This is your Morning Commute. More links after the jump.
Well, that just about does it folk. It's time to start getting ready for some NIT basketball. With their 91-83 loss against Virginia Tech last night (and probably even before that) the Terps have played their way out of the NCAA tournament, and will have to set their sights on the sport's secondary Championship.
Of course, there is always the chance that they make a miracle run in the ACC Tournament (similar to the 2004 team that featured John Gilchrist) and earn an automatic bid; or at least beat enough good teams in the tourney to force the selection committee to reconsider. But based on how they've played against some of the mediocre teams in the ACC recently, I wouldn't count on that.
The most disturbing thing about the Terps this year is how consistently underwhelming they have been. The Washington Post reports that in their 26 games this season, there hasn't been a single surprising result either good or bad.
If the Terps have been consistent at anything this season, it’s at beating the teams they’re expected to beat--the unranked, out-of-conference foes and back-markers of the ACC--and losing to teams ahead of them in the standings.
During the first Duke game, it seemed that the Terps had the defensive tenacity and will-to-win (I think I just won coachspeak buzzword bingo) to make some serious noise in the ACC. They didn't beat Duke that night, but they were competitive, and they played a style of basketball that would keep them in any game they've played.
Unfortunately, they've kind of lost that fierceness recently. Watching the defensive lapses in the game against Boston College was enough to drive a fan nuts. The team should be better than they are, but for some reason they just can't play their best basketball against their best opponents; like ever.
But there is a silver lining. This is an extremely young team that should get better next year (assuming Jordan Williams stays). They'll still have Williams, Terrell Stoglin, Pe'Shon Howard, Mychal Parker (if he ever develops) and a couple promising freshman. They should be better next year than they are this year. But that doesn't make this down year an easy one to accept.
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