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'Too early' to tell how good Maryland can be

Maryland currently sits alone atop the ACC standings with a 4-1 conference record. The Terrapins own the top field goal shooting percentage (48.7 percent), turnover margin (plus-4.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) in the conference. They rank second in assists (16.7 per game), three-point field goal percentage (39.4 percent) and scoring margin (plus-16.8), and third in steals (8.4 per game) and scoring offense (81.5 points per game).

In other words, things are going pretty well for the College Park-based men's basketball team a little more than a quarter of the way through ACC play.

"Maryland's very young, and the ACC is wide open," Miami Coach Frank Haith said Tuesday. "The one thing about Maryland that I appreciate as a coach is that they play very well together as a team. They're a very cohesive unit right now, and if they keep it up, they very well could be one of the better teams in our league."

The Terrapins certainly are playing like one of the ACC's top teams at the moment. Maryland has posted consecutive 20-plus point conference wins for the first time since late February 2003. The Terrapins' 24-point win over N.C. State on Saturday and their 22-point win over Miami on Tuesday marked two of Maryland's six largest margins of victory at Comcast Center over an ACC foe.

Given how well things are flowing on both ends of the court, Coach Gary Williams was asked Tuesday night after Maryland's sixth win in seven games how good this season's squad can be.

"Ah, it's too early; I'm not sure," Williams said. "We have to go on the road for two games. We'll see where we are. I just want to keep playing well. I think that's the key in the league this year is not to have the big letdowns and to play well. You're going to lose some games; everybody's losing games. But, you know, you have to maintain the way we're playing. We can't back off from the way we're playing."

Indeed, Maryland's next opponent, Clemson, lost at Boston College by six points Tuesday night. After the Terrapins travel to Clemson on Sunday, they then will trek to Florida State on Feb. 4. The Seminoles, by the way, lost at Duke on Wednesday night. What does all that mean? Only that the ACC is shaping up to be a wild and unpredictable conference this season. And that right now, Maryland is looking like the most stable squad in the bunch.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 28, 2010; 8:47 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Can a voter of the "Final Four bound" selection please explain their thoughts, or what they might be smoking?

I like the Terps and they are playing well, but one game at a time...and let's see how the Terps do vs. real teams.

I'll gladly take any win though.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | January 28, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

As of this post, an astounding 81% think that this is a Sweet Sixteen team. Wow. I have neve seen this kind of agreement on this post except for our collective assessment of the ESPN announcers for the Miami game. What will happen next? Pete and Barno become BFFs? Hah!

Posted by: larry31 | January 28, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

larry31 - I think if the team continue to play well the Sweet 16 is possible.

If the Terps continue to play well and avoid the 7-8-9-10 seed, which would make the Round of 32 game against a #1 or #2 seed, I'd take my chances against most teams that would be perceived to be in the 9th to 16th best teams in the country this year in which there truly are no great teams.

A bad matchup could still present itself - a team that hits a ton of 3's and mixes in some zones - but the Sweet 16 IS possible if the solid play continues.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | January 28, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Given the way the Terps are playing right now, they look like a solid Sweet 16 team. Currently, they are doing all the right things both offensively and defensively. They are also playing with a lot of confidence and chemistry. Each person knows their roles and can execute the game plan.

The drawback is that most of these wins have come within the friendly confines of Comcast Center. They should be 5-0 if they had made those shots against Wake in overtime. The Deacs play in a somewhat hostile environment. Maryland's win against BC on the road was NOT a hostile environment. I doubt most BC fans even register a pulse.

It will be interesting to see how this team does on the road in Littlejohn Coliseum (AKA Death Valley 2) and at FSU. If they can win at least one, it should show just how good this team really is.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | January 28, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Need to go 2-1 over the next three games to deserve all the attention the Terps are getting. A road victory will go along way towards validating the Terps early success; I was at the BC game and I have seen more hostile crowds at rec league games.

Posted by: jpfterps | January 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I'm not drinking the koolaid on this team yet. As a long time ACC watcher this is clearly the worst ACC in the last 40 years or more. Two of the better teams (MD and Wake) both lost at HOME to William and Mary who already has multiple losses in their conference. An ACC-CAA challenge this year would not be a gimme. They have 4-5 good teams, but the bottom of the conference is weak though Drexel just beat NE. Outside of the Wake game which we lost I can't say any of our opponents have played well. The next two road games will tell much of the tale I think. If we can win both we could be looking at a 12-4 type of run and maybe even win the ACC. If we lose both we are back on the bubble and probably looking in from the outside for the moment.

Posted by: restonhoops | January 28, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I agree with most of the above comment, but Larry31, no way on the BFF with Barno.

I actually voted for the reasonableness of the Sweet 16, but the next two weeks will be very telling. Several losses in the near term and the bubble watch is back on.

