Must Wins and Tolerable losses

Happy Valentine’s Day. The holiday means that even though the game is actually on national TV tonight, I likely won’t be able to watch it.

Regardless, we have six games left before the end of the season and as I see it, here are the wins we MUST have in order to get off the bubble:

Must wins

@NC State – Worst team left on our schedule. On the road or at home, we need to sweep them.

Florida State – With their starting PG out, we must beat them at home now. This could serve as an elimination game (with the loser being left out) as far as the committee is concerned.

NC State – If we lose this home game, you can forget it.

Now, to finish .500 in the conference, we need to pick up one of the following. All of these games are winnable. Believe it or not. But if we come through on the must wins, we may only need one of the three games below to punch the ticket.

@ Clemson – A win would mean a sweep which would definitely vault the Terps ahead of Clemson. At 8-8, we would be 22-9. That should be enough, but to truly put all questions to rest, we would need a first round tourney win.

UNC – Win and we are in. It would be a signature victory. With an 8-8 ACC record is as good as gold

@ Duke – a sweep would obviously put us ahead of Duke in the commitee’s eyes, but depending on how the Dookies finished up the season (likely in bad shape if we beat them in Cameron) then we still may need a first round ACC Tourney win.

That is how I see it.

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22 Comments

  1. Jeremy I think everyone is in agreement that tonight is a must win game. If the Terps can’t beat NC State then they truly don’t deserve to be playing anywhere but the NIT. I have been going over scenarios like yours but am a bit hesitant to think too far ahead based on what this team has done the last couple of years. There is no way the Terps lose this game with so much on the line, oh wait that’s what I thought with the VT, FSU and UVA games also….

  2. Exactly John. We have all bitten once to many times to expect a win tonight. Regardless, even if we win we still have a lot more work to do.

  3. The Duke game proved that Maryland can play at a very high level, though I disagree with your assessment of Mike Jones’s play. He did what any great shooter does when his shot doesn’t fall. He contributes in other ways: Playing defense, grabbing rebounds, providing leadership.

    That said, I agree wholeheartedly about your assessment of Vasquez. After a dozen games of interviewing players and coaches in the locker room, I definitely feel a sense that Vasquez is becoming seen as a leader. Even though the kid’s only a freshman, the players are feeding off him when he gets on a roll.

    For Maryland to have a realistic shot at returning to the NCAAs, they either have to win tonight’s game at NC State or they have to win at least four of their last six regular season games. If they win five of those games, they’ll be in the driver’s seat with a 23-8 overall record and a 9-7 mark in ACC play. However, this team shows that maddening tendency to win against the Dukes or the UNCs of the world and follow it up with a loss to a NC State.

    That, more than anything is why they’ve played in two straight NITs.

  4. Mike good post. I would agree that MJ had a reasonably good game against Duke. He led the team in assists and did hit some clutch shots, despite being cold for the first half. I think one could make a good argument though that his defense was still decidedly suspect as he often leaves his feet for feeble pump fakes allowing his defender to penetrate and forcing the defense to collapse to compensate for his mistake and leaving numerous players open. On the whole though it was not a bad performance on his part, and perhaps although frustrating his continuance to leave his feet for pump fakes is still nitpicking.

    I think 4-2 gets it done no matter what games they are that they win. They easiest road would obviously be to sweep NC State, take out FSU at home (missing their starting point guard), and win one of the following three at Clemson, at Duke, or home against UNC, as Jeremy astutely wrote in his post.

  5. Terrible last minute of the first half. Neal takes/makes that lay-up and their back up 7 with only a 10 seconds left in the first half. At least their energy appears to be up, despite a woeful shooting stretch midway through the period. Let’s hope they bring it the second half! ::Knocks on wood:: They are 18-1 when leading at the half.

  6. What’s with Osby? ACC jitters? DJ is a great athlete. There is no arguing that. But am I the only one who thinks he need to work on his mental game? That technical foul may have cost us the game. Also, the drive on the basket when it was surrounded by three, maybe four white shirts and nary a red one in sight was another poor decision. If Atsur’s brains could be transplanted onto DJ’s shoulders, we might have a bionic BB player.

  7. Once again the fouls are killing us. Ebekwe (a SR) gets one 20 seconds into the game and another reach. And is a non factor in the first half. Without the fouls we should be killing these guys. Much more talent.

    DJ has hit the boards hard and has played pretty well despite the force.

  8. Sure, he is playing hard, but then he forces the ball inside, NCST gets a turnover, and Atsur buries a trey. He needs to quit forcing the action, play within himself and within the flow of the game.

  9. Wow, whitey misses a dunk for State, Gist hits a 3 on the other end…isn’t that what usually happens AGAINST US?

  10. DJ is finding the flow, NCST’s legs are getting rubbery, and MD’s deeper bench is starting to make a difference. Is this a great game or what?

  11. Frustrated fan #8 – I saw that also. He did hit two treys after which gave them distance.

    Brian #9 – My thoughts exactly.

    In the end it was a good solid road win. They wore them down because State is not deep. Wish they would stay out of foul trouble and throw it in to Gist more.

