I don’t tend to make that many predictions. My thinking is that there is already enough material online that is less than certain, and I don't need to add to the morass. I try to confine my writing to topics with solid factual underpinnings and leave guesswork to others. I really want people to believe what they read here.
But this is sports, and sports are meant to be fun. So, against my better judgment, I do lighten up and offer some predictions in unguarded moments. Since we should all be held accountable, here are some of the blog and Twitter (@sunjeffbarker) predictions I’ve made, along with the results.
Prediction: Sept. 28, 2012 blog
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“Last season, (Alex) Len averaged 6.0 points and 5.4 rebounds. I know Turgeon doesn't want to raise the bar too high. So, forgive me, Coach, but I'm going to pile on and predict that Len indeed will almost double his output ... so I will predict averages for Alex of 11 points and 8.5 rebounds.”
Result: I was close on this one. Len averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13.
Prediction: April 26, 2012 Twitter
“Somebody take QB Russell Wilson please (in NFL draft). Just have a feeling about that guy.”
Result: I was always so impressed with Wilson at N.C. State and Wisconsin. I love that many pundits considered him too small, and that he proved them wrong in his successful rookie season with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Terps fans knew from watching him: this guy just has a knack for making plays.
Prediction: Nov. 9, 2012 by “Terps Trio” pundits in blog
“Now the Big Dance is the expectation.”
Result: This is where so many of us in the media -- myself included -- miscalculated. At 13-1, the Terps had won 13 games in a row. The lone defeat, by three points to Kentucky, was thought to be a “good loss.”
But we learned later that Kentucky was too young and inexperienced (and, later, injured) to be good. The Wildcats’ season ended -- before Maryland’s did -- in the NIT.
After the Kentucky regular-season opener, Maryland’s nonconference schedule was not rigorous enough to provide a reliable indicator of the team’s ability.
The truth is, it’s difficult to gauge how quickly freshmen will adjust to the college game. What you typically get are flashes. You get Charles Mitchell having a monster rebounding game, or Seth Allen making two free throws to defeat Duke. But you don’t often get consistency from first-year players. Turnovers and lapses are part of the deal.
So we overestimated the impact that the freshman class would make. By the season’s end -- with the Terps in the NIT semifinals -- I think Maryland was closer to the team we had anticipated seeing earlier.
Prediction: April 27, 2012 Twitter
“Actually, I’ll be bolder and predict that by season’s end the Maryland men’s hoops team will be starting 3 freshmen.”
Result: Not exactly. There were important games -- such as the loss at Florida State and one of the Duke wins -- in which Turgeon did start three freshmen. In the last game of the season, Charles Mitchell was the only freshman starter. It didn’t help the freshman class that Seth Allen was out by then with a broken hand. So... partial credit.