MD Shocks UNC as Vasquez and Tucker Spark Upset


I’ve seen my share of upsets; but today’s performance has to take the cake.  Talk about improbable! MD’s trio at the pivot of Dave Neal, Dino Gregory, and Jerome Burney some how some way held off one of the strongest frontcourts in the nation. And that wasn’t even the most incredible performance of the game! That honor, of course, goes to Greivis Vasquez.

I couldn’t be happier for Mr. Vasquez.  Sure, he has caused his share of heartache during his tenure at Maryland; but the kid wants to win so bad that it hurts.  He has taken his lumps in the ACC, gotten ripped in the press, and been booed by his own fans.  Through it all, he has never stopped trying. Maybe, just maybe he will have the opportunity to go out on top.  He may have a few more great performances in him; but surely none will compare to what he did today.  35 points, 11 rebs, and 10 assists.  Greivis notched the triple double before overtime even started.  He was Mr. Everything all game long.

Even with Vasquez carrying them, how did the Terps pull this off?  I think it’s just that MD wanted (hell, needed) this more than UNC.  I’m not saying that is the only reason they won; but it helped.  I’m thrilled as a fan; but even more thrilled that 12 kids and a coach who have worked so hard all year finally got rewarded for their efforts.

How many close calls that turned into eventual losses have their been?  Too many to recount here.  We have talked ad nauseum about how this team “didn’t have the horses”.  We lacked talent and height and just couldn’t compete with the top teams in the NCAA.  That may still be true; but as I said in my thread post, there is a reason they play these games.

The Terps proved to me that they can play with heart.  Sure, there have been other games where it looked like they gave up (see Duke); but if they give it their all and they play with consistency, it is a beautiful thing to watch.

Of all the reasons to be happy tonight; I hope you are happy for Gary Williams.  Ripped to shreds by his hometown paper; Gary may indeed have the last laugh.  For if he can take this squad to the NCAAs; he has forever proven his mettle as a great coach. If it happens, it will be his finest hour.

Now, it is on to Duke and a chance to vault ourselves off the bubble and into the dance.  However, before we get too excited; remember that this is the same team that lost to Clemson by 27 points on Tuesday.  Last year, MD hosted Duke coming off the upset at UNC and we ran to a 10 point halftime lead only to blow it in the second half.  Maryland has a chance to exorcise all of its demons on Wednesday.

My Thoughts On Greivis’ Comments

I just read through Greg’s remarks and all of the subsequent comments about Vaz and I have this to say:

Leave the kid alone!

If there were indeed any racist slurs hurled at GV as has been alleged; then I am indeed ashamed as we all should be. If true, than the University needs to do a better job of policing the student section. That is an absolute disgrace and something that I would expect out of the Deep South, not from a cosmopolitan campus like Maryland. For Shame!

MD fans are angry. I get it. I’m angry too. We won the National Championship in 2002 and now we are praying that we can squeak into the Tournament every year. It is not fair. There is plenty of blame to go around for that believe me. But to concentrate your ire at Greivis Vasquez– the most talented player on the team is insanity.

Let me remind the haters….


He is also a 20 year old living in a foreign country speaking a second language. Yes, he has a hot temper; but just try to imagine yourself at 20-years old. If someone called me a racial slur; I would have jumped over the scorer’s table Ron Artest-style.

There is no other player in major college basketball who carries a heavier burden night in and night out than Greivis Vasquez. Again, HE LEADS MARYLAND IN EVERY SINGLE OFFENSIVE STATISTIC!

Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that his family is living under an incompetent regime in Venezuela and desperately needs him to make good so he can give them financial security.

What exactly were your biggest concerns when you were 20 years old? If you are like me, it was where am I going to get wasted tonight and how am I going to my chain yanked.

Sorry, for the vulgarity; but this whole incident is more embarassing for the University than it is for a 20 year old kid who carries more burden on his shoulders than most of us have in our lifetimes.

Whether we go 6-10 or 10-6, Maryland is a better team with Greivis Vasquez on the roster than without.

Greivis Rumors

The date to declare for the NBA draft is two days away and still no word from Senor Greivis Vasquez. All indications (and by that I mean Diamondback Russ) are that Vasquez will indeed declare himself eligible.

Now, before Terps nationwide go bonkers; it is important to understand that Vasquez is 99% likely to return to Maryland this year. Declaring himself eligible is a way for him to measure himself against NBA talent as well as get feedback from the pro scouts on what he needs to work on in order to get drafted.

Anyone who watched more than 15 minutes of Maryland basketball this year knows that Greivis is not yet ready for the pros. He has yet to play an entire game under control and he needs to improve his shooting and decision making. Despite his shortcomings, GV just missed the ACC first-team and is likely to be a pre-season all-conference selection going into next season.

