ACC Tourney Primer

MD will only beat NC State if they are able to reverse a disturbing trend. Once this team gets knocked down; it seems to take them several games to bounce back.

UVA was a stomach punch game.  As we have seen time and time again with this team; that usually means a prolonged slump will follow.  Back in December of 2007; VCU beat the Terps in a game we should have won.  MD followed that loss with the Ohio U and American debacles.

Later in the season;  just as Maryland was starting to surge; we blew a 20 point lead to Clemson.  The Terps completely derailed after that loss and ruined their season.

This season, MD fell apart against Morgan State.  That was followed with giveaways against Miami and Florida and BC.   The team recovered, positioned itself for an NCAA bid and then wet the bed against UVA.

So what happens now?  Well as I have just illustrated; history says a loss against NC State is in the offing.  Tomorrow night’s game is less about our opponent than it is about the Terps themselves.  Can they pull themselves out of the mire?  Do they believe in their teammates?

Here’s what I think.  Maryland has the talent and ability to beat NC State.  Maryland also has the ability to beat themselves. Who will win? Most pundits think the Terps will just fold up the tent and head back to College Park with their tails between their legs.

My brain is telling me to agree; but my heart tells me that we can do this. Regardless of what happens; this disturbing trend needs to end.  The Terps need to figure out how to not lose focus and to stick to the game plan when shots aren’t falling.  If not, we will perpetually fail to reach our potential.

ACC Tournament First Round Thread

Well the games begin this afternoon. The Terps last chance. I’ve decided that the Terps play better when I have given up hope, so I have. If they weren’t playing a BC team that gave up a month ago, I’d say the Terps season ends tonight. But even a hopless man like myself has a hard time thinking that the Terps don’t find a way to win tonight. A win and the Terps still have a big hill to climb.

I read a quote from Osby where he said that he thinks the Terps have a chance against Duke if they get that far. Umm, let’s concentrate on BC shall we? Has looking ahead ever worked for anybody in any sport? Sheesh.

The late start isn’t helping things either. The 9:30 ET tipoff is atrocious. Games will be going on throughout the day, so feel free to weigh in on the Soup.

Thoughts on Tournament Eve

If Virginia or Va Tech advance to the ACC Final, Maryland will have the opportunity to avenge at least three (potentially four if UVA advances) losses from earlier in the year. Now granted, this will require four straight wins including a neutral site victory against UNC; but the fact that this discussion is not pure fantasy is a testament to the quality and confidence our Terrapins have displayed over the last month.

I cannot emphasize enough how much Gary Williams deserves ACC Coach of the Year. Look how much the team has improved this season. That is the definition of coaching. It’s the same players as the ones who sucked in January. The difference is that they are now playing as a team. Gary’s finest performance ever.

I laughed this week as I thought about playing Miami. Just about every Terp fan looked at that loss back in January and thought that it would be the loss that kept us out of the Tournament. Who could have imagined that it would have been the loss that kept the Terps from earning a share of the ACC Regular Season Title?

Of course we should know better than to play through those kind of scenarios in our heads. I think everyone would agree that we don’t get the joys of February without the despair of January. The loss to Miami, as it turned out, was an essential part of the maturation process. In an odd way, the Terps and their fans should be grateful for our seven losses. They have made us contenders.

Tomorrow, we get to thank Miami in style. While we are at it, I expect an equally inspiring “thank you” for Boston College on Friday. Anything beyond that is too hard to guess. I will say this: whomever beats the Terrapins this weekend, will have earned the title.

Before I sign off for the night, I’d like to take one last parting shot at Duke. If they lose tomorrow, here is my argument for sending them to the NIT:

– Their non conference wins look less impressive every day. Air Force looks atrocious. Indiana couldn’t beat anyone on the road all year. Gonzaga, Temple, St. Johns? All having bad years. The only quality win is Georgetown.

– Aside from a sweep against a reeling Boston College, none of Duke’s ACC wins came against teams with a winning conference record.

– Duke is 4-6 in their last 10 games.

– Take away the officiating gift against Clemson and Duke would have finished the ACC Season 7-9.

If Duke loses tomorrow and Fla St. or Clemson can advance to the semis, I say the ACC gets seven teams in the Dance and Duke should stay home. I know it will never happen but it absolutely should.