2008-09 Basketball Preview Part II

Before I make my feeble attempt to predict the Terps’ record; I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of something I neglected to mention in Part I of my preview. PC was right to point out in a comment made in that post that Maryland must cut down on turnovers.

This is absolutely crucial. I didn’t mention it; because it is almost too obvious to mention. It is the elephant in the room hanging over the entire season. The Terps ruined a guaranteed Tournament berth because they could not limit their careless play. Maryland must limit the number of turnovers per game to under 15 in order to have a chance to win. Preferably, they commit less than 12 per game.

The Terps will not beat an upper division ACC opponent while committing more than 15 turnovers. It won’t happen. Too many times, the Terps tallied 20 turnovers or more-and in most of those instances , Maryland lost. This year, in games they limit turnovers to 12 or less; I suspect the Terps winning percentage will be in 90%+ range.

Eric Hayes did a surprisingly good job of taking care of the rock last year. If you don’t believe me, look up his assist to turnover ratio. He actually led the team in A/T ratio with 1.9/1; although the fact that no player had a ratio better than 2/1 is an embarrassment. Great PGs should be in the 2.5/1 range or above. (UNC’s Ty Lawson was 2.4/1).

Watch the turnover situation closely in the early going. If Vasquez starts giving the ball away; Gary will move Hayes over to PG permanently.

So how do I see the season unfolding?

The Gimmies (8 wins):

Bucknell, Youngstown State, Vermont, Delaware State, American U, Bryant (huh?), Elon, Morgan State.

If the Terps lose any of these games; we are, in a word, fucked.

Old Spice Classic (1 win, 2 loss)

#7 Michigan State, Ok St/#11 Gonzaga, Opponent TBD

Look, the Terps aren’t going to win the Old Spice Classic. They will be expected to escape with a win. I’m tempted to pencil them in for two wins because I think it is guaranteed that either Gonzaga or Michigan State is overrated. I think MD will have the best athletes on the floor in both of those games.

In case you are curious, the other potential opponents for the Terps are Wichita State, Siena, Tennessee, and Georgetown. (How sweet would a win over Georgetown in the finals be? Where would that rank on a scale of 1 -10? a 15?)

Other Non-Conference Tests (3 wins)

Michigan (home), George Washington (neutral), Charlotte (home)

Michigan sucks. We beat Charlotte on the road last year, and damnit, I’m sick of losing to GW every year. They aren’t good. We should win by 15 points, and frankly, Maryland fans deserve a win in this “rivalry” that is inexplicably competitive.

So headed in to the ACC schedule, I’ve got the Terps sitting at 12-2. Seems plausible, right? Things seem to be setting up nicely for the conference schedule.

ACC Season (10 wins)

Home Wins: Georgia Tech, Viginia, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Duke, Wake Forest

Home Losses: UNC, Miami

Road Wins: Florida St, Georgia Tech, Clemson (revenge!), NC State

Road Losses: Miami, Duke, UNC, Virginia

I think the ACC is relatively weak this year. Aside from Duke and UNC, no one else scares me. Some of my predicted highlights:

-Maryland wins the Gus Gilchrist Classic vs. Va Tech.

-I can’t envision our big guys competing with Hansborough, so UNC will sweep.

-I hate Duke too much to ever concede a sweep. We get a win at home and Jon Scheyer makes a funny face during the game (who am I kidding? That’s every game).

-Miami is like kryptonite to Maryland so they get us twice.

-Clemson will get beat simply because the Terps have it circled on the schedule, and the entire fan base needs a catharsis.

-We can’t beat UVA on the road. I don’t know why.

-BC, NC State, and Ga Tech suck.

According to my count, the Terps will finish the season 22-8 (10-6) in the regular season. That’s good enough for a #3 seed in the conference and a #5 seed in the Big Dance. Yes, in perhaps his greatest coaching job ever, Gary Williams gets it done and proves the doubters wrong.

