The Washington Times - January 30, 2009, 11:09AM

Something I’ve heard from ardent Maryland fans in the last few days (beyond, you know, disgust with the strife from earlier this week) is the possibility that maybe a lineup change is needed to help the Terrapins shake their recent funk.

Of course, even if someone believes a change will be of use, the options are limited.


No matter how much of a slump he’s in, Greivis Vasquez isn’t going to get benched. He’s still the Terrapins’ best player.

Landon Milbourne has held up remarkably well at the four, and he’s played as well as anyone during conference play.

Adrian Bowie has tossed one awful game among a string of very good performances. He isn’t the problem.

The five position has turned into a timeshare as it is, with Dave Neal starting and playing 54 minutes over the last three games. Sophomore Dino Gregory has logged 50 minutes. Granted, Neal missed some time against Virginia because of the elbow he took. But this is a fairly even split at this stage, regardless of who starts.

So that leaves a third guard position —- and leads to this chart covering the last six games:

ACC play
Player A
Player B
Minutes 29.3 20.2
Points 8.0 6.8
Rebounds 2.3 3.7
Assists 3.3 1.0
FG% .315 (17/54)
.500 (15/30)
3FG% .360 (9/25)
.333 (1/3)

It’s not much of a secret who these guys are. Player A is Eric Hayes, and Player B is Sean Mosley.

Hayes is unquestionably struggling at this point, and he’s even 5-for-8 at the foul line in league play (he was 21-for-22 in the nonconference schedule). Since the ACC schedule began, Mosley is outplaying Hayes on a minute-for-minute basis.

One of the great what-ifs for this season is wondering how things would have turned out if Mosley didn’t sprain his ankle in late October. He was on track to start, and it’s no secret coach Gary Williams is enamored with Mosley’s toughness and rugged play.

Maybe Cliff Tucker doesn’t start the first five games. Maybe Bowie doesn’t get inserted into the lineup. Maybe Mosley would be busy making a play for a spot on the conference’s all-freshman team (which, at this stage, should probably include Al-Farouq Aminu, Sylven Landesberg, Iman Shumpert, Chris Singleton and probably Ed Davis).

Maybe there’s a change in the offing after five losses in the last seven games. Maybe there isn’t. And maybe it wouldn’t make a difference, anyway.

But a Hayes/Mosley swap is without question the most logical possibility if a change is to occur.

—- Patrick Stevens