Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, given the opportunity publicly at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago on Thursday, finally acknowledged what pundits and prognosticators have been saying about his team for months.
“We’re not going out saying that we’re going to go to a Final Four, win a national championship,” he said. “But everybody’s saying it for us.
“We have Final Four talent. I think we have national championship talent. Now, whether we win one game in the NCAA tournament or even get there remains to be seen.”
It remains remarkable that the conversation in College Park one year ago at this time was how many games Turgeon needed to win to keep his job. Now we’re talking about a potential No. 1 team.
It is a credit to Turgeon, who allowed a group of players he recruited to transfer and put trust in a group of young, unproven players to stabilize the program in one year’s time. Having a leader like Dez Wells and a supertalent like Melo Trimble doesn’t hurt, either.
They are the favorites to win the Big Ten and are projected to be in play for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament -- but they face a brutal schedule, especially in the conference.
“I think we do have a talented group,” Trimble said. “I think that it’s a challenge we want to look up to. I think we have the players to do it. I think we just have to work on the grind and the process and like I said don’t worry about the outsiders and just focus on what’s our goal.
“Everyone wants to get to the national championship game.”