Archive for the 'Women’s Basketball' Category

20
Mar
08

Season Over…for the men

Well when the buzzer sounded up in Syracuse Thursday night, it marked the end to what can only be described as a disappointing season for the terps…despite the departures of Strawberry, Jones and the other 4 seniors from last year’s team, many, including myself expected another NCAA tournament run. Instead we got a team that just seemed to lack the necessary on court chemistry that is needed in those games when you aren’t playing your best and to keep your momentum when you get up on a team.

Gist and Boom will be leaving, as well as possibly a mystery player if Ken Bowman does indeed come to play for the Terps next year. With all of the good that Gist brings, i’ll be happy to see him go. He is too inconsistent for me, and when he thinks hes a jump-shooter, he hurts the team more than he helps them. I will miss Boom because he is a loveable guy, but he was a garbage player, getting most of his points picking up Gist’s mistakes, not creating his own shots.

I’ll talk about the rest of the team when I get time later. I don’t think this team is hopeless, and I don’t think Gary needs to be fired. They just need to work some stuff out.

The post season is just beginning for the women however as they play their 1st and 2nd round games at Comcast Sunday and Tuesday. If you haven’t seen this team play, this is your last chance. They are loosing a lot of talent this year and while they will still be a good team, I am not sure if they will be a national champion contender next year, which they are this year, so come out and watch them at Comcast if you have some time (Duke is also playing their games at Comcast so you can come boo them while you are there).

In the housekeeping department, I will try to keep this blog updated during the women’s run through the tournament, but I am entering a demanding two week period with my classes and may not have the time. Regardless, I hope to write some women’s entries, as well as a little more about the men’s team in the weeks to come. Oh…and that spring football game is right around the corner.

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06
Mar
08

Let’s talk about something happy…the women

It’s ACC tourney time….female style

The women are the #2 seed in the tournament this year, and if all goes to plan, will get an opportunity to play UNC in the finals. Their first game will be against the BC/VT winner. Whichever of these teams the terps play, i do not expect much of a problem. I doubt you will see a 20 point deficit against VT if we play them like what happened during the season. Assuming they win that game, the Terps will most likely play #3 Duke. Maryland has been able to handle them this season going 2-0 against the blue devils. Duke is a good team, but I think we match up very well against them, and will probably win the game.

This brings us to the championship game. It will probably be against #1UNC, but #4 UVA, and #5 GT are all on this side of the bracket. Maryland doesn’t particularly match up well against any of these teams. UNC is just flat out good, and simply may be more talented than us. We needed two comebacks to beat UVA twice this year, and we all remember the double OT thriller at home to GT where the Terps barely escaped with a victory. The point is, we do not match up well with these teams, so thankfully we will only have to face one throughout the tournament. Assuming all goes to plan, Maryland will play #1 UNC, and will probably lose, although a win is very possible if we play a flawless game.

In terms of NCAA seedings, the terps are looking at a #2 seed no matter what they do, unless they win the tournament. UNC, Tenn, and UConn are locks for #1 seeds no matter what they do. Its between MD and Rutgers for that last #1, and for some reason, most believe Rutgers is getting that last #1 seed despite 5 losses on the season. Maryland can steal that #1 seed with an ACC tournament win, or a poor showing by Rutgers in the Big East tournament. Worst case scenario is we are a #2 seed….and a #2 seed in the NCAA is better than a #1 seed in the NIT…sorry to end that on such a sour note, but thats what the Men are probably looking at now

18
Feb
08

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.

