Maryland Trounces #6 Michigan State, 80-62

The Terps took it to Michigan State.  Boy, did they ever.  Tonight’s victory was a season defining triumph. It was Gary Williams at his best.  No one gave the Terps a chance.  Most Soup readers thought that Maryland had a chance if everything fell our way.

I’d say when Dave Neal SCORES 17 POINTS that everything is falling your way.  Sure, critics will say that the Spartans got themselves into trouble.  Their bigs got into foul trouble and they couldn’t hit free throws.  I don’t care.  Maryland played a fantastic game.

The committed only 10 turnovers and four players scored 13 points or more.  That is balance.  They held their own in rebounding and nabbed 8 steals.

Sean Mosley played a great game and did all of the little things.  How about that steal off of a Mich St. offensive rebound followed by a 60 foot pass for a Bowie layup?

Every Terp hit the glass tonight.  Eric Hayes led the team with 6 rebounds.  Eric Hayes!!

I think we can answer the question about the importance of solid guard play in college basketball.  Vasquez and Hayes are playing with the maturity  needed to lead a team into the NCAAs.  Pundits look at the Terps roster and see no inside play.  What they missed is one of the deepest and talented backcourts in the country.

The Terps will go as far as their guards can take them.  Right now, their ceiling is being recalibrated.  We know their are flaws and Maryland will be tested again in less than 24 hours.

This is a deep tournament and Maryland will have to do it all again tomorrow.  Sitting at 4-0; Maryland is position to acheive a Top 25 ranking with another victory in Orlando.  I’m not prepared to contemplate beyond that.  I am going to savor every minute of this one.

Go Terps!

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A Reasonable Michigan State Thread

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I don’t know about you, but tipoff will occur right about the time that my family is sitting down to dinner.  Needless to say, I will be taping the game (taping the old fashioned way as my parents have yet to embrace the DVR concept).

The purpose of this post is to create a repository for a reasonable discussion of tonight’s game. I say this because I think tonight’s game represents unchartered territory for Terps fans.  Most Terp fans do not think our guys have a realistic chance of winning this game.  Aside from last year’s UNC game (a game we won by the way); when was the last time this happened?

There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic about this season, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.  The Terps are limited in some important areas; but are stacked in others.

Last year’s team could have been called the cardiac kids.  The highs and lows were almost too much to bear.  I think that we will find that this year’s squad doesn’t have as high a ceiling as last year’s; but the floor is much higher too.

We won’t see Clemson-like collapses; but we may not see UNC-like wins either.  On paper, that puts Michigan State out of reach.  I’m not willing to bet on it though.  Vasquez is a true leader and could indeed will this team to victory.  We have lots of weapons and if the bigs can hold their own on the defensive glass; we might just pull this one out.

Previewing Michigan State

I can’t start this without sharing this quote from MSU coach Tom Izzo today:

“Vazquez is like the ‘Magic Johnson’ of Maryland”

Now,  he meant it as to say Vaz does everything for the team, including being the leading rebounder, but it just made me chuckle to hear him say that!

I’m listening to Izzo’s press conference today (an advantage by working in the media in Detroit), and Izzo shared his thoughts on the Terps.  He was very complimentary as you would expect with him being buddies with Gary. 

Good news for us is that their senior big man Goran Suton is not expected to play much if at all due to a knee injury.  He’s the type of guy who could have dominated the boards with putbacks both on the offensive and defensive glass.  Marquis Gray will be playing and he’s a big guy who we should be aware of, as is Delvon Roe.

The Spartans guards are very quick, so we’ll have to do a very good job taking care of the ball.  It will be difficult to press them as well. 

This will be a difficult game as I don’t think we match up well with Michigan State.  But you never know what can happen, and the gutsy win last Friday could help the guys’ confidence going into a big time atmosphere.

Obviously our guard play will be key in this one as I’m sure they’ll zone us a lot, but if we can get both Hayes and Vaz to get aggressive (not too aggressive Vaz!), and drive to the basket, then dish, or at least look to get fouled, we can have a chance.  With a zone defense, we could look to JSK to try and get hot from the outside and make them pay, but JSK is very slow on the defensive side of the court, so it’ll be a pick your poison.

If our guys can match MSU’s physical play down low, it could make a difference, but I have yet to see our bigs be able to do that against much smaller competition, let alone a Big Ten team.  It’ll take a great effort to win this game, but do they have a chance?  Yes, sure they do.