Wake-Maryland: When Winning Feels Like Losing

The Sling Box is back in action, although it is with less excitement that I tuned in tonight. This past weekend’s loss at Va Tech was a watershed moment for me and the rest of Terp nation. The goal of an NCAA berth is, barring a miracle, out of reach. The hole is now too deep to climb out from.

Tonight, Maryland should have beaten Wake Forest by 15 points, yet we were in a dogfight until the end. The freshman don’t know what to do in the offensive sets. Compound that with a shoot first, out-of-control point guard and the result is ugly.

At least Billy Packer was announcing the game. Yeesh.

For me the most telling sequence of the game occurred with Maryland up 51-38. Coming off a Wake Forest time out, Maryland turned the ball over multiple times (Vasquez played a crucial part) and gave up 7 points in under a minute of play. It was as if the Terps said, “Ha-Ha, we fooled you into thinking that we know what we are doing! Don’t you know, we suck?”

Before I go on, I have to devote three paragraphs to Greivis Vasquez.

His performance tonight was truly epic. Find me another player who can have a terrible game while scoring 22 points? I desperately want to know what goes through his mind. Here’s a typical scenario: the Terps are up 11 points, the game clock is under 5 minutes, and there is Vasquez launching threes with 28 seconds on the shot clock!

What is he trying to prove? You play to win the game! What is the point of trying to stick a three-point dagger at that juncture of the game? Work the clock and get the ball to Gist in the paint. Unreal! It’s not that hard and yet for Vasquez, these obvious game situations prove impossible for him to manage.

Will Vasquez ever learn? If he plans on playing professionally (notice I didn’t say NBA), he best figure out how to control his emotions and make better decisions. At this point, I’ll settle for average decisions. Good decisions are light-years away for him.

Can you imagine Gary Williams’ level of frustration? Jason McAlpin was playing crunch time minutes tonight. Please read that last sentence again. Are the freshman so inept that Gary literally had to go to the end of the bench to find someone who could play his way? Jason McAlpin? Are you kidding me? I didn’t even know what he looked like until tonight.

The only thing the Terps do well is play defense. That’s it. In particular, Osby and Gist are truly gifted shot blockers. Fortunately, good defense will keep you in most games, but it can only take you so far.

Remember when being in the game was a given? Now, a loss to UNC is so inevitable that just being close will feel like a victory. The worst part is that they are not even fun to watch. The brand of hoops being played is as ugly as it is ineffective.

The nightmare continues with our trip to the Dean Dome this weekend. It’s about to get worse.



  1. Billy Packer must have been reading my posts on Turtle Soup. All the references to low basketball IQ. Boy is that right. Thank goodness, Wake was equally as bad.

  2. With Hayes out the collective IQ of the rest of the team doesn’t equal Hayes. Great athletes that are dumb as a box of rocks. Gary can’t teach the illiterate. UNC by as much as they want on Saturday.

  3. This has got to be the biggest waste of scholarships for this group of dumb asses. As a tax payer I want a refund of the money they spent on these idiots. What an embarrassment to anyone that went to Md. Even the announcers are struggling to find anything good to say about this team

  4. MD’s Basketball IQ is sol anemic it makes a win painful to watch. Is this a byproduct of AAU ball??

  5. It was the best of Vaz, it was the worst of Vaz.

    But at least it’s a black and gold Dub-ya in the book.

    Mike is right, Saturday’s game will look like a scrimmage.

  6. Billy Puker has some good comments for a change. Hoops IQ being one of them. He was critical of Vaz all night. They play much better with him at the 2.

    Three positives
    They got an ACC win.
    I thought Bowie stepped up and played pretty well.
    Osby played well.

  7. Wasn’t able to see the game tonight. From the tone of your posts it appears we got an ugly W; is that correct? How did Gist fare? No one has mentioned him yet. Was Tucker a factor as apparently Bowie was a factor in the outcome? The overall tone on the Soup is pretty down. It was that bad huh?

  8. Ugly ugly ugly. But I’ll take the win. Bowie was pretty good, but Osby defintely was the player of the game.

    If we start off Saturday the way we started tonight, we’ll lose by 60.

