Falling in the NCAA tournament final can cause many players and coaches to toss and turn and imagine what might’ve been if they had done something differently. Maryland coach John Tillman may be no different, but he has yet to review the game film of the team’s 9-3 loss to Loyola in the title game on Memorial Day at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Part of that has to do with a busy two weeks that has included exit meetings with his players and assistant coaches, attention to some administrative details and trips on the recruiting trail. Asked if the pain of the loss was too fresh to relive, Tillman didn’t really deny that line of questioning.
“Looking at everything, with so many things to worry about, I know what happened in that game and watching that game is really not going to change anything right now,” he said. “At some point, I’ll go back and look. I think every time you have a game – win or lose – you have to critically evaluate what we did. I think you’ve got to analyze how we played, the schemes, our execution, individual performances and then just take any lessons that we can learn from that game and apply them going forward. There are so many teachable moments about the year.”
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But that doesn’t mean that Tillman hasn’t spent some time wondering what could’ve been.
“Yeah, you think about it, no doubt about it,” he said. “When you get to that point, you know what it means. … When you look at it from so many different angles, you’re disappointed for your players, but you’re certainly proud of them for what they did and what they were willing to sacrifice to get there. You would still love to see the guys happy on Monday, but if you have to end the season on a loss, that’s the game you want to lose because you’re spending as much time as you possibly can, and you’ve taken it as far as you can.”
In related news, Tillman said junior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt is faring well after colliding with Greyhounds junior short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins in the fourth quarter of the championship final.
“He’s fine,” Tillman said. “… We monitored him for a few days, and he’s fine right now. Nothing long term. I think he got a concussion. We’re going to take that very seriously and make sure we’re very thorough in our analysis. But we’re going to make sure that he’s fine and be very, very careful.”