B1G and NCAA Tournament outlook

3/7/2016 10:22:05 AM The dust has settled and it's time for the real thing. I think we all expected a better performance from the Terps in Bloomington, but I don't believe that game was ever going to be a good indicator of the success this team will have over the next month (hopefully). The B1G Tournament will tell us if this team has the mettle to make it through March. Playing at a neutral site is far different from playing in a hostile road environment. Regardless, we find ourselves sitting at a probable 3-5 seed, depending on performance in the B1G Tournament and how favorably the selection committee looks at us. I suppose it's possible the Terps could work their way back into a 2 seed if they win the B1G Tournament, but that might be a reach. With plenty of time between the Terps and their next game, Turgeon has the opportunity to prove how good a coach he is. There will be no excuses if the team isn't prepared. 

The Good
Romelo Trimble shot the ball with more confidence and fluidity against Indiana. He also seemed to be a half-step quicker and was able to get to the rim with the ease and regularity we had become accustomed to seeing from him last year and early this season. Layman is playing the best basketball of his Maryland career. He is shooting with supreme confidence, rebounding with consistency, causing turnovers and continuing to make the "gritty" plays that have endeared him to Terps fans this season. The whole offense did look somewhat coherent early in the Indiana game, although it faded quickly. If this has been one long, treacherous uphill climb for the Terps offense, there is a feeling they are close to finally getting over the hump. Let's hope that's the case. 

The Bad
Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding. This team, despite its size, continues to allow teams to do whatever they want on the offensive glass. The problem is nothing short of debilitating. If they don't fix it, they won't make it through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. We saw what happened last year against West Virginia. The other problems persist as well; too many turnovers and poor perimeter defense have also been a thorn in the side of the Terps. Teams have also really hurt Maryland in transition. Many times, it's after a made basket. There can't be anything else to blame for that but sheer laziness. There are a lot of problems to fix in a short amount of time. The good news for the Terps – exceptional guard play can carry a team through March, and the Terps have a pair of pretty darn good ones when they are on their game. 

Mark Turgeon
I've made my opinion on Turgeon clear this season, so I won't delve into it any further. The honest truth is this: there's no time left for excuses. Turgeon was out-coached again yesterday. The Terps came out firing on all cylinders and grabbed a lead, but once again looked outmatched after Crean took a timeout and adjusted. It has happened too many time to count this year; Turgeon has a gameplan but cannot make adjustments. It happened against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Michigan. Those are the three losses that come to mind. I don't place all the blame on Turgeon because he does not deserve it all, but he is the head coach and rightfully is the first person held accountable for the persistent problems that have plagued this team all season. The next few weeks will tell us a lot about Turgeon. He might not ever have more talent than he does right now. If he can't get it done with this team, will he ever get it done? Or will we be subjected to years of good-but-not-great teams? 

It is win or go home time. No one will remember this team if they do not accomplish what they are capable of – and they truly are capable of winning it all. I still believe this team has as much talent, if not more, than any other team in the nation. But they will fade into irrelevancy if they do not make a run in March. It's that simple. All the high expectations, the #2 ranking – it will all mean nothing.

It's hard not to get excited about this time of year. This team can do this. 

Go Terps.


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