Maryland rose to No. 2 in the nation in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll thanks to North Carolina’s loss to Northern Iowa last week. But that doesn’t mean that Mark Turgeon thinks his team is flawless.
“We know we’re not playing like the No. 2 team in the country,” he said on his weekly radio show. “We understand that. We understand there’s a lot of really good teams.”
That is what will make this year in college basketball so unpredictable. Looking at the field now there are, what, nine or ten teams who could make a case for a No. 1 seed come tournament time? Teams will rise to No. 1 and lose, as North Carolina did. There is no one dominant team.
In all honesty, this Maryland team likely will not hit its peak until January or so.
“We understand we’re a work in progress,” Turgeon said. “I’m still trying to figure this team out. It’s been a process.”
The injury to guard Dion Wiley was a curveball and it undid some of the progress the team had made after trying to make up ground that was lost by not being together for much of the summer.
Small lineups are less feasible for long stretches and how to lift the minutes burden on Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon is among the biggest questions remaining with this team. All of that comes as five-star freshman Diamond Stone continues to get more comfortable with the college game.
“Hopefully these two games [in the Cancun Challenge] back-to-back will allow me to become a better coach with this group, but I don’t think we’re feeling that pressure anymore,” Turgeon said.
“We realize we have a good team and we’re playing against a lot of good teams and we just got to do the best we can.”