ESPN's Pat Forde thinks Maryland is slipping as a program and that Gary Williams needs a good season. Huh? I think Forde is normally pretty good but those two assertions are head scratchers to me. Maryland went 25-9 last year and lost a very close game to a ranked Butler team in the second round. Gary has turned up the heat on his recruiting and signed his best class in maybe three years with Sean Mosley and Gus Gilchrist. There is great buzz about the 2009 recruits that Maryland has lined up either verbal commitments from or is in good position to land. If you're only looking at where it was in 2002 and where it is today it is obvious that the program has declined a little, but compared to 2004 and 2005 the program is in much better shape.
I'm not sure what Forde's definition of "successful" program might be but with the recent seasons that programs like NC State, Wake Forest, Missouri, Oklahoma, UConn, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Washington and Iowa have had I think they all fit the bill much better than Illinois, Arizona and Maryland. None of the teams I just mentioned even made the NCAA tournament last season, but Maryland did with a four seed. Slipping, I think that is a laughable conclusion.
Let's get this straight once and for all. Gary Williams isn't going anywhere. Another NIT season won't change that. Debbie Yow doesn't have the political capital to get Williams fired, even though she probably would like to do that. It would be suicide by Yow and she'd probably follow him out the door shortly afterwards. Yow knows this and that is why they have such an icy relationship. She has enough concerns with the struggling football program at the moment. Gary Williams' basketball program is her golden calf. Gary doesn't need a good season to keep his job. It is as simple as that.
Barring an upset Maryland will face UCLA in the first game of the CBE classic in two weeks. The second ranked Bruins will be without junior guard Michael Roll after he tore his plantar fascia in an exhibition game. Junior Josh Shipp was the likely starter at shooting guard but he is also coming off of hip surgery in the Spring. Maryland is probably over matched in this game but every little bit helps. Terp fans will get a look at forward Kevin Love who is one of the best freshmen in the country.
West Virginia Alert
I'm not sure if Rich Rodriguez knows about this fine young man but I think he'd fit right in on his football team. Maybe Pat Lazear can show him around.