Archive for February, 2008


Wake Forest

Busy week for me so I don’t have much to say about the men this week. They need to beat WF on Thursday night. Most “bracketologists” have the terps barely in the field of 64, and a loss to WF will drop them out, requiring at least a semi-final appearance in the ACC tournament to make the NCAA tournament. Hopefully with the time off since Saturday’s loss, the team has been able to regroup and focus on what they need to do at Wake. Maryland beat Wake earlier in the season without Eric Hayes, and with Boom coming in the game off of the bench. I like to think we are a better, and healthier team since that game and will be able to win. I actually predict a win for Maryland in this game, Maryland tends to do well in the games they really need to win. I also think we will get some bench production in this game from Tucker, Bowie, and even Burney. Hopefully my next entry will not be discussion possible NIT opponents.


What now Gary?

So Maryland just lost to Miami 78-63. It was closer than that, and Miami foul shots made that score look worse, but anyone watching the game knows that Miami was the better team. The bench managed an impressive 4 whole points today, all coming from Jerome Burney, who hasn’t played in forever. James Gist was against disappointing, getting himself in foul trouble, and only shooting 3 of 11 from the field. Hayes was hot from three in the first half, but took only one in the second half. Milbourne was hot from three for a short period, but went 3 for 8, giving up valuable possessions. Gary continues to press, but i don’t understand how you can press for a significant portion of them game and only come up with 5 total turnovers, and I don’t think any of them were because of the press. This team had heart a month ago when it went on its run, but now it looks no different from the team that lost to American. It’s just so sad to watch this team play. They can’t consistently make shots, and on defense they seem to pray for the other team to miss a shot and have a rebound head towards a terps player.

The RPI didn’t drop much as Miami was ranked high and it was a road game, however Wake Forest and Virginia Tech have now passed us. A week ago this team was in 3rd place in the conference, now we are half a game ahead of 7th place. Wake Forest next week is now a tough game. Clemson we knew would be tough, and Virginia will show up to play Maryland. Do the Terps win any of these games, who knows? I’m not even gonna speculate about the NCAA picture at this moment, but Maryland is now in big trouble. My question is will Maryland even host an NIT game since the women’s NCAA tournament is being hosted at College Park. It would be a fitting way to close out this season with NIT games on the road.


VT makes me want to throw up….

Why can’t Gary get his teams to play well against poor opponents? Why does James Gist decide to only score seven points when we really need him? Why does Eric Hayes look like a player with only walk-on ability lately? I wish I had the answer to the questions but I don’t.

This was an absolute horrendous loss for the Terps. With Clemson losing tuesday, it was all set up for Maryland to grab a solid hold of 3rd place in the league; and what did they do? they blew it. To make matters worse, Miami beat Duke Wednesday too, giving them life, and making them a bubble team for the tournament again. If Maryland goes down to Miami and losses, they are in serious, serious trouble. Maryland saw its RPI drop 11 places with their loss to VT. They will probably drop from being a solid tournament team in most projections to a bubble team. If Maryland can stop the flood gates from completely opening they will be fine, but this loss is very bad for them; a loss at home to a struggling ACC school is not something you want on your resume. What makes this game sting more is we lost to VT for the 3rd straight time. Saturday we face a Miami school that beat us twice last year. Maybe ACC expansion was a bad idea. We are 6-2 against the old ACC, and 1-3 against former Big East schools this year. This team needs to figure something out between now and Saturday, because another performance like that, and we can look forward to a couple of NIT games.


The Week that was…and the week that is

A lot has happened since I last posted, so here is a roundup, starting first with the women…

Brenda Frese gave birth to healthy baby boys Sunday morning, and how did the team react? They went down to Duke without her and won 76-69 completing a season sweep of the blue devils for the first time in years. Despite 24 turnovers, the terps managed to play a pretty good game overall and never trailed after the opening minutes. Also, 75 of their 76 points came from Toliver, Harper, Langhorne, and Coleman, with Strickland adding 1 on a free throw. Also check these minutes-played out. Toliver, Coleman, and Langhorne each played 38 minutes, with Harper coming in at 36. This brings about a few question. First, how bad is our bench that they play so little? Second, How do you only beat a team by 7 if your 4 studs play almost the entire game. I wish we would play the bench more, especially Lyons and Mingo just to get them experience, but if the team isn’t in foul trouble, and the starters have the conditioning to play +35 minutes a game, then you might as well let them. Its not that an 7 point win at Duke is a bad thing, it just concerns me that with your 4 top players playing so much of the game, how you only win by 7 when Duke has two bench players over 20 minutes. Duke had 54 bench minutes compared to Maryland’s 24. Its just something to think about down the road. The ladies have two games remaining, at home against FSU, and on the road at N.C. State. They should win these games and end the season 13-1 in the ACC, most likely getting a number 2 seed in the ACC tournament. What will be interesting is to see who gets the three seed. Duke is not a shoe in for it, and with a game remaining against UNC for Duke, it is very possible UVA may sneak up and take the 3rd seed. Onto the men….

