The Maryland Terrapins very likely blew their last gasp at reaching the NCAA tournament and the opportunity to finish .500 or better in the ACC with Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Maryland already has eight losses in the ACC and still must play at North Carolina and host Virginia, two games where their opponent will be favored.
Their only chance of reaching the NCAA tournament now will be to win the ACC tourney, a very tall task for a team that isn’t very talented and lacks depth. In fact, reaching the NIT might even be a stretch now for the Terps. While that tournament is hardly a blip on the radar screen for fans, it would mean valuable practice time and games for a young team that can use all the experience it can get.
Terrell Stoglin has really struggled of late, but who can blame him? He is probably exhausted from carrying this team for much of the season. His struggles in the Georgia Tech game really came back to haunt the Terps, who certainly would have pulled ouf a victory had Stoglin had at least one good half.
It will also be interesting to see what happens with Ashton Pankey moving forward. Pankey has terrible body language on the court, has played really poor defensively and is struggling to make shots. He went 0-8 from the field against the Yellow Jackets and did not do a good job defensively.
Whenever there is a coaching change, there is bound to be attrition. Stoglin and Pankey are the two players that seem to have drawn most of Mark Turgeon’s ire, although he seems to be building a relationship with his star player. With Maryland recently receiving a committment from big man Damonte Dodd and the team still interested in Charles Mitchell, Pankey may be playing basketball somewhere else next season.
I think Turgeon is doing a great job and will lead the program to great things, but Saturday wasn’t one of his best efforts. He got caught with a walk-on in the game on offense in a pivotal situation down the stretch. He also continues to give Pankey entirely too much playing time. Alex Len isn’t exactly Dirk Nowitzki, but he generally causes significant problems on the defensive end because of his length.
Turgeon should be giving more of Pankey’s playing time to Len, especially if he expects the moody big man to transfer before next season.