Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 1/4
Q: The top-ranked teams in the coaches and AP top-25 poll battled on Monday night. Kansas outlasted Oklahoma in three overtimes. Do you think Maryland should be moved up to No. 2 if they win both of their games this week since the No. 2 team in the AP Poll (but No. 1 in the Coaches) lost?
Todd: I don't really care that much. Rankings in the second week of January simply don't mean very much. But in this instance, I can't penalize a team for losing in triple overtime on the road in a one versus two matchup.
Anthony B: I'm with Sammi on the AP rankings. To me, winning is what is most important. but to answer the question, yes, they should move up to No.2 if they beat Wisconsin Saturday.
Brian B: I'm more concerned with Maryland winning both of their games this week, more so than whether or not they should move up in the rankings. That being said, I managed to watch almost the entirety of the Kansas v. Oklahoma game and they sure looked liked the two best teams in the country to me. Oklahoma lost by three, in triple overtime, in Allen Fieldhouse, a building that Kansas has gone 140-3 (or so) in since 2007. I find it hard to believe that Maryland is somehow better than Oklahoma at this stage in the season.
Sammi S: The polls and rankings mean nothing to me. Nothing. What matters to me in the end is what the scoreboard says, as well as Maryland racking up wins. And as for Kansas vs. Oklahoma, the game went on for ages, and both teams looked great out there, so I wouldn't say that the loss necessarily hurt either team in the rankings.
Justin: It would be great to see Maryland move up to No. 2, but, like Sammi said, the most important thing is that they keep winning. Rankings at this point in the season aren't as relevant, especially in a season like this where there is no dominant team. Also, Kansas and Oklahoma played a game for the ages. There's no reason Oklahoma should move below No. 2 after almost knocking off the Jayhawks at the Phog.
Jake S: I don't think they should move up. I'm with the rest of the gang in the belief that it doesn't matter what they're ranked, but I have no problem with Oklahoma remaining No.2 despite losing. They played a game that was absolutely thrilling from start to finish, and I don't think Maryland would've had the same success. Nonetheless, the rankings mean nothing and if the season ended today, Maryland would still be a No. 1 overall seed -- so it doesn't mean anything to me.
Noah: Rankings in January don't matter much. That is true. However, I think getting bumped up to No. 2 is nice because it gives Maryland a little more cushion if they drop a game, and it puts them in position to get their first-ever No. 1 ranking if Kansas loses.
Q: Mark Turgeon said that Melo Trimble left the game because of "tightness" in his hamstring. How worried are you on a scale of 1-10 about Trimble's injury?
Todd: Two. Fortunately, this was a game that Maryland didn't need Melo and this sounds like the type of "injury" that generally responds well and quickly to treatment in this day and age.
Anthony B: Four. Hamstring injuries aren't anything to play with, but I also don't think it should be a major cause for concern.
Brian B: Four, mostly based on the vague description of the injury. Part of me thinks that if Maryland wasn't winning by 30 plus for most of the game, than Melo might have played through it.
Sammi S: Let's go with a three. Melo wasn't needed for this game, as it was a pretty easy win for the Terps tonight. It just sounds like a bit of cramping and "tightness" that will just take a bit of rest and 1-2-3 treatment. Nothing to be afraid of, and nothing Melo can't handle.
Justin: Three. Mark Turgeon said he would be okay after the game, so I expect him to suit up on Saturday. However, if he aggravates his hamstring again there is a need for concern, since hamstring injuries can linger.
Jake S: I'd say a four just because these type of injuries tend to linger depending on the situation. Guys tweak a hamstring all the time and end up missing serious time because of it.
Noah: I'll say a four because I'm not really sure I buy that it was just "tightness". Jake is right about these kinds of injuries tending to linger. Melo might have to miss some time.
Q: Maryland women's basketball played three games in six days and lost twice to top-10 teams in No. 1 UConn and No. 9 Ohio State. They're now ranked No. 8 in the country. Is there any reason to think that Maryland is in danger of failing to defend their Big Ten title?
