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Win Puts Maryland in Decent Company


By Orlin Wagner - AP

One of the standard lines about the Terps during this year's crisis of confidence went like this: "A review of NCAA tournament records shows that no national champion in the past 18 seasons has regressed so quickly." I devoured and appreciated The Post's series on Maryland's recruiting issues, but that line was a central part of the justification for looking into such issues.

And now? Well, it depends on the measure. By almost any measure--say, NCAA tournament berths or NCAA tournament wins--Maryland still lags. But how about if you're measuring by second-round appearances? Well, Maryland's win over Cal today ensures that the Terps will have made more second-round appearances in the seven years since their title than '03 champs Syracuse will make in the similar seven-year span.

(The Orange are a year behind, and haven't yet played this year's opening game against Stephen F. Austin, but even if they win their first-round games this year and next they wouldn't equal Maryland's four second-round appearances.)

Again, Maryland remains behind on virtually any measurement. And some people might mock me for even mentioning this. But for the record, here's how many second-round appearances some recent national champs made in the seven seasons right after their titles.

'94 Arkansas: 4
'95 UCLA: 5
'96 Kentucky: 7
'97 Arizona: 5
'98 Kentucky: 7
'99 U-Conn: 6
'00 Michigan State: 4
'01 Duke: 6
'02 Maryland: 4
'03 Syracuse: 3*

* Maximum, assuming the Orange beat Stephen F. Austin and go to the second round in '10.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 19, 2009; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Terps  
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Comments

Stein, stop couching your stuff in language to mitigate the damage on your Yanda/Prisbell buddies. They did a hatchet job on Gary and now it's blowing up in their faces splendidly.

Posted by: p1funk | March 19, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

And what about more recently?

The Gators won back-to-back and then have gone to the NIT the 2 following seasons. Talk about NOT capitalizing on success, where are all their precious recruits?

After Gary won, he took his teams back to the Sweet 16 and then the 2nd Round.

Posted by: p1funk | March 19, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

REAL basketball people (coaches, ex players) defend Gary and Maryland. Nerds at the post and on message boards hate on him...hmmm interesting

Posted by: rc2223 | March 19, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Dan, love him or hate him, you are obsessed with Gary Williams, and you need professional help. I honestly feel bad for you. For god's sake, can't you find anything else to write about?

Posted by: marylandpkp | March 19, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is blowing up in anyone's face. This is Gary's second non NIT post-season in the last five years. If other schools with a recent title were scrapping for the tournament like the Terps, their coaches would be on the hot seat as well.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | March 19, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Future Hall of Fame coach Gary Williams brilliantly coaches his guys to win against the #1 3 pt shooting team in the nation. THAT should be your story, not the continued rubbish you and some of these clowns post. Proud of the Terps, and am darn glad they have a great coach leading them! Go Terps !

Posted by: bfjam | March 19, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

No, this comment holds - since my basic take on Yanda/Prisbell is that even if you can get ANY statistic to prove your point, that doesn't make you Bernstein/Woodward. So although I like Dan's column, this observation is as arbitrary as the first, so they cancel.

But thanks, DS, for bringing it up.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | March 19, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Nothing is blowing up in anyone's face. This is Gary's second non NIT post-season in the last five years. If other schools with a recent title were scrapping for the tournament like the Terps, their coaches would be on the hot seat as well.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | March 19, 2009 7:51 PM

Oh really? I haven't heard anything about Billy Donovan's head being on the chopping block like this. He won back-to-back and then followed it up with 2 trips to the NIT in an overall weaker conference than the ACC.

Are you seriously saying that Gary making it to the 2nd round with this team this year doesn't make his doubters, naysayers and critics eat their words?

Besides if you want to track it back to his title year, then don't be so conveniently selective with your stats and track it all the way back:

Gary's been to the tourney 4 out of the 7 years since winning the title, and has made it at least to the 2nd Round each time.

Posted by: p1funk | March 19, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

what is up with the DC press? get over it man. i was at this game. it was well coached, and the team played in sync. you guy are just trying to save your own face for the crapola you spewed early in the season. eat crow.

Posted by: blur991 | March 19, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with you, Dan? How dare you analyze or look into the basis of articles in the Post? Why don't you just blindly critiqie performances without backing things up? Why take an objective look at things?

Posted by: sitruc | March 20, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Upsetting a seven seed from a fairly weak conference is hardly the place Maryland fans should want to be. Now, if the Terps knock off Memphis, that's when the crowing should begin. But for an ACC team to make it to the second round? Whoop dee doo! It's more impressive -- and tougher -- for MD to make it to where they did in the ACC Tournament this year.

Posted by: Incredulous2 | March 20, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"you guy are just trying to save your own face for the crapola you spewed early in the season."

This is the part I don't get: How is it "crapola" or a "hatchet job" if it's true? I know you guys aren't big fans of "facts" and stuff, but you can't argue with the numbers.

