Maine, with a ratings percentage index ranking just south of Jersey City's mighty St. Peter's, has posted double digits in wins this season, including a twelve-point shellacking of Holy Cross. That away loss for the Crusaders came a little more than a week after Holy Cross beat Boston College by twelve -- sending the Eagles into a tailspin that led to a 36 point decimation at the hands of UMass.
So, it is a little difficult to make the case that Boston College is a good college basketball team. At the same time, by beating Florida State at home, BC had achieved something that Maryland hasn't managed this season: a victory over a ranked opponent.
In the upper deck at Comcast, the Terrapins convincing win kindled faint discussions about the remote possibility of an at-large bid -- a whisper that will grow louder if Maryland can pull off an upset at John Paul Jones a few hours from now.
From my vantage point, the story was Nick Faust insofar as how much the freshman has improved over the course of the season. Yes, Faust was 4 for 12 from the floor and, yes, he committed a career-high five turnovers. But he also posted career highs in steals (5) and assists (6) while confidently attacking the high pressure that the Eagles threw at him defensively.
I had assumed that what would turn me around on Maryland basketball this season would be Pe'shon Howard running the point (going a little something like this). Faust has a similar flair for dropping pretty dimes, has begun to assert himself at the one in Howard's absence, and brings the added benefit of being able to close out games with authority.
Fun game to watch; fun team to watch. And they're getting better.
AND... there are great stories to be told about the squad, like Don Markus's wonderful profile of Jonathan Thomas in the Baltimore Sun. Dean's List. Mechanical Engineering major. Math minor. A class called "Vibration, Controls, and Optimization I." And Thomas is playing varsity basketball -- albeit in limited minutes -- on a court named after Gary Williams. Stunning.