I encourage fans not to read too much into this impending announcement. Yes, Gary Williams has been hitting the road and will be bringing in many new faces into the backcourt next season. The arrival of Sean Mosley and Tyree Evans will certainly shake things up next season. Hoever, do not be fooled into thinking that Greivis will not be playing a prominent role

Vasquez led the ACC in minutes played and the optimist in me thinks that fatigue may have been part of the reason behind the Terps failure to put ANYONE away all year, as well as the being the culprit behind their well-documented collapses. A rested Vasquez should be able to shine next season if he can learn trust his teammates.

I have visions of a backcourt that electrifies in the much same way that Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili do for the San Antonio Spurs. Will it be Evans who plays Parker to Vasquez’s Ginobili? Only time will tell.

Be assured Terp fans, that no matter what happens over the next two days, you can pencil Vasquez into the starting lineup next season. As for the other four positions, I’m not so sure. Neither is Gary Williams.

Two Man Show Leads Terps

The Terps won their third straight road game tonight. Jim Gist and Greivis Vasquez were Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside all game. Vasquez turned in the performance of his career (only a few bad decisions) and generally led the Terps to victory. Even Eric Hayes’ game sealing three came off a great feed from Greivis.

The Terps have won 9 of 11 games and they are fast becoming ACC road warriors. Sure, they let BC back into the game and they almost gave up the lead late, but they are winning. There aren’t many teams that start two sophomore guards that consistently put teams away with ease.

I believe that Gary Williams has done an excellent job this season. He has brought this team back from the brink of disaster to being the third best team in the conference. The resurrection is almost complete. I think if the season ended today, the Terps are in the Tournament.

Given the way the Terps have been playing, it is hard to look at the early season schedule and not think “what if”. The losses to Mizzou and VCU would likely have been wins. What’s more the Ohio U – American debacles would without question be erased. Conservatively, Maryland should be 18-5 and ranked in the Top 15.

But that is all window dressing. The Terps are playing like one of the best teams in the country. With NC State coming up over the weekend, the Terps have an opportunity to get one step closer to the 20-win plateau. Oh and they will build a little more confidence as they get ready for Duke.

They can’t afford to look ahead. We can afford to look ahead, but they can’t. I can smell 16-8 and I think 17-8 is a real possiblity. It is time to be excited in Terp town.

Duke is pwn3d!

We own Duke.  We have won 5 out of 7 (were favored to win none of the games).  If this Maryland team were to play this Duke team 10 times, Maryland would win 8 of the games.  We are better at every position.

We are a good team.  The seniors have really stepped up.  Jones was great.  Strawberry was great.  Sure, there a few ill-advised shots strewn about; but by and large, it was a dominant performance.  I didn’t doubt the outcome for a minute.

How about General Greivis?  The kid nearly turned in a triple-double!  When was the last time that happened in ACC play?

My roommate (a neutral observer because he is a Wisconsin grad) and I tallied all of the unfair calls throughout the game.  The final tabulation?  Duke 8, Maryland 2. (Editor’s note: one of the calls against the Terp, the non-goaltending call with under 10 seconds left, was irrelevant). That is typical.  Duke at Cameron get about six extra possessions per contest due to the one sided officiating.

And we still kicked their ass.

No one is playing better than Maryland right now, yet we were subjected to the overflowing toilet that is Dan Patrick and Dick Vitale in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Dan Patrick’s gushing over Duke is to be expected; but was there ever a more ridiculous comment uttered than when he mentioned ACC freshman of the year candidates and included John Scheyer, but not Greivis Vasquez?  Is there anybody in America who would actually choose John Scheyer over Greivis Vasquez right now?

John Scheyer is not a good athlete. He can shoot, sure.  But you know who else can shoot?  The autistic kid who hit 7 threes in two minutes in that high school game last year.  No one is mentioning him as a freshman of the year candidate, are they?

While I am in at it, ESPN absolutely punted tonight. Forcing us to miss the first six minutes of an abysmal Big East game is one thing, but the technical difficulties down the stretch?  Are you kidding me?

Here we are, 17 days removed from our first victory against Duke.  Is there anyone other than loyal poster, Kaze, who actually believed that these kids could run the table? I don’t even think the players believed it.  Gary knew they had it in them,  but this run has been nothing short of perfection.

Gary is ACC Coach of the Year. Period.   (Yes I basically called him out for the entire month of January). UNC may be the most talented team in the country, but Maryland is playing the best.

Right now, I think the committee gives the Terps a #4 seed or even possibly a #3 seed because they love to reward hot teams.  The question becomes, what happens now?  How far can the Terps go?