I think anyone who has any understanding of how teams get selected for the NCAA Tournament will be able to take one look at Maryland’s resume to this point and understand why they are on the outside looking in at this point. They just haven’t done well on the road. Sure they took won at Northwestern and Virginia Tech, but two wins does not a season make (just ask Randy Edsall). Now you can also say that outside of the Boston College game, they have had some pretty tough road games to this point. That gets us to today. A win against Georgia Tech can go an extremely long way to getting this Terps team on the right side of the bubble that has become ever so popular to talk about in College Park the last few years. Ahh, remember back to the days where getting to the Tournament was almost a given? I barely do anymore. They seem so long ago. But back to today.
You might as well say it really starts today. There is no margin of error. It’s technically not a must win, but it’s about as close as you can get to saying it without it totally being true. GT is coming in at 14-12 overall and 4-10 in ACC play. They have lost their last two games to UNC and UVA and have lost their last three at home. What does all that mean? Not much other than they are inconsistent as the Terps.
For the Terps to win, it would be nice to see them protect the ball like they did against Clemson. I also think Alex Len has to reassert himself as a dominate force inside. This is one of these games they should win, but we all know the Jekyll and Hyde act has been far to prevalent this season. I know they are still freshman, but they have all played a lot of minutes to this point. You have to think that some of these mistakes are being corrected. According to Turgeon, Nick Faust has really been working on his shot a lot, and it showed against Clemson, though sometimes I put more of his misses on shot selection instead of his stroke. If he truly is at the point where he can consistently hit some jumpers, he can be a real weapon going forward. I don’t remember when exactly it clicked last season for him, but it was around this time where he hit his stride. We can only hope the same is happening this year. If nothing else, he has to be confident that his hard work is paying off, and will be able to play without thinking about his shots so much.
This is a pivotal stretch for Maryland. Two road games against teams that are at the bottom of the conference standings. But what does that really mean? They are by no stretch gimmies. Wake Forest took down Miami over the weekend. So get settled in and be ready for anything from this young group of guys. Just hope that they are making the step up at the right time.