Why There Is Still Hope

I pretty much share everyone’s thoughts on the Terps loss on Sunday night. They gave the game away, literally, in the 2nd half. They could or SHOULD have been up more than 9 points in the first half if they had taken care of the ball. Duke is a good team and eventually their shots will go in, and they were the more aggressive team in the 2nd half. That’s why any complaints about foul calls are baseless. The more aggressive team gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to call, and Duke was that team in the 2nd. They battled harder in the end, they deserved to win. Our players aren’t yet experienced enough to be consistently good at the end of games.

Now, losing this game hurts the Terps in a huge way if we have hopes of an NCAA tournament bid. Another win over a Top 5 team would have been big, but they still have a good chance to make the tourney if they are able to finish 10-6 in the conference. That would mean going 8-3 the rest of the way. Look at the schedule. They can finish 8-3. They can also finish 3-8.

I truly believe they can win 8 of the last 11 games IF, and it’s a big IF, they can summon the passion they played with for most of the past 2 games. I’d like to believe they will. These past 2 games were growing experiences for this young team. Our senior bigs will score and lead us, but it’s the freshmen and sophomores that determine if this team will win games. They played well for most of the past 2 games and the key is learning that you need to play with that desire in EVERY game, not just against Duke or Carolina.

The past is the past, we can’t take away the losses to Ohio and American, but we are a much better team now. We also can’t use the North Carolina win as a barometer as well. They are only as good as their last game. Now it’s Virginia. It’s the most important game of the season and a must-win. No excuses. By Wednesday night, we should learn a lot about whether this team has a chance to go to the tourney or if they will be lucky to make the NIT.

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42 Comments

  1. And I don’t want to have to pay for my friend’s bar tab again…after losing to them twice last year, and giving the game away in football, I can’t afford another loss to UVA :)

  2. The terps season is a frustrating case of would-have/could-have/should-have. BC, VT and dook were all winnable contests…..we are soooo close to being 5-0 in the ACC. But we ain’t. We are 2-3 with two embarrassing non-conference losses to add to the insult.

    There are 3 very positive things I see:

    1. The biggest positive is that Gist is emerging as a consistent 20-25 points. That is huge. Now, if only everyone else understands what that means for their role, we could cook with gas from here out.

    2. The second biggest positive is we had a second game in a row of 20+ assists. That is damn impressive. Those who are saying that the team is not playing good offense are – in my opinion – wrong. You don’t put up those kind of assist numbers against two top 5 teams unless you know what you are doing.

    3. The third thing is that – all season really – the defense has been excellent. Not much more to say about that, but no one is getting easy looks.

    Now, the one BIG negative – all season, but it manifested against dook to the tune of 13 dook steals – is that every individual seems to go on auto-pilot at times and forget that they are playing against an opponent. Whoops, their goes another TO!!! Did I meantion that dook had 13 steals?

    Anyway, positives and negatives, we could be 5-0, but we aren’t. What’s next? I guess I could second Jeremey’s call for 8-3. That would be the conventional thinking. Is he right? ‘Cause I know that’s the *popular* version. And a lot of people like to believe that. I wish I could, but I was *there*. I wasn’t here in a class room, hoping I was right, thinking about it. I was up to my knees in rice paddies, with guns that didn’t work! Going in there, looking for Charlie, slugging it out with him; While pussies like you were back here partying, putting headbands on, doing drugs, and listening to the goddamn Beatle albums! Oh! Oh! Oh!

    Oops! Sorry for the flashback.

    Screw 8-3. I want to see 11-0 and then 3-0 in the ACC Tourny an a #2 seed. Then another 6-0 run a new pretty banner. (If we must dream, let’s dream BIG!)

  3. The game is at 7 on Wednesday on ESPN (I am shocked, too, I thought ESPN only showed Puke ACC games). Definitely a must-win game (almost every game now is a must-win, but our games at home definitely all are). Hopefully we will play the other teams with the same intensity.