Todd: Simply put, yes. The Big Ten won't be the gauntlet that the ACC would be (especially at the top of the league) but there are some quality teams. The Terps get a second chance at Ohio State in about a month but guard play is a bit of a problem and Ohio State's backcourt is a tough matchup for anyone let alone Maryland. The Terps have to figure out how to get the ball inside to Jones and she'll need to identify the double team better than she did against Ohio State. The other - perhaps more obvious - need is solving their turnover problems.
Anthony B: Not if they fix their turnover problems. Teams in the Big Ten have their number now, so they have to make sure they execute in all areas of the game.
Brian B: I wouldn't be too worried, the bottom half of the B1G should result in some easy victories for the Terps. While a loss certainly never helps any cause, Maryland will have a chance to get ‘revenge' against Ohio State on February 8th. I did not get a chance to watch the Ohio State game, but if they play every game like they did against UConn in the Garden, then they probably shouldn't lose another game all year...but, that's a big if.
Sammi S: I'm not too concerned. The team is one of the strongest in the NCAA and has the potential to win each game. The Terps play against UConn was by no means unimpressive, and as long as they fight to the finish like they did then, they'll be fine. I don't expect more than one more loss from them this season. Frese is great, and each player is performing up to standards and is aware of their mistakes and how to fix them. They always aim to be better than next time, even if they appear perfect. Don't worry about them.
Justin: The Terps still have a good shot to win the Big Ten Title, but it's not the guarantee a lot of us thought it was after the UConn game. There's no shame in losing to a team that has one of the best players in the country, and they have a chance to get revenge on the Buckeyes on February 8th in Columbus. Maryland has a long way to go, but can still make a deep postseason run.
Jake S: They'll be fine. I think playing Ohio State served as a trap game after the loss to UConn, despite the Buckeyes' top-10 ranking. Had Maryland defeated UConn, I think they would've come into the game with a lot more confidence and swagger than they did. They've proven they can be one of the best in the country, so I'm not worried about them failing to defend the Big Ten title.
Noah: Todd, I actually wrote a column last night on Maryland's turnover problems. I'm not so sure that Maryland wins the Big Ten after that loss. I have to disagree with you Jake. A trap game? Ohio State was ranked in the top-10 for a reason. They've beaten some really good teams this year. The Terps lost because Ohio State played a better game, Maryland was playing their third game in six days and because they turned it over 20 times. Maryland will have to play lights out to get that win in Columbus.
Q: Should Will Likely declare for the NFL Draft or should he stay for his senior season?
Todd: If Likely gets sound advice that he has a chance to be drafted and to make an NFL squad, he should go. I personally don't see him with a real future as a defensive back, and I don't know that he can create a roster spot solely as a return specialist. But I don't know enough about the NFL to make that judgement.
Brian B: The Maryland bias in me obviously wants him to stay another year, he certainly could help this Maryland team that is attempting to turn the corner. However, if someone gave me the opportunity to make mucho dinero doing something I love, it would be difficult to turn down. Ultimately it is up to him, and what he thinks is best for himself. Who am I to say what he should or should not do? I personally do not see him having a huge impact in the NFL, but who knows.
Sammi S: This is going to sound awfully cheesy, but I think he Will Likely be drafted. He should go for it if he really wants to, but he needs to become more than just a return specialist, even though he's among the best in the nation. I'm more of a hockey kind of person, so I'm just going to agree with Todd and say that I don't know too much to give a definitive yes or no.
Jake S: 100% stay. He isn't ready to be an impact player in the NFL, and although there is a risk of injury which would hurt his draft stock if he stays, he still has a lot of room to grow as an undersized player at the collegiate level -- let alone the NFL.
Justin: If the people around him say he should go pro then he'll declare for the draft. However, I don't think that would be a good idea. As dynamic as he is as a returner, Likely would have a hard time sniffing the field on defense because of his size. He needs another year to show teams what he can do as an offensive option, since you can't just make it in the NFL on return skills alone.
Noah: His value is at an all-time high. He should go if he has a chance to get drafted. He has nothing more to prove at the college level. His size will always be an issue. That won't change if he stays for another year.
Q: Maryland football is getting commitments from some very highly touted offensive linemen. Is this something or nothing?
Todd: Linemen are good. Commitments are commitments. As I've written often, commitments are worth the paper they're not written on. Ask me at the end of the day on February third.
