NCAA

The four best teams who didn't make the Final Four this decade

The four best teams who didn't make the Final Four this decade

This is a list no team wants to be on.

It’s tough to reach a Final Four, especially when you’re a favorite. You have an incredible regular season and then one bad 40-minute game and your season could be over.

These were the four best teams from the decade who never made it to the Final Four.

4. Kansas - 2016

In 2016, Bill Self had a loaded roster. The Jayhawks had elite guards – Frank Mason III, Wayne Selden, and Devonte Graham - along with experienced big-men, Perry Ellis and Landen Lucas. That year, Kansas had won the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles. Only thing missing was the National Championship.

Kansas was on cruise control after the first three rounds. They took out Austin Peay, defeated UConn and eliminated a very talented Maryland team in the Sweet  Sixteen. Next up, in the Elite Eight, was red-hot Villanova.

Villanova was also very impressive in the first three rounds. They scored 86, 87, and 92 points in their first three games winning every game by at least 19 points. A game expected to have a lot of offense turned out to be the exact opposite. A defensive struggle between two very talented teams. Villanova edged out Kansas, 64-59 to deny Kansas a trip to the Final Four and possibly a national title. Villanova ended up going on to win the championship that season.

3. Ohio State - 2011

Thad Matta had an unbelievable team in Columbus in 2011. The Buckeyes were 32-2 heading into the NCAA Tournament rolling through the Big Ten. What made Ohio State so good was how balanced they were. They had two of the best players in the country, Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft. Sullinger was a big-time scorer, while Craft was as good an on-ball defender as there has been this past decade. Combine those two with the lights out shooting of Jon Diebler and the scoring ability of David Lighty and William Buford, Ohio State had it all.

After commanding wins in their first two games, the Buckeyes faced off against the young, but very talented Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky played as good of defense as you could on Ohio State limiting the Buckeyes to just 60 points.

After a Brandon Knight pull-up jumper put the Wildcats up by two with five seconds to go, Ohio State had a chance to tie or take the lead. Craft raced the ball down the court, getting the ball to Buford for a left corner 3-pointer. He missed it, coming up short, and Kentucky stunned Ohio State knocking them out in the Sweet Sixteen.

2. Kentucky - 2010

When you look back on Kentucky’s 2010 team the stars on their team just jump off the page. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Patrick Patterson all played together in 2010. Ten years later and all four of those guys are still in the NBA.

That year in the 2010 NBA Draft, Wall was selected 1st overall by the Wizards, Cousins went 5th overall to the Kings, and Bledsoe went 18th to Clippers. Even though they were all freshmen, it was clear Kentucky had the most talent.

It showed in the first three games of the tournament dominating East Tennessee State, Wake Forest, and Cornell. Then they got to the Elite Eight and they had to play West Virginia. A team battle-tested out of the Big East who wouldn’t back down from Kentucky’s talent.

The Wildcats shot 4-32 from the 3-point line, while West Virginia went 10-23. All it takes is one bad shooting game in the tournament and you could be going home. The Mountaineers shocked Kentucky, winning 73-66, preventing the Wildcats from reaching the Final Four.

1. Duke - 2019

The 2019 Duke Blue Devils were appointment television. Zion Williamson became a national phenomenon who captivated the sports world. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft, was the most hyped draft prospect since Lebron James. Pair him with R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish who also were top 10 picks and Duke had quite the roster.

The overwhelming favorites heading into the NCAA Tournament, Duke was extremely fortunate just to make it to the Elite Eight. The Blue Devils had no problems in their opening game against North Dakota State, but then came the trouble in the Second Round.

By the skin of their teeth Duke got by UCF and Virginia Tech in games they easily could have lost. Against UCF, the Knights missed a tip-in at the buzzer that rolled around the rim and wouldn’t fall. Then, the Virginia Tech Hokies had a chance to send the game to overtime after a fantastic out-of-bounds play, but they blew the open layup.

Duke’s luck ran out against Michigan State in the Elite Eight, losing by one, 68-67. It just goes to show that even though Duke struggled in those three games how talented they were to almost make the Final Four not playing their best.

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Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

The Syracuse men's basketball program picked up its first commit of the 2021 class on Thursday and it came at the expense of the two big local schools. 

Four-star prospect Benny Williams committed to the Orange on Thursday, the small forward announced on Twitter. 247Sports was the first to break the news.

Williams, a consensus top 60 recruit in the 2021 class, chose Syracuse over Maryland, Georgetown and Miami. The small forward is ranked the 47th overall player in the 2021 class by 247Sports and 53rd by ESPN.

Missing on Williams is a crushing blow for the Terps, as the forward would have been the second four-star to commit to Maryland in the 2021 class, joining power forward Julian Reese. The Hoyas have yet to land a commitment for the 2021 recruiting cycle.

"I'm excited to play for coach [Jim] Boeheim in front of the best fans in the country in the greatest arena in college basketball," Williams said in his commitment video.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who plays his high school ball at St. Andrew's Episcopal in Potomac, Md., had taken two unofficial visits to Syracuse prior to committing, according to 247Sports. 

