For Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, the Puerto Rico Tip-Off was something of a benchmark. A low-water mark, you might say.
When Turgeon thinks back to that November tournament, he doesn't focus on balmy weather or the team's beachfront hotel. Rather, he thinks about rushed shots and defensive lapses. He thinks about an inexperienced team that had a long way to go.
So when Turgeon alludes to Puerto Rico -- as he did after Maryland's season-worst, 71-44 loss at Virginia -- it's not an encouraging sign if you're a Maryland fan. What he's saying is that his team, for at least one game, has regressed to November levels.
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If the Virginia loss has an equivalent, it would be the Alabama game -- the second game of the Puerto Rico tournament.
Remember that little beauty? Maryland's starting guards -- Sean Mosley, Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust -- shot 2-for-23. Stoglin was 0-for-9. Alabama won, 62-42.
Alabama, like Virginia, plays rugged defense and knew enough to come after Stoglin hard. In both of those games, the Terps couldn't adjust. In both games, Maryland looked lost. Granted, the Crimson Tide and Cavaliers are both good and well-coached.
"Yeah, this reminds me of Puerto Rico," Turgeon said Saturday. "We were much better in the first half than we've been. [but] I thought we looked disinterested in terms of being tough on defense and rebounding, and our execution was poor. Give [the Cavaliers] credit; they guarded the heck out of us. They were so intense, their on-ball defense was really, really good."
Say this for Maryland -- and, yes, sarcasm is like a second language to me -- it was a team effort by the Terps.
“You can go down our whole list, and if you can tell me one guy that played well today, I’ll argue that you’re wrong,” Turgeon said.
Maryland played 14 players, and Turgeon said: “We were 0-for-14."