I attended the game Friday night at Comcast and here are some thoughts, impressions, questions and random observations after Maryland's 89-74 overtime win:
They are 3-0 with wins over 2 bad teams (Youngstown and Bucknell) and one win over a quality small conference team in Vermont.
Vemont should have won the game. They played better.
Don't know about you, but if I'm UVM coach Mike Longergan, I foul Maryland with 10 seconds left when I'm up by three. To tie the game, Maryland has to hit two foul shots and foul again and hope for another possession; or make the first, miss the second intentionally, get the rebound and score. I am convinced that it's WAY more difficult to pull off either of those scenarios than it is to make a contested 3-pointer. Your D is typically paranoid and doesn't want to foul, so sometimes teams get good looks, and it just seems to happen all the time where the team that's trailing forces overtime. On the flip side, I've NEVER seen a team come back to tie or win when they are down 3 and then forced to shoot 2 and get a rebound and another basket, doesn't ever seem to happen.
Maryland doesn't appear to have anyone in the frontcourt who is even decent for this level.
Dave Neal might be their best big man, he can certainly shoot - made two HUGE three points to help save the Vermont game down the stretch - but I would venture to guess that Dave is not going to win a dunk contest anytime soon. Not that you have to win a dunk contest to be good big man. But you do have to be able to jump or be taller than he is (listed at 6-7).
Braxton Dupree started Friday night and played 8 total minutes. OK...
It's kind of an interesting coaching challenge for Gary. He really does have impressive guards and wings in abundance - Greivis has been outstanding and Hayes is solid. Both Tucker and Bowie appear to have improved since their freshman year and can be relied upon. Then there's the freshman Sean Moseley, who is skilled and strong at 6-4, 200+, but his minutes might be sporadic early on as he learns Gary's system. Milbourne is solid but clearly playing out of position as a 4; and then you have the X factor in Jin Soo Kim, the 6-8 South Korean who has yet to get off his feet for the jump ball that started the overtime period against Vermont.
So what we're seeing Gary do is play 4 skilled guys and one big man, and those four guys rotate among the group that includes all the guys I just mentioned. The 5-man is a rotation between Dupree, Steve Goins, Neal, and Jerome Burney. It's definitely interesting, not sure if it's any good, but it's interesting. Put it this way, James Gist would look like Dwight Howard on this team.
The crowd was about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Not a packed house, but I would say the house capacity was about the equivalent of my hair line back in about 1995; there were still remnants of the jew-fro, but it was retreating quickly. Now I don't expect Maryland's crowd to, uh, go Chrome Dome, but the Terps could use some Rogaine in the form of wins against good teams. [What ever happened to Propecia? I tried all that stuff in the 90s by the way and eventually just said forget it, I'll be a bald guy, been happier ever since.]
I sat for most of the game with friends who actually WENT to Vermont directly behind the Catamounts bench. Cool view to see what the coaches were saying and doing. Not so cool to not see about 1/3 of the action with the players an coaches standing. "um, excuse me coach, down in front?" Nah.
The Maryland fans love Jin Soo Kim. They go crazy whenever he gets in the game. Something about a 6-8, 135 pound Korean guy just gives them the feel goods.
You know, in basketball, it is possible to have a very good team with only one GREAT player and a solid supporting cast. Look at what the incandescent Stephen Curry is doing at Davidson. So if Greivis really is a special player and not just a good player, perhaps Maryland can have a solid year. But I think the reality is that Greivis is very good, like second team All ACC good, but he thinks he's Magic Johnson, and Maryland will be OK, but will be climbing uphill against any team with a decent front court.
This week will be a good test. It's Michigan State on Thanksgiving night, the winner or loser of Gonzaga/Oklahoma State on FRiday, and a consolation game Sunday.
Random plug here, but if you ever go to a Maryland game and can get there early and want to grab a drink, head straight to the golf course bar off 193, delightful scene in there, really.
After the game, we went to Bentley's for a few drinks. We got there are 10:30 and the crowd was light. By 11:30, it was a packed out college crowd. I felt ancient, but it was entertaining to watch the youngsters take lots of camera pictures, I assume to post immediately to Facebook. College.
That's all I've got for now, I can't decide if I want to care about this team.