Maryland's game against North Carolina seemed to be another example of what Maryland fans have come to expect this season - a great effort, but often coming up just short in the end. But while the Terps were again on the short end of this game, several interesting things came out of this game. I was coving the game for another site a write for, DCSportsbox.com, and thus was at Turgeon's post game press conference. I've compiled some quotes from Turgeon below that I thought were interesting and worth mentioning and discussing.
"Lot of positives. It's that fine line. It's no fun going through that we're going through" said head coach Mark Turgeon. You can tell that Turgeon knows his team is getting better, but it must be frustrating to not see that translate into consistent wins.
One of the things I find particularly interesting is the dynamic between Turgeon and sophomore Terrell Stoglin. I think Turgeon knows and realizes how important Stoglin is to this team, but he's still frustrated by his play at times. And I think this comment at his press conference after the UNC game sums it up:
"I was disappointed in some of the things we did down the stretch." Later, when asked what Stoglin needs to do to be a better closer, Turgeon responded with "Just trust his teammates. The reason we were so good the first half, did you see our scoring? It was 8, 7, 7, 6, 5 - balanced scoring. That's the only way you're going to beat great teams."
I asked Turgeon about the transition defense Maryland used against UNC, which limited the Tar Heels to just five fastbreak points:
"I think it was a couple things. I think we really did a great job [defensively] and I thought they missed some open ones for us. But I've never in my coaching career sent three guys back when a shot goes up. We sent three guys back tonight and I thought our big guys did a great job of running back for the most part. [Kendall Marshall] is as good as I've ever seen. He's something else - 16 assists. He had six turnovers which is not his style. I like to think I can see things being a former point guard. He sees things coming on the break and he's really at another level."
So that was an interesting piece of information and that strategy seemed to pay off. Had Maryland been able to execute a little better down the stretch you have to think they could have pulled out the win.
The other area where Maryland clearly struggled against UNC was with rebounding. I've always been baffled by Maryland's inability to box out at times. I don't know if it wasn't something Gary Williams emphasized, but it's definitely something Turgeon is preaching and struggling to get this team to execute. "I've never had more trouble getting a team to be more physical on boxouts. We worked on it, we talked about it, we worked on it everyday. If we just could have gotten a couple of rebounds in there, it might have been a different outcome."
Another point I wanted to highlight was Turgeon's relationship with Roy Williams. I hope everyone realizes that Roy Williams is the reason Mark Turgeon is here today. He gave Turgeon his first job on his staff at Kansas and Roy is Mark's mentor. When Turgeon was offered the Maryland job, the first person he called was Roy and Roy told Mark that he had to take the Maryland job, saying it was one of the best out there, that it was a basketball school, in the ACC, had great recruiting potential and was in a great area. That's why I think the dunk at the end of the game on Saturday ticked off Turgeon and Roy so much. You know Roy didn't like it and he seemed to say that to Turgeon in their post-game handshake. But Turgeon had this to say during the press conference when asked about it:
"I didn't like the dunk, coach [Williams] knows that. There's no need for it. But we're going to be good soon. The world is round."
You've got to love that quote from Turgeon if you're a Maryland fan. He's basically saying get your punches in now while we're down, ACC, but when we come roaring back, we're not taking any prisoners.
I have no doubt that Turgeon is going to do great things for Maryland. The more I hear him speak, the more I buy in to what he's doing, not just this season, but moving forward.