Season Early-view Part II

11/16/2010 10:25:46 AM Since the season has already started; it would be silly for me to call this a "preview", so I am going with "early-view" instead.

We've played three games and already there is a lot that we have learned.
1.  Backcourt minutes will be hard to come by.  Our freshman guards will be a force to contend with all year.  Stoglin, Howard, and Palsson have been particularly impressive although I suppose Palsson will get his minutes at either of the two forward positions.
2.  Cliff Tucker could have a special season.  I keep thinking about Drew Nicholas' senior season.  A three year backup, Nicholas became the team's leading scorer as a senior and led the Terps to the Sweet 16.  Tucker's early season performance points to that type of season.
3.  The frontcourt is Jordan Williams and a prayer.  J Will is a beast.  Double-Doubles in his last five games dating back to last season don't begin to demonstrate his value to the Terps.  He represents our only consistent inside scoring and rebounding threat.
4. One of these guys must emerge to give Gary Williams minutes up front:  Weijs, Padgett, or Gregory.  Gregory seems to be the most likely but his rebounding numbers have been dreadful.

We are three games in, but here is how I see the schedule playing out:

Nov. 18: Pittsburgh, L - Let's be realistic here.  Pitt is a big veteran team with strong guards.  I think they will have their hands full with Maryland; but in the end, they will pull away. The Terps will keep it close though.
Nov. 19 Texas/Illinois, W - If we play Texas; I think we can beat them.  Gary will out coach Rick Barnes and we have the athletes to run with them.
Nov. 23: Delaware State, W
Nov. 26: Elon, W
Dec. 1: at Penn State, W - Penn State sucks.  It's our first true road test, so that is a concern; but the Terps should never lose to Penn State in basketball.
Dec. 5 Temple, L - I'm assuming that Temple plays a similar style to the old Temple teams and that spells trouble for Maryland.  The Owls are ranked and return most of the squad from last year's Tournament.  If we played these guys in March; I'd be apt to give the Terps the edge; but not in December.
Dec. 8: UNC Greensboro, W
Dec. 12: Boston College, W - It will be nice to get an early win in the ACC before the conference schedule really starts.  The Terps are at home and BC is definitely down this year.
Dec. 22: NJIT, W
Dec. 29: North Florida, W
Jan. 4: Colgate, W - Adonal Foyle is not walking through that door.
Jan. 9: at Duke, L - Not this year.  Duke is the favorite to cut the nets down in April.  Going to Cameron for our first ACC road game is a tough draw, but at least we get it out of the way.  I think we have the athletes to make things tough for Singler and Nolan Smith; but it's Cameron and the Terps will have everything including the officials working against them.
Jan. 12: at Wake Forest, W - For Exhibit A as to why we will win, please see last nights Wake game vs. Hampton.  We ain't Hampton.
Jan. 15: at Villanova, L-  They killed us last year.  Both squads are demonstrably different; but I just don't see it happening.  It would be a signature win if it happened.  We are a year away from winning games like this.
Jan. 20: Virginia Tech, L Tech is experienced and will be hungry given their March slights the last two years.  Their senior guards are athletic and this is the year when Tech finally contends for a regular season crown
Jan. 22: Clemson, W - I'm just not a believer yet.  New coach and I'm just not inspired that Clemson can overcome their history of underachievement.
Jan. 27: at Virginia, W - UVA Is a doormat again.
Jan. 30: at Georgia Tech, W - They just installed a new offense and got blown out at home to Kennesaw St.  They will be epically bad.
Feb. 2: Duke, L - Not this year.  Duke gets the sweep. 
Feb. 5: Wake Forest, W - Wake will compete with Tech for conference bottom feeder.
Feb. 9: Longwood, W
Feb. 12: at Boston College, W - Chestnut Hill is never easy.  We will be far enough into the season that we can grind out a road win like this.
Feb. 15: at Virginia Tech, L - It pains me to write this but I think experienced teams like Va Tech will be our kryptonite.
Feb. 20: North Carolina State, W - These next four games are the crux of the season.  I think, that depending on how these games play out, we could be 8-8 or we could 11-5.  I think it is not out of the question that we win three of these games.  I think that it just works out for us that we get FSU and NCST in College Park.  We'd probably lose to them on the road, but not in Comcast.
Feb. 23: Florida State, W
Feb. 27: at North Carolina, L
March 2: at Miami, W
March 5: Virginia, W - Easy as pie. 

By my count, I've got us at 23-7.  Am I a homer or what?  What can I say?  These last three games have made a believer out of me.  Right now, the Terps are the worst they will be all year.  Expect them to get better with every game and the wins will flow.  Gary was born to coach a team like this and that will start to show as we progress into 2011.

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