Maryland played a nip and tuck game against Virginia on Saturday until they blew things open with 21 points in the 4th quarter. The game was much closer than the final score indicated and the Terps trailed as the final quarter began. The offensive numbers were fairly even between the two teams but Virginia sabotaged themselves with 16 penalties for 145 yards. The late turnovers helped Maryland run away from the Wahoos and finish with 42 points. Maryland's 9/16 on 3rd down also helped the Terps control the ball while Virginia's 4/14 left their defense on the field for too long. I don't think Maryland played a great game but they didn't shoot themselves in the foot and benefited from several lucky plays like the 26 yard LaQuan Williams tipped catch on third down that should have been an interception. Had Maryland turned the ball over, trailing 23-21, who knows how the rest of the game would have turned out.
I want to jump on the bandwagon of this team but I just can't. All four of their ACC wins are against teams with losing records in conference play (6-20 combined). Three of those teams: Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia have just on conference win a piece. That isn't impressive. The two decent ACC teams they have played, Clemson and Miami, beat them 57-27. Sure Maryland could have won the game at Miami but they didn't. The last two games will probably give a fair picture of how good this team actually is and Maryland benefits from having both those games at home. Still Florida State is the same sort of physical and athletic team that gives Maryland trouble (see Clemson, West Virginia and Miami).
Maryland had a good day against Maine on Sunday. Jordan Williams had another strong effort with his fifth double-double in a row. Cliff Tucker continues to play like the breakout senior people were hoping he would be and Adrian Bowie steady himself after some rocky play the first two games. Freshmen Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin continue to be excellent coming off the bench. You never know which of them will score in double digits but they are both making an immediate impact. Haukur Palsson showed a really nice floor game in his limited playing time.
The dark clouds are the continued struggles of Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory. They were both awful and fouled out of the game with six points combined on 2/10 shooting and five turnovers. Gregory is merely a bench player who's warts are being exposed by increased playing time but Mosely is a necessary piece of the team this season and if he struggles Maryland will have difficulty with the challenging games of the nonconference schedule. Pittsburgh will be a tough test for Maryland's guards as the Panthers have impressive veteran guards with Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker. The supporting cast is decent but a clear third alternative to those two has not emerged yet. Maryland's front court will be challenged by Pitts physical interior game. I think this group isn't quite ready for this challenge so early in the season but Maryland's depth may turn out to be the difference if they can pull off a victory.