  12. As the commercial goes…”we are jellin”

    Didn’t get a chance to watch the whole game, but what I did see solidifies my confidence that this team is begining to develop their “strectch run”.
    Yes, they have formidable games in front of us; but
    surely they see what we see GV is beginning loosen things up for the rest of the team. Even though Ebekwe is creating obstacles for himself, his presence is still a factor.Just wish Osby good put some pine tar on his hand. Maybe that willl
    be worked on in practice. I have been one of most
    vocal critics on Bowers; bult it seems as though his
    “spotting: the regualrs in not as great a liability as it used to be. He is looking for (and making) some shots he otherwise would have “muffed”. DJ is redeeming himself, and MJ is looking for shots other then the the long trey.
    In case you haven’t noticed it, GW is looking like
    and acting like the coach we need him to be. He is much more poised (less vocal and scowling) and
    it seems he’s ready to coach them to the next level.
    Our guys seem to be maturing as we watch. Their
    confidence seems to be growing and we are developing more offensive options.l

    We could be witnessing a NCAA contender.

    Md basketball is a happening.

    Go terps.

  13. Is it possible my fellow Terps fans that this team has FINALLY found it’s identity? Vasquez provides such a spark as a leader and has an ability to drive the ball inside. Hayes plays a steady point and can shoot. These guards allow the rest of the team to maximize their talents. Strawberry played hard, actually shot well and can be a constant force if he ever learns to stop trying to create off the dribble. Mike Jones was OK, the team should look to bring him off screens for open jumpers more often. Gist played well and is the Terps only inside threat. Osby, Bowers and Neal all have major deficiences but at least they seem able to spell the regulars for a short time. Ebekwe??? Well at least he can block a shot once in awhile — he plays as a senior like he did as a freshman, can’t dribble, misses layups and commits so many silly fouls that the team seems to play better without him. Gary finally seems to have turned the team over to Vasquez and Hayes hopefully it won’t turn out to be too late.

    Counting on a win at home in the finale against NC State gets the Terps to 6 wins, I believe 7-9 gets them in IF the other win is against UNC or Duke. If not 8-8 is a must so wins at home against NC State and FSU along with beating Clemson would do it. The Terps have a realistic shot now to make the NCAA’s, the key is can they do it???

  14. Very good win tonight. NC State is a bad team, but a double-digit win on the road in the ACC is fantastic, no matter who the opposing team is. I thought it was solid team effort…everyone seemed to play pretty well. DJ especially came to play tonight. And, I do believe this was officially the best game of Dave Neal’s short career….the boy definitely has a knack for hitting the boards. For all you gentlemen who chose your wives/girlfriends over the game, you missed a good one!

  15. If DJ starts finding his shot, the Terps should be ok the rest of the way. His two 3s in the second half helped them pull away from NC State. A consistent outside threat besides Jones would be a big help.

    While all of us were watching the Terps finish off NC State, Clemson suffered a bad loss against Wake Forest. The Tigers (5-6) are in serious trouble given the games they have left (MD, Duke, @BC, Miami, @VT). Terps win on Sunday means Clemson is almost definitely out. Hard to believe that a team starting 17-0, with some good wins sprinkled in, could end up missing the tourney…

  16. Are you kidding me, “Can they do it?” Of course they can! They have the talent. This game played out just like a lot us of us thought. State has a game 5-6 players, but if you play them fast and hard for 40 minutes, they will fold in the last 10. So much fun to watch our team actually take advantage of their short comings. Our freshmen guards are learning every game and are going to be something special sooner than we think.

    Vas created a lot by himself tonight, but Hayes brings his own element to the game. What about that play in the 2nd half when Hayes was fouled driving underneath the basket and curled past it to get the basket and the foul and then hit the foul shot. That is our future. We will finish no worse than 8-8 and next year and the next two years we will be monsters in the ACC.

  17. We win out.

  18. Well, I know I should be talking about our win, but as a college basketball fan, it really is a travesty that we are forced on some level to listen to Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale during the BC/Duke game. Their lips have got to be permantently attached to Coack K and his team’s posteriors that it makes a good game nearly unwatchable. Well, unlistenable anyway…

    I think they’ve spent 75% of this game praising Duke, and the 25% they praise BC is just an attempt to pretend they aren’t Dookies. And they sure don’t talk about 30 other teams during this game, like they do in games that don’t feature Duke. Aargh, it’s so frustrating.

    Here’s hoping BC pulls it out.

  19. I’m with you Brian. Mike Patrick is a disgrace. Dukie V is Dukie V, but I think Mike Patrick has his head even farther up Duke’s ass. It’s incredible . . . and infuriating.

  20. Obviously, Maryland has to keep up the intensity and the focus… but beating NC State by 15 points on the road is a step in the right direction. I definitely see Vasquez becoming one of the unquestioned leaders of this team certainly by next year if he’s not already looked up to.

    I know media peeps aren’t supposed to have favorites, but I’m finding it hard not to consider Vasquez my favorite Terp.

  21. nice site keep it on ;)

  22. Hi boys!ebdc89717b7fa2a5fa22313a670b0934


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