A Great Day To Be A Terp

I know it was the Humanitarian Bowl against Nevada and I know it was the hoops team against Elon, and while neither game was pretty at times, the Terps took care of business and came away with 2 pretty wins.

First the football squad.  Most ‘experts’ had the Terps losing this game to a team that seemed happier to be in Boise than a Maryland team that blew an opportunity to play for the ACC title late in the season.  I was pretty happy with the win.  It builds a lot of momentum for next year because nearly all of the big plays were turned in by freshmen or sophomores.  I’m very worried about Chris Turner, who was miserable in the 3rd quarter.  Turner missed some big time throws and seemed unaware of the rush at times as he coughed up the ball on numerous occassions.  But Turner is the guy next year and here’s hoping he can take that next step.

I assume DHB will be leaving for the NFL and I do not blame him.   I think he’ll be a very good player at the next level and I’m not too worried about the Terps without him because it’s not like they got him the ball anyway.  They were afraid all season long to just throw it up for him.  It seemed unless he was wide open, they didn’t allow him to make plays.  So if they weren’t going to go to him, why should we really miss him.  I’m excited for the future with Torrey Smith, Cannon, Tyler, and Lee Odai who all showed something this season. 

The running game will be super solid as Da’Rel Scott wowed the nation with 174 yards rushing in about a quarter and a half.  With Davin Meggett and Morgan Green, we are set.  The offensive line was inconsistent, so I can’t imagine it’ll be horrible replacing a few guys.  But we’ll see.

The defense looked pretty good despite giving up 35 points.  They actually played aggressive and they were the difference as they battered the Nevada QB all day long.  They had multiple sacks and 3 takeaways.  See what happens if you blitz and take some chances!! 

As for the hoop team, I was not able to watch the game, so some of you may have a better idea of the specifics than I do, but after reading about things and taking a look at the box score, I can say this was an uninspired Terps team early that turned it on when they needed to.  I’m not wild about David Neal taking 12 shots, but he did hit a big bucket when the deficit was 10.

Here’s the big difference though in this season than last.  The team was not able to “turn it on” last year.  If they got in trouble, it was trouble all night long.  In Terps teams from the past, they were always able to go on that 10-2 run when they needed to to break open a close game.  This team has that ability so far.  They have done it in the easy games and also in the big games they won against Michigan and Michigan State. 

They now get to take a step up in opposition with a game against Charlotte.  They are not having a good season, but they are better than Elon.  So let’s hope they get that killer instinct and take care of Charlotte and then we can move on to the ACC season with some momentum.

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The Boise Bowl (Minus Boise)

Well folks.  It’s not the sexy game we would have wanted to watch.  It’s a 4:30pm game on December 30th, but it’s Maryland football. 

It’s a chance to go 8-5 and have some good feelings after a rough end to a promising season.  As always, which team will show up today?  Will we actually miss Chris Cosh?  (today only!)  Will Darrius Heyward-Bey play well?  Will they throw him the ball?

It’s seems like this is going to be a high scoring affair and it’s expected that Nevada’s running game will give us fits much like Virginia Tech (and Clemson in the 1st half).  I say let it all hang out on defense.  Take chances.  I’d much rather give up one big play than have the defense slowly worn down on 12 play drives. 

I’m sure the players, no matter what they say, are not all that jacked up for this one, but here’s hoping once they take the field, they’ll want to give it their all one more time in 2008 and hope to build for what is likely to be a very interesting 2009 season.

Go Terps!

Mid-Season Prediction

If, on October 15th, you had the opportunity to chart out an ideal course for the non-conference portion of the Terps season; you’d be hard pressed to map out a better trip for our Terps.

Two wins over marquee opponents (Michigan and Michigan St.), some gutsy performances (Vasquez’ three against Vermont), holding their own in rebounding dept (almost +2!), and best of all– the Terps have averaged just over 12 turnovers per game.

Sure, those two blowout losses to Gonzaga and Georgetown were unsettling to say the least; but we all knew going into the season that Maryland would be outmatched by certain teams.  Both the Zags and the Hoyas are highly regarded.  Ken Pomeroy even has Georgetown sitting at #1 in his power rankings (Gonzaga is #5).

In terms of the only rankings that matter, the RPI, the Terps are sitting pretty at #19.  Such a lofty ranking at this point in the season, means that the Terps are in great position to finish the season in the Top 30.  As of 12/26 Clemson, Duke,  FSU, Wake, Miami, and UNC were all in the top 30 along with Maryland.

Those rankings are bound to change as the ACC schools start beating each other; but the  fact that the ACC has had such a strong non-conference start to the season means that each loss can’t drop the Terps too far.  As long as the Terps can avoid losing to the conference bottom feeders (BC, VT, GT, UVA, NCST) and hold their own against the aforementioned upper tier; the Terps are a shoe-in for the big dance.

