Can Terps hoops be sneaky good?

The fine and distinguished media members who cover ACC men's hoops are picking the Terps ninth in the conference this season.

My pithy assessment? It's hard to compete over the long haul with limited height and depth. So, yes, the bar has been set predictably low.

But I think Maryland can be sneaky good. In other words (that was a shout out to Gary Williams, whose favorite expression was "in other words") I think the Terps can surprise some ranked teams.

I believe this for two reasons:

--The Terps will be small, but they will also be quick. They will lose battles on the boards, but they can potentially create matchup issues with their speed, particularly in transition.

--They may be able to upset some of the big boys with defense. Defense has been a hallmark of Mark Turgeon-coached teams. Pe'Shon Howard can play some rugged "D." At 6-6, Nick Faust may be able to bother smaller guards. Turgeon believes Faust has the length and ability to become an excellent defender. The question is whether Maryland will have a big man lying in wait as the last line of defense. Good teams need that guy because he's a final checkpoint, allowing the guards to overplay.

Might it be Alex Len? Not yet cleared to play. Berend Weijs? He's hopefully lifting weights and drinking milkshakes to pack on some pounds.

Check back for more on hoops at the end of the day ...

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