Coming into Maui, Maryland fans said they were eager to finally find out what they can do against good competition. They haven't liked what they've seen.
After losing to Cincinnati yesterday, Maryland lost its second game in two days, falling to Wisconsin, 78-69. After a 7-0 start, they hit a rough stretch and never caught up to a good, fundamental Badger squad.
Greivis Vasquez looked better than he had previously, but not by much - his issues are still hurting this team. They simply aren't good enough to overcome Vasquez performing poorly. He did have 18 points (most of which came after the game had already been decided), offset by 4 turnovers and a terrible performance before the 5:00 mark in the second half. Nothing he does is working consistently right now - passes are wild, defense is consistent, shots are ill-advised, and, when they aren't, they don't fall. Him getting his stuff together is objective #1 right now.
Sean Mosley had a nice bounceback game, with 10 points on 4-5 shooting despite fouling out. Landon Milbourne was the star of the game offensively, second on the team in scoring with 15. His rebounding trouble sstill continued, though - throughout all of Maui, he has just 3 rebounds. Eric Hayes was arguably the best all-around performer on the day: 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in the loss. In Vasquez' inconsistency, he's been one of the only guys to bring it day-in and day-out.
The freshmen bigs, who always get a paragraph of their own, were again inconsistent. Both show flashes, offensively and defensively, of greatness - a putback, or a nice post move, for example. Then they'll get beaten defensively or miss an easy layup (*cough*JWill*cough*). Jordan Williams especially needs to get tougher - he still refuses to dunk and just seems all-around soft.
There are still a ton of problems to deal with as a team. Another poor shooting performance today from the line; just 53%. Leaving points on the line has been mostly a product of Jordan Williams and James Padgett, but it hurts just as much. Bigger problems were defense and rebounding. Wisconsin's stats dropped at the end of the game in those areas, but Maryland was killed from outside most of the game. Leaving guys open on the perimeter needlessly, bad double teams, falling for shot fakes, bad fouls - nothing much went right.
The same happened for rebounding; Wisconsin was +7 on the boards at half, and +8 at the end of the game. Maryland improved their effort in the second half, but a team scarcely taller than Maryland killed them in every aspect of rebounding - effort, technique, and desire - especially in the first half.
It's official: unless Maryland wants an incredible uphill climb once they reach ACC play, Villanova is a must-win. Similar to how the Michigan State game got Maryland in last year, Villanova will need to be Maryland's banner this year. Otherwise, their best out of conference win will be...Indiana? That's not what the committee's looking for.