Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 5/16
Q: Since finals are finishing up this week and the school year is coming to a close, what has been your favorite and least favorite Maryland sports moment this year?
Brian B: Favorite moment: Maryland vs. Georgetown. Although the Hoyas ended up being a pretty mediocre team and the game ended up having little impact on the rest of the season, it was still pretty memorable. Add in the SVP Terp Variety Hour that followed, and that had to be a pretty perfect evening for most of the Maryland faithful. Least Favorite: Attending the Bowling Green football game. Also the overall disappointment of the baseball team.
Noah: Favorite moment: Covering the men's and women's lacrosse teams as they look to become the first teams to sweep the NCAA lacrosse titles since Princeton did it back in 1994. Least favorite moment: watching the men's and women's basketball teams fall far short of their potential.
Todd: For this school year, my Maryland highlight was volleyball's win over No. 15 Ohio State at Xfinity Center. That just blew my mind. I also have to throw in my weekend trip to Iowa to see the volleyball team pick up a conference win, field hockey wrap up the conference title and even the football game had its moments despite the Terps' rather pedestrian performance.
Anthony Brown: Seeing Terps basketball get far in the tourney this year for both teams. The men's basketball team was very special, and Mark Turgeon has been somewhat of a recruiting genius over the past year. He's getting better which means Maryland is getting better. Worst moment was the entire last football season. It was depressing.
Thomas: My favorite moment was being a part of the flash mob during the men's basketball game against Wisconsin. My least favorite was the extended Badgers run (and eventual upset win) surrounding it. People started panicking after that game.
Q: Maryland football recently picked up some commitments from the great state of Georgia (I'm a Georgian. Deal with it). If Maryland ends up devoting more time and resources to recruiting Florida and Georgia kids than local ones, is that fine with you as long as the Terps continue to get talented players?
Anthony Brown: THE TERPS NEED TO RECRUIT IN THE SOUTH!!! No slight on local talent, but the South is where it's at. I'm all for DJ Durkin and the crew recruiting down there.
Brian B: Both the Southeast and the DMV areas are pretty decent areas to do one's football recruiting. As long as players are stepping up on the field, I don't think most Maryland fans would care where they came from.
Todd: I think it's obvious that Maryland won't be competitive in the Big Ten if they only recruit locally. This staff is built for national recruiting. On the other hand, it's critical to "lock down" the local area. By "lock down", I don't mean Maryland needs to get every top player in the DMV, but they need the ones that fit. Part of building the brand is building local ties. There's little that does that more strongly than keeping local kids home.
Noah: As a southerner, I'm biased, but most if not all of the best Division I football programs heavily recruit the South. I think Brian is right in that as long as the players produce, it won't matter to the fans where they're from. However, as the flagship university of the state of Maryland, I wonder how it looks if many of Maryland's top recruits are coming from out-of-state. Does that mean that Maryland isn't devoting the time and resources necessary to keep great local players from leaving to go elsewhere?
Thomas: I don't think the plan is to ditch the local talent. Maryland still has a strong and improving foothold in the DMV. However, Durkin clearly wants to establish himself in these other areas, and that plan seems to be working.
Q: Top-seeded men's and women's lacrosse advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. The men will travel to Providence to play Syracuse, and the women will host UMass. Beyond scoring more goals than their opponents, what will be the key to victory for the Terps this weekend?
Brian B: For both teams, the cliched answer is to stay focused. The women just need to keep doing what they've been doing and things should probably work out in their favor. The men need to not allow their past shortcomings to distract them.
Todd: If the NCAA Tournament were best two out of three for the title, I just don't see anyone who could beat either Maryland squad. What I've seen emerge from the men's team this season are some of the traits that makes the women's team great. Maryland has great depth, plays as a unit without ego and has a very high lacrosse IQ. Both teams simply have to do what they do best: Put up competitive to dominating numbers at the draw, play solid defense and play precision offense.
Noah: For the women's team, it will be dominating the draw. Hopkins tied them last week. The Terps need to crash hard in the circle and off of the 30's. The men's team needs to be prepared for a very physical game, especially at the wings. If Maryland can match Syracuse's physicality while taking very good care of the ball, that will be a huge boon for the Terrapins.
Anthony Brown: Defense wins championships and offense wins games, so defense will be key for both squads.
Thomas: I've always thought the key to winning lacrosse games was scoring goals, so if both Maryland teams can score more goals than their opponents, they should be set.
Q: Maryland baseball dropped two of three to Rutgers and might not even qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. What has disappointed or surprised you most about the Terps this season?
Brian B: I suppose Shawaryn was a mild disappointment having the highest ERA in the primary starting rotation. His numbers certainly were not terrible, but I think some people may have expected more.
Todd: Unquestionably for me, Shawaryn's performance has been the most disappointing aspect of Maryland's season to date. He was coming off a year when he went 13-2 with a 1.71 ERA. This season he's 4-4 with an ERA of 3.33 and his strikeouts per innings pitched have dropped from 1.2 to 0.92. My biggest surprise has probably come from Hunter Parsons. He's a freshman pitcher who could give the Terps a daunting weekend starting rotation next season slotting in behind Bloom and Shaffer. The power that Marty Costes has shown probably comes in as a close second.
Noah: Shawaryn was supposed to be one of the best pitchers in the country entering the season and sure didn't pitch like it. There were moments of brilliance, but he didn't resemble the pitcher who caught everyone's attention last year. This team was supposed to be resilient and mentally tough. I didn't see that on the diamond this year. This team looks like a shell (pun intended) of its former self. Madison Nickens and Marty Costes were pleasant surprises.
Thomas: Shawaryn's been disappointing to the point where he might not be drafted high enough to sign. Obviously, that's a while away, though. Marty Costes and Madison Nickens have been big positives on the offensive side, and I'm really looking forward to seeing this team next year with nearly everyone returning.
Q: Let's give out some grades for Maryland athletics. The lacrosse teams haven't finished yet, but if you were going to give out a grade for the men's sports, a grade for the women's sports and an overall grade this year, what would they be?
Todd: On the men's side, football, wrestling and track all get failing grades though the expectations were low for the latter two. Baseball (to date) and basketball disappointed based on expectations. Soccer could fall into that disappointing category, but they won the B1G Ten Tournament and missed the College Cup by losing in a shootout on the road. Golf probably about as expected. Overall, I have to say ‘D'.
On the women's side, basketball, despite winning both B1G titles, was still a bit of a disappointment. I have similar feelings about field hockey. Losing at home (again!) to Albany and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament layers some disappointment on a season that had a pair of conference titles. For me, the team that met (or even slightly exceeded) my expectations was volleyball. They countered a bad loss at Rutgers with a win over ranked OSU, and they did that having lost two players who would have likely made significant contributions to the season. For all women's sports, D+. I guess that makes my collective grade a D+.
Noah: On the men's side, football, wrestling and track all get failing grades. Baseball gets a C-, golf gets a B, soccer gets a B+ and basketball gets a B. Lacrosse has an A right now. I'd give the men's teams a B this year.
On the women's side, soccer and softball and cross country all fail. Basketball gets a B, field hockey gets a B, volleyball gets a C, tennis gets a B-, gymnastics gets a C-, track gets a B- and lacrosse gets an A+. I'd give the women's teams a B+.
I'd give Maryland athletics an overall grade of B+ this year. If men's and women's lacrosse win the national title, that will get bumped up to an A-.