There's no doubt that Coach Williams has orchestrated an impressive turnaround this season considering the dismal start - everyone acknowledges that. But you look really foolish when you attempt to pretend like the numbers aren't there to back up the assertion that things aren't as good as the (in theory) should be following the National Championship win.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 20, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Stet,

You normally make good posts but this one was subpar. If Gary lost in the first round of the NIT two years after going to the final four people would be calling for his head (JT3). If Gary went to the NIT twice after back-to-back final fours people would be calling for his head (Donovan). Would you like me to get into Illinois (2005 Final 4, 2009 first round loss to a 12 seed) or Georgia Teach (2004 Final 4)? Or would you like to take that back?

Posted by: fushezzi | March 20, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"If Gary lost in the first round of the NIT two years after going to the final four people would be calling for his head (JT3). If Gary went to the NIT twice after back-to-back final fours people would be calling for his head (Donovan). Would you like me to get into Illinois (2005 Final 4, 2009 first round loss to a 12 seed) or Georgia Teach (2004 Final 4)?"

The problem with your comparison is that Gary Williams has been with the program for 2 Decades. JTIII has been coach of Gtown for...3 years? The Final 4 bought him some time. Donovan bought himself a ton of time by winning 2 championships.

I'd argue that Hewitt's job isn't exactly safe at GT these days, and I'd be surprised if the Illini coach doesn't have a short leash either.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 20, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I personally find it laughable that a coach who has taken his team to the NCAA's 13 out of the last 16 years is on the "hot seat." And no, I don't believe he ever truly was.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 20, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Everyone here who's bashing the Prisbell article should be thanking him for writing this piece. Without it, there is no way the Terps do as well this season as Williams wouldn't have had the motivation.

The Prisbell piece did was not a hatchet job. It FAIRLY presented Gary's lack of motivation in regards to recruiting. While I personally don't care if he gets a Lance Stephenson, I do care that Gary isn't land another Dixon, Baxter, Mouton, Holden. There is no reason why Gary can't land a good, not solid, but good, under the radar recruit from the Baltimore-DC area....and do it cleanly. I mean, a player of Dave Neal's quality doesn't crack the rotation during 97-04.

Unfortunately there is no help for next year. If you want to be OBJECTIVE, MD only has two ACC caliber players in Vasquez and Mosley and one probably won't be back next season. Also, there is no way to tell if the two recruits coming in next year can hang in the ACC. Sadly, I see another 8-8/7-9 season next year. Is this really what people now expect out of this program?

Posted by: RexRacer426 | March 20, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

the post article was a hatchet job precisely because it did NOT fairly portray the story. going back and cherry-picking recruits that turned out good and maryland didn't get is a ridiculously UNfair way to write a news story. you could do that to literally every team in the nation. it also failed to fully cover the fact that gary's most highly touted recruiting class in his career was also one of his biggest failures (the caner-medley crew of losers). it also failed to fully state the importance of late season losses (to injury or academics) that probably cost maryland tourney bids two of those three nit years. gary got an extraordinary group together at the same time and lightning struck and they went to back-to-back final fours. but that was not a duke recruiting class! none of those guys were big top-10 maa types! what kind of crack are you dudes smoking?

as gary has said all along, judge him by his record, not his recruiting. if you honestly think competing in the acc year in and year out and making the tourney more often than missing it and almost always advancing when they do make the tourney is worthy of firing, then whatever. in that case you're just stupid and there's no reason to waste time even talking to you. but don't go back and say "he should have recruited this guy or that guy" and use that as a justification to fire a coach. it's so utterly lame and unfair.

Posted by: seanjames | March 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

VTDuffman,
Win one in football or basketball and then you are welcome in the discussion. Until then join GW, Mason, and UVA at the kiddy table.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 20, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The "no national champion in the last 18 years has fallen so fast" line that the Post has used repeatedly is quite misleading.

For starters, we're only talking about a little more than a handful of teams here--lot of repeat winners in the last 18 years (Md was almost one of them, considering the Terps had a 22 pt lead on Duke in the final four the year before we won the national championship).

Secondly, it's not fair to include teams that won after MD did in 02, since not enough time has passed to know whether they will "fall" as fast as MD. For instance, Florida has now missed the tournament 2 consecutive years....if they miss again next year that's 3 consecutive years...and MD has not missed 3 consecutive since winning the title.

Thirdly, Connecticut did not even make the NIT a few years ago...MD has never been in any danger of missing the NIT since winning the title.

Forth, one could easily argue that Arkansas fell faster than MD. They have had multiple losing seasons since winning the title. How many losing seasons has MD ever had under Gary? Zero.

Last but not least, North Carolina went 8-20 in 2002, and 15-17 a year later. 20 losses and 15 losses in back to back years? That's falling a hell of a lot further than MD ever "fell." MD has had at least 19 wins in 14 consecutive years. So let's keep things in perspective here.

By continuing to reference the 18 year line, the Post is misleading its readers.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 21, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Dan, would you do me a favor and ask Gary if Cleveland State is one of those mid-majors who "wouldn't win a game in the ACC"? Just want to make sure my list is current.

Posted by: SkinsMasonNats | March 21, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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