Terps miss golden opportunity

Published Jan. 9, 2011 11:11 p.m. ET

By Andrew Jones
January 9, 2011

Durham, N.C. -- Maryland could have beaten Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday night, and had the Terrapins not lost, 71-64, they would have secured a win that would carry a ton of weight with the NCAA selection committee in March.

As it is, though, the underrated Terps played well and probably earned some respect nationally, which the ACC could use.

Duke is the unanimous No. 1 team in America, according to the pollsters, but the rest of the conference is struggling to generate respect. Even North Carolina, which is 11-4 after winning at Virginia on Saturday, isn't getting much attention from the pundits. Maybe in defeat, however, Maryland can get some lasting love.

The Terrapins (10-5, 0-2 ACC) certainly played well enough to be embraced by anyone who appreciates well-coached and hard-fought hoops. It wasn't always pretty on Coach K court, but credit the Terps for much of that. Sometimes, that actually is good basketball.

Maryland established ownership of the tempo early and maintained it into the second half. It did this while missing 19 of its first 23 shots, yet took its first lead at 19-18, even though it was just 6-for-26 from the field at the time. This is where this Terps team may be different, and in some respects better, than last season