I’m Jeremy Gold and I approved this message.

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51 Comments

  1. Jeremy;

    I appreciate your optimisim. You probably think McCain at this late hour still stands a chance. Anyhoo – I’ll settle for even a low NCAA berth. However, don’t see us at 10-6. Good news on JSK – hopefully he can contribute.

  2. The Gus Gilchrist Classic LOL love it.

    BTW…eligibility status of Gus Gilchrist still in limbo.

  3. I see your optimism, Jeremy, and raise it a level. At this point, I concede nothing.

    The Old Spice Classic will be a lot of fun and a great test. Someone has to win it. This is early season where guard play, which is always important, will be doubly so. Michigan State lost their hot-shot guard from last year (I forgot his name). Vaz, meanwhile, wants to make a name for himself nationally. In addition, Hayes, Bowie, Tucker, Moseley (and JSK) will all have something to prove. Advantage Maryland.

    In the ACC, the road games against Miami and UNC seem particularlay tough. Miami will be the first real game in a hostile environment and UNC will have plenty of motivation to revenge last year’s game. I’ll also throw in another road loss to anyone but duke, just to be fair. So, my optimistic scenario gets the Terps to 13-3 in the ACC and 27-3 overall. The Terps take a 2 seed in the ACC, but win the Tourney…..a #1 seed in the NCAA followed by the National Championship.

    Alas, it will be a bitter-sweet victory as GV will soon after declare for the NBA draft.

    John McCain, Barak Obama and Stevend all approve this message.

  4. The MIch State hotshot guard was “Drew Neitzel”

  5. It will just be fun to see Gary arrive at a rotation, and to see how the approach changes from years past. I hope Gary finds a way to get Tucker (the forgotten one) into the act.

  6. The Terps will not suck but will be rough starting out and get pounded by teams with post players. Fortunately that is not many teams. Will lose at home to Wake and GT beacuse of bigs and FSU on the road. So that is 19-11 and a NCAA bubble depending on ACC tourney wins. Now if Spazquez remembers that he has team mates it could be 21-9 or if not it could fall to 14-15 and GW being walked out of College Park. 4 guard line ups don’t just happen they have to be worked and the flex offense is not for 4 guards and GW is too old to change. Terps finish no better than 7th. Now if you can pass the Kool Aid the Terps can surprise themselves and finish 4th at best.

  7. Tucker the forgotten one? Not sure I understand that. Cliff played in all but two games as a freshman and averaged almost 16 minutes a game including the last two months of the season. His scoring went down as the season went along but so did his FG%.

    And he’s definitely worked on his FT shooting this offseason and is competing HARD for a starting position.

    He’s not forgotten.

  8. Dont’ get your hopes up on Michigan State. Losing Neitzel will actually help that team because last year he actually slowed them down. They are fast and they are good. We could luck out and they could have a bad shooting night, but I think that one might get ugly. I’m in the middle of the Spartan-land and I’ve watched the team play often. In fact, they play an exhibition tomorrow night and I’ll be watching it, so I’ll let you all know how they look, but I get a feeling we’ll be fighting it out in the losers bracket.

  9. I saw a poll the other day with Mich. State ranked #5. They are good and I am not taking them lightly. I’m just saying that it’s early in the season and the Terps can win it.

    Nietzel averaged 13 points, 11 Assists and 1.5 TO a game last year. That sort of production (especially in terms of assists to TO ratio) is very difficult to replace. MSU will probably have a freshman starting at the point. Maybe that new kid is awesome and ready. But he will have bad games. Maryland’s experienced leadership in the back-court will give the Terps a fighting chance. So, I say the Terps win (take it with as many grains of salt as you’d like – I always say the Terps will win).

    It’s good to see that AlV is still taking his optimism pills.