07
Feb
08

Men on a roll…Doron to be honored

Lets start with the ladies. Following their OT loss to UNC almost 2 weeks ago, the women have won their past two games, including an OT victory at VT which found the ladies down 2-22 early in the game. The game was on FSN and I was able to watch it, and boy did they look bad at the beginning. They had turnover problems that were worse than what we saw from the men earlier this year, and it looked like they were going to be embarrassed by a team with an 0-7 ACC record. Well, they pulled it together and tied the game for the first time at the end of regulation, and took their first lead of the game 2 mins into overtime. I guess you can judge for yourself whether or not that was an embarrassing game, but there is no question that they need to play a better game Friday night against Virginia if they want to win. Virginia is 17-5 (5-1) but has yet to play the the tougher ACC schools besides their loss to Maryland in Charlottesville. They played very well against Maryland in their previous meeting and the Terps did not pull away until the final six minutes of that game. I like to think the Terps shouldn’t have much of a problem with Virginia at home, and after their terrible start in VT, I am sure they were pushed hard in practice this week. Shay Doron will be honored at halftime of this game with her jersey being retired. She was the first of many prized recruits Brenda Frese was able to get to come to College Park and really started the quick turnaround at Maryland which brought home a National Championship in 2006.

Now for the men. Unfortunately, I had a meeting at 7, and didn’t feel like going to the bars halfway through the game as my dorm does not get ESPNU, so i was forced to listen to the second half on the radio, and nothing against Mr. Holliday, but I like watching my games, and it makes my analysis harder to do when I don’t get to SEE the game. Anywho, Gist and Greivis both had monster games scoring 48 of the team’s 70 points and Hayes hit a crucial three in the final minute to seal the deal for Maryland at BC. If the Terps win Saturday against N.C. State, they will have survived a critical 4 game portion of their schedule between the two Duke games, where they needed at least three wins and ended up winning all four. N.C. State has looked good at times, and terrible at other times. They come in with a 15-7 record, and are 4-4 in the ACC. Their ACC wins are against Miami, Florida State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech. These are all average ACC schools, and losses to GT and Clemson tell me they struggle when the competition gets tougher. They win the games they should, and lose the games they should. Nonetheless, there a few players to watch out for. Hickson and Grant provide a lot of scoring for the team. 6th man/sometime starter Ben McCauley is the guy I would watch out for. He doesn’t score a ton, but does all the right things for this team, and if you watched the Wake/N.C. State game last week, you saw him win the game for State single-handed, literally. The Terps are playing well though, and are at home. State tends to struggle on the road, and with the way we are playing, I expect to see Gary Williams pick up win #601 Saturday night.

25
Jan
08

Big Weekend for the Terps

It’s another big weekend for Terps basketball. On Saturday the Women head down to Chapel Hill to face #3 North Carolina in a game that could determine who wins the ACC Regular Season Championship. It will be a tough game, especially on the road, but there is no reason the Terps cannot win. The game could go either way, but with North Carolina coming off of a loss to #1 Connecticut, they will be very motivated to win this game. If we do not show up with the energy needed to match them, this game could easily end up in the Terps second loss of the season.

The game everybody is looking forward to however is the Duke game, this Sunday at Comcast. Duke won Thursday evening at Virginia Tech so we will be playing a legitimate #3 team, not one coming off of a loss. This Duke team is much better than teams Duke has had in the past couple of years. They have two freshman who contribute a lot, King and Singler, to go along with Senior Guard DeMarcus Nelson and Junior Guard Greg Paulus; the only upperclassmen who see minutes at Duke this year. This will be an extremely tough game, but if the same team that beat UNC shows up, then a win is very possible. I doubt we will see the huge 26-6 run that began last year’s Duke game at Comcast, but if we show up, there is no reason we cannot win. Should we win this game? Probably not, Duke is much more talented. But that has never stopped us in the past and hopefully it will not stop us Sunday.

In football news, Freidgen has hired two more coaches. Danny Pearman will coach tight ends and be the Special Teams Coordinator. Pearman has coached at Duke, UNC, Virgina Tech, and Alabama. Kasey Dunn will coach the wide receivers; he comes from Baylor, and Arizona prior to that. John Donovan will remain on staff but switch from quarterbacks coach to running-backs coach. Offensive Coordinator James Franklin will coach the quarterbacks.

