With the end of the regular season fast approaching for the Maryland Terrapins I think it is time to take a critical look at this team.
Their season, by fans standards, may not have gone as well as it should have between blowing big leads and getting blown out of some games. However, the Terps season, in my opinion, can be looked at in a plethora of ways.
First, it can be looked at as a success. At the worst, this team will wind up 17-13 and 6-10 in the ACC. That’s not awful for a team that many picked to win four or—at the most—five ACC games and 14 or 15 overall.
The 17 wins thus far include wins against No. 5 Michigan State at a neutral site early in the season and No. 3 North Carolina recently.
Also, it can be deemed a successful season because the team is so undersized. On most nights, the tallest starter for the team is 6’7”. The greatest strength that this team has is its guard play. Between Greivis Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, Eric Hayes, and freshman Sean Mosley the guard play has been steady all season.
The 2009 season can also be looked at as a failure. Maryland has been upset at home by MEAC school Morgan State and doesn’t seem to have the killer instinct that many upper-echelon schools have to make tournament runs.
I think part of the problem for Maryland is the inside play. As I said, Maryland isn’t a very big team which poses problems against teams that rebound well.
How will these positives and negatives work out down the stretch for the Terps?
Maryland has four games left—two games at home and two games on the road. All season the Terps have struggled on the road, winning just one game.
However, the two road opponents appear to be two of the lower-tier teams in the ACC, NC State and Virginia. The two home games should be very tough—Duke on Wednesday night and Wake Forest next Tuesday.
I think the Terps could win three of their last four giving them 20 wins overall and a 9-7 conference record. They will split their home games and beat the two teams on the road.
Even with 20 wins and being above .500 in conference play, the Morgan State loss should loom large, forcing Marylandto win one game in the ACC tournament. If Maryland can do this they will make the NCAA Tournament, if they don’t, it’s back to the NIT for the fourth time in five years.
Following my formula, I think the Terps will wind up being anywhere between an eight and 12 seed for the big dance.
Although I don’t think the Terps make it past the first weekend of play, I do believe they will make it to the round of 32.
Making a run in the tournament past the first weekend will depend on two things—the guard play and how well they crash the boards against a bigger team.
Maryland fans can be confident that this team will hustle and make their foul shots.
Those two factors alone could help the Terps split the last four games and surprise some people in March.