Friday, January 18, 2008

A Tough Team to Watch

A Tough Team to Watch

I did not go to the Maryland-Wake game Tuesday night in College Park, but I did watch on TV. And while I watched, I was treated to the harsh commentary of Billy Packer, who basically said, repeatedly, "Both teams stink."

Now I am not a big Billy Packer fan. But I do have to give it to him for not holding back one iota in saying just how crappy both Maryland and Wake looked and played Tuesday night. Yes, it’s great to finally get an ACC win. But, no, it’s not great when your only healthy point guard throws passes that would be classified as "lazy" in a rec league game. Greivis Vasquez can be unbelievably exciting and effective, but equally maddening. He carves through a defense and makes a running floater looks easy; then he hoists up a shot 10-seconds into the shot clock with Md. leading by 10 and 3 minutes left.

Um Greivis, is anyone home? Hello?

I didn’t take direct notes, but here's what I think Packer said:

  • Maryland and Wake exhibited the lowest basketball IQ of any ACC teams he’s seen in recent memory.
  • Neither teams showed any discipline or court awareness.
  • He saved some of his harshest words for Vasquez. Even though GV led everyone in scoring with 22, he had eight turnovers and passed the ball with all the crispness of spaghetti. Packer basically said the guy didn’t belong at point guard.

Here’s a link to the Sun’s blog about Packer’s harsh commentary:

But at least Maryland won. At least Maryland didn’t do what Wake did; which was continue to shoot threes when it was obvious they weren’t going to make many. Wake started 2 for 14 from 3. They finished 5 for 30.

Is that good?

Packer was basically beside himself as Wake heaved up one brick after another. He wondered aloud when they might realize they couldn’t shoot. It never happened.

(Quick side note – just my opinion, but I don't think the current 3 distance is good for college basketball. Most teams love to shoot them and most teams aren’t good at it. They should move the line out to the pro distance and I bet we’d see better team play. I realize I just sounded very old.)

OK, let’s get into some rapid fire Terps basketball tidbits:

Better third guard – Adrian Bowie or Cliff Tucker?

I was on the Tucker bandwagon all year until the last two games when Adrian Bowie has been fantastic. He plays sticky D, finishes well at the basket, and gives the team a decent ball handling option with Hayes nursing the bum ankle. It appears that Bowie can’t really shoot from beyond the foul line (or at the foul line), but that’s never stopped Maryland shooting guards before. Bowie busted out for 12 points in 28 minutes at Va. Tech and had 10 points in 32 minutes against Wake.

Tucker, meanwhile, has had some nice moments, but right now Bowie is the better third guard.

Let’s Look on the Bright Side

Maryland has won five of six and they’d have a six game winning streak if not for the last minute meltdown at Va. Tech. That hurt. This is not exactly an original sentiment, but how in the world Vaszuez thinks jacking up an off-balance three is the right play when you’re down by one with 10 seconds left is beyond me. It’s plays like that that keep him from being a great player.

But don't spend too much time beating up on GV, Terps faithful. Put it this way, they ain't going ANYWHERE if that guy doesn't play well. As dicey as he is, he can really bring it sometimes (remember the near triple-double AT Duke last year?).

And how about some kudos for Bambale Osby? The big fella does more with ability than anyone else on the team. He ain't smooth, but he is effective and he gives you all he's got.

Next up: Maryland has to go to UNC Satuday (eek), then they take an 8-day break before hosting Duke. Yes, these are tough games and Maryland will probably lose. But at least you get the chance to avenge the horrible losses to American and Ohio by playing teams in the top 10. Or in the case of UNC – the undefeated #1.

Which brings me to wondering, is there any chance Md. makes the tournament? They’ve lost to VCU, American, and Ohio, and needed OT to beat Northeastern; but they are playing better the last three weeks. I say it takes at least 9-7 in the ACC to get there, and you might need 10-6 and you might then conclude that that is not happening.

GA Show Episode #2 to Air Saturday night:

In case you missed it, I have a weekend radio show on Baltimore’s ESPN 1300. If you go to the website,, you can click on the link at the top to listen to the broadcast.

On Saturday night, we are on from 6:30 to 9. I will be joined by co-host Ron Herbst, who has no real reason to be on the radio; though he does have a very natural and delightful on-air personality. Guest segments will include:

The Doug Neustadt Report (Neustadt represents NBA and European pro basketball players and does a fantastic Hubie Brown impersonation).

The Matt Bracken Recruiting Report – Matt is a blogger for the Sun -- -- who covers local recruiting.

The KDK Entertainment Report – Top 5 Stories in Celebrity Gossip for the Week

Andre Miller Fitness Challenge – On-Air Workout with the World’s most unconventional personal trainer.

Random Joe

Just when you forgot he was still in the NBA, Joe Smith has found his game in Chicago. He’s starting for the underachieving Bulls and averaging 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds. But recently, Joe has kicked it up a notch --

He had a monster 31 point, 11 rebound night against Portland (led by Steve Blake at the point) in early January, and in his last eight games he’s averaging 18 and 7. Go ‘head Joe!

In more depressing news, Juan Dixon is getting almost no playing time in Toronto. Even with T.J. Ford on the D.L., Raptors coach Sam Mitchell barely lets the all-time leading scorer in Maryland hoops see the court. It’s a shame. Here's hoping Juan finds a better situation soon.

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