They completed last week off beating FSU 82-72. After a sluggish first half, the team came out storming in the second half, lead by Vasquez who hit three 3’s in a minute and a half span. Maryland now finds itself in a tie for 3rd place in the conference with a 7-4 record. They cannot afford to become lazy though and begin dropping games. The ACC has a bad reputation this year and will likely only see 4 teams make the NCAA, 5 if they are lucky. Maryland’s RPI continues to sit in the low 50’s (51 at this moment) which is a little low in terms of RPI for an at large team usually. However, the way Maryland has turned its season around, they should be able to sneak in with a lower than average RPI, as long as they continue to win games. Maryland hosts VT Wednesday and goes on the road to face Miami Saturday. These are both games Maryland should win, and I also think they will have the motivation to play these sub 500 schools. VT beat MD earlier in the year 66-67. Maryland had the game won and blew it. Maryland is out for revenge (Greivis even said so himself in an interview) and I expect the terps to be pumped up and deliver. As long as Deron Washington doesn’t get confidence, and Vassallo doesn’t get three point happy, I like our chances. Jeff Allen is a force down low, but Gist and Boom should be able to stop him. Next the team is off to Miami. There is no reason Maryland should lose this game. Miami has dropped off since starting the season hot; kinda in similar fashion to what clemson did last year. But also in similar fashion to what Clemson did to us a few years ago, Miami has had Maryland’s hand of late despite their lack of talent compared to Maryland. Miami came to comcast and beat Maryland last year, and then as the 12 seed in the ACC tournament, they knocked out 5 seeded Maryland in the first round of action. This sums up to another revenge game. This is their only shot at Miami this year, and I think the team wants to capture the win.

It is important to Maryland to finish in the top 4 in the league and secure the bye in the first round of the ACC tournament. It simply looks better to win and get the bye, then to have to play a Thursday game at the tournament. UNC and Duke will take the top two seeds. Clemson and Maryland are battling for the 3rd and 4th seeds, but after Wake’s stunning upset of Duke, Maryland needs to watch out. The way I see it, Maryland can still afford to lose to Clemson, as well as one other league game. this would result in a 10-6 league record, and most likely a 4th place finish. However, you can never be so sure, so you better win all of the games that you can. In terms of important RPI games, beating Miami, Clemson and Wake Forest will improve their numbers the best in hopes of getting a higher seed in the NCAAs.


Post Duke Thoughts

Well, its always disappointing to lose, and losing to Duke makes it even worse. But a 65-77 loss at the #2 team in the country isn’t a terrible thing. The unfortunate part about the game was that with about 8 minutes to go, the score was 55-57 in favor of Duke, almost erasing a 16 point deficit. Maryland had a few opportunities to tie the game or take the lead, but went cold. Duke was then able to pull away and any chances of an upset were over.

Looking at the stat sheet, Duke’s shooting really stands out. They were 12/25 from three, and 11/33 from two. That’s right, they shot 48% from three, and 33% from two. I can’t stop staring at that statistic. It was an incredible performance by Duke, to shot 48% from three in 25 attempts, and that is difficult for anyone to overcome, especially a Maryland team that isn’t strong at shooting the three. But it also seems strange how poorly Duke shot from 2, and i guess you can credit that to whatever you want, good defense, or cold shooting from duke inside. Even more interesting is that Duke was 3/4 from two in the final 4 shoots. Without these shots, Duke’s two point percentage drops to 27%. My point is, without even considering how Maryland played offensively, Duke won this game thanks to the three ball. There is nothing wrong with that, because that is how Duke is winning this year, but shooting near 50% from three is important to this team, and its something they can do. I am not upset at our team for poor three point defense, Duke can shoot the three, and there is very little we can do about it.

Maryland’s offense was disappointing to say the least. Unfortunately, none of our shots seemed to fall in the 1st half, and Gist was not heard of besides his one dunk in the second half. 9 points from Gist will not cut it against Duke. Osby had a pretty solid game, scoring 13, and Vasquez scored 25, but besides that, nothing was happening for the offense. Eric Hayes had a disappointing game, as did Landon Milbourne. It looked as if the close man-to-man defense that Duke ran really bothered them. There was simply not enough offensive fire from the team as a whole to compete with Duke. What is done is done, but it is always a disappointment when you play a close game and know that you could have performed better and maybe won.