21
Jan
08

Basketball Roundup

Well it was an exciting weekend to be a Terp. First on Saturday the men headed down to Chapel Hill and defeated #1 North Carolina 82-80. On Sunday, the women faced a stiff challenge from Georgia Tech and escaped with a 99-95 win in a double overtime thriller. Lets look at these two games.

The Men easily played their most complete game of the season. Vasquez finally played a solid game as the team’s point guard. With him slashing to the basket well, and not turning the ball over, this is a whole new team. Gist also had a great game shooting from the field, and Boom’s defensive presence on Hansbrough was amazing, as well as his game-winning layup in the game’s final minute. Shane Walker, Adrian Bowie, and Dave Neal provided some solid minutes off the bench and the team just seemed focused on what needed to be done to win. Also huge was the return of Eric Hayes. He did not start, and did not play a ton, but he came into the game when the Terps needed some scoring a hit two three-pointers. The last I read he is still at only 65% so who knows if he will be available to start Sunday against Duke, but if he can provide some shooting from the bench, and Vasquez plays another smart game at point, there is no reason that Maryland cannot upset Duke. Maryland also jumped in the RPI from the 120’s to the 80’s. This win alone will not put the Terps in the NCAA tourney, but it certainly awoke the possibility that if Maryland takes care of business the rest of the season, it is a possibility despite their rough start to the season.

After beating Duke last Monday, the women played a lackluster game in Charlottesville Thursday but escaped with a 74-62 victory. Sunday proved much tougher for the Terps as it took double overtime to take care of Georgia Tech, a team that beat Maryland last season. It wasn’t that Maryland played badly, its just that GT played a full court press for 50 mins. The Terps have struggled when pressured all year so it was no surprise to see the Terps having problems holding onto the ball. Georgia Tech was very physical and picked up 34 fouls, but the whole game it seemed as if the refs were letting half of the fouls go. I wasn’t counting, but there had to be over 50 fouls committed by GT between the ones that were called and were not called. The most impressive part of the game was Maryland’s ability to erase a 6 point deficit in the first overtime to eventually send it into a second overtime. While this game was not against a high ranked opponent, it was a strong motivation boost for the team to know that even when they don’t play well, and are facing a type of defense they struggle against, they do have the ability to fight through and win. It would have been a huge letdown to Terp fans to witness the Women lose a day after the Men knocked off the number 1 team in the land, fortunately that did not happen and everyone in College Park left for home happy.

16
Jan
08

Questions about Frese’s Coaching Strategy

As I sat in my usually spot in Comcast watching the Women take on Duke, attempting to beat them at home for the first time in 10 years, I really started to question something I have seen Brenda do all to often in my opinion. Now, let me preface this by saying that I was going to write this article win or loss in the Duke game, and we won 85-70. I also want to mention Marissa Coleman’s performance which may turn out to be the best game of her career when all things are set and done. 30 points, 4-5 from three, 6 rebounds, and she handled point well when she was forced into the role when Toliver picked up her 4th foul. But this is where my trouble with Frese begins.

The Situation:

Maryland is holding a slight lead over Duke, 62-65 with 7:30 remaining in the game. Toliver, in an attempt to “make something happen”, but in reality was a dumb move, cuts in front of a Duke player with the ball at mid-court and commits her 4th foul. Here is the foul situation Maryland found itself in with 7:32 left in the game (Starters in Bold):

Toliver: 4 Fouls / Harper: 4 Fouls / Langhorne: 3 Fouls / Strickland: 3 Fouls / Coleman: None / Perry: 2 Fouls / Newman: 2 Fouls

In the remaining 7:32, Newman would commit one foul, the last one Maryland would commit the rest of the game. But with 2 starters in severe foul trouble (Toliver and Harper), and 2 starters in foul trouble (Langhorne and Strickland), the question is what would Maryland have done had these players fouled out, a very real possibility when the score was tied at 65 and 68, overtime was looking like a possibility.