    Finally, just ran across this bit on GW (sorry if it’s old news):

    http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_dagger/post/Gary-Williams-scores-first-verbal-jab-of-the-sea;_ylt=ApUDleUh3rdKBcAghuGXYnbevbYF?urn=ncaab,117904

  10. Jeremy…your rundown suggests to me that you have stones, my friend.

    Mark this, and mark it well…MD will start very fast out of the gate. Al V.’s point about 4 guards and the flex is both true yet not important. MD ran and pressed teams into submission for about a decade, and it had little or nothing to do with their halfcourt flex. The flex became key when GW started to emphasize the halfcourt offense as a means of getting to the next level. Prior to that, a 10 NCAAs and a few Sweet 16s had little to do with their halfcourt.

    By the time everyone figures out how to slow down MD, they will ranked and have a pretty guady record. The back half of the ACC schedule will be rough, and I think they will limp into the ACCs and the NCAA.

    Check out University of Rhode Island’s team from last year. Started 19-3 and finished 2-9 for a NIT bid and first round loss. Don’t be too surprised if MD has a season similar to that. I still think they make the NCAAs, but it will be dicey at the end.

    By the way, my inner statistician thinks that this stat tells it all…I ripped it from SportingNews’s preseason mag: GVs turnovers per minute were statisitically significantly higher than the combined turnovers per minute of the rest of MD’s team last year. (statistically significant means that the difference didn’t occur due to chance alone) That’s got to change…and is really a “wow” statistic for me.

    Blame it on the stone hands of everyone else if you want, but those same stone hands didn’t affect everyone else like they did for GV.

  11. Gregg is right. MSU is considered to have the fastest starting back court in the nation. And they’ve got some size on the front line.

    Great early test for the Terps.

  12. In the eyes of some, the school’s national title in 2002 looks like a distant memory.

    “Some people think it is ancient history,” Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. “It is not as ancient history as Duke’s last title” in 2001.

  13. Honestly, I am shocked at the optimism. I see this as the weekest squad in maybe 10 yrs. I wonder if we can get four ACC wins. I soooo hope I am wrong.

  14. The ACC is pretty bad this year in my opinion. The Terps don’t have to be great to get to 10 wins in conference.

  15. With the youth on this team the Terps MUST defend Comcast and win their home ACC games. Miami is going to be good this year. If we can steal a win down there that would be HUGE. I don’t think there’s a kid on our team that knows what it’s like to beat Miami. But road wins are going to be tough to get but I feel there are winnable games IF we get decent play from Dupree, Burney and Gregory and don’t get hit with injuries in the front court.

    Of course we’ve got that home away from home game at Juan Dixon Indoor Stadium down in Durham LOL

  16. There is really no telling what the Terps will be like in 2009. In digesting all the posts above, with my minds-eye I can see the Terps getting out of the gate with a great W-L record by running and pressing. I think someone on the site referred to it as “40 minutes of hell.” I can also just as easily see GW having a difficult time getting all the pieces to mesh together early on. We may be in for a rollercoaster ride the first 10 games or so.

    Top things I’ll be watching: 1) the Burney/Dupree combo–do they got game or not?; 2) is there a legit PG in the house?; 3) do we have a bench that can contribute or not ?(paging Dino Gregory and Steve Goins); 4) can we get the 2 & 3 spots sorted out–i.e. can we finally figure out for sure who are the 2s and who are the 3s and create a discernable rotation?; 5) If we go to a three guard lineup as predicted, can Milbourne play the 4 spot effectively?

    I could go on a talk individual player question marks, but you guys did a good job in your posts.

  17. Spazquez…now that is funny!!!

    It does fit him, he has an immature game for sure. GW needs to come with more stick and less carrot regarding GV this year. He could be huge for us but not if he is allowed to go out and do whatever he wants each game.

    Say what you will about Gary but he never lets the roof come down. He just won’t allow a 5-11 season. I think we are headed for bubbleville again. I just hope we are on the right side of it this year. You would like to take one of the four games against UNC and Duke. It shows you can beat the big boys. UNC should be a beast this year so you win that one and it’s big.

