The 2009-2010 basketball season is slowly drawing closer. Every Tuesday and Thursday this fall, Crazie Talk will preview each of the twelve ACC teams in order of conference standings – from the bottom up.
Today, we’ll take a look at the Maryland Terrapins.
2008-2009 Record: 21-14 (7-9 in ACC)
Postseason Record: 2-1 in ACC tournament; 1-1 in NCAA Tournament, lost to Memphis in Second Round)
Projected Starting Lineup: Greivis Vasquez (Sr.), Adrian Bowie (Jr.), Landon Milbourne (Sr.), Sean Mosley (So.), Dino Gregory (Jr.)
The Good: When star guard Greivis Vasquez withdrew from the NBA Draft last spring, Gary Williams felt the wind of a large bullet cool his sweaty armpits. Vasquez is the heart of this team, and Maryland’s main core from last season is back (minus the aggressive Dave Neal). The guards are impressive: senior Eric Hayes and the speedy junior Adrian Bowie will join Vasquez in one of the league’s most experienced backcourts. Landon Milbourne consistently contributes, and Gary picked up a pair of decent freshman bigs in Jordan Williams and James Padgett. If the Terps can control the ball and Vasquez maintains his high stats, Maryland can improve on the sub-.500 record of last year.
The Bad: The frontcourt is unproven. The Terrapins were weakened by the departures of James Gist and Bambale Osby a year ago, and there is little new to be excited about. While 6’10” freshman center Jordan Williams has high potential, he won’t make Maryland fans forget the days of Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox. As forward Jerome Burney’s injuries have ended his career at Maryland, Williams will have to start the underproductive Gregory until the touted freshmen prove their mettle. If the bigs don’t deliver, even more pressure will be on Greivis and the guards to fulfill Maryland’s expectations for this season.
The Crazie: In the early 2000s, Maryland reached the upper echelon of college basketball, constantly competing with Duke and UNC in conference while making multiple title runs, capped off by the 2002 National Championship. But Gary Williams and Co. did not sustain that success: Maryland has suffered many bitter recruiting disappointments and have only gone as far the NCAA second round for the past 6 seasons. With a veteran core and a recognized superstar, Gary must deliver some improved result this year. It’s crazy to think that a coach with a ring is on the hot seat, but if the Terps fall outside the top-4 of the conference, you can bet Gary Williams’ pores will be flowing an inordinate amount next spring.
We Love to Hate… Vasquez. After calling Cameron “his house,” Greivis had 4 points on 2-10 shooting in the 85-44 shellacking last year. Also, he managed one measly bench press of 185 pounds at the NBA Combine. Good choice going back to school, Grief-us, sorry Lance Stephenson chose Cincy.
We would love to hate the Maryland fans, but we can’t take them seriously.
The Bottom Line: Maryland should win around 10 games in conference and make the NCAA Tournament. A Sweet 16 run would help secure Gary another contract extension past 2013, but those are long odds. Unless Greivis can be a miracle-maker all year, expect Terp fans to be heaving projectiles and burning cars in early March.
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Crazie Talk’s ACC Rundowns: