colorado (11) 300/1
South Florida (12) 300/1
Montana (13) 300/1
New Mexico state (13) 300/1
Ohio (13) 300/1
Davidson (13) 300/1
BYU (14) 300/1
Iona (14) 300/1
St. Bonaventure (14) 300/1
South Dakota State (14) 300/1
Lehigh (15) 450/1
Norfolk State (15) 450/1
Detroit (15) 450/1
Mississippi Valley State (16) 500/1
Western Kentucky (16) 500/1
NC-Ashville (16) 500/1
Long Island (16) 500/1
Lamar (16) 500/1
Vermont (16) 500/1
Loyola Maryland (15) 500/1
Odds to Win the South Region
Kentucky (1) 5/7
Duke (2) 5/1
Baylor (3) 11/2
Wichita State (5) 8/1
Indiana (4) 12/1
UNLV (6) 25/1
Connecticut (9) 30/1
Notre Dame (7) 40/1
Iowa State (8) 60/1
Xavier (10) 60/1
VCU (12) 100/1
Colorado (11) 150/1
New Mexico State (13) 200/1
South Dakota State (14) 200/1
Lehigh (15) 200/1
Western Kentucky (16) 200/1
Mississippi Valley State (16) 225/1
Odds to Win the West Region
Michigan State (1) 11/5
Missouri (2) 9/4
Marquette (3) 13/2
Louisville (4) 13/2
New Mexico (5) 9/1
Florida (7) 14/1
Memphis (8) 14/1
Murray State (6) 25/1
St. Louis (9) 30/1
Virginia (10) 50/1
Long Beach State (12) 75/1
Davidson (13) 100/1
BYU (14) 100/1
Colorado State (11) 150/1
Iona (14) 150/1
Norfolk State (15) 200/1
Long Island (16) 200/1
Odds to Win the East Region
Ohio State (2) 8/5
Syracuse (1) 9/4
Vanderbilt (5) 9/1
Florida State (3) 10/1
Wisconsin (4) 10/1
Kansas State (8) 15/1
Cincinnati (6) 18/1
Gonzaga (7) 30/1
West Virginia (10) 30/1
Texas (11) 30/1
Southern Mississippi (9) 60/1
Harvard (12) 60/1
Montana (13) 100/1
St. Bonaventure (14) 150/1
Loyola Maryland (15) 200/1
NC-Ashville (16) 200/1
Odds to Win the Midwest Region
North Carolina (1) 8/5
Kansas (2) 2/1
Georgetown (3) 10/1
Michigan (4) 15/1
Temple (5) 18/1
Purdue (10) 18/1
Belmont (14) 18/1
NC State (11) 20/1
St. Mary’s (7) 25/1
San Diego State (6) 30/1
Creighton (8) 35/1
Alabama (9) 40/1
California (12) 50/1
South Florida (12) 100/1
Ohio (13) 100/1
Detroit (15) 150/1
Lamar (16) 200/1
Vermont (16) 225/1
Courtesy of Bovada (formerly Bodog), www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV.
Posted on 12 March 2012 by Glenn Clark
On Friday’s edition of “The Reality Check”, Ryan Chell and I decided to put together a Maryland Terrapins season ending report card. After the Terps’ loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, it was easy to assume the basketball season was over in College Park.
That assumption proved accurate Sunday night, as the NIT failed to extend an invite to the Terps as expected. The University of Maryland declined to participate in the lesser known postseason CBI Tournament due to the financial model that forces schools to pay for participation. (Three schools from BCS conferences-Washington State, Pitt and Oregon State all accepted CBI bids.)
It’s a long winded way to say the season is over. The Terps finished 17-15 in Mark Turgeon’s first season since taking over for the retired Gary Williams, surpassing the expectations of many while still falling short of the expectations of others.
In our Report Card segment Friday, I graded Turgeon’s job in year one as a “B”. I noted the lack of both quality and quantity in Maryland basketball players that Turgeon was forced to deal with partly due to the late timing of Williams’ retirement announcement. Not only did Maryland lose All-ACC Center Jordan Williams to the NBA, they also lost F Haukur Palsson to a pro turn in Europe. Turgeon was only able to retain one from Williams’ three-man recruiting class (G Nick Faust) although he made up for that in part with a late commitment from C Alex Len.
(I point all of this out because some Maryland fans have decided to “blame” Gary Williams for the state of the program. They’re only telling half of the story.)
