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It's Honestly Adorable Watching Penny And Mark Turgeon Try To Spin Zone Why Memphis And Maryland Both Suck

I don't mean to beat a drum here, but when Penny and Turg talk and try to spin zone it, I'm going to laugh. More importantly it's about time Memphis and especially Maryland fans just understand who they are and what I've said has always been true about the program. 

Let's start with Maryland. 

I wrote this about them after they lost to George Mason: 

That wasn't for shock value or hyperbole. It's facts and this team just keeps proving it. I don't know why Maryland fans jump through hoops to 1) defend Turgeron and 2) lie about what their program is. Look at his quote again - this time after losing at home to Virginia Tech. Oh they have transfers and new faces? Surely they are only team with *checks notes* 3 transfers and 1 freshman. Not like Virginia Tech plays a transfer at starting point guard or Louisville has 4 transfers. Nope, only Maryland is dealing with. 

As for the quote itself, what expectations were there for Maryland that were unreasonably high? Be a borderline top-25 team? Because that's what they were. Anyone that said anything higher simply doesn't watch Maryland basketball or basketball in general. Standard high at Maryland? The standard hasn't been high at all under Turgeon. It's been one Sweet 16. The pinnacle? Being tied for the Big 10 regular season title before COVID shut the season down. That's what you're bragging about? No, there aren't expectations or a high standard because frankly there hasn't been success with Maryland since they won the title 20 years ago. 

The fact is and it hasn't changed since I said it in April, Fatts Russell and Quadas Wahab weren't the answer. What actually made Maryland decent last year and why they beat UConn in the NCAA Tournament was the fact that they could run 5-out and let Eric Ayala cook. Instead you bring in a lead guard who simply can't shoot. A big man who is limited in the paint to about 10 feet. Now you have 2 defenders in the paint at all times. There's no open spacing for guys like Ayala to go to work. Defensively, sure, Russell is awesome on the ball and Wahab can defend in the post. But you lost all defensive versatility. You can put these guys in PnR and space them out and just take advantage in the halfcourt. Shit, just look at this play which basically sealed it for Tech. 

A simple handoff used into a screen and Wahab can't even hedge? That's a problem! Beautiful design by Mike Young though. But it's not that hard. You have the backside screen to get Hart staggered and then you know Wahab isn't capable of stepping up. That didn't happen last year with the versatility. Maryland just needs to accept who they are under Turg. A team that will typically be a 7ish seed in the NCAA Tournament, peak at a 4 and be lucky to make a Sweet 16 every 5-7 years. 

Then there's Memphis. 

Losing to this Georgia team? Woof dude. It's just the same old story with Memphis though. They turn it over more than all but 9 teams in the country. They don't have a lead guard. Emoni Bates is forced to play this lead guard spot when that's not his role. He's a playmaker, not a guy who should be initiating the offense. But the fact is, what is that quote from Penny? Dude, you don't understand what they are thinking. You gotta take some blame here. You put together a roster that's loaded with talent but not great fit. You brought in Larry Brown and Rasheed Wallace. What'd you expect it to look like right away? Your defense has always been elite, but the offense has always been a problem. Modernize it. 

Hell, look at this quote from Penny and Emoni Bates too. (h/t Commercial Appeal)

Star freshman Emoni Bates echoed Hardaway, declaring "we're not together as a team." Hardaway went so far as to admit he's reached a "low point."

“It’s the same problem we saw from the preseason games and they’re still there now,” Hardaway said. “We’re not turning a corner. We don’t look like we have fun playing with one another. It seems like everybody still tries to put it on their back. Even though we had more assists, even though we moved the ball from strong to weak (side), it was just still guys pouting. It’s been happening since the first game. Guys are willing to lose if they’re not getting their way.

Low point?!? People willing to lose if they aren't getting their way? Holy shit. Go ahead and cuncel Memphis man. They are 5-2 with two consecutive losses. Either they can't handle adversity, they lack coaching, they don't like playing with each other, there's no plan … or all the above. I think Penny won't ever get the credit for being a decent coach because he's Penny, he just can't devise an offensive plan. He refuses to adapt, which is kind of shocking with his background. 

Long story short, the programs are who they are. Sometimes that shit ain't changing. This is proof of it.