Testudo Times Roundtable
Week of 3/21
Q: Maryland men's basketball beat Hawaii to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. What were your initial thoughts on the game?
Todd: As the game progressed, I was concerned by the team's trouble making outside shots. Hawaii also looked like they wanted it more than the Terps because it seemed like they got to most of the 50-50 balls. I still felt reasonably calm because I believed the shots would start to fall. By the end of the game, I was still astonished at the 1-18 number but elated for the win.
Andrew K.: Maryland did what it has repeatedly done against lesser opponents: stay close and then put forth a five-minute outburst to create space between the two teams. However, the slight twists in this game were Maryland's inability to hit threes and the decreased number of turnovers. They didn't cancel each other out, but if the Terps cough up the ball 18 times, they don't win this game. The real positive is that Maryland has shown consistently good defense for the last few games.
Brian B: Initially, I thought, ‘This game could not have possibly started any worse." However, once I allowed my emotions to settle down, I quickly became aware that it could have, in fact, started much worse. Maryland's defense held a competent offensive Hawaii team down for essentially the entire game. After the game, I was filled with a mild euphoria because I've been unable to celebrate the Terrapins reaching the Sweet 16 since the ripe age of 13.
Noah: It wouldn't be a 2015-2016 Maryland basketball game if the Terps didn't make me run the gamut of emotions. 1-18 from beyond the arc? Losing a rebound to a Rainbow Warrior who is sitting on the ground? At the end of the day, I'm glad the Terps are moving on.
Q: Even if Maryland loses to Kansas in the Sweet 16, will this past season be considered a successful one?
Todd: This has been a subject of much debate among the commentariat on TT and I sense a certain resignation from the majority that it will, but I also think it will depend on the face of the prism used to view the season. If you simply look at the banner that will hang in the Xfinity Center, it will. If you look at it through the lens of preseason hype and expectations, less so. For me, it is a success because the season starts with 350 or so men's basketball teams, and any squad that's among the last 16 should view its season as a success.
Andrew K.: No. This team, rightly or wrongly was considered a Final Four team even as late as the season's midpoint. There's an incredible amount of talent here, and unlike many other teams around the country, Maryland's offense is not one-dimensional. Anything less than an Elite Eight game and a top 10 ranking would be a disappointment.
Brian B. Despite what I said in my previous response, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Maybe this team never completely gelled, maybe they did not live up to their preseason top five aspirations, but as Andrew pointed out this is an incredibly talented team. This team could have faded into obscurity along with so many others over the past decade (my apologies to Greivis Vasquez), but instead the Terps came out, took advantage of the opportunity they were given and reached the Sweet 16. If Maryland manages to beat Kansas, the Terps' struggles in late February/early March will be but a distant memory in an unforgettable season.
Noah: Yes. Maryland hadn't been to the Sweet 16 since 2003. As one of the 16 remaining teams, the Terps proved that they could have success in both the regular season and the postseason. Anything else from here on out is gravy.
Q: Maryland women's basketball team was upset at home by Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Terps will miss out on the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011. What were your initial thoughts on the game?
Todd: I was surprised and mildly disappointed. Maryland doesn't lose at home very often, and the Terps were playing a team that everyone (including me) expected them to beat. However, based on their performance through the conference season, I had little confidence that this was a Final Four caliber team despite their rather gaudy record.
Noah: Simply put, Washington played a better game. The Huskies were more aggressive, hungrier, and stuck to their game plan. They deserved to win the game. This was a very surprising upset considering that Maryland lost at home, had been ranked in the top 10 all season long and was trying to reach the Final Four for the third straight season.
Q: Maryland won 31 games, was ranked in the top 10 the entire season, and swept the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. How should we view the Terps' season after failing to make the Sweet 16?
Todd: Given the off-season tumult (the loss of two assistant coaches, Lexie Brown's transfer, etc.) the season was satisfactory and back to back 30 win seasons is nothing to sneeze at. The other argument is that Maryland women's basketball program has set a high enough standard that any NCAA Tournament exit before the Sweet Sixteen is disappointing.
Brian B: Despite the silver linings outlined by Todd, there is no other way to put it, this season was at the very least a moderate disappointment.
Noah: After reaching the Final Four in each of the past two seasons, a second round upset loss at home changes the whole outlook of the season. Despite the regular season success, I believe that this season is a disappointment.
Q: No. 1 Maryland women's lacrosse went on the road to No. 2 Florida and won 14-4. The Terps now have three wins over top-five teams in their first six games of the season. Would you bet the farm on Maryland, currently at 6-0, running the table the rest of the way?
Todd: If you're asking about a unbeaten run to the national championship, it certainly looks more possible now that Maryland has faced down the toughest part of the schedule. Some challenges certainly remain, but with that said, their offensive balance and defensive play have to be nightmarish for opposing coaches. Taylor Cummings deservedly gets the lion's share of attention, but this squad is far from a one-woman show.
Brian B: I don't own a farm, but if I did, I would still not bet it on the Terps running the table despite plowing their way through a tough stretch in the schedule. This is college sports after all, and elite teams manage to lose a game or two here and there.
Noah: The Terps beat 10 ranked teams en route to a perfect regular season last year. This team has shown that it has the potential to run the table in the regular season and potentially finish the year as undefeated national champions. I'd bet the farm that Maryland finishes the regular season with a perfect record.
Q: Will Maryland beat Kansas and advance to the Elite Eight? Feel free to leave a final score prediction if you feel so inclined.
Todd: Thanks for the offer, but I'll decline the invitation.
Andrew K.: If there's ever a time for this team to put it all together and play a complete, hard-fought 40 minutes, this is it. I'll be the optimist and say that Maryland plays up to its potential and wins 71-67, primarily because the Terps will make around 12 more free throws than Kansas.
Brian B: If Kansas and Maryland were to play each other five times, Maryland would probably win once. Maryland has a small chance to beat Kansas and an even bigger chance to not beat Kansas. The final score is completely dependent upon how many times each team puts the ball through the hoop.
Noah: If Maryland is aggressive from the outset and plays tough defense, the Terps will have a chance. On paper, I like Maryland's size and talent. The Terrapins match up well with Kansas, but I think the Jayhawks are a better and more consistent team. In-game adjustments will be critical. Is Turgeon ready for this moment? We're about to find out. I've got Kansas over Maryland 69-67.