    The (very difficult now) Road to 10-6 is still there:

    Beat UVA (3-3)
    Lose at GT (3-4)
    Beat BC (4-4) at their place
    Beat NC State (5-4)
    Lose at Puke (5-5)
    Beat FSU (6-5)
    Beat Va Tech (7-5)
    Lose at Miami (7-6)
    Win at Wake (8-6)
    Beat Clemson (9-6)
    Win at UVA (10-6)

    We have to defend our house 5 times and win 3 of our remaining 6 road games. The schedule-maker did us no great favor by having 3 of the last 4 games on the road.

  4. The game was a disappoinment, but I do have to say that K was most gracious in his remarks concerning the play of Osby and Gist, the overall strength of the team, and the conduct of the fans.

    Maybe he’s running for office.

  5. It’s easy to be gracious when you win.

  6. Ok, for all you crystal ball gazers, how about just beating UVa for starters. If they do that, then we’ll talk GT. If they don’t beat the Cavaliers, what are we all going to say next: they can still go 10-6 if they go 8-2 from here out? If they lose the next one, are we going to say 10-6 is in reach if they go 8-1? Next, if we run the table, we can go 10-6. My point: they’ve got to win games NOW. It all starts by beating UVa. Hopefully they will accomplish that objective AND do all the things we want to see–cut down on the TOs, stop losing leads, etc. To quote Al Davis (is ok to still do that?), just win baby! And then just keep on winning! Heck, if they do that, we’ll all join Stevend on his Magic Carpet ride! Hey, slide me that pipe for a hit or two or three, and I might even see San Antonio in the Terps future! Keep the faith! Go Terps beat UVa (as in score more points then them)!

  7. This guy always seems to give solid game analysis. His comments about GW’s substitution patterns last night are quite interesting. Did Hayes look that bad to all of you who were at the game?

    http://turtlewaxing.blogspot.com/

  8. I disagree with some Mr. Turtle Waxing’s comments. I understand that Hayes isn’t the quickest with is feet and that makes defending the ball tough at times. I’m not sure why he’s bashing Milbourne, claiming he’s the worst. I don’t believe him to be a bad defender. Bowie and Tucker have played solid defense (like much of the team) all season. But I wouldn’t consider either of them “lock down” defensive players. You’ve got to remember who was being guarded. DeMarcus Nelson has become a very good player and presents a very challenging cover for anyone on our team not to mention the country. I can’t see any other Terp doing that much of a better job on him. That being said, it couldn’t have hurt to give Bowie or Tucker a shot for a few possessions.

  9. Turtle Waxing makes an interesting point re Gary’s decision to give Bowie and Tucker less minutes in the second half and whether they would have provided better defense on the wing. I do think Bowie is our best on ball defender, but I wasn’t convinced he had any more success guarding Nelson than Hayes or Milbourne. Also, Nelson and Henderson weren’t nearly as aggressive offensively in the first half, when Tucker and Bowie were in the game.

    Also, I wouldn’t give Duke’s strategy of pulling their “bigs” away from the post so much credit for limiting Gist’s rebounding total. Osby was out on the perimeter guarding Singler and Lance Thomas for much of the game, and he gobbled up double digit boards.

  10. Interesting stat from the dook game……

    Hayes and GV were a combined 8 for 20 from the field (40%).

    The rest of the team was 23 for 37 (62%).

  11. Recruiting Update on Ken Bowman.

    Bowman was in the building for the Duke game and reports are that he loved the atmosphere and the campus. He has Maryland at the top of his list followed by KU and USC.

    Bowman wants to join the Terps but first the numbers have to be worked out with both him and teammate Bobby Maze trying to get qualified this spring, as well as UM’s scholarship numbers first being solidified.

    Bowman is a true low post threat. Currently he’s 6-8/235. Here’s his quote:

    “If everything works out I want to be here right after the semester and spend the entire summer here working out and getting ready to play in the ACC. I need to gain 15 pounds. That’s where my focus will be this summer. I need to live in the weight room and make my body even better.”

