Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 12/28
Q: Maryland men's basketball shot over 50 percent from the field and beat Marshall by 20 after a long layoff. Will the Terps continue to be one of the nation's best shooting teams through conference play?
Todd: Startin' right in with the predictions, eh? No warmin' up in the bullpen or nothin'. My inclination is to say that although the percentage will drop off some, I see no reason why Maryland won't continue as a top shooting team. They are a very talented offensive group and they share the ball well so they should continue to get good looks at the basket and that usually translates into a high percentage.
Jake S: I agree with Todd. I'm sure the percentage will decrease a little bit as the competition and the defenses get better. However, I do think they will continue to be one of the best shooting teams through conference play. They have so many weapons and look to get everyone involved. The high percentage shots will likely result in high shooting percentages throughout the season.
Brian B: The competition is about to ramp up, and the number of games in unfamiliar gyms is about to greatly increase. So, while it is possible they remain one of the nation's best shooting teams, I imagine that there will be a slight statistical drop off at the least. However, if they limit turnovers, a slight decrease in shooting percentage shouldn't be that noticeable.
Andrew K.: My guess is that they will continue being a great shooting team. They have so many weapons that it's hard for opposing defenses to concentrate on just one or two players. Further, Maryland can score inside and from deep. Now with B1G play they'll be facing better defenses than against the likes of St. Francis and Cleveland State. But the Terps have basically played to the level of their competition, and I think their best days are ahead.
Justin: I think there will be a small drop off, but only because Maryland has been so efficient thus far. It will be hard to shoot 53 percent for the rest of the season, but I think this team can stay above 50 percent from the field. They are one of the best two-point shooting teams in the country, and the combination of Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone will be hard to handle for most of their remaining opponents.
Noah: I think the drop off will be quite noticeable but I think the difficulty of conference play will affect the other teams too. Maryland still has the potential to be one of the best shooting teams in the country. They can hurt you in a lot of ways. I would like to see the Terps play inside-out more in conference play.
Q: New Year's resolution time! What is one New Year's resolution you would like Maryland to make for 2016?
Todd: Wait, I get to make a resolution for Maryland? The truth is I don't believe in making resolutions. However, I'll hope that the writers for Testudo Times find ever increasing access and cooperation from the powers that be at Maryland.
Jake S: Bring the free Chick-fil-A sandwiches to the Stamp. There's no chance I'm leaving campus for a free sandwich.
Brian B: Uh...all Maryland students should take a vow to lay off alcoholic beverages.
Andrew K.: That Maryland baseball wins the College World Series and are national champs. Now if I were greedy, I'd hope for basketball and lacrosse to make it a Maryland Championship Maximus.
Justin: Better dining hall food. But if you're asking me to be realistic, it would be for a better season from the football team.
Noah: I would like Maryland to resolve to pull off the double sweep of national championships in men's and women's basketball and men's and women's lacrosse. Sadly, like many resolutions, I don't think it will end up happening.
Q: What is one of your New Year's resolutions for 2016?
Todd: See above. I don't make resolutions.
Jake S: Not to tweet about things nobody cares about as much.
Brian B: Stop going to the gym so much, obviously!
Andrew K.: Note your question is "one of your" rather than "your". Appropriate because I have so many things that need improvement. The one I'll have to really work on is not getting overly excited while in the press box.
Justin: To actually stay to the end of Maryland football games. Wait that might be to hard... I'll try to stay until the end of the third.
Noah: My resolution for 2016 is to try and get Todd to make ONE prediction that involves a precise and exact final score and the team that he thinks will win in a game involving two teams.
Q: What was your favorite and least favorite Maryland moment from calendar year 2015?
Todd: My personal favorite moment was attending the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian to see Taylor Cummings win her second consecutive Tewaaraton as the best player in NCAA women's lacrosse. My least favorite moment was the loss to West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Jake S: My favorite moment was witnessing Maryland volleyball defeat No. 12 Ohio State at home. The team struggled against conference opponents, so it was fun to see their hard work pay off against such a talented team. Gotta agree with Todd again about the least favorite moment. That game was hard to watch.