  9. I can’t remember the last time I kept wishing a MD coach would yank the team’s high scorer. I’m beginning to conclude Vasquez is uncoachable. Packer was dead on about this kid’s stupid hamming for the crowd—and MD’s basketball IQ, for that matter, which hovers near room temperature. Fortunately, tonight Wake’s was even lower. Saturday is going to be ugly.

    I see no hope for this season.

  10. JohnE
    It was ugly all right. First Osby was to sit tonite for breaking a team rule, but Gary got pizzed at Dupree and put Osby in after MD started out down 9-0 (without Gist even sniffing the ball). Good thing. Osby was solid all night.
    Plus Wake saved us by laying 3 brick after 3 brick.
    Tucker didn’t play poorly, but Bowie played good D and was aggressive on offense.
    It was a major ‘block-a-thon’ too. Both teams were swattin shots all night.
    And a fairly typical Vasq at PG performance – 20 pts and 8 TOs. He starts rallies for both teams.

  11. Great point Jeremy. Winning ugly usually means a defensive battle and low scoring., but this game was almost unwatchable as a D1 game could be. I’ll admit our front line played good defense mostly because Wake was throwing up awful threes as much as Vaz was turning the ball over. Vaz could of had the rarest of triple doubles points, assists, and turnovers. UNC will be up by 14 before the first TV timeout.

  12. No one has mentioned Gist, JohnE because he was invisible. His line will show 10 points but the majority of that was on FT at the end of the game. He’s just playing poorly all around. Osby is completely outplaying him. He makes some crazy plays now and again but his effort is excellent.

    I was at the game and was often too disgusted to even yell. I just shook my head over and over. I’m disappointed they didn’t win by double digits. But I’ll take the win. I’m scared to death of the UNC game. Too tired to write anything else….more tomorrow.

  13. Packer was hilarious talking about Vaz getting close to the triple-double (with turnovers). I hate to say it, but Packer was the most entertaining part of the game.

    This team is unbelieveable. They try hard, but they are just so dumb, with Vaz leading the way. He really needs to be benched. The fact that he was still jawing late after all those mistakes is inexcusable. I know we need him to win, but a message needs to be sent.

    Since the UNC game will be a blowout, as soon as Vaz does something stupid, sit him for the last 19:30 seconds of the first half. Maybe losing playing time is the only thing that will get to him because 18 games hasn’t done a thing.

    I’m happy with the win, but we should be 2-1 and resigned to being 2-2 after saturday. Thank goodness we are getting a shooter and a big man next year.

  14. I think Vas has the most minutes of any ACC player, which makes sense since Gary probably respects how much of himself he puts into each and every minute of the game. Unfortunately Movies and TV teach us that if a player plays hard and with heart they will always come out victorious: don’t be upset that Vas plays with heart, acknowledge that it might start rubbing off on the scared and tepid freshman class.
    With that being said, has anyone else noticed Vas’ annoying habit of taking dead balls from opposing players, or clutching the basketball at his stomach like a four year old (as if to say to the world, “this is MINE! waa waaa waaa”) Greivis, cool it dude, act your age.

    Boom had a great game against the UNC big men last year if I’m not mistaken, and think about how much more you like him this year at this time than last… he’s only gotten better. Plus UNC hasn’t lost a game, but sure doesn’t seem to like it when their perimeter guys are being pressured to shoot (Wake helped us a lot by rimming lots of threes tonight, I forecast a similar outing versus the #1). Gary is a Giant beater, he’s done it his entire career: plus, remember how we didn’t lose to a single team from the state of North Carolina last year. That year may be past, but we’ve taken that streak pretty far into this season so far.
    We have guys who can step up and create some matchup problems for UNC. Our buckets will fall, theirs wont, we’ll foul too much, they won’t. We’ll keep it close, I guarantee you that.

  15. Bowie ha played very well over the last few games he a huge mistake tonight missing 2 free throws. And in james gist defense the player he was up against tonight number 23 was a beast I was at the game sitting mid court front row and that kid with some offensive practice will be really good in years to come. And as far as vaz goes we cant win without him, and I am more madd at him for the vat tech game then the wake game, he was a huge scoring threat tonight and played very well at the two. Im scared of UNC and don’t think they forgot last year they are looking to bring it hard.

