Can Mark Turgeon get the job done?

I want to start this off by saying I have faith in Mark Turgeon. Maybe less faith than I had two months ago, but faith nonetheless. He took over a once-really good program that had fallen by the wayside on a national scale and made it relevant again. It took three-plus years, but he got his guys, stuck to his guns, and created the culture he wanted around the program. Now, in his fifth full year as head coach, he has the program more than relevant. The Terps are competing on a national stage and every game has implications. This year, college basketball media is dissecting the Terps as meticulously and intently as they dissect Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and a handful of others every year. 

Turgeon has proven that he is a great recruiter. Most of us came unhinged when we lost Nick Faust, Seth Allen and Chuck Mitchell all in one offseason. We thought to ourselves, "isn't Seth Allen a Turgeon recruit? Didn't he already have an established relationship with him while coaching A&M? If we can't keep him, can we keep anyone?" But I think it's become apparent Seth Allen knew what was coming. Melo Trimble was the real deal, and he was the point guard of the foreseeable future for the Terps. 

Fast forward to Year Two of Melo's reign in College Park, and Turgeon has put together a starting five with more talent than any other team in the country. Turg added a freak athlete, six-foot nine-eight inch with an already-established post game that is fit for the NBA. Sulaimon, a once-prolific freshman with unlimited range, has brought perimeter defense, intensity and a propensity for leadership. Jaylen Brantley and the emergence of Varun Ram have solidified the point guard position. And of course, we have Diamond Stone. I said it before, the entire starting five has a chance to play in the NBA. 

Turgeon has all the parts he needs. Those second and third years as head coach looked dire. Some were questioning Turgeon's job security, but it was generally assumed he just needed time to mold the program and bring in the players he wanted. That time has come. All five starters average double figures, the front court has unlimited depth and height, and there are almost always four capable perimeter shooters on the floor at the same time. 

To put it plainly, Turgeon has never won anything at Maryland. The furthest he has made it in the postseason is the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He also reached the NIT semifinals in his second year. After the Terps toppled Iowa State early last season, I had never been more confident in Turgeon's ability to coach. But since then, he has been out-coached in almost every memorable big game the Terps have played in. This year against North Carolina comes to mind. That was a winnable game, and while losing it doesn't hurt much at all in the long run, that would've been a marquee road win. Turg's teams have never been able to score efficiently against a zone, and that has continued this season. Last week's overtime debacle at home against Northwestern was a great example of that. At times, the offense looks utterly discombobulated. Usually, such confusion and lack of court wherewithal are attributed to a lack of coaching. 

There was a brief period in the second half of last weekend's road contest in East Lansing where Turgeon appeared to make an adjustment. He was spacing out the floor, letting Melo run his pick and role game with his bigs and giving the shooters space to operate. The Terps rolled to a four-point lead, and everything looked O.K. But Izzo adjusted, and Turgeon seemed devoid of an answer. It was punch-counterpunch, and Turg just didn't seem to have anything left up his sleeve. Izzo was smart. He let Melo use his pick and roll game, but covered and sometimes doubled the bigs coming to set the screen so that Melo had to keep shooting jumpshots. Melo had no space to create penetration and free up his teammates. It's happened more than once this year. Turgeon is paid a lot of money to win big games and bring championships to College Park. He's the 19th-highest paid coach in the country –  a significant number considering he has never accomplished anything in the postseason that warrants such a salary. 

I am starting to sound like a Mark Turgeon hater, so I would like to be clear that is not the case. I do believe in him, and this team, to accomplish something great. All that matters is how they play in March. But it's almost February, and Turgeon continues to use the "we have a long way to go," cliché. I agree with him, they do have a long way to go. But soon, Turgeon will run out of time. Saying they have a long way to go doesn't work in the heart of B1G schedule. Am I in any insinuating Turgeon's job should be under scrutiny? Absolutely not. I am also not complaining about having him as the coach or complaining about what he has accomplished so far. I like Mark Turgeon. But if the Terps are to accomplish all we hope, and even expect them to accomplish this season, it is clear they aren't doing it without a coach who can step in the ring with the heavyweights of the NCAAB world and go punch for punch. The time has come to ask the question; is Mark Turgeon that coach?

Author: Josh | 1/26/2016 11:02:29 AM |

#8 Maryland vs #3 Iowa

It's hard not to feel a little demoralized after Saturday night's loss. Yes it was a road game against a tough opponent and you can't win them all, but as far as I'm concerned, it's the way we lost that matters more than the final result. The Terps fell short in a predictable fashion. The defensive rebounding was atrocious for the second game [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/25/2016 7:06:41 PM |

#5 Maryland vs #11 Michigan State

Maryland travels to Michigan State this evening in what is a colossal tilt when it comes to determining the Terps fortunes this season. Coupled with the midweek game against Iowa, tonight's game with the Spartans will determine if Maryland is indeed a Top 5 team. Simply put, the next two games are the most important ones left on the sched [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/23/2016 12:08:41 PM |

#5 Maryland vs Northwestern

The Terps welcome Northwestern to College Park tonight and hope to build on the excellent performance against Ohio State over the weekend. Speaking of which, how about that game? The Terps pasted Ohio State by 35 points and it wasn't even that close.  Watching the game reminded me of watching someone pig-out at a buffet table.  Every option was ava [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/19/2016 12:23:34 PM |

Terps maul Ohio State

That headline feels good to write. It's been the opposite (and embarrassing) the past two years I had to give this one a little time to digest; that game showcased what we knew that Terps were capable of offensively the whole year. It was flat out a treat to watch. I think the loss at Michigan fired the guys up; that loss should have never happened [...] Read More »

Author: Josh | 1/16/2016 1:19:15 PM |

#3 Maryland vs Ohio State

The Terps look to rebound from their disappointing loss at Michigan on Tuesday. Everyone knows that road games are tough and Michigan is no slouch of an opponent but the loss stung for a couple of reasons.  First, many top 10 teams lost so the Terps could have solidified their status among this year's elite. Perhaps, more disturbing [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/16/2016 7:15:34 AM |

#3 Maryland vs Michigan

Maryland continues its road trip tonight in Ann Arbor when the Terps take on a pretty good Wolverines squad.  As last Saturday proved yet again, any road game is going to be very tough.  Wisconsin provided Maryland with all it could handle and if not for Melo Trimble's heroics, would have surely taken us to the limit in overtime.  That said, th [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/12/2016 1:11:38 PM |

#3 Maryland vs Wisconsin

The Terps head to Wisconsin this afternoon to face a struggling team in a tough place to play. Indeed, while the Badgers have struggled, the reputation of the Kohl Center warrants respect. What's more, the Teros will get Wisconsin's best shot. As the number 3 team in the country, struggling teams will look at a game against the Terps as a way to ri [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/9/2016 10:13:06 AM |

#3 Maryland vs Rutgers

The Terps won convincingly with a wire to wire double digit win against Northwestern. I was there and it wasn't even as close as the score indicated. It was men against boys. The Terps dominated every facet of the game. I also got to see a Chris Collins temper tantrum which was nice. I also had the opportunity to watch the OU vs KU game last n [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/5/2016 7:15:50 PM |

#4 Maryland vs Northwestern

There are two ways to look at Wednesday's way-too-close for comfort win against Penn State. The positive view of which I tend ascribe is that never again will Trimble/Layman/Sulaimon/Carter shoot a combined 9-36 from the field. It wasn't like Penn State was paying incredible defense, the guys were just missing open looks. The win actually prov [...] Read More »

Author: Jeremy | 1/2/2016 11:46:21 AM |
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