Takeaways from Maryland males’s basketball’s season-ending loss to Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Maryland males’s basketball noticed its season come to a detailed Saturday, falling by 22 factors to No. 1 general seed Alabama within the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament. Despite the lopsided last scoreline, the Terps fought with the Crimson Tide and stored their deficit beneath 10 with 13 minutes remaining. Still, it’s Alabama that can proceed its season in Sweet 16 and Maryland that was despatched house packing.

Here are just a few takeaways from Saturday’s recreation.

Julian Reese’s foul bother modified the sport.

Sophomore ahead Julian Reese rapidly turned certainly one of Maryland’s most necessary gamers as the house stretch of the season developed. Not solely did he turn into an much more efficient participant on the courtroom, however he was in a position to keep on it for longer. For the primary half of the season — and maybe slightly bit longer — Reese was one of the foul-prone huge males within the nation. He noticed his enjoying time restricted after often choosing up a number of early fouls and having to take a seat on the bench for prolonged durations of time.

That unhealthy behavior reintroduced itself once more on the worst doable time Saturday. Reese picked up his first and second fouls inside a 19-second span early within the first half, and after re-entering later picked up his third with 8:50 to go within the interval. He dedicated his fourth private foul with 12:13 nonetheless on the clock.

Reese was solely in a position to play 21 minutes earlier than he fouled out with 2:24 left.

“I feel like when I get fouls, I got to keep the same physicality and just keep playing. I understand that just comes with it,” Reese stated. “And just leave some plays alone, like over-the-back calls and like, just don’t gamble, don’t swipe down on some things. Just got to learn from that and build on it.”

Maryland head coach Kevin Willard pulled no punches when discussing the fouls referred to as on his blossoming star ahead, particularly the second foul when Reese and Alabama star freshman Brandon Miller obtained tousled within the backcourt.

“You know, you can’t call that second foul. Not in an NCAA Tournament game. That’s just my feeling on it. I thought it was a horrible call and it changed the outcome of the game,” he stated. “… It was a horrible call. It changed our whole game plan. We were going to pound it inside, pound it inside. That’s what we have been doing for the last two months of the season.”

Maryland’s protection stored it afloat, however its offense sunk the ship.

Maryland did an important job of creating Alabama, one of many nation’s highest-paced and proficient offenses, uncomfortable early. The Crimson Tide didn’t rating their twentieth level till over 15 and a half minutes had elapsed, placing them on tempo for 51.6 factors within the recreation — 30.3 factors fewer than their common of 81.9 factors per recreation.

Even if Maryland had stored that up — and holding Alabama down for that lengthy is a tall, tall process — it could’ve been on the dropping finish of Saturday’s recreation. The Terps scored solely 51 factors themselves, which is eighteen.3 factors lower than Alabama’s common of 69.3 factors allowed per contest. It was clear that Maryland needed to gradual the sport down and restrict the variety of possessions every crew had, however that leaves a slimmer margin for error capturing the ball.

Maryland didn’t rise as much as that problem, making simply 19 of its 54 field-goal makes an attempt, together with 10 missed layups. It constantly tried to power the ball to the inside, however particularly with Reese off the ground, it noticed little to no success there.

“They are very talented. They are very athletic. And they challenge every shot, so I feel like they did a good job of protecting the rim,” Maryland graduate guard Jahmir Young stated.

The Terps additionally made simply certainly one of their eight three-point makes an attempt — normally an excellent technique for a crew with inconsistent long-range capturing however not practically as efficient with out a risk within the submit.

The Terps’ 2022-23 season got here to an finish.

It’s pure to really feel disappointment within the instant hours and days following a season-ending defeat. But when Maryland’s followers, gamers and coaches look again on this season with a macro perspective, they’ll absolutely accomplish that positively.

The narrative has been overwhelmed into the bottom to some extent, nevertheless it’s true — Maryland overachieved this season relative to preseason expectations.

The Terps checked off virtually each field a sensible fan might’ve hoped they might. Willard made his mark on this system in his first season, establishing his most popular model of play, energizing the fanbase and alumni and constructing some optimistic momentum for the longer term.

“I think today is March 18th. I got hired on March 21st [last year]. I told them that these guys have really done an unbelievable job of coming together and turning this program into — getting it going in the right direction,” Willard stated of his message to the crew after the sport. “And it was done with an unbelievable attitude. … It’s very difficult to leave some place you love very much and come to a new place, and these guys made this year absolutely phenomenal. I told them I was proud of them, I loved them, I said thank you.”

Now a lot of the main focus of the offseason will flip to roster building — particularly which gamers which are eligible to return will. Young and the senior duo of Donta Scott and Hakim Hart all have the choice to return and use their additional and last years of faculty eligibility, however none of them have indicated that they’ve decided on that but. Graduate college students Don Carey and Patrick Emilien have each exhausted their faculty eligibility, so they won’t return.

Additionally, as is commonplace within the fashionable age of faculty basketball, it’s doubtless that Maryland’s roster shall be closely influenced by transfers, whether or not they’re leaving or becoming a member of the squad. No present Maryland participant has entered the switch portal on the time of writing, however it’s a near-certainty that among the holes on the Terps’ roster shall be crammed by incoming transfers.

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