Brian B: Nothing. Even if we assume that all of the verbal commits will sign, highly rated recruits do not always translate to success. You have to be able to coach those recruits to maximize their potential. Often for Maryland (at last under Ralph) this meant making the most out of those recruits that may not have been so highly touted. Fun Fact of the day: Cliff Tucker was a 4-star recruit...at wide receiver.
Anthony B: It is definitely something! I did not think that the Terps were going to get Richard Merritt at all so when they did, along with Terrance Davis, I thought there must be something to this Durkin guy. However, they've also had a trail of decommitments but they can recover from that.
Sammi: You know, I'm going to say it's something. They're doing something to improve their offensive line, and getting commitments from All-American players is definitely something to talk about. But let's have it set in stone to really call it a big something.
Jake S: Linemen are extremely crucial when playing in the Big Ten, so I'm definitely going to say this is something. Like Todd said, though, these commitments aren't worth much right now. I'm still not totally sold on Haskins coming to UMD. Let's talk when they're all officially coming here.
Justin: It may be the start of something. It's great to bring in solid offensive linemen, but if they don't have playmakers then it won't matter how many great linemen they have.
Noah: It's something. I grew up in SEC country and the best teams have the best lines. Alabama doesn't just have a ferocious defensive line. They have an overpowering offensive line that dominates other team's fantastic defensive lines. To reach the Big Ten championship, you HAVE to be able to run the ball. Just look at the last four finalists: Ohio State (who used that ground attack to smash Wisconsin and grind down Alabama and Oregon to win the national title), Wisconsin (who helped Melvin Gordon gain ludicrous rushing totals), Michigan State (just watch their second half this year against Maryland) and Iowa (who used their rushing attack to run the table in the regular season). Maryland needs a very strong line that can protect the quarterback and open up holes for the running backs.
Q: Maryland women's lacrosse was ranked No. 1 in Lacrosse Magazine's preseason poll. The Terps are the two-time defending national champions and went wire to wire as the nation's top-ranked team last season. Will they go wire to wire this season?
Todd: The Terrapins certainly have the talent to do that. Then again, as you pointed out in your story about this preseason ranking, Noah, Maryland will play preseason No. 2 North Carolina in the third game and preseason No. 3 Syracuse in the fifth. Both of these games are on the road - as is the sixth game against 10th-ranked Florida.
The Terps lost 11 seniors nearly all of whom made significant contributions to last year's title run -not the least of whom was Alex Fitzpatrick. Coach Cathy Reese still has a lot of returning talent and a highly touted freshman class but, as the men's basketball team showed us, teams sometimes need to play together for a few games to find their identity. How would the Terps have fared had they played three of their first six games on the road against say Kansas, UNC and Kentucky? Can they repeat? Sure. Wire to wire? That's a tall task even for this squad.
Brian B: I don't watch much lacrosse, men's or women's, so I will have to speak anecdotally. Going wire to wire, much less running the table, in any sport is difficult (i.e. Kentucky basketball last year), so I will say no, they will not go wire to wire this season simply because that is the statistically safe answer.
Sammi S: Ah, time to discuss the sport with the sticks that have the nets. Like Brian, I know nothing when it comes to lacrosse, but I am definitely trying to open my mind to more sports. Thanks to Google search, I was able to do some professional research on this topic. Considering Todd's point, that the team lost 11 important seniors, I do not believe they will go wire-to-wire. There's a lot of talent, and great leadership from coach Reese, but without 11 of their most tenured players, they're going to lose some games while they figure out a chemistry that works. But hey, anything is possible.
Jake S: Good players and good coaching generally lead to good teams. Will they run the table start to finish? Probably not. Everyone slips up at some point. Do I see them potentially hoisting the trophy at the end of the season? Definitely.
Justin: This team has a shot to 3-peat. However, I don't think they'll go wire-to-wire. Cathy Reese lost 11 seniors from last year's title squad, but still has Tewaaraton Award Winner Taylor Cummings and leading scorer Megan Whittle, who is only a sophomore. Cummings and Whittle went to a high school that hasn't lost in seven years, so I don't think losing is in their DNA.
Noah: Short answer? No. I think No. 1 Maryland will lose to No. 2 UNC on the road in their third game of the season, dropping them from the top spot in the rankings. After that, I think they'll run the table.