    Perhaps he could pick up some of the weight that Dupree needs to drop LOL

  12. Let Duke game go except for the first half. What the Terps need to do is to focus on Virginia. Virginia has one banger in the middle and the rest are finesse players who run and shoot. Plus Diane is from Potomac MD so he has a axe to grind. Keys to the game again is playing to Gist in the paint and good perimeter defense. Do not expect the slashing Singletary to be guarded by Hayes or Vaz. Matter of fact they better try to force him into 15 footers and away from the rim because he will get Osby and Gist in foul trouble if not. So if they play smart I predict a low scoring game 68-63 Terps.

  13. Way to pull out the “back to school” reference, StevenD… Don’t see that one used much anymore. Good work.

  14. Right, I hope the guys are concentrating on the Cavaliers. As much as I despise them, there is too much obsessing over puke and unc, and not enough concentration on non-Carolina teams, who have killed us the past few seasons. Virginia swept us last year. If we had swept them, we’d have been conference champs. Virginia is weak this year. Losing to them at home is unacceptable.

  15. The Cavaliers offense, is similar to Duke’s in that it doesn’t have a traditional post player, and they shoot a lot of three point shots. I mean A LOT OF THREE POINT SHOTS.

    Virginia is attempting 26 freakin’ three-pointers per game against ACC opponents. That will test the Terps defense, which has been very good for the last month, the second half of the Duke game notwithstanding.

    Outside of Singletary, Virginia isn’t considered a good dribbling team so we may be able to create a lot of turnovers, and hopefully points off of those turnovers.

    Even with their lack of size up front, Virginia is a good rebounding team. They are second in the ACC in rebounding margin (+8.9).

    I’d like to see Dupree get some playing time, if for no reason than to give Osby and Gist a breather and to keep them out of foul trouble. But according to GW both Duke and Virginia present bad matchups for Dupree and he still needs to get into better shape.

    “He has to get in a little better physical condition. I think he is shocked at the quickness of the game … He’s got to make some adjustments to his game. I think he is really a good person. It’s going to be a big spring and summer for him but we still have 11 regular season games left, and we will start playing some teams that aren’t like Virginia and Duke in terms of who they put on the floor.”

    This is a big game. We need to get back to 3-3. BC plays UNC in Chapel Hill Thursday and will likely become 3-3 in conference too. The ACC has the #1 RPI and the Terps do have a signature road win in conference, but we can ill afford to lose another home game.

    Of course that will all be moot if we win the ACC Tournament. Okay, I’ll put the Grey Goose down LOL

    GO TERPS!

  16. We will beat Virginia by a surprising margin tonight If you think it’s demoralizing to lose a big halftime lead at home to Duke, try doing it at home to Georgia Tech, which is what the reeling Cavs did three days ago. Our arc is heading up, UVA’s is heading down. We’ve got bigs who the Cavs can’t handle and who are getting better every day. We remember that awful home loss to the Cavs last year, just before the 7-game streak. We are actually at the early stages of a new streak, which began at UNC ten days ago and which simply hit a bump in the road during the second half Sunday. We’ll stay alert for all 40 minutes tonight. Singletary always makes life miserable for our perimenter guys but say hello to two new freshman defenders out there, Bowie and Tucker. Terps easily.

    And just a reminder: Greivis Vasquez will cut down the nets at the 2009 ACC Tournament.

  17. I’m hoping for a significant (and surprising, as Kaze notes) margin of victory tonight. They’ve to hold serve at home against UVA, who isn’t playing very well. C’mon Terps. Take this game by the scruff of the neck from the get go and pull away. No more lazy cuts, passes and covers.

  18. The Terps often play up or down to the level of their competition. I think that UVA is in a desperate position and they will come out very hard. I think we will have a mental letdown after two straight games against hated archrivals. I think UVA will take an early lead, and we will have to fight back and it will be close at the end, but we should win.

    UVA lives and dies by the trey, as was mentioned earlier. Our perimeter defense has to be better than I’ve seen it so far.

