The ESPN/USA Today preseason top 25 would have you believe four teams in the ACC are better than the Maryland Terrapins.
North Carolina, yes. Duke, possibly. Clemson and Georgia Tech? No way in the world.
Believe it or not, nobody is returning as much experience or talent as the Terrapins, certainly not the Tar Heels and not the Blue Devils (who have about as much athleticism among their starting five as the Duke boosters’ charity game squad).
Georgia Tech and Clemson don’t usually show up until the ACC Tournament anyway, and given that Gary Williams’ coached teams do the same thing, advantage Terps.
This isn’t to juice the Terrapins; you can argue that Greivis Vasquez ups the excitement and expectations in College Park, but it doesn’t guarantee a reduction of defensive deficiencies and lapses in execution that have plagued the team over the last three years. But they are bringing everybody back and their newest players in the post are expected only to rebound, set screens and endure Williams’ yelling.
Who knows if the Maryland Terrapins will be any good this year? They could very well fold up again and we’ll all be right back to crushing Williams’ recruiting and engaging Vasquez in verbal combat. But if the preseason is just about judging talent on paper, the voters in this poll are reading the wrong editions.