Analyzing Terps' 79-76 loss to UNC at ACC tournament and looking forward


March 17, 2013|By Jeff Barker | The Baltimore Sun

There were plenty of competing feelings as the Terps quietly packed up their gear Saturday to leave Greensboro Coliseum, their home for four days. The strip containing the Maryland logo was removed from the locker room door.

The Terps still were a little dazed that their ambitions of winning the ACC tournament -- and the automatic NCAA tournament berth that comes with it -- had been put to rest.

Logan Aronhalt removed his ear buds  and patiently answered questions about his errant shot to try to tie the game with 10 seconds left. "I think he rushed it a little probably," Roy Williams said. Aronhalt said he wasn't able to get properly set.

There is an irony here. Maryland had won games earlier this season (think N.C. State and the second Duke game) on individual effort -- improvisation, really -- after plays seemed to break down. Turgeon's players didn't always execute what was drawn up.

But on Saturday the play was performed just as planned -- with a couple decoys designed to draw attention away from Aronhalt, the ultimate shooter (and usually a very good one). But the shot was well short.

Maryland wasn't focusing yet on the totality of what happened at Greensboro -- how the Terps seemed to hit a new gear. There are still issues, of course. But they were a better, more resilient team than at the end of the regular season.

"Probably in a few months," Dez Wells said when asked he may appreciate a tournament that included a quarterfinals upset over a No. 2 Duke team that had been 18-0 with Ryan Kelly in the lineup.

 So where do they go from here? Most likely to the NIT, where higher seeds get home games. Maryland could possibly host games at Comcast Center on Tuesday and -- if it wins -- on Thursday.

There was a time -- in the years following the 2002 national championship -- that Maryland would have been dismissive of any tournament other than the NCAA. But this team is young and needs postseason experience. It needs to keep growing into itself.

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