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G. Williams's three keys to winning on the road

One item of particular note after one week of ACC play is that two of Maryland's three conference games were played on the road and the Terrapins performed well in both away contests. Maryland took Wake Forest to overtime in Winston-Salem before falling, and then the Terrapins smashed Boston College in Chesnut Hill on Saturday.

That starts stands in stark contrast to last season, when Maryland also played two of its first three ACC games on the road. The Terrapins held a 17-point second-half lead before losing at Miami and then fell at Florida State in overtime a few days later.

Earlier today on the ACC coaches' teleconference, Coach Gary Williams was asked what he felt are the keys to success when playing on the road. He mentioned three points:

1) Consistency. It's often easier for teams to play well at home than it is on the road (familiarity, friendly environment, chance to sleep in own bed, etc.), but Williams said being able to perform at the same level in both situations is the mark of a quality team.

"We've played consistently like we did at home, so that's a good sign for us," Williams said. "There hasn't been a change in the way we've played when we've gone on the road."

2) Mental toughness. Maryland possesses three starting seniors who have gained plenty of experience during their careers in College Park. Williams said that can have a trickle-down effect.

"I think to help the younger players understand that in terms of preparation and things like that, that what really counts is when you step on the court, no matter if the bus was late or if the plane's been delayed or whatever the situation, the game starts," Williams said. "None of those things matter. Nobody feels sorry for you. That's the way it goes, and you have to walk out there with that mind-set."

3) Swagger.

"Not being cocky," Williams said, "but the idea that knowing that if you play well, then you have a chance to win that particular game."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 18, 2010; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

I really wish Gary would schedule more home at homes with major conference competition. Over the past 5 years, true away games against top 50 competition is almost non-existant. The Terps usually play a couple of neutral court games during one of the many pre-season touraments (Maui, pre-season NIT, Coaches vs. Cancer, etc...) along with the BB&T, which is considered a neutral court despite being less than 20 miles from campus.

The Terps did go and play UNC Greensboro, but that game was more to get the team used to playing in that venue before the ACC Tournament. They also played at Indiana, which was out of Gary's control as it was part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. I understand the need to play home games to make money and to rack up some easy victories, but the Terps should really start setting up home at homes with two quality opponents (one home and one away, switching courts the following year) like many of the other ACC teams are starting to do (Wake played at Purdue, at Gonzaga, and Xavier, UNC played at Kentucky, Michigan State, and Syracuse, Duke played St. John's and goes to Georgetown, etc...). Not only would those games help to increases SOS (now standing in the mid-30's nationally), but it will give the Terps another quality non-conference home game to sell to the fans. It will also give the team a real taste of what road games are like, which the early-season neutral court games do not. Playing a home at homes against geographically close teams like WVU, Pitt, UConn, Tennessee, etc... would be a good experience before getting into the ACC season.

I feel that the lack of these tough early true road games has really hampered the Terps' performance on the road in the ACC over the past 5 or so years, which is espeically true because of the non-balanced ACC schedule now and the fact that the Terps will only travel to certain ACC arenas every 3-4 years. Only the seniors who have played significant minutes since their freshman year know what it's like to play on every court in the ACC, which is likely why the Terps have started so strong on the road. A tough early-season road test might have resulted in a win against Wake.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Russ. I would much rather see a couple of early season home and homes than tournaments like Maui. That is too far to go and too much of a distraction. Bet we wouldn't go if GW had to leave the clubs at home.

As for Gary's three keys...why use a word like "swagger." He may not want it to mean "cocky," but that's pretty much what it means. How about a word like "confidence," or two words like "self-belief?"

What do you think about with GV? Swagger, cockiness, conceit, immaturity. Swagger is not a good idea.

Posted by: petecard | January 18, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

exactly!!! who the heck is longwood and what are they doing on the schedule during conf play? that should be a real team from a real conference...

this game only means anythign if we lose...it adds no value to the season...

well atleast i get the evening off...just hope the boys dont take the eve off and lose again to anoher nobody...

Posted by: deadskin | January 18, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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