  19. For all the ups and downs of the season thus far, at least we’re not Missouri. Check out this flaming hot mess:

    http://mvn.com/ncaa-missouri/2008/01/29/plot-thickens-at-mizzou-five-suspended-indefinitely/

  20. Tonight begins the Al Davis theme for the rest of the ACC regular season, “Just Win Baby!” That’s all I’ve got to say–win the damn game! No more moral victories. No more excuses (e.g. we’re a young team, Eric’s ankle was bothering him, we inexplicably came out flat in the first half, they had nore energy than us in the second half, etc, etc.” To quote the famous Nike shoe ad, “Just Do It.”

  21. Agree completely…just win, baby.

    I do share in the thoughts of Samster that the Terps could play down to the competition. They obviously have an issue with that. It’s encouraging to see them come out playing aggressive for back to back games but unfortunately, we have to remember they were playing UNC and Duke. They always get up for those teams. As has been said, they need to get up for every team and stop letting the marquee match ups dictate how they play.

  22. Bummer for Missouri…..they were actually looking tourney bound before that mess.

    Peremeter D, 20 or more from Mr. Gist and less then 15 TOs and we’ll be ok tonight.

  23. StevenD’s correct. It’s all about defending the 3 (which we did pretty well against Duke), feeding the post (where UVA is soft), and PROTECTING THE FREAKIN BALL.

    Both teams are desperate for a win tonight. Should be a great game.

  24. Boom is a Man-imal!!!!

  25. When I go to the FSU game I’m soo pimping a FRO! Great bounce back from Duke. Our offense still stalls at times but we look 10000% better than the beginning of the year. I’m very optimistic for the rest of ACC play! GO TERPS!

  26. Great win against UVA tonight. Terps were tested in
    many ways.
    First 8 minutes we were really moving the ball around (without dribbling much) and Hayes got some great looks – three tre’s….and GV too.

    Boom 2 early fouls changed the VA’s strategy but we were able to hold another 10 pt lead at half.
    Boom still having trouble catching ball down low but yes, he is a “Man-imal” and his free-throw shooting has improved greatly.

    Milbourne IS developing.His two offensive rebounds and scores late in 2nd half were crucial.

    Haven’t checked stats but believe we had 10 or less TO’s for the game. Super.

    GV looked and played like a true point guard and yes he launched two (seemingly) ill conceived 3’s.
    When he misses…..he misses badly. Overall, high marks tonight.

    Thought the refs were protecting Singletary.

    Our guys are getting better. Hey, where was Cliff Tucker tonight? Was he in there. I saw Bowie, Shane W, and Dupree.

    go terps

  27. I would like to say “Good, but not great win” but any win in this ACC season is more than good.

    Two points that gives me great hope for the rest of the season.

    First: No team in the ACC has better big men than Gist and Boom.

    Second: No team in the ACC can defend against the tandem of Hayes to Vas. That give and go from Vaz to Hayes and back in unstoppable. Its early yet, but this may be the best coaching job by GW yet. He had this team understanding how the sum of the parts work.

    Go Terps!!!

  28. The stupid fellow (me) has a question. From time to time during a game the camera will show GW wheeling around in a crouch and pointing his finger at someone on the bench and saying something. He does this a lot. Does anyone know what he does? Is he making a point? Is he pissed at something? It seems like such a strong reaction to something that’s going on in the game.

    What is he doing?

  29. Good question Epi. I think he is just talking/teaching to the whole bench including assistants.

    Milbourne played excellent tonight. His two boards and put backs were huge.

    Hayes had 15 and 9 assists. Solid game from him. I like him at the point with Vaz running the curls. It’s an easy two.

    Vaz played well most of the game. Can knock 25 points although he shot 19 times.

    Gist was solid again.

    Only 9 TO’s. Foul shooting was good until a couple of late missed. Bottom line is that was a game they should have won and they did it.

    Singletary is pretty smooth.

  30. I agree 100,000,000% with this article. The loss after a 9-point halftime lead is inexcusable. But Duke is a good team and you almost expect them to at least make a comeback. Anyways, 9 of Maryland’s next 10 games are against the “mush” of the ACC (the one other game is at Cameron). I agree with the benchmark of a 10-6 conference record to have ANY chance of a tourney bid. It doesn’t help that 3 of our last 4 games are on the road. But I do believe it’s possible for the Terps. If they go on a run liek they did last year (and they’re playing well enough to do so) they can have a good shot of making the tourney. I think a win @ Duke, however unlikely would drastically help the Terps, as well as winning a couple games in the conference tourney (which has been a weak spot the last couple of years). Overall I’m keeping hope, hope that we can close out games and play just as good in the 2nd half as we did in the 1st half.

