While this was the best start for the Terps since he took over for Gary Williams in 2011 – and the hottest Maryland has started a season since 1996-97 – Turgeon has other strong starts in his 17 years as a head coach.
His last team at Texas A&M started the 2010-11 season 16-1, including wins over No. 15 Missouri and No. 21 Temple. His first team in College Station in 2007-08 began 15-1. The following year, the Aggies started 14-1. Turgeon’s best previous start at Maryland was 2012-13, when the Terps won 13 of their first 14 games.
Turgeon said on Monday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference that he wants the Terps to think in the short term.
“We talk about it a lot. We talk about getting better. We talk about the good things we have done, and we’re positive and confident because of it,” Turgeon said. “It’s the old cliché, we just approach it one game at a time. ... We have a heck of a league, two road games this week kind of gets your attention quickly.”
Turgeon said “we’re trying to send the message that we’re not there yet.”
As much as the Terps are not looking too far down the road, their fans and the media might be. Maryland has now been projected as a high seed – possibly as high as No. 3 – if it continues to win.
Turgeon knows better, given that two of his better Texas A&M teams started fast but didn’t make it past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
His best previous Maryland team, which started 13-1 two years ago, didn’t even make the NCAA tournament.
Here’s a look at how Turgeon’s other fast-starting teams wound up for the season:
2006-07: After the two early upsets of nationally ranked teams put the Wichita State in the top 10, the Shockers lost four straight and six of seven. Wichita State closed the season with five straight defeats and finished a disappointing 17-14 season with a first-round loss to Missouri State in the Missouri Valley tournament.
The Aggies had another three-game losing streak later in the season and finished 8-8 in the league, lost to No. 4 Kansas in the Big 12 tournament final and to top-seeded UCLA, 51-49, in the NCAA tournament's Round of 32. That team finished 25-11 overall.
2008-09: After a 14-1 start, the Aggies lost four of their first five and seven of their first 10 in Big 12 play before finishing the regular season with six straight wins.
Texas A&M then dropped its Big 12 tournament opener to Texas Tech, beat eighth-seed Brigham Young in the opening round of the NCAA tournament before losing to top seed Connecticut, which eventually reached the Final Four, to finish the season 24-10.
2010-11: Turgeon’s last team in College Station won its first three Big 12 games – the last was an overtime win over Missouri – to get to 16-1 and then lost four of its next five.
The Aggies recovered to finish 10-6 in the league before losing to No. 10 Texas in the second round of the Big Ten tournament and were upset by 10th seed Florida State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to finish the season 24-9.
2012-13: After losing the season opener to then-No. 3 Kentucky at the Barclays Center, the Terps ran off 13 straight wins, including the ACC opener over Virginia Tech. Maryland lost five of its next seven and was a bubble team for the NCAA tournament after beating No. 2 Duke in the ACC quartefinals. But the Terps then lost 79-76 to North Carolina in the ACC semis. They advanced to the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden, where they lost to Iowa to finish 25-13.