Maryland committed 19 fouls in the game. Duke committed 28 fouls in the game, many coming in the first half when it did not appear a call could go Duke’s way. Here is the breakdown of Duke fouls in the entire game (Starters in Bold):

Cheek: 5 Fouls / A. Waner: 4 Fouls / Black: 3 Fouls / J. Thomas: 2 Fouls / Smith: 2 Fouls / Gay: 3 Fouls / K. Thomas: 4 Fouls / Jackson: 3 Fouls / Christmas: 1 Foul/ Mitchell: 1 Foul

Now look at Duke’s Foul situation with 7:32 left to go in the game.

Cheek: 4 Fouls / A. Waner: 2 Fouls / Black: 1 Foul / J. Thomas: 2 Fouls / Smith: 2 Fouls / Gay: 3 Fouls / K. Thomas: 4 Fouls / Jackson: 3 Fouls / Christmas: 1 Foul / Mitchell: 1 Foul

Joy Cheek has 4 fouls, the bench has a little trouble, but the 4 other starters, are not in foul trouble. If the game had remained close, Maryland would have probably picked up more fouls in the final 7:32, and Toliver, Harper, Strickland, and Langhorne would have been in trouble. Duke used 5 bench players which helped to absorb their foul trouble. Frese only used 2 bench players, and if players had begun fouling out, she would have been putting in her bench freshman not just into a game against Duke, but into a game against Duke, in the final 2-3 minutes or even in overtime, cold, having not played the entire game.

My problem with Frese is that when she plays elite teams, she refuses to use her bench. Newman and Perry are both Seniors, so perhaps probably trusts them more, which she should, but she has Freshman she could have plugged into the game for 5 mins even, to help alleviate foul trouble, pick up experience, and help win the game! These freshman were a top recruiting class, they can play!

The two players that would make sense to put in are Kay Lyons and Drey Mingo. Now, I have been critical of Mingo’s play a bit this season, but she needs to gain experience against good opponents, and plugging her into a game against Duke in lets say the final 5 minutes of the first half, when Duke had subs in because of their foul trouble could go a really long way. I much rather Drey Mingo or Kat Lyons get their 5 minutes of experience against Duke in the middle of the game, than in Overtime, when if they are clearly over-matched, you cannot go to the bench, because the starters are fouled out. I think it is very risky what Frese does.

Against LSU earlier this year, the team was not in foul trouble, but without Jade Perry. As a result, Mingo racked up 16 minutes of play. LSU is a quality team, and probably better than Duke, so why did Frese refuse to play her against Duke when the team really was in foul trouble. Someday, this will come back to bite Frese. If she sees the team heading for foul trouble, which was obvious Monday as the refs were calling many fouls, she needs to use her bench more. She has the luxury of a healthy bench and she should use it. I will close with a similar foul situation Frese has faced in her career, but when she did not have a bench to use.

When the Women lost to Mississippi last year in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, Frese already had a team that was short of players; to make matters worse, some of her team was sick and unable to play. Here is the player-foul breakdown at the end of that game (starters in bold):

Coleman: 5 Fouls / Doron: 5 Fouls / Wiley-Gatewood: 4 Fouls / Harper: 2 Fouls / Langhorne: None / Toliver: 3 Fouls / Newman 3 Fouls / Noirez: None

These were the eight healthy players Frese had for this game. Two of her starters fouled out. Another had 4 fouls. Two more players had 3 fouls. This is a terrible situation to be in. Now the team lost this game for more reasons than foul trouble, but the point is that Frese had no choice. She didn’t have much of a bench for this game and she had to play her players despite their foul trouble. Brenda, if you have the luxury of throwing in a bench player for a little bit and your team looks like it might have foul trouble, then go ahead and do it. You can’t help yourself if you only have 8 healthy players like you did against Mississippi, but against Duke you had 10 players who could go into the game. Now you might not want to play all 10, but if you had thrown in an 8th or 9th player for just a few minutes, you could have prevented a very bad foul situation.

Now of course everything is fine and happy because we won and beat Duke. But had we lost that game because Toliver and Harper had fouled out because you couldn’t let Kat play a little or Drey play a little, the loss could be blamed on nobody but you Brenda.