Little comes from trip to paradise

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The reason there hasn’t been any actual coverage of Maryland basketball the last few days is pretty simple – if I’m not in attendance (in this case in Maui), then there isn’t a whole lot more to provide than what is seen and heard on TV and radio.

But needless to say, the perception of the Terrapins certainly has changed this week, including …

Cincinnati and Wisconsin demonstrated something that was obvious even in the early-season tuneups: Rebounding has a chance to be a serious issue for the Terps.

Will the return of Dino Gregory help matters? Sure. But it probably won’t magically fix the interior issues.

Maryland also seems to have some free throw problems. Maybe those clear up, and that is a matter of a hiccup over a couple days. But shooting less than 60 percent at the foul line in consecutive outings is an obvious flaw in need of being fixed.

There are, at least for the moment, depth issues. When you’re comfortable playing only seven guys for 10+ minutes, that’s a topic that’s going to come up.

Those are things to sort out in the coming days and weeks. But it is early, and Maryland turned out all right after going win-loss-loss in a November tournament last year.

In terms of a longer-term scope, the Terps effectively accomplished nothing for their season-long resume. Beating a Division II team means zero, and losing to a pair of programs that should be reputable this season doesn’t hurt. But it doesn’t help much, either.

It places a greater onus on the next two games, notably the BB&T Classic date with Villanova, as the last opportunities to accomplish something noteworthy in nonconference play. The Terps always had that victory over Michigan State last year to fall back on, and it certainly helped in the end game.

If they don’t nab that game, there’s a real chance Maryland heads into ACC play with a fairly hollow 11-3 record. Maybe one or two of those nonconference visitors to Comcast Center turns out to be decent, but a lot of them are projected to be punching bags in their own leagues.

After the next two games, it will be nearly impossible to make any substantial judgments for another month, and so it’s natural to size up what can be evaluated now. It just doesn’t do a whole lot of good.

So here’s the assessment at the 20 percent mark of the regular season: Little Maryland has done to date will help it when it is examined later in the season. Which means, as is usually the case before Thanksgiving, there is still a lot to do.

Patrick Stevens

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