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Maryland's loss hurts, but Terps' future is bright

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Only one team in the NCAA Tournament is happy at the end, but when that's not your team, it really sucks, especially when you realize some of your favorite players played their last game. But despite all of that, the future in College Park is bright.

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I'd almost forgotten how much it sucked when your team lost in the NCAA Tournament. That sinking feeling in your stomach, as you watch the final seconds tick off the clock, helplessly staring at the television and knowing that your team's season is about to come to a close, is the worst feeling as a fan. And to make things worse, shortly after that final buzzer sounds,  you come to the realization that this is the last time you'll see some of your team's favorite players in a Maryland uniform.

I'll never forget Maryland's 2010 NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan State, its last prior to Sunday's defeat against West Virginia. But even as heart wrenching as that loss was, I had still forgotten just how horrible I feel after a March defeat, especially immediately after it happens. Having to come to the realization that the season is over. Trying to wrap your head around the fact that Dez Wells' career at Maryland just concluded. The team that helped Maryland rejoin the nation's college basketball elite is no more.

But as the saying goes,'tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all." I'll take a gut punch loss on March 22nd over a season that ends when you're eliminated from your conference tournament a few weeks earlier. Because no matter what, your season is going to end.

While no one wants to think about this right now, Maryland accomplished a lot this season. It returned to the top 10 of the national polls, showed it was a force to be reckoned with in its first season as a member of the Big Ten, returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years and won its first round game. Many of these accomplishments haven't been achieved by a Maryland team since Steve Blake was running point for the Terps.

And while today might suck, the future is bright for the Terps. This season wasn't a one year fluke. Melo Trimble should be back and is potentially a preseason All-American. Jake Layman will be a senior and paired with Robert Carter, Jr., who will be eligible after sitting out this season, in Maryland's front court. Michal Cekovsky should be great next year, especially if he can do what Alex Len did between Len's freshman and sophomore seasons.  Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley will have increased roles, and Maryland is still in play to land one of the nation's top centers in Diamond Stone.

Just thinking about all of that made me feel a little better. Hopefully in the coming years, we won't have to worry about losing in March because Maryland will only be winning. But for now, it still hurts and probably will for a while.