Brian B: One of my favorite moments was heading to State College for the Maryland-Penn State basketball game. It was my first experience as a visiting fan (if you don't count the Ohio State game I went to last year at Byrd...er, I mean Maryland Stadium). My least favorite moment was West Virginia tackling Melo Trimble to the point where he could no longer play. I may have a basketball bias.
Andrew K.: My favorite was the renewed enthusiasm for football with D.J. Durkin at the helm. My least favorite was losing to UVA in the NCAA baseball super regionals for the second straight year. Although UVA would go on to win the national title, I truly believe that Maryland was the better team.
Justin: My favorite moment was the Maryland-Georgetown game. The atmosphere was unbelievable and the game lived up to the hype that permeated through campus. My least favorite moment was probably the football team's loss to Bowling Green. It set the stage for a poor season.
Noah: My favorite moment was covering the 2014-2015 Maryland women's lacrosse team. They came into the season as the defending national champions and had SO MUCH talent. Inside Lacrosse said they might be the greatest women's lacrosse team EVER. I went up to Philly and covered their historic come-from-behind victory in the national championship game, making it the second time I've witnessed Maryland win a national championship. As a beat writer, it doesn't get much better than the team that you cover winning it all.
My least favorite moment was watching the women's soccer team struggle through this season. If they gave up a goal, you just had a sinking feeling that despite their talent and intense effort, they wouldn't be able to score the equalizer. It was tough to watch such a talented group of seniors go out not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Q: No. 5 Maryland women's basketball suffered their first loss of the season, 83-73, to top-ranked and three-time defending national champion UConn on Monday night. Is this a sign that Maryland has taken a step forward in getting over the hump against the nation's best?
Todd: For me, it's not so much the final score that marks the progress but more that Maryland was the first team this season (and the Terps were the fourth top 10 team UConn played in its first 10 games) to have a second half lead. Perhaps even more importantly, Maryland responded to close to within four points with a minute left after falling behind by 12 with about eight minutes to play. If Saniya Chong doesn't make an NBA-range three with two seconds on the shot clock, the last 40 seconds could have been very interesting. This type of pressure and late comeback is something you don't often see against Connecticut and something we haven't seen against them from Maryland. That's the progress.
Jake S: Absolutely. (Side note: I was at the game and saw Noah get some quality face time on the jumbotron.) What impressed me the most, besides my prediction that Saniya Chong would have an impact on the game, (she hit the three that buried the Terps in the final minute) was that Maryland continued to bounce back every time UConn extended the lead. The game was always within reach and in an environment like that, against a team like that, I was impressed with how Maryland battled -- especially when SWK went out in the first quarter with two quick fouls. Despite the loss, the team showed a lot of grit and toughness, which can carry a team when they may not be playing their best.
Brian B: I believe I saw this stat flash across the screen during the game that stated in UCONN's previous 104 victories they had won by 10-plus points, I may be wrong on that. However, the Terps looked pretty solid. The three point shooting of Kristen Confroy was on point, and Brionna Jones dropping 24 points against Breanna Stewart is nothing less than impressive. It is tough to make judgements on overall trends based on the outcome of one single game, but I'd certainly be interested to see a rematch of this game in the NCAA Tournament.
Justin: The game was definitely a step forward, but also showed that the Terps are deserving of their top-10 ranking. UConn rarely ever gets a challenge from any team outside of Notre Dame, and it was impressive to see Maryland fight until the final whistle. They are in a great shot to make the Final Four come March.
Noah: Jake, I hope they got my good side! You are right to be suspicious Brian. That number can't be right since they had a loss last season. UConn has won 47 games in a row by double digits if you include their win against Maryland. The Terps definitely have the talent to make their third straight Final Four. When Thomas and I were talking to Geno Auriemma, UConn's head coach, in the postgame press conference, he said that Maryland matches up really well with them. As I wrote in my column after the game, Brionna Jones is a big reason why. Shatori said that this team "knows what we're capable of" now. Maryland went toe-to-toe with UConn, and now they have the confidence that they can beat them in a rematch. That's progress.