Dave Neal’s drive to the hoop in the final minutes that got swatted by Aminu summed up the entire season. Neal got to the ball in the flow of the offense, made a great move, and was headed for an easy lay-in. Aminu just elevated like the superb athlete he is and swatted the ball into next week.
It reminded me of a play in the 1980s that Lefty Driesell drew up in the closing seconds of a game against Carolina. I think MD was down by 1 point. Lefty Drew up a play and somehow, Chuck Driesell found himself open underneath the hoop. He was wide open. It was the perfect play. Maryland was about to win. As Chuck went up for the game winning lay-up; Michael Jordan came out of nowhere and swatted it. UNC won.
When Chuck Driesell is going up against Michael Jeffrey Jordan, you know who is coming out on top. Dave Neal vs. Aminu is the same thing. We played our hearts out; but we just don’t have the athletes to beat a team like Wake Forest.
I hate to love this team. I really do. I know that in the end; I will feel unfulfilled after watching them for five months. But they try so damn hard against better equipped teams every night; it is hard not to love them.
People have been rightly criticzing Milbourne for disappearing the last two games. He has; but keep in mind that he has just played two of the biggest frontlines we will face all year. He is only 6’7″. Every time I look at our starting line up; I shake my head and think they can’t possibly compete. Yet there they are; playing their best basketball at the right time and they have brought us to the cusp of the Tournament.
If they make it; it will be Gary’s best performance ever as a coach. Mark the tape.
Speaking of which; here’s how I think it plays out:
MD, VT, and Miami are likely to be the #7, #8. #9 seeds in the ACC Tournament. Two of them will make it. #8 and #9 play each other in the first round. The loser will be out. Regardless of which seed Maryland grabs; they will only need to win their first round game.
That’s a good thing, because depending on the seed; either Duke, UNC or Wake loom in the quarterfinals.
There is still hope.