By Sean Whooley
ESPN college basketball analyst and former Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg has no doubt the Maryland men's basketball team can overcome its early season struggles and will be primed for the postseason this season and beyond.
"I think they're an NCAA Tournament team," Greenberg said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Nov. 28. "There really haven't been a lot of mid-majors that have emerged, per se, so they're going to have to win games, like anybody else. They're going to have to win the right games."
After opening the season with five straight victories, the Terps have lost two of their past three. St. Bonaventure beat them, 63-61, Nov. 24, and Syracuse handed them another defeat, 72-70, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Nov. 27.
In those games, the Terps turned the ball over a combined 38 times. However, Greenberg sees the miscues as growing pains on the way to success.
"I really like this Maryland team," Greenberg said. "They didn't close it out, they turned it over and made some mental, young mistakes. But, I look at this team, not where they are now, but where they're going."
Greenberg said the Terps still can find success thanks to their talented roster, despite the departure of guard Melo Trimble, who was the program's centerpiece for the past three seasons.
Greenberg called guard Kevin Huerter an "elite shooter and passer" and likened his performance against Syracuse (23 points on 7-for-9 3-point shooting) to Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
He also said freshman forward Bruno Fernando is a legitimate low-post scorer and first-year guard Darryl Morsell is a player he loves. If preseason All-Big Ten forward Justin Jackson can adjust to positional switches, the Terps will see progress, Greenberg added.
"This team will get better," Greenberg said. "Roles are being redefined. Justin will be more comfortable at the four, you'll see Morsell continue to improve as well as Bruno … the potential for this team, to me, is really special."
Greenberg believes that potential is not only enough to get Maryland to the NCAA Tournament, but he said, after watching practices early in the season, the Terps have a chance to make the second weekend in the tournament.
That comes with a few caveats, though.
"They've got to take better care of the basketball," Greenberg said. "They've got guys who can make shots and they've got tough matchups. You know they're going to be a little better defensively. … I like their team."
Greenberg said the Terps will have a chance at a deep postseason run next season if they keep their core group of players together.
That, much like any possible improvements this season, will come with better decision-making from Maryland.
"How do you learn to make good decisions? You make some bad ones and you learn from them," Greenberg said. "If those guys are making those same mistakes next year, that's one thing. I would expect they wouldn't and you'd see this team improve."
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