Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 5/9
Q: Maryland basketball landed coveted Duquesne transfer L.G. Gill this week. The 6-foot-8 power forward averaged 10.1 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game for the Dukes last season. What kind of an impact do you think Gill will have for the Terps next season?
Andrew K.: Immediate. He seems like a nice replacement for Jake Layman. Very good catch by Turgeon.
Thomas: This will be significant because Gill is going to slide right into the 4-spot. This means Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky won't have to play together too much, and that Ivan Bender won't be pressed into a bigger role than he's ready for.
Todd: I suspect he will have some impact. I don't think the staff goes looking for an immediately eligible transfer if they don't expect him to have an immediate impact. Maryland lost a lot of front court production, so I can't help but expect him to contribute. On the other hand, I've never seen him play and know virtually nothing about him.
Noah: I think he has a good body and game for what Turgeon is looking to do. He'll have a positive impact, but I think it will be limited because he'll be adjusting to a new environment, new team, new coaching staff and new system.
Q: Maryland became the first school in NCAA history to have both its men's and women's lacrosse teams earn the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament. On a scale of 1-to-10, what is your level of confidence that the Terps will sweep the national championships in men's and women's lacrosse?
Andrew K.: I'm feeling really good about both the men's and women's lacrosse teams' chances of winning it all. The men seem to be peaking at the right time, and their offense has been more explosive in recent weeks. They're balanced and playing at a high level. The women are a juggernaut, and it would be a massive upset if they didn't come home with the national championship.
Thomas: There's always room for doubt with two single-elimination tournaments. One less-than-stellar performance could spell doom. But neither team has turned in much other than greatness recently.
Todd: As Thomas notes and as I've commented elsewhere, single-elimination tournaments always leave room for doubt. A hot goalie or a face off / draw control person who has an exceptional game can quickly turn an underdog into an upset. The women's team has been a juggernaut as Andrew wrote. The senior class is currently 89-3 with two national championships, but I will be nervous until they actually hoist the trophy. On the men's side, I hope this is the year they stop being Lucy to my Charlie Brown.
Noah: 9. Maryland has a great chance to become the first school to sweep the NCAA lacrosse titles since Princeton did it back in 1994. I've covered both of these teams this season. Neither has many weaknesses. For the men, it'll be primarily in the face off circle. For the women, it'll be primarily with some of their inexperienced defenders like Zoe Stukenberg and Julia Braig. I don't believe in sure things. That's why I'm giving the Terps a 9 out of 10.
Q: Maryland baseball has six games remaining and is at risk of missing out on the Big Ten Tournament. If the Terps make it in, would Maryland have to pull off another deep run in the Big Ten Tournament just to merit inclusion in the NCAA Tournament?
Andrew K.: I think the Terps have to win the B1G Tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament. Early season midweek losses and losing a game to Purdue has pushed the team's RPI well out of NCAA Tournament range.
Thomas: If they win five of these last six games and at least one conference tournament game, then I like their chances. A second or third tournament win would be nice, too. At least they can still control their own destiny.
Todd: I'm with Andrew on this one. I think they slammed the door and lost the key to an at-large bid when they lost the home series to Illinois. The math just doesn't work for them.
Noah: This team has been frustrating as hell to watch this season. It was always something with this group. If it wasn't the bats going quiet, it was the bullpen blowing a lead. If it wasn't Shawaryn not pitching like ‘The Unicorn', it was the team not showing up ready to compete and win game in and game out. The Terps have no one to blame but themselves. They put themselves in this position, and if they don't win the Big Ten Tournament, they're probably out.
Q: Maryland softball lost its final series of the year to Indiana and was eliminated from postseason play. The Terps set a new single-season record for losses with 40 and only won back-to-back games once. What are some of your takeaways from Maryland's season, and what bright spots, if any exist, do you see for this team moving forward?
Thomas: I'll have more on the softball season in the coming weeks, but to put it simply: the Terps gave up a ton of runs and couldn't slug enough to keep up. Maryland had a 7.15 staff ERA (no other Big Ten team was over 5.00) and scored a conference-worst 3.48 runs per game. The offensive struggles stemmed from a lack of pop (just 18 home runs total, fewer than Nebraska's MJ Knighten), which necessitated extended rallies that they didn't have in them. The good news? It's a young team. 18 of the 20 players and all three coaches should be back. A year of continuity ought to be a godsend after having three coaching staffs in three years.
Todd: What Thomas said. In addition to some hope for continuity in the coaching staff, we have to hope the team will be healthier. Madison Martin left the penultimate game and had her foot in a boot, but I have it from a reliable source that the injury predated the final weekend by some time. I was also given to understand that Corey Schwartz played much of the year with a low-grade illness and Coach Wright talked about Lindsey Schmeiser's health problems after the last game. Julie Strange will be back, but we don't know the status of the Terps' only All-B1G player, Sarah Calta. The darker spot is that none of this addresses the pitching concerns. Unless one of the pitchers on the roster makes a quantum leap or Coach Wright pulls in a stud pitching transfer, next season projects to be another long one.
Noah: Like Thomas, I'll have more on this season in the coming weeks, but this team struggled for a few key reasons: poor defense, poor pitching and poor hitting. If you can't do at least one of those well as a team, you won't win many ballgames. Maryland was consistently inconsistent this year. The bright spot is that the Terps are young. If they can become a more consistent team, they'll look much better on the field next season.