    Go Terps

  16. I’m happy for the kids to get their first ACC win of the season. We’ll be 2-2 when they wake up Sunday morning because the Terps will shock the world and beat UNC. Shane Walker will play a key role.

  17. Oh, and was Jerome Burney even at the Wake Forest game? Someone please put his face on a milk carton, because soon he’ll need a ticket to get into the Comcast Center.

  18. VAZ is the worst player with probably the most talent on the team. He is like the kid from the Bad News Bears. 4 on 2 semi break and he launches a 25 foot three with two guys under the basket. He almost caused Wake to win. They could not hit the side of a barn thankfully or that would have been another loss. Vaz needs to sit and somebody needs to figure out why Gist in a ghost. Is it because Vaz won’t stop shooting or is he being overplayed and not open. GW needs to grow a pair and sit Vaz down and explain that it is a team sport. Vaz is a cancer.

  19. shooting contest: General Vazquez or Christe Tolliver

  20. I can’t believe anyone on this blog believes the game will be close against UNC on Saturday, even if Hayes is able to suit up. When your leading scorer “starts rallies for both teams” (great line, Dennis), your star senior is usually MIA against quality opponents, and your freshmen for all their athleticism make one dumb play after another, can anyone seriously doubt we are looking down the barrel of a blowout this weekend? And as grateful as we should be at Osby’s solid play, let’s not kid ourselves about his talent level. It’s not even close to Lonnie Baxter’s. I saw at least two instance when the rim blocked his shot.

    I’m praying for a miracle, but bracing for a blowout.

  21. d: I was at the women’s game Monday — Tolliver’s got some balls — she was launching 30-footers. Even made one or two.

  22. i’m with jeremy….why in the f!#$%^ was jason mcalpin getting quality minutes at a critical point in the game?!?! seriously, can anyone answer this question? mcalpin played while tucker, gregory, etc were sitting the bench. i can’t explain this. why hasn’t neal gotten more minutes as of late? i’m happy that bowie has strung together 2 very solid back to back games against acc opponents. makes me optomistic about his future.

  23. Ok, it looks like Bowie is beginning to show signs of development. Tucker does and then he doesn’t. We all agree he’s got talent, so to a degree I guess we can assume he’ll eventually begin to breakout of this “now he displays it, now he doesn’t” cycle he is in. What concerns me is Dupree, Walker and Burney. Assuming Gilchrist walks in next year and takes either the 4 or 5 spot, who is going to emrge from this bunch to give us more quality bigs. I keep reading Dupree is not developing, or even in some cases regressing. I can’t get a good bead on Walker’s development without seeing him (I’ll look for it Saturday). And Burney, my god what is going on there? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot banishing him to end of the bench. What did that kid do to deserve exile? How’s are big man recruiting coming along for next year? Didn’t someone mention another quality JUCO we might be getting? I think the kid might even play with Maze right now.

  24. Gist needs more touches period! only 7 shots and 10 pts no way. We have to feed the man the ball more. I agree with Jeremy that if there is one thing we do well it’s defense but I do remember a few times wake just took it to the hole and all we did was sit there and watch him score. Vaz… Don’t get me started on this guy. Some of his passes were downright horrible. Like everyone who posts here we are SO DUMB it’s not funny and he is #1 on the list. As point who really goes for a 3 with 28 secs left on the clock. Look totally understand that if it went in we would be happy as shit and stuff but thats IF, where instead teh good teams work it and the clock and then get a bucket while using up time. Watching Vaz play PG makes me think omg there are worst pgs than Paulus :-P

    Positive note, Bowie is looking better and Milbourne at times. Also hey our FT shooting looks better. BRING on UNC. I’ll have my jack shots ready

  25. maybe McAlpin is a better FT shooter?

  26. Classic moment last night. As the Terps were running out the clock, Vaz got the ball to Bowie in the frontcourt and he just dribbled out the clock like he should have. Vaz was disappointed and ran toward the basket hoping to get a pass so he could finish off the game with another meaningless hoop to rub it in… Good for Bowie not to give it to him… That’s the problem with Vaz. He’ll never change.