Len’s 10 game suspension to start the season and PG Pe’Shon Howard’s 18 missed games due to injury made an already difficult situation nearly impossible. Entering the season, there was legitimate reason to fear a “bottoming out” of sorts for the Maryland program.
While those fears never came to fruition, the team never fully came together. Sophomore G Terrell Stoglin at times carried the Terps during a 6-10 Atlantic Coast Conference campaign, but often proved to be as much of the problem as the solution. Len never showed progress during his freshman campaign, Senior G Sean Mosley offered valuable leadership but never overwhelmed with his play on the floor. The only player that showed marked progress was Faust, who was named to the league’s All-Rookie team.
All of these were contributing factors in grading the job Turgeon did this season. It was a tough campaign, but it could have been significantly worse. Turgeon deserves credit for keeping the program afloat and avoiding any true embarrassment. (Only a late season loss at Georgia Tech stands out as a head shaker due to the opponent and Maryland’s most lopsided defeats came at the hands of NCAA Tournament participants like UNC, Duke, Virginia, Florida State, Alabama and Iona.)
Nearly five hundred words in, it’s time to look to the future. While Turgeon is absolutely deserving of praise for how he kept this Maryland team together in his first season, the coach offered a noteworthy thought Sunday night via Twitter.
Been an unsettling day. Its tough not to be a part of Selection Sunday. It’s something I am not used to.
— Mark Turgeon (@CoachTurgeon) March 11, 2012
Posted on 19 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Featuring a young back-court which gained experience and confidence throughout the 2011-12 basketball season, No. 6 John Carroll overcame a pair of regular season losses to No. 4 Mount St. Joseph, rising up to stop the Gaels, 44-41, in the MIAA A Conference Championship Game, Sunday at UMBC.
In winning its second MIAA A crown, John Carroll (26-6 overall), which defeated St. Frances Academy in last year’s title game, is the fourth consecutive team to go back-to-back, joining St. Frances (2008-09 and 2009-10), Towson Catholic (2006-07 and 2007-08) and St. Joe (2004-05 and 2005-06).
The Patriots nursed a narrow lead much of the game and closed out the win by sinking 8-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Patriot senior star Jared Jones scored a game-high 17 points, including 11 in the second half.
“From the beginning of the year, we decided we were going to win another championship. Our back-court had disappeared to college and nobody thought we had a chance to make it,” said Jones. “Last year was a little bit easier with two senior back courts. I was in there and we were a dominant team. This year was harder with young guards and less experience. It was a great year.”
John Carroll led 22-16 at the half, but St. Joe (23-6) scored seven of the first nine points of the third quarter to pull within one. Phil Lawrence capped the burst with a steal and a coast-to-coast drive for a rim rattling one-handed jam. John Carroll responded with an 8-3 run to go back on top, but the Gaels got a basket from Kameron Williams and a long three, at the third quarter buzzer, from Charlie Jones to pull within one, 33-32, as the fourth quarter got underway.
Lawrence then scored in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter to put St. Joe in front, 34-33. It was the Gaels’ first lead since early in the first quarter. It was also their last.
Two free throws from Rodney Elliott pushed JC back in front, igniting a 7-0 run which gave the Patriots a 39-33 lead. In that flurry, junior Mike Owona took an inside feed and rose for a monster two-handed jam.
Williams, St. Joe’s leading scorer, only had one field goal in the contest and finished with just five points. He did keep the Gaels alive, however, with three free throws after getting fouled on a shot from beyond the arc. That made it 39-36, but St. Joe could get not closer.
Kyle Doran and Booth each hit three three-pointers for St. Joe to finish with nine points each. That matched Lawrence’s nine points as the three shared team-high scoring honors. Mike Owona finished with eight for John Carroll and Justin Jenifer had seven for the Patriots.
John Carroll head coach Tony Martin indicated that his team was motivated by its earlier losses to St. Joe and they worked hard to change the result.
“I thought our kids came in very focused. We had an outstanding practice yesterday, a really good film session, and our kids believe they should have won the last one,” said Martin. “It’s a great rivalry these last couple of years.”
The rivalry may have at least one more renewal this season, as the Patriots and Gaels will enter next week’s (Feb. 24-25-26) Baltimore Catholic League Tournament at Stevenson University as the favorites to reach the finals. Both squads also have the inside track to receive one of the two guaranteed bids the BCL will receive to the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in March.
Posted on 11 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Brye French and Bo Snelson Elected 2012 Football Team Captains
ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo announced Friday night at the annual Navy football banquet that linebacker Brye French (Deatsville, Ala.) and slot back Bo Snelson (Pasadena, Texas) have been elected team captains for the 2012 football season by their teammates.
