COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Maryland Terrapins have teased many fans with their up-and-down nature during the 2012-2013 season. It all started with one of the weakest non-conference schedules in Division I — 300th according to CBSSports.com’s rankings.
Way back on Nov. 9, a three-point loss to Kentucky caused people to create rumblings of the Terps cracking the top 25. Going 12-1 with this weak schedule helped the Terps pile up wins early on, but some of the wins were… shaky to say the least, ultimately raised some questions about how good this team truly was.
Were they challenged?
Is this team really that deep?
Is Alex Len that dominant?
Who is the point guard?
What will happen when conference play starts up?
Things were looking up when the Terps defeated Virginia Tech at the Comcast Center 94-71, to open up conference play. Looking at the Hokies now at 13-17, hindsight says this was a sign of things to come. The Terps showed flashes of brilliance at times and failed miserable in others, especially on the road.
When the NCAA committee evaluates teams that are fit for March Madness and not the NIT, they look for a total body of work that gives them a sense that this team deserves a shot at competing for a national title.
Let’s look over the Terps’ resume according to CBSSports.com:
Overall Record: 20-10
Conference Record: 8-9
Non-conference Record: 12-1
Home Record: 16-3
Away Record: 3-6
Neutral Record: 1-1
Strength of Schedule: 107
RPI Ranking: 86
Record vs. RPI top 25: 2-4
Record vs. RPI 51-100: 1-4
Record vs. RPI 101-200: 11-2
Quality Wins: NC State, Duke.
Bad Losses: @Georgia Tech, @Boston College
It’s hard for me to even say that NC State at home is that great of a win, but that is all besides the point. We all know the Terps have been abysmal on the road and felt that they needed to at LEAST split the final two games of the season, including last night’s game against North Carolina. Being that the Terps do not match up well with the Tarheels, nor their final opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, where they travel to Sunday, it appears as if the Terps need a miracle run in the ACC tournament to catch a break with the selection committee and sneak into the tournament.
Head coach Mark Turgeon was looking for answers as to why his team not only played so streaky yesterday, but why the Terps let their offense affect their defensive efforts on the court.
“I am disappointed,” he said. “I didn’t like the energy we started the game with. With that said, we couldn’t make a shot. We had some really good looks especially early. We lost the game from 3:23 which was the media timeout until when I had to call timeout. We went from up one to down 13. We didn’t play very smart during that stretch.”
North Carolina is a very talented team and will be dancing, but Maryland’s performance last night, especially Logan Aronhalt, who went scoreless on Senior Night, was inexcusable for a team playing for their tournament lives.
The lack of leadership and a true point guard on this team is ultimately what is holding their growth as a team in my mind. This team is comprised of 2′s and 4′s that will not pass up any shots they can’t take.
3-23 (13.04%) from beyond the arch… that’s the Terps’ three-point field goal percentage from last night.
It also didn’t help Maryland’s cause that Alex Len was once again playing smaller than his 7-foot-1, 255 pound frame suggests he should be. Backing away from the basket and taking jumpers will never make him a productive player on this level, nor the NBA. Whenever Len attacked the basket last night, good things happened. He made buckets, he grabbed rebounds and he did what a big man should do.
You have to wonder if the NBA knocking at his doorstep truly shaped his approach to the game this year.
Len is not a shooter, but scouts want to see a multi-dimensional star.
I’m not saying the Terps will be a great team if he is to go, but I’m not going to say he has helped their stock this season to make the Big Dance.
Being below .500 in conference play is never an attractive site to the selection committee for the NCAA tournament either.
You can listen to what Mark Turgeon had to say to the media following Maryland’s loss to North Carolina last night here.
Dez Wells also met with the media following the Terps’ loss. He led all scorers for Maryland with 18. Here is what he had to say.
( All rankings courtesy of CBSSports.com)