Mark Turgeon

Maryland’s at-large chances take a hit with a loss at BC


Oh, Maryland.

Barely 72 hours after thrusting themselves into the midst of the bubble conversation with a win over then-No. 2 Duke at the Comcast Center on Saturday, the Terps made the trip up to Boston College to take on the Eagles in Conte Forum.

And, well, things didn’t quite go as planned.

The Terps blew a 33-26 halftime lead, getting outscored 43-25 in the final 20 minutes as they lost 69-58 to BC, one of the ACC’s bottom-feeders. Alex Len had just four points on 1-5 shooting. Seth Allen finished with four points on 2-8 shooting, with two turnovers and no assists. Dez Wells was 4-12 from the floor. Nick Faust was 1-5 from the field.

In fact, if you take away the 26 points that Logan Aronhalt scored, the Terps were 12-43 from the floor and 3-15 from three, managing all of 32 points. That’s not good, but it’s par for the course for one of the nation’s most consistently inconsistent teams. That’s just who Maryland is this season.

Tuesday wasn’t a letdown game. It wasn’t simply Maryland being unable to win on the road. It was more than just one isolated, poor performance.

The Terps are young. Their most talented player, Len, has a tendency to disappear. They don’t have a true point guard, which makes it that much easier for Len to fade into the background while Maryland’s guards fire away from the perimeter.

Perhaps more importantly, Maryland now looks like they’re back to being an NIT team. This loss doesn’t nullify the win over Duke, but it makes it seem all that much more fluky and takes a bit of luster off of the profile of a team that looked like they had a chance to make a run. Thanks to one of the most horrific non-conference schedules we’ve ever seen, this loss will make it tough for the Terps to avoid needed the automatic bid from the ACC to reach the Big Dance.

It’s certainly still possible to get an at-large bid, but are you going to put your faith in a team that hasn’t been able to string together three straight wins since they were playing the likes of IUPUI and Delaware State?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.