  27. You guys have covered most of my sentiments, but I will add one thing that I think speaks to the ongoing issues with this team. When Bowie (who did play well and is going to see time helping against faster opponents this year) shot his first set of foul shots in the second half, he did this weird thing where he sort of stepped into the foul shot without setting up, aiming, or even really looking at the basket. The second shot was about the same. Now as a senior on that team or a coach on the sideline, I have to think that you pulled him aside after that first shot and say, “WTF – chill out and take your time.” Later in the game, I saw Vasquez do something similar.

    Now I understand that some players struggle with shooting foul shots, but not taking the time to go through even the most fundamental steps in such a basic shot blows my mind.

    I love Maryland basketball and I love Gary Williams, but this team still seems very lost to me.

  28. It’s all ugly, isn’t it? Wheels, my hero and resident human resource professor, would probably acknowledge that humans are really mysterious. How can these kids fail to understand and execute the stuff they’re taught so often and that is so clear to any basketball fan? You can’t teach desire (which Vas, for one, has tons of) but you can teach the value of playing within yourself and with your teammates. The players have to be ready to listen. I don’t know when they’ll be ready. I think Gary’s history is that the kids learn more after wins than losses–it seems they absorb the lessons about why they won more readily than they learn from the mistakes that cost them victories. That’s why they’ve had huge surges in the past that followed unexpected break-through wins, even after long lulls (think of the 5-game losing streak in the first Final Four year, when we won away at Wake and then at Duke, and then went on a tear; the lull leading up the the ACC championship a few years ago; and last year’s monotonously disappointing play until the 7-game streak that began with the first Duke win). This may be a theory, but a taste of victory has always seems more motivating, while defeat after defeat just drains the kids of morale and confidence. The good news is that a single game just might turn the kids into listeners–and Gary’s teams, as we all know, sometimes surprise the big dogs like UNC and then take off.

  29. Here’s a food for thought question, if Vas were to suddenly gain a much higher b-ball IQ (a big, maybe impossible IF at this point), what does that do for this team? Could a Vas jump in maturity be the closest thing to a silver bullet for this team? It seems most all roads lto improvement lead through this guy either directly or indirectly. Again guys, just playing a little what if game here.

  30. You bunch of sissies! Nancies! Dare I say…. weenies! The Tarheels are going to be crying like Terp fans after we put their lights out in their own flacid arena! And Uncle Mguaua is gonna be the first one to run naked through 5 bonfires on Rt.1!!! Woooohoooooo!

    Hold. Hold. Scratch that. That’s the Nitrous talking. Ready whipped fits of delusion.

    Yes, Maryland plays a high brand of low-IQ basketball, and, mabey it’s the Oxide talking, but I just don’t see it getting better soon. Am I cracked? ‘Cause I’m not buying this next year stuff anymore either. that’s what they say every year. until the “next year” mentality shifts to “this year” mentality the terps are gonna choke on the spam. the youth excuse doesn’t hold much water with me anymore either. every year we have a whole stable of shmucks with a toolbox of excuses on hand.

    this is where coach k excells and gary wains….gary is an
    excuse guy. krushyefski says ” you guys are f*cking
    incredible, are going to win the f*cking title, and if you make
    a f*cking liar out of me, i’m gonna f*cking kill you AND
    your f*cking dog and mabey a f*cking family member.”
    ..and sorry for the cussing, but that’s an exact quote.

    the truth of it is, as stated by all, our players just are not smart people. stupid is as stupid does, and i just don’t think gary has the same gift of fixing stupid as he does recruiting stupid.

    sure, gus is coming in, but gist is going out…so who’s our big men till jan when gus arrives? dupree….who gets like 6 minutes game. yea, he’ll be ready;( he already has hands like garrison.

    i sorrowfully predict next year will be a whole bunch more of this year, and i hope i’m wrong. but unfortunately, our team leader may be the dumbest of the bunch.

    and to all of the fans who chanted “Hey Hey You Suck” to Wake Forest at the end of the game….you’re part of the stupid, and therefore part of the problem. let’s get a grip here people! I think forethought and reason have truly died in some of these lesser realms.

    Oh, well.

    When it’s all said and done, if i didn’t truly beleive that we were going to smoke NC and go on a miracle sweep of the ACC, i couldn’t watch. that’s the only way i can come back for each game nowadays…a blind and utterly trumped up belief in outlandish possibility….which in theory, is basketball at it’s best.

