There is much to re-examine about the way the Maryland Terrapins mens' basketball team struggled at the end of the Big Ten season, but there was nothing to second-guess about Thursday night's 79-63 loss to top-ranked Kansas.
The Jayhawks were just too good. It was as simple as that. The Terps played well in the first half, but Kansas took control early in the second and clearly was the superior team down the stretch.
The Terps got off to a quick start, but they got into foul trouble early and continued to struggle from outside the arc. Rasheed Sulaimon hit his first two 3-pointers -- which gave him one more than the Terps hit in 18 attempts against Hawaii -- but the Terps went cold at that point and finished just 5-for-25. In their three games in the tournament, they combined to go 16-for-72 on 3-pointers (22 percent).
They gave the Jayhawks some fits playing tight defense in the first half, but they had no answer for Perry Ellis, who was unstoppable both inside and out. He finished with 27 points and showed why Diamond Stone needs to stay in school for another year.
The Jayhawks neutralized Maryland's size, getting Stone and Robert Carter Jr. in foul trouble early. And they played some very tough defense in the final 10 minutes, keeping the Terps from closing a reasonable deficit with a string of big stops.
Still, it's hard to fault the Terps' effort. They played hard throughout and simply met their match. They didn't exactly get a prime draw in the Big Dance -- going all the way to Spokane for the first two rounds and then catching a Thursday game against college basketball's No. 1 team in the Sweet Sixteen -- but they still went further than any Terps team since 2003.
It was a good season, but there will be some who question whether Maryland got the most out of a starting five brimming with potential NBA talent. Now, there's a good chance that coach Mark Turgeon will be replacing all five of them next year.