This will be the first edition of my new weekly article series Hot Take City that will be posted every Thursday. I will be giving my “Hot Takes” on various topics, teams, or players across the college basketball landscape. Well, let’s dive right into the first edition of Hot Take City.
Earlier this year, the Maryland Terrapins extended the contract of their current coach Mark Turgeon through the 2022-23 season. Some would say his first few years in College Park were encouraging for the future of the Maryland basketball program. Others say he underachieved with two top 10 caliber teams in consecutive seasons (2014-2016). Personally, I am not a huge fan of Turgeon. I think he is a bit overrated as a coach to be quite honest. Last season he had a starting lineup of Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, Jake Layman, Robert Carter, and McDonald’s All-American Center Diamond Stone. On paper, they were arguably the most talented starting five in the country. Yet, Turgeon only led the Terps to the Sweet Sixteen where they were knocked out by Kansas.
So, coming into this season Coach Turgeon had a tough task filling the four open starting lineup spots to go along with Melo Trimble. Freshmen Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter have been consistently starting alongside Trimble in the backcourt, while they have been rotating a few guys in and out of the two forward positions.
They started off the season with a game against mid-major American, where they barely escaped with a victory on their home floor. Following that, they were handed a win by Georgetown, a game they probably didn’t deserve to win. Next, they struggled against Richmond and Kansas State, but managed to pull out wins. Then, this past Tuesday night, in a highly anticipated ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup, Maryland was embarrassed on their home floor by the Pitt Panthers, losing by a score of 73-59.
A young team, with no terribly intimidating presence down low, I see Maryland struggling quite a bit throughout this season. I do believe that Melo Trimble is back to his Freshman form, but he really doesn’t have a whole lot of help on the court. This, along with the fact that I don’t think Turgeon is a good coach, and you have a team that may not see a whole lot of success this season. That is why I’m making the bold prediction that Maryland will not make the NCAA Tournament this year.
I’m not just stating this as a person who isn’t a Melo Trimble fan, but I truly believe that Maryland does not have the pieces or answers to make the tournament. Melo has put up solid numbers thus far and I expect that to continue, but unless he has a 2011 Kemba Walker type season, don’t expect to see him dancing come March.