Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 2/15
Q: What were your initial thoughts on the Maryland-Wisconsin game?
Todd: My initial thought was (quite literally because I texted it to a friend), "Well, that was ugly." That was followed quickly by, "As you practice, so shall you play," because I am fairly certain that Stephanie White mentioned during the game that Maryland had not practiced well on Friday.
Andrew K.: First, what is up with Melo's shooting the last few weeks??? Maryland looked languid in the first half, with only Sulaimon showing any competitiveness. Going to the press in the second half was a good move. The Terps played with the type of energy that should have been present during the whole game. Still, despite a crappy first half and unusually poor free throw shooting, Maryland was on the verge of mounting a comeback. Unfortunately the threes didn't fall, which ultimately proved to be the nail in the coffin.
Brian B: Maryland's been flirting with defeat the past month or so, and their sub-par shooting was bound to bite them eventually. Hopefully this loss motivates Maryland going forward. The Big Ten is still up for grabs, so a strong finish down the stretch could still result with the Terps sitting at the top.
Noah: Maryland didn't play well enough to win this game. Wisconsin was the hungrier and more desperate team. You could see it in the way they played, especially when it came to rebounding. The Terrapins got beat on the boards by a smaller team. That shouldn't happen, and can't happen if Maryland is going to make a deep postseason run.
Q: Did you think that Maryland did the right thing in suspending Diamond Stone for one game?
Todd: I leave that judgement to the parties involved. I noted in a comment that as I watched the incident I thought the slap at Brown's head wouldn't have happened had Hayes not pushed Stone. That little shove pushed his intense emotions of the moment over the edge into a physical reaction. But that's simply my interpretation. I have to assume that those involved have uncovered the facts and believe this is the appropriate response. Regardless, from an outsider's perspective, I think all parties - including Wisconsin's coach and players handled the situation as well as they could.
Andrew K.: Yes^10; we're not Kentucky or Louisville for goodness sake. Even though Vitto Brown claimed that he hardly felt anything, "the push" was all over the media. By suspending Stone for one game it prevented the situation from spiralling out of control. I'm glad that Maryland was proactive on this, rather than let the conference decide the issue.
Brian B: I suppose it is the right thing to do from a ‘maintaining images' standpoint. I think ultimately it looked worse than it actually was. I'd be interested to know if Maryland would have taken the same actions if we were playing an opponent with a slightly stronger resume than Minnesota.
Noah: Brian B. has a good point here. If Maryland had a road game at Indiana on the schedule instead of a road game against Minnesota, would they still have moved quickly to suspend Stone, or would they have tried to wait it out so that they could use him for the game? I think the suspension was the right move, and at the very least shows that Maryland basketball is willing to take action against a player if they do something wrong on the court.
Q: Maryland's remaining games are at Minnesota, home vs. Michigan, at Purdue, home vs. Illinois and at Indiana. How will the Terrapins fare in their last five games of the season?
Todd: The optimist in me says 4-1 but the realist says 3-2. I think the Terps will eke out a win at Minnesota in a game that will be closer than many expect, and possibly closer than the models predict, and they will win the two home games. They're going to have to raise their level of play to win either of the other two road games.
Andrew K.: Anything is possible with this team. They could be the team that blew OSU out of Xfinity or the team that had to go to overtime to beat Northwestern. The team that outplayed Iowa or the team that got embarrassed against Wisconsin. I'm worried that Melo and Nickens have gone cold for awhile now. But I'll stick my neck out and go with 4-1, as this team seems to respond best when they're challenged.
Brian B: Given the way Maryland has played all season (and most of last season) it'd be safe to bet that all of the games are close. The Terps could win all five of their remaining games given the talent that they have at their disposal, but I sincerely doubt that happens. Unlike Todd, I say Maryland plays a little inspired at Minnesota and wins by double digits, narrowly gets revenge against Michigan, Purdue gets their revenge on them and the Terps beat Illinois by 5-10 points. Indiana is a coin toss, I think it will really come down to how much each team has to play for.
Noah: I think Maryland loses at Purdue, but wins the other four games. I think they will all be close games, and I think they will all have agonizing and excruciating moments. Just be happy that Maryland is in position to potentially win the Big Ten.
Q: Baseball and men's lacrosse have their season-openers this weekend. Which one are you looking forward to more? Baseball's three-game series at Alabama or men's lacrosse hosting High Point?
Todd: This is a little tough to say. Although they play in a powerful conference that's likely to have seven or eight teams ranked in the top 25, Alabama isn't one of those teams. Add that it's on the road (where it should be at this time of year) and that takes a little luster off it as well. On the other hand, High Point is hardly a lacrosse powerhouse and has already lost to Boston University but at least it's a home game. (Odds are I'll be at the women's game, though.)
Andrew K.: That's easy for me, as I cover baseball. However there's a bit more involved here, as Alabama is showing off the 40+ million dollar renovations made to their stadium. The press will be there for that and The Unicorn, as well as to see how Maryland's newcomers fare.
Brian B: Baseball, simply because that is the sport I enjoy watching more. Also I vowed to make it to a game or two this year and attending said games would be more enjoyable if, you know, Maryland is good.
Noah: I know what I'm going to get from Mike Shawaryn. I don't know what I'm going to get from Maryland men's lacrosse. I'm eager to see how the face-off by committee is going to look and whether or not the Terps are going to go up-tempo more on offense. They should win easily over High Point, but I'm going to want to see how rusty they look in their first game action of the season.
Q: Maryland football appears to be extending a lot of scholarship offers to players at the IMG Academy in Florida. Many of these offers appear to be long-shots. Do you like the strategy of trying to build a pipeline at IMG?
Todd: Of course I like the strategy. The girl you like isn't going to go out with you unless you ask her first and if you really like her, you'll ask a second or third time if she says no the first time. Durkin and his staff understand that while it's important to keep as many quality local players home as possible, if Maryland truly aims to compete at the upper level of the Big Ten, then the Terps need to recruit quality players nationally. Florida/IMG seems a logical place to start because some on the staff have already established relationships in the area.
Andrew K.: It's a gamble, but one that could pay huge dividends if successful. Durkin and London are great recruiters, so I'll assume they are taking a calculated risk. That said, their efforts at the DMV movement should still take precedence.
Brian B: I'm no expert on recruiting, but I am pretty certain not much harm can be done by offering players. It's like asking out a pretty girl, the worst she can do is say no. (This has to be the third time I have unintentionally said the same exact thing as Todd) That being said, to establish a ‘pipeline' some of those players have to say yes, and that kind of seems unlikely at this point in time.
Noah: As a southerner who grew up watching University of Miami and SEC football, Florida is a hot-bed of talent. If Durkin does this the right way, it could be a major boom to the program. The downside to this strategy is that it could be hard to keep all of the DMV-area kids that you really want to stay and come to College Park while trying to aggressively pursue long-shots in places like Florida and Georgia.