I knew this was going to be a long winter for Maryland Basketball but I had no idea how HARD of a winter it was going to be. And I mean that in the most complementary way towards the Terps. I was prepared to see us come up short night after night and have a pretty mediocre record heading into Conference play, which is when the season would get much worse. And as much as I try to talk myself out of getting drawn in and let down, I found myself doing that very thing last night. Sure the Illinois game went just as scripted, we played well, stuck with Illinois, but then faded down the stretch as our lack of depth got exposed. Absolutely how the game should have played out. But I did not anticipate how drawn in I would get. I WAS yelling at the TV, I WAS generally bummed when we lost, and the sting of defeat DID linger for an hour or two after the game. Everything I bragged that I would not allow to happen to me this season happened and it isn’t even December yet! But despite the loss and rather pedestrian record up to this point, I am buying into this team, and more importantly the program. I don’t know if it is because my level of despair after the worst Maryland Football season ever, and that I’m looking to cling to anything positive, but I like these kids and I like where this program is going. Did we beat Illinois? No of course not, but what would have happened with better free throw shooting? I mean we were right there all night long. Now realistically, Illinois isn’t a top ranked program at the moment, so even had we held on, it wouldn’t be a rush the court type of victory, but the level of play I have seen from the Terps so far this year, shows that things could get better and possibly sooner than I had anticipated. Faust is contributing, Stoglin is taking over the team, the big men are playing, not great but not as bad as I feared. I’m generally thrilled with the team (keeping in mind where I set the bar at the beginning of the season). Now are they going to lose a lot of games, yeah most likely. And are they going to drive us crazy, yeah most definitely, but the team is moving in the right direction, which gives me a great deal of hope. Of course the problem for me now is to try and NOT get sucked in. Wasn’t too worried about this a month ago, but now it is looking like that could be the biggest challenge of this young season.
I say this all the time, losses are losses and I hate to put too much into moral victories, but I do want to point out that last night’s loss to Illinois is a good example of a tolerable loss. The Football team’s loss to Temple was not tolerable. Sure they are both L’s in the standing, but to compete and lose is one thing, to fail to compete and lose is totally different. And that is why I’m subscribing to the Fire Edsall now school of thought.