USA Today Sports

O Maryland, My Maryland

January 15, 2020

I suppose there was too much good-time news going around. The Nats have been carefully managing their roster in their attempt to defend a World Series title. The Redskins got a new coach and dumped Bruce Allen. The Caps resigned Nicholas Backstrom (who acted as his own agent – way to go, Backy!). And the Maryland men’s basketball team was ranked as high as #3 in the country.

And then…

Last night, the Terps – for the moment ranked #17, but don’t go get a tattoo of that ranking just yet – blew it big time. Unranked Wisconsin upset Maryland 56-54 on a late three-pointer.

Come on, Maryland. What gives?

I’ll tell you what gives. For whatever reason, a Maryland team that has talent and can beat big teams can only play well at home, in the comforting confines of the Xfinity Center in College Park. They only win on the hardwoods of Gary Williams Court.

Gary Williams must be rolling over in his grave.

Hold up: Gary Williams is not dead. I repeat, Gary Williams is not dead.

But you know what looks dead? The Terps hopes for a run in March Madness. Heck, right now, they are hugely likely to drop out of the Top 25. In a quick, informal data check, no unranked team has ever contended for a title in the NCAAM. Silver lining: Maryland is #1 in the Mid-Atlantic region power rankings by NBC Sports Washington. Tarnished silver lining: NBC’s informal ranking of teams based solely on loose geographic location means absolutely nothing. In fact, until the Terps can prove they can win somewhere OTHER than the Mid-Atlantic region, their season is going nowhere fast.

It’s time to get it together, Mark Turgeon.

Don’t make me go dig up Gary Williams.

I mean “dig up” as in “find.” For the third time, Gary Williams is fine.

[Personal aside: One time, while driving through Lot 1 on campus, zipping down lanes to try to find a space in time for class, I nearly ran Gary Williams over with my car. This was prior to the 2002 National Championship, so I think, technically, Gary and the entire Maryland family owe me a thank you. And, based on me not killing him, Gary Williams is not dead.]