  31. Yanik – whatever you’re doing, get me some of that.

  32. Quick thought. The average SAT and GPA for entering frosh’s at UMD has gone up pretty dramatically over the last 10 – 15 years, yet the kids still do all of the same stupid shit. Counterintuitive right????

  33. Evidently Tucker got blown up/benched for lack of hustle/no D/not getting back, hopefully he learned a lesson and comes out strong at UNC.

    The last two games have magnified the obvious; that we need Eric Hayes running the point if we want to see the half court offense run anything close to smoothly.

    Not sure what is going on with JB, but no doubt he is a great kid who overcame the two foot injuries, plus he’s a LeFrak Scholar. I hope he gets a shot at some point. I’d give him Dupree’s minutes to be honest with you.

    Lastly, Happy 21st birthday to GV.

    GO TERPS!!

  34. To : Tombootom re:Bowie’s Free Throws, check out the post game interview that can be accessed from the Umterps site. GW said before Bowie went to the line, he told him to shoot his free throw’s “how he wanted to shoot them” and that “maybe I messed him up”, b/c he didn’t grab him before his next set of freebies (which he sunk).

  35. Bowie showed that he has a lot of potential. He played his heart out and stole the ball two plays in a row. Had he not missed those free throws, people would be giving him a lot more credit. He certainly pumped up the crowd who was pretty quiet for a while.

    GV is falling apart without Hayes. I couldn’t believe how many turnovers he let up. It’s fun to hear all the students yell “NO!” when he goes to shoot a 3 though.

    Dave Neal was in the game for literally 5 seconds… poor guy.

  36. Have been in the Fl Keys but did get to see the “L” to VT. Yes GV’s last shot sucked.
    I would have bet the farm they would have gone low to Gist. Speaking of Gist, because he’s not getting good looks he’s putting the ball on the floor under the bucket and getting “robbed”. His spins moves are usually flat.

    Didn’t get to read posts on WF game till today.

    You guys are really down on Gary but he doesn’t play in the games…..at all.

    It’s not Gary.,…it’s the five on the floor.

    Our defense is pretty good. UNC fly’s up and down the court. This makes for an interesting game but not necessarilly a blowout.

    Can you imagine if it’s real close or even a W.

    WTF would all you Gary haters say then?

    If you think all your vitriol (sp?) about GW makes you look good with high BB IQ……well it doesn’t.

    He’s a better coach than you are and this team’s going to win some games they shouldn’t.

    If I have to eat these words I’ll be sure you are the first to know.

    Go Terps

  37. I hope the squad is watching the Unc Ga Tech game. Ga Tech may not win but their playing with heart and smarts. Umm? does Ga Tech have young players? I guess Paul Hewitt recruits the smart ones and we get the 600 SAT scores.

  38. Who was that girl that was posting here over the past few years who was always so sickly positive…you know..throw up in the back of the throat positive. The finger shaking Garyanna.

    I think she now posts under the name of “Gerry.”

    Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. The reason we all watch games with a revolver in our lap is because this team is a perennial “What If.” What if they won? What if they could pass? What if they could shoot? What if they weren’t so slow? What if we had better players?

    Please don’t supplement your arguments with “What If?” You might get shanked with a fork if come up in this hole waving a pink flag like that.

    And of course Gary’s a better coach than us folks…or then again…mabey I’m Roy Williams. You just don’t know. But what we do know is that Gary Williams is about 5 years and two ankles deep in an invariable inability to get through to the “five on the floor” in any kind of effective capacity. And that might be ok if he wasn’t the one who put those “five on the floor.” Our suckiness is definately not ALL on him, but he’s the goat as he was the god….and that’s just the way it is. And no matter which way you slice it, Gary’s not handling his sh*t. And I’m aloud to say this out loud, because as far as you know, I’m Gary’s Dad. You just don’t know.

  39. S.Fincter, stop picking on Gerry. You were right about everything exept the part about you being Gary’s dad. I know, cause I’m Gary’s dad, and Gerry was almost right about my boy. Truth is, Gary is not so much a good coach as he is a good teacher.

    Shucks. He’s a great teacher. He’s just a great teacher that hasn’t been surrounding himself with great learners, which by my count, isn’t very good coaching. I keep telling him watch Hoosiers like when he was young buck.

    Boy,that Gene Hackman sure has a way with making it all so simple.

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