Oct 16, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Maryland Terrapins head basketball coach Mark Turgeon addresses the media on ACC basketball media day at The Ritz-Carlton. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland tipped off their season against UConn in a heartbreaking 78-77 loss just under two weeks ago. As we saw many flaws and reasons for concern, Terp fans also saw a reason to be optimistic for this year. Going against one of the top backcourts in the nation, the Terps played hard as both UConn and Maryland made many mental mistakes. Nonetheless, it was the first game.
Maryland started the first 16 minutes of the first half completely flat and found themselves losing and frustrated to Abilene Christian at halftime. The second half was a turnaround as the Terps turned up the intensity and played better defense as their opponent was unable to score for the last 11 minutes of the game. Yes, it was Abilene Christian, but a win is a win and Maryland played better when it needed to.
Oregon State was certainly a setback, though. The Terps allowed an astonishing 48 points in the paint and seemed to be unable to stop Oregon State’s guards from slashing down the lane. It seemed the Beavers were scoring at will and Maryland was forced to play catch-up all game. Certainly a game Maryland should have won, but I am not to consider this a “bad” loss.
North Carolina losing to Belmont at home is a bad loss. Notre Dame losing to Indiana State at home is a bad loss. Michigan losing to Iowa State is not a bad loss, but certainly not a game they should have lost. Point being: college basketball is two weeks into the season. Let’s all take a step back and appreciate the early season parity.
I think it’s safe to say the Dez Wells experiment at point guard was a failure as he accounts for just over 20% of the team’s turnovers. While Roddy Peters also accounts for exactly 20% of the team’s turnovers, he leads the team in assists with 3.3 a game to Well’s 3. Oh, and Roddy is a freshman. Three games into his collegiate career, I do not believe anyone expected him to be this good through three games. But he has, and he will only get better from here on out. That’s the type of player he is.
This is why Turgeon has said he’s “given it a lot of thought” and why Roddy will likely be the starter heading into the Paradise Jam. This is a very encouraging sign as I believe the offense runs much smoother with Roddy handling the ball. With unlimited potential, Roddy Peters will be running for the show for hopefully four years and will only get better. Starting now is just a perk for next season.
As for defense, Turgeon needs to determine how to get his guys motivated. It seems the team plays lazy and effortless at times. As Charles Mitchell said:
“The Villanova scrimmage — there was nobody in the gym. But the intensity from that film to other film shows a big difference to how well we wanted it on the defensive end. If we can play like that with nobody in the gym, we should be able to play like that with 17,000 people in the gym.”
They can do it. And I have 100% confidence that Turgeon, the staff, and the team will perfect the defense and play better as the year goes on. A year ago, we ripped Turgeon for scheduling a weak non-conference schedule because he did not allow his team to be tested. This year, Terp fans see the weaknesses early against improved competition and gripe. Teams only get better by playing against better opponents, those are facts. Be patient, Terp fans. Don’t leave when it’s bad and be jubilant when all is well. Rep Maryland pride and continue to make Comcast a hell under the shell.