A year ago, the Terps headed into their ACC opener vs. Virginia Tech with a bloated 12-1 record, and after beating the less-than-mediocre Hokies, Maryland quickly showed it wasn't prepared to face the rigors of the league.
This year, Maryland has played a much more competitive nonconference schedule, and though it has faltered against the likes of Oregon State and Boston University (a team picked by many to win the Patriot League), the Terps have been in some close games.
Turgeon is correct when he says his team is 2-0, as he suggested when he scrawled “1-0” on the whiteboard in Maryland's locker room after its recent win over Tulsa, because the NCAA tournament selection committee will take into account how Maryland fared after Allen returned from his injury.
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As of today, there are just three teams that seem like NCAA tournament locks – the Orange, Blue Devils and Tar Heels, who might continue to struggle against mediocre teams, unless James Michael McAdoo learns to make free throws.
That’s not to say Maryland is without issues just because Allen is healthy.
While the point guard situation seemed to have settled down with the development of Roddy Peters and Allen’s return, just who Turgeon is going to use in the post seems to be a daily dilemma.
Free throw shooting remains a problem.
Two of the team’s best outside shooters, Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman, come into the Georgia Tech game in the midst of shooting slumps.
Smotrycz has made 4 of his last 16 3-point shots and is 14-of-52 in the past four games. Layman is 4-of-14 overall and 2-of-10 over his last two games.
Already 1-0 after last month’s win at Boston College, the Terps need to do a better job holding serve at home than they’ve done in the preseason and they did last season.
The way the ACC is looking right now, winning at home could be the difference between playing in the postseason, or not. The way the ACC has played collectively, Maryland might not have as much catching up to do as one might think.
With Bill O'Brien leaving for the Houston Texans, what happens next with Penn State recruits?
Jonas Shaffer: For now, it doesn't look like much.
Defensive line coach and local recruiter Larry Johnson reportedly has been named interim head coach while the school conducts its search for O'Brien's successor, and none of the Penn State recruits you'd think Maryland would have interest in — running back Johnathan Thomas and defensive backs Marcus Allen and Troy Vincent (Gilman) — have hinted at wanting out of Happy Valley.
That could change whenever a new coach is named. Offensive lineman Jared Cohen (McDonogh), a onetime Terps commitment, is almost certainly monitoring the situation as closely as some of the program's committed players are. Whoever is tabbed to step in next could swing Cohen's chances of visiting, and ultimately committing to, Penn State.
What's more interesting — to me, at least — are the long-term ramifications of a new coach. What would happen if, say, former Maryland head-coach-in-waiting and current Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin were to take over at Penn State? What about former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano? Or Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell? Which one would Maryland fans most dread, and which would would actually be most successful? (The answer to both, I think, is Franklin).
These are all somewhat silly questions to ask, seeing as how we don't know who's even interviewing for the vacancy, nor do we know what will happen between now and Feb. 5, football's National Signing Day. But as Maryland's introduction to the Big Ten Conference creeps ever closer, the direction of Penn State football, as close to a rival the Terps will have in their early years in the conference, matters more and more each day.