I Need The Terps To Make The NCAA Tourney This Year

Featured, Sports and Bets — November 13, 2014 at 7:55 am by

The Maryland basketball team opens its regular season Friday night against a crappy Wagner squad.  It will be the first official men’s basketball game with the Big 10 logo featured on the hardwood of the Xfinity Center.  The logo won’t be the only thing new on the floor for the Terps this weekend.  Maryland brings four freshen and a transfer in to replace the five players coach Mark Turgeon lost to transfer.  It’s a re-shuffled deck for Terps’ fans for sure, and it’s a deck that had better produce some wins or the heat on Mark Turgeon’s ass will reach solar levels.

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The Terps have blown out cannon-fodder teams in two pre-season warm-ups, the latest of which was a 89-47 thumping of Bowie State on Saturday night.  Shit won’t get much deeper with Wagner this weekend, but the weak out of conference schedule may be a good thing.  Hopefully the Terps can pad their record while the youngsters get much needed experience.  Beating up on the likes of Wagner, VMI, and Monmouth will also build chemistry and allow Coach Turgeon to figure lineups and sub packages.  The eleven game non-conference schedule does feature a tough trip to Oklahoma State and two home games against Arizona State and #9 Virginia, but even if Maryland loses all three games against the “big” programs, they should still end up 8-3 going into conference play. Hell, they could even go 9-2 assuming they win one of those big program games and don’t slip up against a talented little guy.

Then it’s on to the Big Ten and the great unknown.

I have always liked Mark Turgeon.  He had a nice, under the radar kind of resume when he got hired at Maryland and his honesty with the press if refreshing.  The guy can obviously recruit, as he’s pulled in some nice classes, including this year’s which is his highest ranking recruiting class yet.  But Turgeon has found the road rocky in College Park.  Last year was a huge disappointment and a 17-15 record just ain’t cutting it anymore.  To make matters look even worse, five kids who figured to play significant minutes, including blossoming star Seth Allen, rolled out on Turgeon like Tina when she finally rolled out on Ike.  Was shit that bad last season?  Is Turgeon that much of a prick?  Chuck Mitchell left for family reasons, but the rest left to get the hell out of College Park.  That’s pretty damn embarrassing and it certainly doesn’t put forth a positive light on a rebuilding program.

But maybe it’s addition by subtraction.  The guys whom left weren’t buying into Turgeon’s system and message anyway.  Nick Faust had the worst basketball IQ in history, Roddy Peters looked timid, Shaq Cleare just wasn’t as advertised, and Chuck Mitchell- well, they’ll miss his hustle and glass cleaning.   They’ll also miss Seth Allen a ton, but maybe his presence just would have stunted the growth of Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley anyway.  (I know that’s damn lame as shit, but I couldn’t think of anything else even mildly positive about Allen leaving so that came out of my Terp-clouded head.)

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But no matter who is on the roster, the bottom line is that the Terps need to win now.  Maryland hasn’t been in the NCAA’s since 2010, the crowds at the Xfinity Center are getting more sparse by the season, and the alumni are getting restless.  Last year couldn’t have gone worse for Maryland and Turgeon will be banking on his talented young perimeter players to get him to the big dance this season.  It’s a lot to hope for.  Point guard play will be a key and rebounding is going to be a problem. So will scoring in the low post, but that’s not anything new.  This will be a guard dominated team with guys who can shoot and create from the perimeter.  Dez Wells is going to have to be the lynch pin for all of this to work and Turgeon’s future may go as Dez goes this season.  If Maryland can pull out 19 wins and crash the dance then Dez graduates a winner and Turgeon gets new life.  If disaster strikes again the heat will turn up and Turgeon will be in a win or you’re out season in 2015-16.  And the only reason Maryland wouldn’t can him after a hypothetical bad 2014-15 is because of his massive contract and the terrible monetary situation that the University is in athletically.

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So let’s make this happen Terps.  To hell with the issues inside and to hell with experience.  It’s time to do something in March so I’m at least entertained for one weekend of the tourney.  Nothing is better than good Terps basketball.  It’s time to go there again.   If the freshman play as advertised, if Dez and Jake Layman improve and start leading, and if the big men play hustle defense and rebound enough, then maybe we’ll have something cooking down in College Park.  Team chemistry may be the key.  The Terps haven’t had it in years, maybe with some new blood they get it, and they use it and their young talent to gel their way to a decent post season.

 

cover: ap

 

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