“Being elected team captain at the Naval Academy is one of the greatest honors you can receive at an institution that produces great leaders,” said Niumatalolo. “Brye and Bo will do a great job of leading this football team both on and off the field. They work extremely hard and are both vocal leaders and will lead by actions on the field.”
French played in all 12 games last fall, starting nine at outside linebacker. He finished sixth on the team with 55 tackles, six of which were behind the line of scrimmage. He made his first-career start at 10th-ranked South Carolina, where he recorded a career-high 13 tackles and a sack in Navy’s 24-21 loss. He was named the ECAC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Snelson has played in 36 of Navy’s 38 games over his first three years, including 35-straight games dating back to his freshman year. Snelson, the hard-nosed Texan who is known more for his blocking, has rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown during his career, while catching four passes for 52 yards. Snelson will team up with John Howell and Gee Gee Greene to give the Mids a talented group of senor slot backs.
Posted on 04 February 2012 by Glenn Clark
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — While I don’t think University of Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin has ever uttered the exact words before, they sounded particularly familiar.
“We came short again from getting that signature win.”
If Stoglin has never uttered some a combination of words before, I know for sure that I have. I’d be willing to guess that Terrapins fans throughout the Baltimore and Washington areas and across the country have said either the exact combination of words or at least something remarkably similar.
Maryland was predictably “almost there” in their 83-74 loss to the University of North Carolina Saturday at Comcast Center. The Terps (13-9, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a second half lead and never appeared to be out of it, but couldn’t muster up enough to knock off the #5 Tar Heels (20-3, 7-1 ACC) and give head coach Mark Turgeon his first marquee victory since replacing the legendary Gary Williams.
One of the culprits this time was offensive rebounds, as 19 second chances (on 39 missed field goals) became 18 second chance points for UNC. On the other side, Maryland had just 13 second chance opportunities (on 36 missed field goals) and converted those into just 12 second chance points.
“I know I’m going to watch the tape and probably be disappointed in our effort on the glass, (which) is something I’m on these guys about” Turgeon said after the loss. “I’ve never had more trouble getting a team to be more physical on box outs. We’ve worked on it, we talk about it, we work on it every day.”
Another culprit was Maryland’s inability to turn turnovers into points, as 14 Carolina turnovers resulted in just 11 Maryland points while 13 Maryland turnovers lead to 18 Carolina points.
As I feel like I’ve said before, they were very close to beating a quality opponent. They just weren’t quite good enough. Even Turgeon suggested in his body language (and a few uncharacteristic short answers) that this close call was a bit more frustrating than some of the other near-misses they’ve had against good teams this season.
It feels like a broken record. Much like in losses to Duke, Florida State, Tempe and Illinois earlier in the season; the Terrapins were in no ways blown off the floor by a superior opponent. They played at times exactly the way they needed to play in order to win games, but they just managed to let it slip away during a stretch where they got away from what makes them good.
“(We) had a stretch in the second half where we couldn’t get into anything” Turgeon said. “(Guard) Pe’Shon (Howard) was on the bench. (We) just didn’t look like we could get into anything, and when (North Carolina C/F Tyler) Zeller was out I thought we could’ve made a run.”
This is exactly the scenario that allowed what was once a 48-39 Maryland lead in the second to become a 50-50 tie in less than five minutes of game play.
Maryland is a good team. Well, they’re at least an improving team. They’re certainly better than the team that was blown out by both Alabama and Iona in the 5-hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off in November. They’re just not going to be good enough to make any sort of imprint before the end of the season.
They’re not going to get into the NCAA Tournament, but we already knew that. They’re probably not going to make much of a charge in the ACC Tournament. They’re likely to find themselves on the outside looking in at even the NIT. They still have four games left against ranked teams (home and home against Virginia, games at Duke and North Carolina); but it is still hard to imagine this team improving enough to do more than perhaps steal one of two against the Cavaliers, and that’s honestly a best case scenario.
It will be tough for this team to show marked progress before the end of Turgeon’s first season, but it doesn’t make Maryland basketball a hopeless cause.
In fact, Turgeon probably said it best again after the loss.
“Obviously we’d like to win a couple more. We went to the wire the other night (in a 2OT loss to Miami), great comeback, great effort, really proud of our guys but we lost. Today we competed against the #5/#6 team in the country, great home crowd, lot of fun. I don’t look at 3-5. I really don’t. I’m going to look at the film and see how I can make them better.”