  31. I love the way Hayes plays the game. He might not be the most athletic player, but he is such a stat sheet filler. 9 As and only 1 TO. He won’t play in the NBA, but he is an All-ACC guy.

    One more point to make. Has anyone else noticed that GV doesn’t get backspin on his shots, especially long range shots? I noticed it on a couple of his 3s. The ball comes off his hands kind of cork skrewed. It explains why when he misses, the ball comes hard off of the rim. Hayes and Milbourne get more rotation, so their misses aren’t bricks.

    That’s something I’m sure GV will work on this summer. Good win but now they must build. I still say 8-8 in the ACC gets them into the NCAA, especially if they win 1 game in the ACC tourney.

  32. All right kids, here’s the big one. The first of you who can answer the following question will receive two tickets to the game at Cameron.

    In Terpdom, what is the significance of the date,
    March 4th. ??

  33. Another point on the Gary yelling question. When the refs make a bad call (happened plenty on Wednesday night), Gary turns and yells at the bench and assistants as so not to pick up a Technical Foul. If the refs only knew what he says to the bench, he’d be thrown out of games every week!

  34. Good to see them win by double digits. Not that it’s important, but it’s nice to see a dominating performance. They got a little careless towards the end. However, Singletary was the main reason UVA clawed back. He really is an excellent player.

    Their offense was excellent for most of the game. They got into trouble in stretches when rushing things but didn’t lapse into long periods without scoring. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them move the ball so effectively against a zone. The first 10 minutes were very fun to watch.

    Way to take care of the ball, baby! It’s amazing how much you notice turnovers when they come in bunches. I new they didn’t give up the ball much tonight but was honestly shocked when I saw only 9. We’ve obviously stated repeatedly the need for this team to limit turnovers and it’s so apparent they can be in every game if they do. They aren’t the type of offensive team yet that can make up for so many mistakes.

    Love the long range shooting early. I do think they got a little carried away. No need to attempt 24 3’s, esp. Vasquez with 11. And like KV mentioned, 19 FG attempts for Vasquez. I’d say that’s a little overboard, 10 more attempts than any other player. But it is hard to knock 25 points.

    I echo the love for Hayes. He’s such a calming influence and was more aggressive tonight. You can see him embracing the scoring aspect when he needs to. After tonight, he may have the best Assist/Turnover ratio in the ACC. I believe they said he was second during the telecast. I’m pumped. Time to take down GT. One game at a time people.

  35. Of course I don’t know for sure, but I always imagined GW spinning around and yelling at his bench, “See, I told you, DONT DO THAT!” I also like the notion of taking some steam out on his coaches and players instead of on the Refs. It fires up the people you want to have energized.

    March 4th is Gary William’s Birthday. He’s turning 63 this year. He graduated from Maryland in 1967, when Lyndon Johnson was president (but he wouldn’t have voted for him, since the voting age was 21 in 1964). Do you think Gary was upset about the Vietnam War? Maybe he’s still bitter about the RFK assassination.

    Is that what you were looking for Epi Vus? Also, on the women’s side of things, March 4th is the date that MD beat Duke the first time in 2006 in the ACC tourney, the precursor to beating them in overtime for the NCAA title.

  36. Awesome win. I’m happy for the kids. They turned the page from the Duke game and handled their business against Virginia. Gotta keep it moving. Now take it on the road to the ATL and beat Ga Tech Saturday at noon.

