Continued from page 1

But Turgeon believes Maryland is a top-echelon program and he’s going to recruit top-echelon talent, the potential one-and-done players that Williams didn’t care for. The Terps are in for a long season this year, but it won’t be long before Turgeon and his “Dream Team” staff lure some major difference-makers to College Park.

Yes, the local standard-bearers have spoiled us a bit with their overall success. Georgetown has reached the NCAA tournament in five of the seven seasons under John Thompson III, with a couple of No. 2 seeds and a No. 3. Maryland advanced to the NCAA tournament in 14 of the last 18 seasons under Williams, a run that included seven Sweet 16s, two Final Fours and one national championship.

Mid-major programs will always get second billing until they pull off some upsets in the NCAA tournament. Butler and Virginia Commonwealth have surpassed Mason as flavors-of-the-month, but it’s nice to know that the original giant-slayer plays in our backyard. It will be interesting to see what Hewitt does with Jim Larranga’s handiwork.

Even GW and American have been good for an NCAA tournament bid or two in recent years, so keeping an eye on them can be fun, too, especially in the conference tournament that usually determines their fate. Nickelberry has the longest climb in making Howard respectable — the Bison haven’t had a winning season since 2001-02 and haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1992 — but his freshmen look promising.

All in all, it’s still good to be a college hoops fan in this area. And it’s good to see another season get underway.