The Merry-Go-Round Ride Continues for Maryland

Jennifer JohnsonAnalyst IDecember 4, 2008

Gary Williams has amassed a 609-345 win—loss record in 31 seasons, at the helm at the University of Maryland.

His height of success occurred in the year 2002.

Led by a strong backcourt, his talented Terrapins triumphed over the storied Indiana Hoosiers, and won the NCAA National Championship trophy.

But since then, his team has been on a roller coaster ride.

Let us take a glance at the week the Terps just completed, and give your props to the old ball coach for keeping his head above the water.

In a span of four days at the Old Spice Classic at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., the Terrapins terminated the No. 5 team in the nation (Michigan State) by 18 points, lost to the no. 9 team by 22 (Gonzaga), and then were embarrassed by local rival Georgetown, by 27 points, but trailed as much as by 35 points.

As a lifetime supply of TUMS appears on Coach Williams’ Christmas wish list, even he knows that with his line of work, there will be ups and downs.

“Nothing worked for us,” said a ragged Williams, after losing to Georgetown 75-48. “Everything we did was bad.

“We had some open shots that we didn’t make, that we’ve been making.  Whenever you have that situation when you’re not shooting well you can fight through it by really being more aggressive defensively and by just running better offense, and we didn’t do that.”

Picked to finish seventh in the ACC this year, Maryland will always be in some media circles, as the bastard stepchild of North Carolina and Duke.

Both of those universities are able to land the nation’s top high school prospects, because of their rich history, and playing for the respective coaches (Roy Williams and Coach K) allows the spotlight to carry the new recruits onto successful college and pro careers.

It hurts especially when prospects from powerhouse schools like DeMatha, routinely choose UNC over UMD.

Maryland’s scouting department has been great at finding gems amongst the junior college set of players.

Guard Steve Francis started leading Maryland back into the ACC contender ring in 2001, within one year of college play.

A year after his departure to the NBA, Maryland captured the NCAA title.

The victory over the Spartans has proved to the coaches in suits, that Maryland is better than first anticipated.

This win was the first against a ranked nonconference opponent in four years.

However, the losses to Gonzaga and G-Town indicate the Terps have some weaknesses, that have to be addressed, before they open their conference schedule games.

Williams thinks his team has to stay hungry. 

“There are things about plays that you run… you have to be ready to play,” said GW.

Bouts of lethargy, especially against the Hoyas, resulted in falling behind by a double-digit lead.

The No. 1 rule a coach tells his team before game time is, keep the lead under 10 points, and you have a chance to win.

Coach Williams and his squad sit at 5-2, after last night’s victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

It remains to be seen who the Terps really are, or who they want to be, on this young 2008-2009 season.

I know I will be watching them sweat out the good times and bad times with pride.

Fear the Turtle!