The NIT semis aren't until Tuesday, but there's plenty to tide you over until then: two big non-rev games on Saturday, plus the open practice at Dunbar as well. After those reminders, though, we get back to feeling good about basketball.
WBB: Terps travel north to take on UConn on Saturday
ESPN breaks down the matchup here, which is on Saturday at 2:30 and will be broadcast on ESPN. UConn is UConn, which is to say they're loaded with talent and one of the best teams in the country, as ever, so it'll certainly be a challenge. But just like in the men's tourney, if you have an elite talent as the lower seed, you have a shot, and Maryland has two of them in Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins.
MLax: Terps face final ACC test at #15 Virginia
After a torrid start, Maryland's attack has slowed down of late, with the 10-8 loss to North Carolina as a partial result. Their last two games have been their lowest-scoring totals of the year, and a similar showing in the ACC finale against Virginia would be an issue. If you want to watch, it'll be on ESPNU at 2pm.
Layman rebounds from rough patch with strong outing in NIT win at Alabama - The Diamondback
When Sunshine's on, you love to watch him play. He's a streaky shooter but has the ability to be a great one with a bit of consistency, and his athleticism is extraordinary. But more than anything else, when he's dialed in and focused his defense is top-notch, too. He struggled with the mental side of it early in the year, but as he's gotten better there he's let his physical tools - 6-8, with a long wingspan, great athleticism, and above-average lateral quickness for someone of that size - take over. As a recruit that's what I loved about him, and you're starting to see it every game now. He's a monster at the point of a press.
Another note I haven't seen mentioned yet, but that's legitimately important: he had a great game off the bench. The word on him up 'til now was that he probably needed to be in at the tip to be mentally focused all game, but he disproved that here, perhaps showing a bit of mental maturity with it. He can be a weapon off the bench, and that gives Maryland more options.
Turgeon talks Terps on Baltimore radio
Speaking of Layman: "He's one of my most improved players in a season that I've ever coached." Says that he struggled early because he came in a month late, but as we all know things really clicked for him after Christmas.
WaPo: Alex Len’s double-double, low-post defense helped against Alabama, but consistency remains the goal
Len is without a doubt the most polarizing player on this team, because fans have an expectation that he should always play at full potential, and that anything less than full potential is his fault. That's incredibly harsh: not only has Len been Maryland's second-best player this season behind only Dez Wells, he's still a 19-year-old in a foreign country. Bigs often take longer to mature, and he's a foreign one at that, not to mention young for his class. Inconsistency comes with the territory.*
That said, two points here ring particularly true. The first is Turgeon's: it helps Alex to have a big guy to go against. Teams that try to guard him with a 6-6 combo forward or double him frustrate him, whereas size is something he can deal with. The good news there is that Iowa will start Adam Woodbury at the 1, basically a younger Len himself. The other key point: even if you can't blame Len for his inconsistency, just like you can't blame Seth Allen or Charles Mitchell for theirs, it's probably the biggest what-if of the season, along with the point guard situation. Len was always going to have off games, but if those off games were 10 and 7 instead of 4 and 6, how much better would Maryland have been this year?
*There's also the group of fans that resents that he'll be a lottery pick when he hasn't lived up to that level of performance for Maryland, bitter that the NBA Draft doesn't work by who were the best college players. I don't really understand that, either.
With help from an injured teammate, Pe’Shon Howard’s big three-pointer sparks Terps
Big shot by Pe', but I love the banter between him and Seth.
Melo Trimble named Virginia player of the year
Impressive. No doubt he'll rise up the rankings next time they come out, given the season he had. The more he plays, and the more you see this team, the more it seems like he'll be a perfect fit at the point. And both he and Roddy Peters will be able to be on the floor at the same time, which would be a mighty interesting look. (Can't say I mind the focus on D.C. these days, either, what with Baltimore getting back to politics.)
Yes, Mark Gottfried is on UCLA's "list" behind Brad Stevens
Gott would be an awful hire there, but I really want it to happen just for the schadenfreude. Chaos in Raleigh is always fun.