Terps Bubble Bursts

Timothy Earl March 21, 2013 Comments Off on Terps Bubble Bursts

bubbleburstThe dream of playing in the NCAA tournament came to an abrupt end for the Maryland Terrapins with a third loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels, 79-76 in the semifinals of the ACC tournament.

Maryland ended the regular season with losses to the Virginia Cavaliers and North Carolina, meaning their only shot at being invited to the Big Dance was to win the ACC tournament.

They began the tournament in good shape, beating Wake Forest 75-62 and Duke 83-74 to set up their third meeting with the Tar Heels. Dead tired after playing three games in three days, they came out flat, and after scoring the game’s first basket, trailed the rest of the game.

Their determination and desperation allowed them to cut a double-digit deficit to three points, but a Logan Aronhalt 30-foot three pointer with 10.9 seconds to play never had a chance and ended a rollercoaster season.

Dez Wells was the star for the Terrapins and was named to the ACC All-Tournament first team. He averaged 22 points in three games including a career high 30 points in the quarterfinal win against Duke. Wells ended the season leading the team in scoring, averaging 13 points a game.

The Terps  disappointing season began with high hopes and included a 13-game winning streak. Unfortunately their weak non-conference schedule did not prepare them for ACC play. They did well at home, but few opponents feared the turtle on the road, and it showed, as they finished 2-7 in ACC play away from Comcast Center.

Maryland ended the season 22-12, with an 8-10 record in ACC play good for a seventh place finish in league play.

With 7-foot-1 potential NBA-bound center Alex Len manning the post and Wells on the perimeter, Terrapin fans expected a better showing but this youthful team displayed both greatness with wins over ranked opponents Duke and NC State, combined with head-scratching road losses to Boston College and Georgia Tech, both below the Terps in the final ACC standings.

Len received honorable mention All ACC honors and was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team. Len ended the season with 60 blocked shots, and helped the Terrapins limit opponents to a league-leading 37.9 percent shooting. He finished the season averaging 11.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

The Terps season did not officially end and they will play in the consolation prize, the N.I.T. tournament. Fans hope the same team that beat Duke twice this year will show up during the tournament and give them a glimpse into the Terrapin basketball future, which is still very bright. They are a #2 seed and will play #7 seed Niagara (19-13) at Comcast Center where they finished the season 16-3.