    What we really need to do is take care of business with the rest of the ACC. No one else scares me. Miami will be good not great. Then you have a lot of teams that are about the same. We need to man up and take our share of those games.

    I am excited about this season. I think people are going to love Mosely. Not that he will light everyone up this year but how he plays the game. He is a blue collar guy that brings it every game.

    Go Terps!!!

  18. Ricksterps, I love the fact that you are reffering to Mosely as “blue collar.” When you get one guy on a team like that it can infect everyone, and before you know it even the bench players are diving to the floor for loose balls. Byron Mouton brought that to the team, and we need it again.

  19. I think that if we don’t get a spark in the team, our season is over. We lack talent but can make up for it by playing hard

  20. Don’t expect alot from Steve Goins this season and you won’t be disappointed.

  21. Steve Goins is a tomato can. For those of you who need the translation of what “tomato can” means – in other words “gunk”, “stiff”, “gunk”. On a good day he’ll not even be ol’ Mr. Slalinka or a poor man’s Will Bowers. Mark the tape … you heard it here first.

  22. but wait, we gave him a ship because “we needed the body” right? so he’d have to have some value this season right? Which means we should see fruits from this not 3 years from now, but this season. 4 years folks, 4 years. Hope this seasons impact is worth the loss of a 4 or 5 star 2010 talent. If we don’t add another 09, we’ll have 3 ships for 2010… in a year where top talent is loving us, the lack of a 4th ship will hurt. That’s min top 100, possibly top 50-60 type talent we’ll be turning away. so YEAH, i SERIOUSLY question the Goins signing

  23. I have a gut feeling that someone will transfer due to lack of playing time. Not sure who, I just have that feeling.

  24. Please, exhale. No need to worry about available ‘ships for 2010. As for Goins, my earlier post was simply to help manage people’s expectations.

    He’s just behind the curve/got some work to do. Needs to work on his conditioning and still adjusting to the speed of the game at this level. Goins is a good kid from what I’m told and is a good player, just not going to be a factor this year in games and the coaches knew that, but he’s a help in practice and appears to be a good teammate from all accounts that have been shared with me.

    IF he’s getting significant minutes in games it’s because he’s earned them or we’ve got an injury/foul trouble situation.

    Terps haven’t played their first regular season game and already talk about someone transferring LOL.

    Please let’s all just relax and support the team/coaches during the ’08-’09 season.

  25. Gary Williams will be honored with this year’s Coaches vs. Cancer Inspiration Award tomorrow night in Albany, NY at the 3rd Annual American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer Ball. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt will serve as master of ceremonies. Tix are $100 and it’s a benefit for the American Cancer Society.

  26. “Spazquez” (as much as I love the Vampire and ricksterps) is unacceptable . Greivis is the heart and soul of what will be an exciting, bite-your-nails and scream-at-the-screen young team. As for nicknames, “The Lion of Caracas” is more like it. Mark me.

  27. Turning to Football for a moment….

    The Terps have worked on their silent count this week in preparation for the crowd noise tomorrow night in Blacksburg.

  28. Terps will be brought back to reality. Allthough Vtech lost to ECU … I think we’re taken out by Vtech and their 3rd string QB.

  29. Back to hoops for a moment, the Goins discussion above troubled me a bit. If Goins is too much of a project for us to count on anything from him this season, who are we going to count on to back up Dupree and Burney? Correct me if I’m wrong, I guess we’re looking at Gregory, Neal and Milbourne as the second line 4s & 5s. Did I leave anyone out?

    It looks like we’re going to have to cross our fingers concerning two issues related to our bigs, 1) the hoped for emergence of Dupree and Burney as legitimate 4s & 5s, and 2) quality backup minutes to emerge from among Gregory-Neal-Milbourne and anyone else who might be able to contribute up front. We might miss Shane Walker more than any of us realized. I hope not, but we might. Any other thoughts on our front court situation?

