A 79-63 loss to Kansas ends the season in the Sweet Sixteen for the Terps.
It’s Maryland, so of course the fans can be disappointed with “only” a Sweet Sixteen appearance. Even though the Terps have not been this far in the NCAA tournament since 2003. The game still carries the weight of the great expectations formed in the late summer and fall of 2015 when it looked like Maryland had Final Four talent.
On Thursday night in Louisville, from the early forced shots from Rasheed Sulaimon that went in the basket to the all the 3 pointers that Melo missed down the stretch, it still was an improvised effort last night. It was so for the 2015-16 campaign. For this Maryland team, the rhythm of a working machine only came in spurts (save for the Ohio State game in College Park).
The defense was pretty good for most of the game. The defense has been good most of the year. The rebounding has been bad and it has been annoyingly so all season.
In the end, per usual for this team, we were out rebounded and offensively stymied. With that, Maryland put up a heck of a fight. One or two baskets could have (would have or should have) swung the momentum to the Terps. Especially when the game was stuck at a 7 point Kansas lead for what seemed like forever late in the 2nd half.
I was impressed by the play of Ceko (Michal Cekovsky) who wears #15 for the Terps. He hasn’t been in a game for so long that I have to remind folks what number he wears. He is one of the few that brings a toughness to the front line and an effort to rebounding. Of course, he was relegated to the bench after a short stretch on the floor.
I picked Maryland to beat Kansas. I have to admit that I was not in love with this team – that desperate, burning need to have this group of Terps win the game. So there are none of the tears when the Greivis Vasquez led Terps lost a few years ago. Or the deep disappointment from last year when the Terps lost to WVU in Columbus. A NCAA tournament loss should end in tears.
For me, my instant barometer are the kids. Both show interns had an “Oh well” take on the game. It was the first Sweet Sixteen game that they can remember being a part of live. The overall lack of faith that Maryland could really put it together and dearth of emotion (ours, not the team’s) as the buzzer went off was a stark reminder that this really was not our year.
All in all, I liked it better when we cried at end.