Looks like the parades have stopped in College Park, where Maryland has
fallen to 4-3, lost to every ranked team they've played, seen their home court
non-con win streak snapped (by the way, by our count, there were only five teams
that had a shot at beating Maryland - it's
not exactly murderer's row, this streak), and aren't having much fun at all.
loss to Florida was weird in some ways - this is a team which has lost its
best athlete (James White) to transfer, its best freshman (Christian Drejer) to
a foot injury, and which has senior Brett Nelson playing with a stress fracture
and ace freshman Matt Walsh having to have an injection in his foot before the
game just to bring the swelling down. The only consistent scoring comes
from a 6-9 perimeter scorer. They have no depth, have had to alter their
philosophy of shoveling reserves in at a frantic rate, and have no meaningful
size. Yet they outrebounded Maryland and were fresher at the end than the
much deeper Terps.
For Maryland, the only presence inside is Ryan Randle, and the majority of
the shots, overwhelmingly, came from Randle and Drew Nicholas. Randle shot
well; Nicholas shot quite poorly.
And after a brilliant year-long clutch performance last season by Juan Dixon,
down the stretch Maryland made a lot of mistakes. Toss in 4-11 from the
free throw line, and the reality begins to set in: while it's too early to
write this team off (and that would be foolish), they are quite a ways from last
year's championship group. An up-and-coming Tech team is not too far away,
and that game should be very interesting for both parties.
Give Maryland credit for playing a tough team, though. It's not like
State, playing cupcake after cupcake, year after year. After exams, it's
understandable to play a patsy. It's just a scrimmage when you get down to
it. But why do it every chance you get. So aside from the sentiment
of playing in Reynolds, State's
big victory over NC A&T means nothing, and Julius Hodge's triple double,
the first in State's history, is just a trivia answer waiting to happen. State
has won every game by double digits, and they've adjusted reasonably well to
Evtimov's absence, but we'd like to see them play some real teams for a change.
managed to beat Gardner-Webb, but actually trailed in the first half. Still,
they did win, and this is the sort of game they have not managed to win every
time out lately.
Three games on tap for tonight, two not-so-bad and one dog: FSU is
playing Birmingham Southern, Tech
is playing Buzz Peterson's Tennessee squad, and Wake Forest is playing
former Duke assistant Mike Dement's SMU club.
Speaking of FSU, here's an Adam