Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 3/7
Q: Maryland men's basketball has now lost four of their last six games, but heads to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 3 seed. How would you assess the Terps' chances in Indy?
Bartley : Based on the way they have been playing, I think they will only win game one. Hope I am wrong and that they go much further.
Todd: If watching the women's tournament counts for anything, I think Maryland should hope that someone upsets Wisconsin Thursday. The season showed me that Maryland and Wisconsin are too closely matched and that the Terps might struggle to recover if they fall behind early. And if they do recover, they might not have much left for a game on Saturday.
Brian B: Not great. I think there is about a 95% chance that Maryland plays Wisconsin, a 10% chance they play Nebraska, and a -5% chance they play Rutgers in their first game. If they get past the Badgers (or Huskers) it means they have a likely date with Michigan State, and given the way Maryland has sputtered into postseason play, the chances they get past that point is very low in my opinion. I sincerely hope they can prove me wrong.
Noah: This team is still one of, if not, the most talented in the Big Ten and the win-or-go-home mentality might be give the Terps the sense of urgency that they need. I believe that the Terps will make it to the title game, but that's where the run will end.
Andrew K.: I would be surprised if Indiana or Michigan State doesn't win the tourney. They're both playing at a high level. If Trimble plays like early-season Melo, then all bets are off, and the Terps are right in there.
Q: All five Maryland starters received Big Ten honors earlier this week. The last Maryland team with five all-conference players ended up winning the national championship. Is this something or nothing?
Bartley : It is something as it is an accomplishment as a team to have 5 starters honored like this, especially with all of the parity in college basketball.
Todd: It's something that points out that Maryland never really gelled and became a unit. If my memory is accurate, the other Maryland team to which you refer won the conference regular season and was 15-1. That's a long way from finishing 12-6, tied with four other teams and being granted the third seed by the arcana of a tiebreaking system.
Brian B: It is a mildly frustrating something. It says to me that this Maryland team is incredibly talented, but could very easily end up with a worse record than last season. Maybe I just don't handle success well because here I am pouting about a team with a 24-7 record.
Noah: It is something. Having five starters with all-conference honors is truly a feat. Has this team underperformed expectations so far this season? Absolutely. However, this team should and will ultimately be judged on how it performs in March.
Andrew K.: Not very much. Personal accolades are fine, but it's the team's performance that ultimately matters. Can any of us look back on this season and say the team played up to its potential? I'd rather have less starters recognized and yet win the B1G.
Q: Did you think Diamond Stone should have won Big Ten Freshman of the Year over Ethan Happ? Why or why not?
Todd: I don't know enough about Ethan Happ to make that judgement. A glance at the season statistics seems to show that the two had comparable seasons but Happ's team met or exceeded their preseason expectations, so I can't quibble with his selection though I do see some irony in that Happ plays for Wisconsin and Stone is from Wisconsin.
Brian B: Normally I'd dodge this question by saying something indifferent, but I believe that Stone deserved it more. He was the more efficient scorer. He averaged six less minutes per game, averaged a point more and shot a better percentage, both from the floor and the charity stripe. If I had the energy to look up more complex statistics, I would have to assume Happ had more touches per possession as well. The only edge Happ had was in the rebounding department...obviously.
Noah: I agree with Brian. I got to see more of Stone than I did of Happ this season, but I do believe that Stone's scoring presence, consistency and efficiency made him the right choice for Big Ten Freshman of the Year. That is not to say that Happ is undeserving of the award, but I believe it should have gone to Stone.
Andrew K.: Happ may have been the better all-around player. However, Stone had more scorers around him, and might have been even more prolific if he was one of only two scoring options. I'll give the nod to Happ because Wisconsin would be lost without him.
Q: Maryland women's basketball swept the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles for the second straight year. What does Maryland need to improve on to reach their third straight Final Four?
Bartley : If they control the turnovers, along with playing "their" brand of basketball, they have a great chance of getting back to the Final Four.
Todd: Bartley is right. The Terps need to control turnovers. They also need to recapture some of their three point shooting mojo that disappeared in the semifinal and final of the Big Ten Tournament where they shot about 27 percent. If the Terps are placed in the Lexington bracket, as Charlie Creme projects, and reach a matchup with South Carolina in the Elite Eight, Brionna Jones is likely to struggle with SC's size if the Terps can't open things up from the outside.
Brian B: Make that three Samuel Jacksons. As I mentioned before, in the Terps three losses they averaged about 22 turnovers per contest, so they will have to limit those once they run into the more elite competition in the tournament.
Noah: Maryland can survive a night where it turns the ball over 17 times as long as their star players play like stars. The turnovers are definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, but if Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough aren't putting up big numbers every game, this team will be in trouble against elite competition.
Q: In their first two seasons in the Big Ten--a conference that has won the last nine national titles in a row--Maryland wrestling has posted the second and fourth-worst scores at the Big Ten Championships in the last 30 years. Is this something or nothing?
Todd: I have to say something because it reinforces what appears to be a gradual disintegration of a once proud program.
Brian B: I kinda feel like we should have known that Maryland wrestling would not be able to compete in the Big Ten.
Noah: It is definitely something. The team is improving in the regular season in its duals, but teams and programs are judged primarily on how they do in their conference tournaments and the NCAA Championships. Simply stated, the Terps need more talent on the team.
Q: No. 1 Maryland women's lacrosse heads to No. 3 Syracuse this weekend in a rematch of the 2014 national championship game and last year's national semifinal. Will the Terps return from New York with their undefeated record intact?
Bartley : Yes. This team appears to have all of the components clicking when they need too. I hope they are able to stay healthy and keep this going.
Todd: Tsk. Tsk. Trying to sneak in a prediction. Not going to happen.
Brian B: With Braden Holtby in net, the Terps cruise to a one-nil victory.
Noah: Hockey jokes aside, Syracuse's Kayla Treanor and Maryland's Taylor Cummings are two of the best and most dominant women's college lacrosse players ever. This might be the last time we ever see them battle it out on the field. Savor it. Maryland will be challenged by Syracuse's physical, high-pressure defense as well as their very talented and balanced offense. However, the Terps have enough star power and depth to grind out a win in a very tough road game.