To make the S16, it would really help to be a 4 or 5 seed. That means we will need to win 12 or more ACC games.

One game at a time. Keep the focus.

Posted by: petecard | January 28, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

BTW, what is Haith smoking when he says that Maryland is a very young team?

I would say it's just the opposite. Where am I wrong on this?

Posted by: petecard | January 28, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree with one game at a time, we just need to keep playing at a high level.

reston hoops you've been watching ACC hoops for 40 years? How old are you? You might be the oldest dude to contribute to blog comments in history. or you're just lying to enhance your silly argument.

I'm going with the latter.

Posted by: jpfterps | January 28, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

PC-I thought the same thing reading that. Haith clearly needs to invest more time in scouting.

Posted by: jpfterps | January 28, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Pete,

I also noticed Haith's comment and immediately thought, "WTF?".

Regarding the above posts, there is a lot of agreement. To be considered an ACC title contender, we have to beat "solid teams" on the road. We have yet to beat a "solid" team on the road. Granted, we only had 1 chance (against Wake). Gary is right when he says it is too early. The previous posters are correct: the next 2-3 games will give us a much better picture of where this team is.

I am optimistic because this team emphasizes defense first. It is much easier for a team to play consistently when they rely on defense as opposed to good shooting. Playing at a consistently high level will determine who floats to the top of the standings. No ACC team this year is good enough to coast through a game and still win (see the NC St-Duke game). Also, the defensive execution has not wavered when the first three subs come in (Dino, Bowie and Tucker). This bodes well for this year as well as next year.

Posted by: larry31 | January 28, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Terps will defintely go that far. It's the one time Pete ever had a clue about what he was talking about

Posted by: OG_Barno | January 28, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

OG_Barno, or should I say Poopy McPoop, good to see you're back to posing as me. We can never have too many Barnos running around this place. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery...so yes, I am flattered.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 28, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I go back to the Lefty days and there are guys on here that have longer memories than me. It's the posters that think basketball started in 2002 that have no perspective on things. I don't know what's up with the ACC. I read something earlier this year that no one in the ACC except Carolina has advanced past the Sweet 16 in like the last 6 years and it doesn't look likely this year either.

Posted by: restonhoops | January 28, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah, you got me barno1. The jig is up. I'm totally OG_Barno............Yep that's me. In reality I've got 17 other "handles" I use...........

Of course your post says nothing about the current thread topic so what you're basically doing is trolling. But that's nothing new for you.

Ugh, accusing me of being OG_Barno........really? If I'm really OG_Barno than Barno1 is hyphen-Poop.

As for the poll, with the way the Terps are playing I voted (like most) for Sweet-16. If the Terps continue to limit their turnovers and limit their opponents 2nd chance opportunities they should win more than they lose.

Would've liked to have voted for the team being Final 4 bound but just don't see them being an elite team, yet.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't happen often, but I agree with you Restonhoops.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 28, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I should clarify, I'm with you Restonhoops on the point about some fans having no perspective prior to the 2000s. I defintely don't agree with you that this is the weakest ACC in 40 years...that is a bit of an overstatement. I mean, how many ACC teams have been ranked at some point this season, 8? I'm sure there were years when only 3-4 teams were ranked at any point.

I think top to bottom we are still the number one conference in America. I hate when the Big East fans use the expression top to bottom for their conference...bc let's be honest, the bottom of the Big East there are a few teams that are close to being Division II teams. Yet in the ACC, anyone can beat anyone on any given night.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 28, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This isn't Poopy McPoop although we should definitely join forces. This is the person who is the reason your Barno1 and not OGBarno anymore. No imitation for your flattery, just an assassinated character-alias.

Is Barno1 the real Barno ??

Posted by: OG_Barno | January 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Being a rabid Terp fan for the past 41 years and now residing in North Carolina....I must say that for the past few years it has been rough here. I am SO glad to see that Gary has his team geared this season. It is really fun being a Terp fan again. The Tar babies really hate my butt when "we" are winning. My boys are back. Thank you Gary. Thank you Terps. GO MARYLAND!!! FEAR THE TURTLE!!

Posted by: AliveStillKickin | January 28, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

This isn't Poopy McPoop although we should definitely join forces. This is the person who is the reason your Barno1 and not OGBarno anymore. No imitation for your flattery, just an assassinated character-alias.

Is Barno1 the real Barno ??

Posted by: OG_Barno | January 28, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes. Barno1 is the real Barno.

I like how you know that you lost all the arguments/debates etc we had in the past and couldn't win those debates with facts, logic, reason, etc...so instead you impersonate me. In the end, your impersonating me is your acknowledgment that you realize you couldn't win with valid points.

But hey, I love extra Barnos running around the blogs, by all means keep it up. Omnipresent Barno, who wouldn't want that?!

Posted by: Barno1 | January 29, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

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