As we filed out of the sold-out Comcast Center yesterday, having watched the Terps thoroughly dismantle a reeling Virginia Tech Hokies squad 94-71, several questions about this year’s team were answered in my mind. Yes, the Terps are young. Yes they are deep, and yes they are good! Freshman Jake Layman
just poured in a career high 20 points (18 first half) with a surprise start that had electrified the place. Along with Freshman Seth Allen (21 points) the Terps have been led by five different scorers in their last six games. These freshman are exceeding all but the most optimistic expectations and team chemistry is even better than the 2001-2002 national championship squad. The ability to rotate 10 players with significant playing time gives the Terps a huge advantage.
It was clear that after mowing down a very unglamorous tune-up schedule the Terps were dying to battle test themselves against a quality opponent. Did Virginia Tech fit the bill? The Hokies have now lost three straight by at least 23 points for the first time in school history and are suffering with some serious chemistry problems with the benching of starting forward C.J. Barksdale, so the moniker of quality opponent can be questioned, but these guys had upset Oklahoma State (ranked 15th) and lost by one point on the road to West Virginia in a very hostile environment, so the ability to compete on the big stage and the quality potential was there. The Hokies, led by the nation’s leading scorer
Erick Green (28 points), got as close as 34-31 but the outcome never seemed in doubt as Maryland rained three pointers all afternoon (10 for 23) and established a rhythm that was never broken.
The good news is that top-25 rankings in NCAA basketball mean nothing and the fact that the Terps remain outside the ranks is fine with me. I love being the underdog and sneaking up on people but after today’s game, the ACC and the nation are on notice. This squad is clearly a top three or four in conference and is definitely top 20 nationwide.
So on we go in our second to last ACC campaign 😦 with Florida State up on Wednesday. Here We Go Maryland Here We Go!