  30. I already miss Shane Walker…loved that kids effort when he saw playing time.

    Goins was a late signee for the Terps, in an effort to increase the frontcourt depth after Gilchrist bolted. Barring injury problems with Dupree or Gregory, we shouldn’t see Steve Goins getting a whole lot of minutes this year, particularly during the ACC season. Hopefully, Steve Goins will develop down the road but he is mainly an insurance policy as a freshman.

    Also, it is unlikely that Dupree and Burney will be on the court together. With the small line-up and lack of depth upfront the Terps plans are to use those two in the “5” spot.

    As for 2010 recruits…search the name Daryus Quarles. He’s impressed Chuck D and the Terps are getting involved.

  31. We got spoiled last year with Gist and Osby (whatever happened to Boom, BTW), but the front court situation for the Terps is not that bad, really. 3 sophs with some game experience, a Senior who is experienced but unathletic and an unknown freshman. Assuming Milbourne runs at the ‘4’ for 20 Minutes a game, that means Gary has 5 players to fill 60 minutes….small problem for GW, but manageable. I think folks are over-reacting by thinking that it means a fatal end for the season.

    This isn’t the NBA. In college, guard play rules – Did everyone forget what UVA’s Singletary did to the Terps with no Front court players worth a dime? Miami has always beat the Terps with 2 or 3 guards and an anemic frontcourt. NCST was that way for years, too. Finally, remember how bad the Terp were with very good front court players and no PG?

    The Terps have at least 4 legitimate starter-quality ACC guards – one of them was second team All-ACC last season – and two highly touted freshman. The only problem here is finding the hot hand every night and getting everyone minutes. With all of those perimeter players contribution, the Terps will be in every game this season…..every game!

    Only a handful of teams have front-court players that can take control of a game (only one of them, UNC, is in the ACC and we also have Michigan state – and potentially G-town on the schedule). And the only reason any of those front courts can take control of a game is because those teams also have very good guards. If the Terps can neutalize those front courts, the frontcourt will be neutered.

  32. Correction – If the Terps can neutalize those back courts, the frontcourt will be neutered.

  33. I thank Gist for his four years of blood, sweat and tears. Having said that, his last two seasons he was more of a three than a four or five. He wanted to get out and shoot rather than play with his back to the basket. He wasn’t the greatest rebounder, especially last season.

    I don’t care if we get six points a game from our front court. I just want the glassed cleaned and some sound interior defense. Last season Boom and Gist just didn’t get that done. They were both good shot-blockers but that isn’t all there is to playing defense.

  34. Reps from the Chick-fil-A Bowl to be in Blacksburg for Maryland-Virginia Tech Game

  35. This just in: Any shot?

    Florida guard Jai Lucas, the son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas, has decided to transfer. The point guard and his mother met with Gators coach Billy Donovan on Wednesday.

  36. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say RICE is his destination.

    UMD was right there, was one of his final five schools during the frenzied recruitment of Jai back in the fall of 2006 but so was Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. As a transfer he’d have to sit out this year and be available…wait for it…in 2010 (same year we’re recruiting Epps for).

  37. Gregg, no more Caps blog? looks like OFB is now the Caps blog on mvn…do you have a new destination, or are you part of OFB now?

    oh, and I like the optimism for this basketball season, but let’s hope the football Terps show up in Blacksburg this Thursday, as opposed to the empty uniforms in 2004…

  38. With all due respect to John Lucas, who I loved watching play as a Terp, I would say Jai had his opportunity and went elsewhere. Chapter closed; let’s not re-open it.

  39. IIronic that Brian brings up the ’04 game in Blacksburg. Last Tuesday night Terp seniors called a players-only meeting and showed a five-minute clip of the worst plays in the 2004 drubbing at Lane Stadium.

    Plenty of motivation for the guys. As I recall turnovers were the big/costly problem for the Terps in that game.

