Comparing Terps teams, part deux

Once again, it was evident after the Wake Forest game how fond Gary Williams is of this year's team.

It came across in his response to a question about how last season's team finished 8-8 in the ACC, but missed the NCAA tournament.


Williams used the question to address how this year's group is different and how committed it is to playing hard. "I'm really proud of these guys," the coach said.

It got me thinking: what was wrong with last year's team? Think about it. Last season, Maryland had most of the current group but also had two pretty good front court players in James Gist and Bambale Osby, both double-digit scorers.


You'd think this season's Terps would have been worse, not better, after losing Gist and Osby to graduation.

I have a couple theories. Feel free to add your own.

I suspect that Gist drove Gary a little crazy. He's a solid player but he could disappear at times. I remember Gist scoring 31 in a win at Wake Forest. But I also remember him fouling out after scoring three points in the 67-59 loss to American -- a team Maryland beat by 16 this season.

Somehow, Gary has been able to put his stamp on this team in a way that he didn't last season. They play like he coaches -- with intensity.

Perhaps it's because so little was expected of this year's Terps. Maryland has been able to use all those gloomy preseason predictions as incentive.

"People have been talking down about us, so we kind of used that in the preseason as motivation," Dave Neal said earlier this season. He made essentially the same point after the Wake game.

It's helps this year's Terps that Landon Milbourne is older and better.

Maryland's guards have matured, too, and the team added Sean Mosley. The result is that the team is taking better care of the ball.


Last season, Maryland had more turnovers than its opponent in 25 of 34 games. This season, the Terps have committed more turnovers in just eight of 29 games.

Of course, the improvement will mean less if the Terps fall short again in their bid for the NCAAs. But I think this team has already won Gary over.