Terps ready to get back in swing of things
Maryland Coach Gary Williams sat down a short while ago to chat with a group of reporters and began by listing off three teams before casting out a warning of sorts.
"Tennessee, Georgetown and Florida came out of exams Saturday," Williams said. "How’d they do? It’s a tough time of year. You feel like you’re playing pretty well, but you need to play against somebody to see how you’re playing. And that’s what you have to do. And everybody goes through it. Nobody is exempted from that in college basketball, so you have to be ready to play."
On Saturday, Tennessee lost by 22 to Southern California, Georgetown lost by four to Old Dominion and Florida lost by three to Richmond.
On Tuesday night, Maryland (6-3) will host Winston-Salem State, an independent team that will return to the ranks of Division II next season. The Rams (2-6) don't exactly incite fear in the hearts of most of their opponents, and that was exactly Williams's point.
"Not much you can do," Williams said. "You can only tell the players. I think we have a mature group. I think they understand. But what you can’t do in practice ever is duplicate the nervousness, the intangible things, the people in the stands, the scoreboard being on, all those things change it. You know, you scrimmage in practice situations; you do different things that come up in a game, but it’s not the same thing as playing in games."
As for the past week of practice, Williams and players said the team focussed on shoring up some of the defensive issues that arose during recent contests against Villanova and Eastern Kentucky, including not getting beat off the dribble and guarding the perimeter more tightly.
"For the practice time that we’ve had, I think we’ve practiced well," Williams said. "You know, we’ve been working on some things. Everybody’s been healthy through the exam period, so we’ve had everybody there. That’s helped us."
So will sophomore forward Steve Goins, who did not play Dec. 12 against Eastern Kentucky due to his lingering knee injury and has logged only four minutes this season, be ready to go again?
"No, I’m not including him," Williams said. "He hasn’t played all year. Everybody else looks like they’re 100 percent going into today’s practice. We’ll see."
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