Maryland won't have a signature out-of-conference win this year. Villanova got one of their first convincing wins of the year over the Terps, doing it with a lights-out first half performance.
Villanova made their killing in the first half, shooting an ungodly 50% from 3 and taking 22 of them - for those bad at math, that's 11 made threes in just one half. They paired that with a 10 board rebounding advantage - 26 to 16 - with 13 offensive rebounds.
Give Maryland credit, though: they fought back hard, and cut the 11-point halftime-deficit down to 3 eventually. They couldn't get over the hump, but both defense and rebounding improved in the second half.
Make no mistake, they actually played pretty well. They were, for the most part, effective and relatively efficient. They shot exactly 50% for the game, and many of Villanova's threes were difficult to cover, as they were from NBA range. I'm not saying Maryland looked great, but they weren't as bad as the score might've indicated, and that didn't even look all that bad. Too bad no one on the selection committee will know that.
Of course, there were major problems to look at. Villanova had more than 20 offensive rebounds and took an extra 24 shots - 24! That's pretty terrible even for zone defense, which is naturally conducive to offensive rebounds. It needs to be worked on.
Greivis Vasquez is still troublesome with his inconsistent performance. Gone, at least for the moment, is the Vasquez from last year. He's been replaced by someone whose shooting - and, actually, entire game - is decidedly average. He is much more reminiscent of sophomore and even freshman Vaz than junior Vaz. Maryland needs him to be sensational as he was last year, and he just hasn't brought it. He fouled out today, and you could see how much it hurt him. He needs to turn it around some time soon.
Luckily for Maryland, they have found a replacement, and his name is Sean Mosley. He had 24 points to lead all players in scoring and showcased a complete game - his jumper was good, he hit his layups, played outstanding defense, and was heady and smart. He should challenge for postseason ACC accolades if he plays like this the rest of the year, which is pretty similar to how's he played all of this year so far. Sugar Sean was simply amazing tonight.
Jordan Williams was just as encouraging. He needs to work on plenty - conditioning, some tighter technique, more aggression (that is, dunking) - but he looked surprisingly good against a solid big man in Antonio Pena. He put up his first double double in the best competition he's seen all year, and had a surprising 19 points and 12 rebounds. He's officially earned a starting spot - Dino's status should be irrelevant. I'm relatively confident that he wouldn't put up a double-double against the #3 team in the nation (though I could be wrong). Regardless, you can't take Williams out now.
It was a loss, but a promising one. Maryland never gave up, kept pressing, and almost pulled off a win over one of the best teams in the country. They won't get all the advantages from it, but they can rest easy knowing they played well against a very good team. You always want a win, but this was a loss I can swallow.
The negative, of course, is that there's no more big time OOC win for Maryland. First off, they can't have any more bad OOC losses - no Morgan State this year. They'll also have to have a better ACC year than last year. They're capable of both, but there's not a lot of room for error.