Maryland Minute 2.18.13: Reviewing Duke, looking ahead to BC


Looking back to the euphoria of Saturday, and ahead to the nervous anticipation of Tuesday.

ESPN: Let's talk about Alex Len...
Indeed, let's.

The Terrapins don’t have any postseason guarantees right now. It’s a soft bubble but they’re still on it. Right now, the Terps are on Joe Lunardi’s "First Four Out" list, but every game on their remaining ACC slate is winnable. Maryland, however, needs this Len every night. He had failed to crack double figures in three previous losses. But on Saturday, he showcased the talent that has fueled the NBA lottery buzz that currently surrounds him. If he gives the Terps that juice over the next six games, they might not lose again in the regular season.

The national hype has started anew for Alex. Last time, he didn't deal with it so good. (Not necessarily because the hype itself got to him, but merely because he didn't fulfill it.) Will this time be different? Oh, and speaking of Len...

NBA GM: 2013 draft class "historically weak"
Want to know why Alex Len won't be back at College Park next year? This is why:

"It’s a historically weak draft that, as a result, you’re going to see a lot more guys putting their name in knowing they’ll go higher in this draft, even though they may not be ready, just because next year’s class has such incredible depth that they could actually play better and improve and drop their draft status next year," said the GM who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to comment publicly on prospects.

It's a heck of a lot to ask a guy to put off millions of dollars for another year of college. It's a heck of a lot more to ask it right after he saw what the worst-case scenario can look like, should he return. And then when it's likely that, if he stays, the best-case scenario is to get picked in the same area, potentially moving down even if he improves? Yeah, he's heading out. Shame, for Maryland, especially because it looks like they could really have something next year, but not a lot you can do about it.

Free throws win the day for Maryland
Hows about that for a bit of irony, huh? Maryland shot 25-34 from the stripe, a respectable 74%, but of course Allen's were the money two down the stretch. (Let's not talk about Jake Layman's miss.) Each player took 500 over the past wee ... but if that's all it took, well, what were they waiting for? No, I'd think this isn't the first time Maryland's shot a ridiculous number of free throws in practice and it probably won't be the last. But it's no coincidence that their two best shooting performances from the stripe came in their two biggest wins.

CBS: "Maryland's student section is better than yours"
Between the orchestrated flash mob and the rise of the Turgeonites, the student section is proving it can do cool and clever every bit as well as uncouth.

Two Terps notes from Andy Katz
First, he mentions that Turgeon's trying to get the guys to react to a big win better than they did last time, when they lost three of four after beating State. I think that's pretty harsh on Maryland given their schedule there and natural inconsistency (i.e., I don't think it was as much about not being able to handle a big win as it was just being a young team). But the point is well-taken: there's a soft schedule coming up, and Maryland can't slip up. The selection committee chair pooh-poohs individual wins, but this is a big enough one to make a difference.

The other note: yeah, looking like the last time Duke will play at Maryland. Meh.

Another "first four out" designation, this time from Patrick Stevens
Behind Villanova, St. Mary's, Charlotte, and Temple, on the same tier as Alabama, Virginia, and Kentucky. Take that as a rough rooting guide over the next few weeks - except, perhaps, for UVA and UK, because Maryland needs them to not fall apart entirely.

Bubble Watch: Saturday's survivors
Maryland, of course, is a winner. So too is UNC, which is good for Maryland. Kentucky is falling apart, which is bad (but the Nerlens Noel injury gives the Terps a lot of breathing room there). Not too much is Terps-specific yet, but as the season goes on stuff like this will be must-read.

Quinn Cook is a little upset that he lost in his city
Usually I'm super-understanding of basketball players right after a loss and think it's petty and callous to have enjoyment and their expense ... but screw it, it's Duke and Quinn Cook made a fool of himself when he proclaimed that he was in "his city." His anger is chicken soup for the Terrapin soul.

WBB: Terps coast in Charlottesville
Alyssa Thomas just went to town.

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