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Where To Go From Here?

So the Terps are now 1-2 in ACC play, and even though three of their next four games are at home, the path ahead appears anything but smooth. Maryland hosts Virginia on Tuesday, which has turned into a must-win* for the Terps if they plan on carrying through with their "We're sick of going to the NIT" mantra.

After that, Maryland plays at Duke before returning to College Park to play Boston College and Miami. The schedule only gets more challenging from there, so we'll just stick to those four contests for now.

* Gary Williams hates the "must-win" tag. Every game is a must-win in Williams' book and the notion that one -- especially one early in the conference schedule) would be more important than another seems absurd to him. But the fact is, some games are more important than others, just like some wins are more important than others and some losses hurt more than others. I think deep down Williams understands as much; he either doesn't want to acknowledge it publicly or he phrases the concept differently in his mind. Or both.

Following Maryland's overtime loss to Florida State on Saturday -- its second close defeat in as many games and its third loss in four games -- Williams remained adament that his faith in his team has never wavered.

"I really believed in these guys from the start because of their work ethic, but you know, it’s hard when you’re 18-22 (years old) and everybody tells you you’re not going to be able to compete in the ACC and things like that and pick you 10th, 11th in preseason. But we never accepted that. We still want to prove what we can do on the court. We have a long way to go."

How the team responds to this past road trip -- really, how Williams manages the team's collective psyche -- will go a long way toward determining whether this season completely unravels from this point forward or is salvaged.

There were several positives to come out of Saturday's game -- and even a few out of Wednesday night's loss at Miami -- but will Maryland's players be able to see those bright spots through the "L" that ended up on their record?

"In other words, both those games were winnable games for us," Williams said. "Now, can we keep our toughness going into our home game Tuesday?"

By Steve Yanda  |  January 18, 2009; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Gary can use all the fancy words about "winnable games" but this team just does not have the talent to compete and win in the ACC. They have maybe 3-4 wins left in them this season and I really am not sure they are even up to going to the NIT with no shot at the NCAA. Gary is a good coach or they would not have even been close in the last two games. That said, the failures in recruiting fall squarely on him and it is looking like they will only get worse.

Posted by: miketerp1 | January 19, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

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