  37. Now just keep winning, baby! One general observation about these Terps. They walk a very fine line between being on and being off. When there heads are in the game properly, doing all the high hoop IQ stuff, they are pretty darn good. When their heads “check out,” the low IQ stuff returns, and they start to unravel like a cheap two-dollar watch. When I watch them, I notice I keep saying over and over something like, “now play smart, play smart;” followed by good, good, or oh crap, don’t do that. I rearely seem to worry about the other team, just the Terps. It’s almost as if they are playing two games out there, the opponent and themselves. It is a fine line guys. They have the talent to beat anyone in the ACC, if they can keep their heads screwed on right and not beat themselves. Go Terps! Now beat GT! Just win, baby!

  38. Jacob — your’e a winner — the correct answer is GW’s birthday.

    Now, for your reward

    The game at Cameron is on Feb. 14th — (the 13th is the Maryland game), and you will be getting two tickets to the finals of the Duke Intramural Basketball Championship.

    The prevailing wisdom is that the final will be between the Sigma Chi’s and Kappa Sig’s with Sigma Chi pulling out the victory due to more firepower.

    Two tickets are waiting for you at will call.

    Once again, congrats

  39. Did anyone catch Steve Lavin’s halftime (or was it postgame) comments about the Terps? “When they’re on, they are the most dangerous team in the country,” or some such language. He was referring to our inside strength (Gist and the the ‘Fro) as well as the backcourt tandem of Vas and Hayes. Who would have thought three weeks ago that a national commentator would be uttering those words about the MD bb team? Just when most of us thought Gary should be thinking about hanging them up, he pulls another impressive coaching rabbit out of his hat. And he’s starting to take recruiting more seriously too.

    This team is starting to gel, and it’s fun to watch for a change.

    I missed the Duke game, so missed the ugly 2d half.

  40. A “W” always feels better than a “L.”

    Ditto all the love for Hayes, Milbourne and Boom. Boom and Milbourne had a series of three or four clutch put-backs or we might be crying again right now.

    Mr. Gist, too, had an excellent line – a workman-like 17 points and 9 rebounds. Obviously, the team passing and shooting is much, much better than it was in the early season. And holding the TOs to 9 is excellent, too (thanks for playing the zone defense, UVA).

    There were a couple of warts, however, that need to be corrected:

    1. 19 (and 11 from 3-point land) shots from GV? I was ok with the penetrating shots, especially since he is taller than the man guarding him, but 11 from 3-point land? Silly.

    2. After the UVA game, I have a new hypothosis on why we lost to dook. The root cause, in my opinion, is over-working the top of the line-up. Gist and GV, especially, should not be playing 40/39 minutes. You could really see GV struggling on D in the second half, and this may also explain some of the bricks that he hoists (as Wheels noted). Gist played 40 minutes and he missed a couple of open looks at clutch time that are usually automatic from him. Both Gist and GV were missing clutch FT’s too. Why? Tired legs. Conversely, Milbourne and Boom still had strong legs at the end of the game and they pulled it out at clutch time.

    3. How in the world did we lose the rebounding battle to UVA?

  41. Boom continues to impress. Even having to sit out a good portion of the game due to foul trouble, he made his presence known, particularly from the line, where he is much improved. And I love his energy. After the obligatory post-game handshake(s) with UVA, he ran over to the student section and starting jumping up and down, getting everyone fired up. He’s hitting his stride at the perfect time.

    I echo the sentiments re our offense. There are still occasional lapses, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Maryland team play so well against zone defense. I think the assist to turnover ratio last night was 18-20 to 9, or something to that effect. Hayes has a lot to do with that; he’s such a calming influence on this team. Vasquez exhibited more patience with the ball, as well.

    Props to Milbourne for pulling down those two offensive boards in the final minutes of the game. Dave Neal had some quality minutes in Boom’s absence.

  42. A couple more points on a great win:
    Starting guard play totaled 50 points, 12 assists and 2 turnovers (officially), so GV & EH really stepped up. They also did a pretty good job defending Singletary, who was obviously hurting due to a hip problem. He is a scoring machine but they didn’t let him kill us like years past.
    Lastly I hate to be vindictive but I enjoyed seeing Jeff Jones (who decommitted to the Terps) sitting on the bench 37 of 40 minutes, with a stat line of no shots, no rebounds, no assists. AMF


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