Syracuse's culture and the legacy of the basketball program were two things that specifically stood out to the junior when he visited the school.

"I picked them because of the relationship we built going back two years ago, especially coach Red [Autry] and with coach [Jim] Boeheim," Williams told 247Sports. "I think I can come in and impact the program right away and hopefully lead them to a national championship."

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The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

Maryland basketball is no stranger to success at the point guard position. Throughout the history of the program, numerous primary ball handlers have put up big scoring totals, created highlight plays and led their team to greatness.

But for a program loaded with point guard talent, who are the best of the best? Here's a look at a few of top point guards to ever be a Terp.

Gene Shue (1951-54)

Shue ranks No. 22 on Maryland's all-time scoring list, and while he put up some impressive numbers during his time there, his most impressive work was how he put the program on the map. Before Shue took his spot at UMD, the team had suffered losing season after losing season. That all changed when the point guard arrived.

During his playing career, the Terps achieved their first 20-win season in program history, were nationally ranked and joined the ACC Conference. Thanks in large part to Shue, Maryland basketball began the journey toward national prominence. 

John Lucas (1972-76)

Earning All-American honors once is an impressive feat for most college players, Lucas did it three times during his career at Maryland. The point guard earned second-team honors for the 1973-74 season while playing alongside Tom McMillen and Len Elmore. The latter two would graduate leaving Lucas to shine on his own in the following year.

He did just that, earning First-Team All-American honors for the 1974-75 season. Lucas would do the same in 1975-76 for good measure. During that time he also led Maryland to an ACC regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance.

Lucas currently ranks No. 6 all-time in scoring at Maryland with 2,015 points. He also ranks No. 4 in scoring average, totaling around 18.3 points per game during his career as a Terp. Lucas wasn't just a scorer, as he also could pass with the best of them as a point guard. His 514 assists in college put him fifth on Maryland's all-time list. Lucas would go on to have a solid NBA career as well after being selected No. 1 overall by the Rockets in the 1976 NBA Draft.

Keith Gatlin (1983-86, 1988)

Gatlin embodied the floor general spirit of a point guard during his time at Maryland. Though surpassed 1,000 points in college, his real brilliance was seen when he distributed the ball to others.

Len Bias and Adrian Branch ranked No. 3 and No. 5 on Maryland's scoring list, and that's largely due to Gatlin's ability to get them the ball and let them take over. Rather than force his own shots, Gatlin would find the open man and rack up assist totals. By the end of his Terrapin career, he had recorded 649 assists, good enough for third all-time in school history.

Steve Blake (1999-2003)

Blake, much like Gatlin, made his mark as a passer at Maryland. His 972 assists during his four-year college career are the highest mark in the history of the program and rank sixth all-time in NCAA basketball history.

Blake's brilliance was seen from day one, as he started from his freshman to senior year at Maryland. His ability to control the flow of the game was instrumental in the Terps 2002 National Championship run.

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10)

The roar at the Xfinity Center when Vasquez tells the crowd he has "Maryland Pride" is all you need to know about how great his collegiate career was. The point guard showed promise in his first two seasons but really stepped up his game during his junior and senior years.

In 2008-09, Vasquez led the Terrapins in almost every category on the stat sheet. The top spots for scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and minutes played all belonged to him. He followed that up with a senior year in which he scored close to 20 points per game and took home the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. Vasquez currently ranks second all-time in points at Maryland with 2,171. 

Melo Trimble (2014-17)

Trimble is one of the most recent guards to find success at Maryland. Bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Trimble averaged 16.2 points per game during his first season of college ball. His following two seasons were just as exciting, as Trimble became the go-to weapon for the Terps offense. Before it was all said and done, Trimble surpassed 1,600 points and 400 assists during his three years at Maryland.

Numbers were great, but it was Trimble's heroic moments in the final seconds that he'll always be remembered for. Last-second game-winning shots against Wisconsin and Michigan State showed that there was no moment too big for No. 2. 

Anthony Cowan Jr. (2016-20)

When Trimble left for the pros it became Cowan's time to shine at Maryland, and he did just that. After a solid freshman year, Cowan continued to grow and improve each time out on the court. From his sophomore to senior year Cowan averaged 15.8, 15.6 and 16.3 points, respectively. He now sits seventh all-time in scoring at the University of Maryland

Cowan's biggest strengths, however, were his consistency and clutch. Maryland's newest 'Iron Man,' the point guard started 130 consecutive games during his four years as a Terp. No matter what was going on, everyone could rely on Cowan to be there and ready to make an impact. 

Clutch-wise, Cowan had a knack for stepping up in the big moments, especially during his senior season. A lethal three-point shooter, his performance on the road against Michigan State this past season showed everything there is to know about the Maryland native. With the Terps trailing late, Cowan knocked down two huge threes from way beyond the arc to take the lead and ice the game.

Moments like that helped Cowan bring a Big Ten banner to College Park. 

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