Like I said in my last post, I still think the loss does not hurt us. It certainly does not help us, but it does not hurt. Maryland has a pretty favorable schedule from here out. Their toughest game is the home finale against Clemson. Besides that game, Maryland should be able to win the 5 other conference games. If we assume losses to Clemson, and one of the other 5 games, that will result in a 10-6 conference record, and either 3rd or 4th place in the league. That is enough to get this team into the tournament. Maryland is still in the driver’s seat and controls its own destiny, and I think this team will make the NCAA tournament no questions asked. They are a good team, and a less than stellar showing at Duke shouldn’t take away from that.

Lastly, a quick look at real time rpi shows Maryland actually jumped up to #52 from #56(as of when i wrote this) following the loss to Duke, so any worries about a severe drop following a Duke loss were for nothing. This is a good team, and there is no need to panic over a loss to Duke.


Bring on Duke

Well the men won their 4 games in between their two duke games, and are in 3rd place in the conference with a 6-3 conference record. The terps have proven they are a dominant ACC school. While I do not think they are one of the top 2 ACC schools, which i believe to be UNC and Duke, I certainly think they are in a fight with Clemson to determine the 3rd and 4th best ACC schools. Therefore, in the long run, while it would be nice to win at Duke, this certainly is not even close to a must win game for the terps anymore. By taking care of their business against the rest of the league, another loss to Duke shouldn’t push the Terps out of the NCAA tournament, which many experts now predict Maryland will make. Now, a win will certainly only help Maryland’s cause, and prove they are 100% for real, but my point is, don’t expect a win tomorrow, and don’t feel that the team is in major trouble if they do not get the win. The terps are doing what they need to do against the rest of the ACC for this game to not matter too much for them. It’s the Clemson game later in the season that will be the big game for the terps.

Now, what do the terps need to do in order to take out Duke? First, they need to get significant production from Gist and Boom. Those two provided 46 points in the earlier loss to Duke. Maryland has a huge size advantage over Duke, and they need to use this to get lots of inside points, and grab rebounds. They won the rebound battle in the earlier game 35-28, and they need to match that, or do even better to have a chance to knock off Duke. Maryland also needs to contain Nelson and Henderson on Duke if they want a shot at winning. Those two combined for 50 points in the previous meeting. This cannot happen if the Terps are going to win.

One last thing to consider is how poorly Singler, Paulus, Scheyer, and Thomas played in the earlier meeting. You can’t bank on this happening again, especially with Duke at home, but in order for the Terps to upset the number 2 team in the country, we are gonna need some luck. I would say you need at least half of the Duke players I have mentioned to have poor games for the terps to even have a chance. Duke can shoot well, but only Nelson, Henderson, and Smith were able to shoot against us last time, yet Duke scored 93 points. We are gonna need a strong defensive output, combined with cold shooting from Duke in order to win this game. As much as I hate to say it, Duke is a good team this year. I will be shocked if we pull off the victory at Duke, even as hot as we have been playing. But then again, the team shocked me against UNC, so there is no reason they can’t do it again. UNC shot 38% against us and scored 82 points; we need a similar stat if we want to beat Duke. Just remember, a loss to Duke right now, is not the end of the world, or the season for Maryland.


2008 Football Schedule Released

The ACC has released the football schedules for the 2008 season. It looks like a favorable schedule for the Terps. All four home ACC games are very winnable games. Clemson and VT on the road will be tough, but UVA and BC should not be too bad. The schedule also includes a visit from Pac-10 participant Cal, and a visit from I-AA national champion runner-up Delaware. It is way to early to predict how we will fair, but a 10-2 season with a 6-2 ACC record is very possible if the team plays up to its abilities. I’ll talk more about football following the basketball season. Here is the schedule.

Aug. 30 Delaware
Sept. 6 @ Middle Tennessee St.
Sept. 13 California
Sept. 20 Eastern Michigan
Sept. 27 @ Clemson
Oct. 4 @ Virginia
Oct. 11 Open
Oct. 18 Wake Forest
Oct. 25 NC State
Nov. 1 Open
Nov. 6 @ Virginia Tech (Thursday night game)
Nov. 15 North Carolina
Nov. 22 Florida State
Nov. 29 @ Boston College

February 2008
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