He then wrapped with this.
“You know what I need to do tonight to make myself feel better is pop in the Radford tape (the last game the team played before C Alex Len returned from suspension) and then pop in this tape to see how much better we’ve gotten in a little over a month. The kids are growing up, our preparation is better. We’re just not there yet.”
Posted on 26 January 2012 by Glenn Clark
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It was a fitting night for the Comcast Center floor to be dedicated as Gary Williams Court Wednesday.
Fitting because the atmosphere on campus at the University of Maryland was reminiscent to many nights during the 22 years Williams patrolled the sidelines for the Terrapins before retiring. The stands at the school’s nearly ten year old arena were absolutely rocking with Maryland students and no seats to be had. Students began chanting before the game and remained a factor almost until the game was over.
Unfortunately for the team inherited by Mark Turgeon, the performance on the newly dedicated floor was also fitting for a team that hasn’t really been good enough since Williams left.
The Terps hung in against the eighth ranked Duke University Blue Devils for much of the game, even leading 47-46 midway through the second half. But the Devils (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) would double up the Terps (12-7, 2-3 ACC) the rest of the way en route to a 74-61 victory. Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin would again lead the Terps in scoring (16 points), but the Terps would again fail to offer significant help on the offensive end (guard Pe’Shon Howard was next with just ten points). Struggles from beyond the arc (4-13) and the free throw line (11-21) continued to doom a team that lacks enough ability elsewhere to overcome such struggles.
A third straight overall loss for the Terps, it was eerily similar to the defeats suffered at both Florida State University at Temple University last week. They played well enough for a good stretch of the game but their problems ultimately caught up to them against an opponent of either similar or superior ability. They’re pretty good…just not quite good enough.
Mired in a funk after back to back conference wins, Turgeon attempted to put a positive spin on the loss postgame.
“I thought our team battled well and think we had a game plan and we stuck to it and it kept us around” Turgeon said. “We’re getting better. If you could have been in Puerto Rico (for the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off), you would have never thought that we could play like we’re playing right now. So, we’re getting there.”
It sounds a lot like coach speak, but it’s actually quite honest. Of course, that’s really the biggest problem facing this Maryland team as constructed.
The difficulty with judging Turgeon’s first season in College Park is that struggles were to be expected. Even after getting Howard back from a foot injury that cost him the first nine games of the season and adding freshman C Alex Len after serving a ten game suspension for eligibility issues, this Maryland team remains uncomfortably thin. Their big bodies aren’t big enough to neutralize talented frontcourts (23 points and 12 rebounds for Mason Plumlee Wednesday night a glaring example) and none of their players in the backcourt have a dangerous enough inside-outside game to truly open things up for anyone else.
They’re trying to win without really having the horses to win. Perhaps that’s where Turgeon deserves the most credit.
The new coach has done everything he can to get players to stick to a game plan, improve defensively and get after the basketball. In losses to Alabama and Iona in San Juan, Maryland did very little of what they needed to do in order to win and were on the wrong end of blowouts.
Over the course of the last nine days, the Terrapins have shown in stretches that they can do all of the little things they need to do to win. But in the stretches where those good habits have disappeared, better teams have been able to walk away with victories in three games.
Turgeon attempted to sum it up after the loss.
“There are still four-minute stretches where we aren’t making a field goal, and that is not going to beat good teams. That happens, when we’re good offensively, we’re good. But we have stretches where we don’t make free throws too. It wears you out and you can’t keep up. In the end, our defense wasn’t quite good enough and rebounding wasn’t quite good enough, neither was our free throw shooting. But our effort was tremendous and I’m really proud of the guys.”
This is the issue. Maryland isn’t a “bad” team. They’re just a team that isn’t quite good enough to be able to win games against good teams. Five such games (two against North Carolina, two against Virginia and the trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium) remain on the schedule, and the other six conference games aren’t cupcakes.
They ARE better. It’s just that there’s not enough time left in this season for that progress to truly equal results. Maryland fans hope to have something to hang their hat on about this team this season, but it’s not likely to come.
Turgeon was going to need time to fully show progress and he still will. A stunning upset of Duke might have been enough to garner favor for until the 2012-2013 season tipped off. Similarly a stunning upset of UNC would do the same.
Unfortunately for Maryland fans, those achievements aren’t likely to be realized. It doesn’t mean Turgeon hasn’t done a nice job in his first season.
They’re better. They’re just not quite good enough.