MIKE BURKE

Allegany Communications

To give you an idea how crestfallen I was last week over #NFLTheTVShow coming to an end for another season, consider, I slept the entire second half of the Super Bowl, which explains why I had very few insights on the Angelenos’ great triumph in the latest edition of The Fall of the Roman Empire, Park Avenue version.

(Guy asked me the other day why I persist in calling it #NFLTheTVShow. I told him Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” was taken …)

Nope, watched the first half and it seemed to be a pretty decent game, and then was really looking forward to watching the halftime show; but about four or five minutes into that, it was Zzzzz City, baby, and the next thing I knew, the Rams were the champs.

Thus, with that and the current state of will there be a baseball season or won’t there be a baseball season, it is now mainly just college basketball season to many of us, since I rarely watch the NHL or the NBA (other than the TNT postgame show) until the playoffs (yes, sadly, I’ve become one of them), and at the lone NASCAR race I have attended in my life, I found myself as sound asleep in the middle of it as I did this year’s Super Bowl. Of course, I may have been overserved during pregame in both instances

As it is college basketball or bust, that leaves most of us here to mainly follow the fortunes of the West Virginia University Mountaineers and the University of Maryland Terrapins. Admittedly, neither fortune looks terribly bright at this point.

On Monday, Taz Sherman scored 23 points to reach 1,000 career points, but unfortunately, the other Mountaineers didn’t score much themselves in a 77-67 loss to TCU. The loss was the 11th for WVU in the last 12 games after what had been a hopeful start to the season.

The Mountaineers are now 14-13 and 3-11 in the Big 12 and would seemingly need a pocket full of miracles to have any chance of making the NCAA Tournament. While I’ve found them to be a good enough defensive and rebounding team, they just haven’t been able to score or to add some balance when somebody, such as Sherman on Monday, does.

It is far past the point in the season to hope that Coach Bob Huggins can merely hit a switch and, bang, WVU will have scorers. If it ain’t there by now, it’s just not there.

Meanwhile, Oscar Tshiebwe, who transferred out of Morgantown, is averaging 16 points and 15 rebounds a game for the Kentucky Wildcats …

As for the Terps, somebody walked out on them as well – the guy who brought them all to College Park, their former head coach Mark Turgeon; eight games into the season.

Not that anybody seems to have missed him, because it was clear just eight games in that he hadn’t done his job, having seemingly stopped recruiting before the pandemic even hit. When Turgeon walked, the Terps were 5-3 with one of the losses coming to George Mason, which was more indicative of the dysfunction of the roster makeup than the 5-3 record.

Under interim head coach Danny Manning, the Terps, with a few exceptions, have pieced themselves into being a competitive team and still easy enough to watch given the low expectations that permeate the situation at Xfinity.

The Terps, who were ranked in the top 25 to begin the season, now stand at 13-14 and 5-11 in the Big Ten after consecutive wins over Nebraska and Penn State. Yet consider, three of their losses this season have been to Top 10 teams and have come by one point. On top of that, they played Wisconsin and Purdue down to the wire on the road, as well as Michigan State at home.

With good wins in the book against ranked teams Florida and Illinois, Maryland is not that far from being 15-11 with four to five top 25 wins, and that is a credit to the job Manning has done as coach and to the players, who seem to have been thrown together by Turgeon even though their respective games do not complement each other’s.

Manning said last week he is definitely interested in being named head coach when Maryland goes through that process once this season is over. While Terps fans should be appreciative and grateful for the job Manning has done, that is not likely to happen, but, of course, never say never.

When Maryland hires its next head coach, it will have to make a big splash. And by that we’re talking an established head coach, who has won and won at a high level of college basketball with a program he has successfully built from the ground up.

Because in light of the mess Mark Turgeon left in College Park, Maryland basketball will be starting from the ground.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT