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Morning Commute: Maryland Basketball Might Be Better Than We Thought

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Maryland Terrapins after they lost their three most experienced starters in the offseason. They were picked to finish sixth in the ACC, and were widely considered too young to make a real impact in the conference. But that's just how Gary Williams likes it.

Last night we saw how good this team can be. I know they lost, but they hung around with one of the best teams in the nation, and came within a handful of free throws of getting a huge win. Even as a Maryland alum and big fan, this team is much better than I expected them to be.

The reason for that is Jordan Williams. When you're a team that struggles to put points on the board, having a consistent inside scorer can make all the difference. Williams is entering his second season and might be ready to be considered as one of the premier big men in the country. Or at least that's what Jaime Dixon thinks, according to Eric Prisbell at the Washington Post.

He said Williams "may be the best low-post scorer in the country ... We can’t take away everything from a good offensive player, and he is as good as anyone out there."

Williams had only 14 points, but he did so on 6-9 shooting. When he got the ball in a position to score, it was pretty much lights out. The only hole in his game to this point is shared by the rest of the team, free throw shooting.

A couple freebies here, a few rebounds there, and Maryland might have won this game against Pittsburgh. Between the improvement of the returning players, and the added punch that the freshman has added, I think this Maryland team is a lot better than they might have appeared heading into the season. But don't tell anybody, Gary still would rather sneak up on 'em.

Today's must-reads from around the SB Nation network:

  • Testudo Times with a more complete recap of last night's game than I can provide.
  • Hogs Haven has some questions for SB Nation's Titans blog about the upcoming game this weekend. 
  • Federal Baseball recants the story of how the Nationals and Adam Dunn got to where they are now.

Today on SB Nation D.C.: Varsity News with an update on the D.C. area football playoffs. Justin Creech with a closer look at Karl Alzner.