    GOTTA GET IT DONE TOMORROW NITE…GO TERPS!

  40. You know what Brian. It’s ridiculous. The blog is still there, but I can’t get my posts on the front page. Being a devoted reader, if you don’t mind going to the main Caps page, clicking on Capitals Corner, then bookmark that page.

    The new MVN system is driving me nuts, but I am posting. I’m also posting on TheHockeyNews.com (then click on blogs).

    Sorry Turtle Soupers, gotta keep my 5 hockey readers!!!

  41. NCAA grants waiver for Gus Gilchrist.

  42. I don’t see why everyone hates on Neal. Gary is going to be fiercely loyal to him this season, and announcers the nation over are going to laud his ‘work ethic’ and ‘experience.’ Of course, the Terp faithful know the real truth – he is and probably never will be as athletically gifted as others, but don’t be surprised when he is running up and down the court barking orders, and actually boxing out for precious rebounds like a team leader should.

    As for how the Terps will fare this season: I feel like they are going to play a LOT of close games. The recent penchant for playing down to the competition superimposed with the ‘chip on their shoulder’ kind of ‘back against the wall, we’re better than you think’ persona will keep the games close against both inferior and superior opponents. I hope we see several buzzer beaters. Those fans in the 50+ year range should probably start looking into getting heart medication for the 10 minutes it will take to play the last 2 minutes of every game. Who will step up to be the go-to-guy (the venerable Toliver if you will) in those final seconds?

  43. How could they possibly grant that waiver for Gilchrist. Seems like a load to me and I think it sets a dangerous precedent.

  44. GG getting that waiver is complete horse shit. There should be no way possible he suits up for USF this year. If he stayed at UMD he would of sat out the exact same amount of games. He should not be playing for USF until at least next season.

    They give us grief for JSK and his online courses that he took, and they give this kid who de-committed from not one, but two schools a waiver. Unfucking believable.

    The NCAA needs to be investigated or something because as NY-Terp said, a dangerous precedent is being set. Maybe one of the big sports news networks like ESPN or SI needs to do a story on this. Hell, with the way our Congress is investigating sports issues like steroids and others, maybe they should get involved. We all know how Congress likes to spend an ungodly amount of hours on shit like this….

  45. Actually, I think Gus is going to be able to play a few days before the date he could start playing with the Terps. But the Terps were hamstruck with GG by an ACC rule not by the NCAA. But whateva…as much as GG would have helped our team, he didn’t really want to be here in the first place or he would have originally signed with UMD and not Va Tech.

    TOLIVER…HOLY COW WHAT A SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. So so so excited that basketball starts soon. But first and foremost is the Terps at VT tonight. A win there would be huge.

  47. Beamer says will make a QB decision during warm ups.

  48. According to ESPN’s Heather Dinich, all three VT QB’s are dressed and will be ready to play

  49. A little off topic, but does anybody have a link to the mp3 of “I Love Gary Williams?” Trying to download it.

  50. Enjoy Kaw http://garywilliams.ytmnd.com/

  51. Great Posts from all……even AL V.

    The loss of Gist and Boom would be significant were it not for the (hopeul) maturation of Hayes, GV, Tucker, Burney, Bowie and addition of quality frosh. Jury is still out on
    Dupree. He should ge plenty of PT during “cupcake” season and the Old Spice Classiic and BB&T should prove to be the lithmus test for this years addition.

    If they shoot out to 12-3 o4 13-4- They’re legit.

    I sense the strategy will be to minimize GV’s role early on – the test the heir-apparents but I also sense they will slowly come full circle back to GV as the “go to” player and possible, dare I say…..PG. I hope he’s not the PG, because that would signal the maturation of last years PG hopefuls. GW won’t waste 5 seconds to reappoint him to PG, if the need arises.

    As Joe Biden would say…..:This team will be tested early….mark my words”


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