Let’s put some numbers behind it.  The Terps have 7 games against the bottom tier:  two vs. UVA, two vs. GT, and one each vs. BC, VT and NCST.  Of the single games, only NCST is away from Comcast.  If (and I know it is a big “if”) Maryland can win these seven; then they would only need to take two wins from the upper tier to get to 9-7.  With a “revenge” game looming at Clemson, a winnable road game at FSU, and four home games against the top tier (UNC, Duke, Wake, and Miami); the Terps will have the their chances to get those two upper tier wins.

I’m completely biased obviously, but Ken Pomeroy and his predictive algorithm are not.  He has already mapped out the rest of the season for us.  Check it out for yourself.

Ken’s model seems to think that we will hold serve against the bottom tier and get those two wins against the top tier (it predicts the home games against Miami and Wake are the W’s).  That puts the Terps at 21-9 (9-7) and in my opinon a virtual lock for the NCAAs.

As fans and alumni, we should be proud of how the Terps have played so far this year. Vasquez is a 1st team All-ACC performer and there are by my count three Terps who can create their own shot (Milbourne, Bowie, and Vaz).  Interior play will be a challenge all year, but Gary will make sure he is getting the most out of his front line.

I still have concerns (Dave Neal is the only Terp averaging better that 35% from three); but I know that the Terps will not be out-hustled down the stretch.  If they continue to play smart and unselfish basketball; we will be rewarded with what may turn out to be Gary Williams greatest coaching performance to date.

Terps-American Thread

Alright folks.  It’s been way too long since we’ve watched some good Maryland hoops.  The wait ends now.  Let’s go out and serve up a big spoonful of revenge on those Eagles!

Chat away!

DBR Recruiting Report 12/19/2008

Gary Williams and Rob Ehsan were in New York last Saturday, watching Taran Buie’s Bishop Maginn squad beat Tobias Harris’s Long Island Lutheran team 63-60. Buie scored 24 points while Tobias Harris was held to 13 points. Harris had foul trouble (3 fouls before halftime) and Bishop Maginn double teamed him whenever he had the ball. I posted this info in another thread but felt it was worth repeating.

It’s starting to look like it’s between Notre Dame and UMD for Buie.

In addition to Buie, DeMatha’s Victor Oladipo, Lake Clifton’s Will Barton, and Montrose Christian’s Terrence Ross all are considering UMD.

Isaiah Epps begins his season tonight (weather permitting). I sense no significant changes in his recruitment during his season. He’s been firm that spring is when he’ll decide. It appears to be down to Pitt and UMD but don’t be surprised to see some other schools attempt to get into the mix with him.

April 2009 will be a CRITICAL month for Terp recruiting. UMD’s season will be over and the AAU circuit will fire up. Evaluations will be completed and 2010 recruits will begin giving verbal commitments. Then, of course we’ll turn to the class of 2011 where as many as five spots will be open.

As for this year, the million dollar question is who/when will someone step up consistently in the paint? How the Terps are going to match up against Hansbrough/Thompson at UNC; Booker/Sykes at Clemson; Singler at Duke; Allen at VT; Costner/McCauley at NCSU? If the guards aren’t playing lights out against those teams it’s gonna be a struggle.

On that note, Braxton Dupree had a meeting with Gary Williams prior to the Delaware State game. Word is that GW told him he needs to work harder, specifically he needs to be better at rebounding and being a finisher when he gets the ball inside and not really worry about anything else.

IMHO the next couple of weeks are crucial for BD. Classes/finals are over so he’ll have a few weeks of being able to focus on nothing but basketball. He needs to get out of this funk he’s in stay positive and stay focused and work on his weaknesses. We need him to play better for this team to have success this season.

GO TERPS…SPANK AU LIKE THEY OWE US MONEY!

Humanitarian Bowl Ticket Sales Are in the “Dozens”

This is pretty hilarious.

Apparently, Maryland fans and Nevada fans are too excited about going to Boise, ID in late December.  Fanhouse is there with the story.

In case you don’t want to click through; here’s the rub:

As of Monday afternoon the University of Maryland says it’s sold about 16 tickets to the game. The University of Nevada says it’s sold 8 so far.

How bout that Terp fans?  We doubled up Nevada in ticket sales!  We’re #1! We’re #1!

Honestly, I can’t believe 16 fans from Maryland are actually going to this game.  I thought I was a dedicated fan, but that takes the cake.  I defer to these loyal 16 supporters.

Are any soupers among the 16?

Men’s Soccer Team Wins National Championship

I don’t have much to say about the game because my wife and I were  in the middle of moving during yesterday’s championship; so I didn’t get to see any of the game.

All I know is that coach Sasho has built one hell of a program.  The Terp Women won the Field Hockey and the Men won Soccer.  That is one great Fall season.

Now if the Basketball team can keep playing well; this will be a great year in College Park.

By the way, was I the only one who noticed Gary Williams sitting in the owner’s box at M&T Bank Stadium for the Ravens-Steelers game?  I know Biscotti is a huge donor to the school, but I love the fact that Gary is a Raven fan. If you recall, he brought in Brian Billick to give a pep talk to the Terps after they lost to Duke (gone in 53 seconds) and Fl. St.  Billick had just won the Super Bowl, and Gary called in a favor.