Maryland’s Season Ends Predictably

Post Mortem

When the clock struck double zeros, it was another miserable ending in what was almost an uninterrupted string of miserable endings. It is really saying something to call this year’s Terps the most inconsistent squad ever to play for Gary Williams, but it is true.

(I say this and I remember the John Gilchrist years! Winning the ACC Tournament after finishing 7-9 in the regular season is the very definition of inconsistent, but this year’s team surpassed that standard.)

The reason I give this year’s team the “edge” is that the 2008 Terps could not even play consistently within the same game. At least with Gilchrist, you knew pretty much from the get go what you were getting that night. Every single starter on this team has disappeared at times this season. No one played consistently from December through March. That is epic.

Maryland turned the ball over so many times this year that it became the team’s hallmark. The same guys are going to be bringing the ball up the court next year, so something needs to change. It’s been said before, but what scares me the most is that no one demonstrated marked improvement in limiting turnovers during the season. Vasquez and Hayes made dumb passes against N. Florida and they were making the same dumb passes tonight. It’s maddening and it is not getting any better.

Since Steve Blake’s departure, Gary has brought in two top 10 rated point guards (Gilchrist and Hayes). Vasquez turned out to be better than both, but none of them are good enough. I’m not giving up on our sophomore guards just yet, but there needs to be significant improvement if Maryland is to return to the NCAAs with regularity.

It would be great if the backcourt was the only area in need of improvement, but alas, there is concern up front as well. Jamar Smith is the last Terp who could score with his back to basket. That is four straight years without a post scorer. Garrison sucked beyond belief. Bowers was worthless. Ibekwe was soft. Gist was soft too and did most of his scoring on fastbreaks and turnarounds. Osby was the closest thing we have had and that is really saying something. For a player as limited as Bambale Osby to emerge as our best post scorer over a four year period is a shot across the bow. We need better big men and I am looking at you, Gary Williams. Can you bring us a legit power forward or center one of these years? Maybe Augustus “Big Caesar” Gilchrist is such a player, but who knows? (Yes, I just coined that nickname)

Another point of concern is the Clemson loss. The team simply never recovered from that game. Gary Williams will need to rebuild the team’s psyche during the offseason. Make no mistake, The Terps are damaged goods. Our turtles are snake bitten and that feeling will not go away until we see the Terps get a lead and hold onto it for 40 minutes.

Which brings me to another problem. I can recall many leads blown, but I can only recall one deficit overcome (UNC). This team did not believe it in itself. There was no confidence that when the an opponent took the lead that the Terps could take the punch and fight back. They just rolled over and died. There was no fight.

The talent is there. The attitude is not. Greivis Vasquez will enter his junior year as the unquestioned team leader. I know that he has plenty of fight in him. But will the team rally around him? Cultural differences aside, he operated on a different wavelength from everyone else on the team this year. How many times did he zig while the rest of the team zagged causing yet another turnover?

The Terps face the fundamental challenge of learning to play as one team and not 5 individuals just playing on the court at the same time. With essentially the same cast returning, whether or not they are up to challenge will determine how the rest of the decade plays out.


Syracuse Gameday Thread

The NCAA Tournament just is not the same if the Terps are not participating. It is still an unbelieveable sports day. Our Terps have been placed in TV purgatory, also known as ESPN U for tonight’s “Splenda Sixteen” game (thanks for that Diamondback Russ).

I wanted to mention a little positive press that Turtle Soup got yesterday. One of the Baltimore Sun’s Terp beat writers, Matt Bracken, gave Turtle Soup a nice plug in his recent article about Terrapin Blogs. You can read it here. It looks like we will be linked to the Sun on their Blogroll, so hopefully that will grow the number of Terp fans who come here.

In case you are wondering, we’ve had close to 2000 unique visitors and more than 25,000 page views in the last three months. For a one sport blog, that focuses on a regional team, I am thrilled.

If you read through the excerpt, it is clear that his favorite part of the blog is the engagement that readers have with the site. That is a testament to all of you who read this site. You make it what it is. Thanks for all your support this year and here’s to a great offseason and even better 08-09 campaign.

Now, let’s hope the Terps can go out and win tonight so we have another opportunity to see them on TV before we head into the offseason.

Terps Snap Out of Funk, Down Minnesota

Well, wouldn’t that have been nice three weeks ago? The Terps finally finished a game and can celebrate a road win. Too bad it is in the Not In Tournament.

Gary Williams shook up the line up and rotation hoping to test out some player combinations for next year. The freshman played well. There was even a Braxton Dupree sighting and it appears as though he is actually alive. Hayes ran point for most of the game with Bowie and Vasquez completing the three guard rotation.

Terp fans should get used to seeing three guards on the court together. With two more newcomers to the backcourt coming next season, Gary will have his hands full finding the correct mix. Bowie looked mostly good tonight, but his handle is suspect. He played excellent defense and got to the rack easily.

Maryland still cannot rebound with any kind of consistency. Perhaps the departure of Osby and Gist who are better known as shot blockers than rebounders, will actually help things. Guys like Dupree and Burney will need to be strong on the glass next year.

There are still so many questions. Maryland is now and will be next year one of the most athletic teams in the country. Can they play together consistently? A deep run into the NIT or not, we will have to wait until next year for a satisfactory answer to the question.

NIT… Maryland Vs. Minnesota

Ah, Adrian Branch opens the NIT selection show. Don’t know what to make of that. Insert your own jokes.

We don’t even get a home game! What do you all think of that? Does it matter?

We are the 5 seed and play at Minnesota Tuesday night at 9:30pm on ESPN. If we win, we’ll likely play at Syracuse in the 2nd round.

Is this an insult or deserved?

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