An unexpected bounty

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There’s lots of stuff to wonder about here.

Like how Maryland won a game in which its two frontcourt starters and top frontcourt reserve fouled out.

Like how Maryland was the team that forced Ty Lawson into more turnovers (four) than assists (two) for the first time all season.

Like how Cliff Tucker goes berserk against North Carolina, this time dropping 22 points on the helpless Tar Heels.

Like how Maryland could defend the perimeter so poorly Tuesday and completely reverse it against North Carolina.

Like how anyone could cobble together a simply filthy fantasy basketball line of 35 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals, 5 3-pointers and 13-for-24 shooting – and have it look even better than that in person, as Greivis Vasquez did.

Like how Tyler Hansbrough could be a complete non-factor (five points, six rebounds, two free throw attempts, 2-for-7 shooting) after halftime.

Like how Jerome Burney held up as well as he did and actually wound up on the floor in the closing seconds.

Like how a team with a perilously thin bench (five points in a combined 52 minutes) and a clear lack of aptitude for for consistent defense (Maryland shot 19-for-31 after the break) is going to make it through six games in March and April without those problems being exposed.

In any case, Maryland gets the victory it so desperately needed in this late-season gauntlet. Get another – against Duke or Wake Forest – and avoid the silly loss to a team with a losing record (here’s looking at you, Virginia) and this becomes a highly viable NCAA tournament possibility.

But that’s a ways down the road. And for now, there’s plenty more to wrap a mind around than something that could change dramatically several times in the coming weeks.

Patrick Stevens

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