Sunday, March 23, 2008

That'll Do It

Think of it this way, in the last 2 seasons, Duke has played 3 NCAA tournament games, Maryland has played 2. What's the big deal?

Looking forward to fresh talent next season.

GA

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maryland vs. Syracuse in March for a Trip to the Elite 8

YES!

Terp fans, we have reached the time of year when it's ALL on the line. Tonight, Maryland travels to Syracuse New York to face the Orangemen for a trip to the Elite 8.

It's Gary Williams vs. Jim Boeheim
Maryland's James Gist vs. 'Cuse's Donte Green
Greivis Vasquez vs. whoever plays point guard for Syracuse...

This one is big!

I, for one, will be watching this game, unless Belmont keeps things close with Duke.

I should also provide some commentary about Maryland's win at Minnesota the other night, attended by about 3500 diehards in a 15,000 seat building. I'm not kidding about the attendance by the way. Did anyone else watch? The ENTIRE upper bowl was empty. I actually felt kinda bad for the players, diminished as they were by not making the tournament, now made to care about a second-tier event that even the home team's fans don't give a crap about.

But Maryland finally closed a team out, if only because Minn. couldn't throw the ball into Lake Minnetonka (does anyone not think of Purple Rain when they hear the words "Lake Minnetonka?")

And how about Gary starting Adrian Bowie over Landon Milbourne? I think that was an interesting move, will be more interesting to see how it plays out next year with all these young guards and wing players returning. Unless, of course, someone doesn't return... and then there's the addition of Baltimore prep stud Sean Mosely, who might play someone out of a position. Too soon to get into all that.

Regarding tonight, interesting to see two former recent national championship winners (Terps in '02, Syracuse in '03) battling it out in the NIT. Maryland and Syracuse are mirror images of each other, program wise, as was recently pointed out to me by Turtle Nation reader M. Weiss of Baltimore. Since winning the title, both have been consistently inconsistent, bubble teams making their fans sweat it out.

Then, of course, there's the lacrosse thing. Both schools seem to care about the sport. So there's that.

If Maryland wins tonight, they will take on the winner of the hot, hot, hot UMass-Akron game. Here's a link to the NIT brackets, for you die-hards out there:

http://sportsline.com/collegebasketball/mayhem/brackets/viewable_nit

That's it from me for now.

Go Terps?

Oh, why the hell not, GO TERPS!

Wait, more link, this one to a "no duh," but slightly thought provoking column by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo sports. Dan points out all the hypocrisy inherent in college sports, enough to turn March Madness into just plain mad-ness.

Here's the link: http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/news?slug=dw-academics031808&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Randy, Paula and Simon Evaluate Maryland

Terps have a game tonight against BC in the ACC tournament. Tip should be around 9:30. Try to stay awake.

I have been thinking about how Randy, Paula and Simon might quickly evaluate Maryland's performance to date:

Randy -- What's up fellazz?? What up, what up, whaddup? How you feelin? A-ight, a-ight. What's goin on, what's goin down? WHAT IS GOIN ON DOWN??

"I don't know man. It's really weird man. It started a little rough for me, you know? Like I'm looking at you thinking you're gonna work this thing out and then it just doesn't happen, you know? You kinda found it in the middle there, but down the stretch dawg, you just lost it. It didn't really work for me man. I don't know man, I don't know ... it just didn't work for me man. I don't know."

Paula - "Greivis, I just love your spirit. You are like a bright shiny object that I want to hang from my rearview mirror. And you look wonderful tonight. And Eric, you are sooo cute. I just want to SQUEEZE you and hug you. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze! And James, what can I say? You glisten, you absolutely glisten.

Gary, I can see your passion and I think it's so passionate. So, I think you all really have it in your to be stars, big, huge stars, but you gotta just keep on working, keep on dreaming those big dreams.

You know I love you and, well, just be who you are and be true to yourself and you will get there. I just know you will get there. So, keep, you know, working and you are gonna get there, you just are gonna... get ... there"

Simon - "Absolutely dreadful."

"Sorreeeee. I am sorreee. When I first met this team I didn't think you belonged in the tournament and now you've proven me correct. You had a nice few moments in the middle, but overall it's been a horror show, an absolute horror show."

"It was all very YMCA for me."

Ryan, with his arm around Gary: "Well coach, what can you take away from all that?

Gary: "You can go f*cking f*ck yourself Simon. In other words, why don't you go f*ck yourself."

Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) interview, Part 1 of 3

video

Dukie (Jermaine Crawford) interview, Part 2 of 3

video

Jermaine Crawford interview, part 3 of 3

video

Monday, March 10, 2008

Shout out from Dukie (Jermaine Crawford)

video

Regular Season Swoon

After watching the game last night, then switching immediately to the series finale of the Wire (more on that later), I found it difficult to get all worked up about a Maryland basketball season gone south. There is talent on this roster, and when it all comes together, the team looks strong, like an NCAA tournament team. But the team we saw last night was a pretty good example of Maryland basketball, the 2007-2008 edition. Some nice runs, some nice plays, but a fizzle down the stretch and an inability to make stops on defense.

My friend Jeremy over at Turtle Soup, he had no trouble getting worked up, check out his rant:

http://mvn.com/ncaa-maryland/

Friday, March 07, 2008

Dukie from the Wire to Appear on GA Show (and UVa Preview)

Hola Terps Nation,

It's Friday afternoon, big weekend ahead. Let me hit you with some breaking news. My special guest on the GA show on ESPN Radio 1300 this weekend will be none other than Jermaine Crawford, the young actor who plays "Dukie" on HBO's acclaimed "The Wire." The Wire season and series finale airs Sunday night at 9. I've been hustling all week to try to get a guest from the show and finally received final word today that Jermaine (Dukie) is a go. Those of you who don't watch the show, you likely don't care. For those of you who do, Ain't this cool??? I am psyched. Feel free to use the comments section below to post any questions you'd like me to ask.

Those of you outside the area can listen live by visiting the website, www.espn1300.com He will likely come on in the 5 p.m. hour. For the uninitiated, Jermaine plays a smart, sensitive teenager who is stuck on the streets with absolutely zero family support. In a series full of heartbreaking characters and performances, his might top the list. I plan to ask him what it's been like to work with David Simon on such a groundbreaking show, how he got into the business, and what impact the show has made on his life. His casting agency told me that his experiences shooting the Wire in run-down sections of Baltimore and seeing so many actual homeless has had a profound effect on him. So much so that he is currently working on a documentary about the topic, which we'll get into on the show. Very psyched about this.

Maryland at UVA
Do you have the stomach for another Maryland game? Does anyone?

Here's how I plan to "watch" Maryland at UVa Sunday night. I will "DVR it" (dropped Tivo last year in favor of Comcast DVR, so I can't say I will "Tivo it," which kinda depresses me... but anyway) and then after I know it's over, I will fast-forward to the end to see if Maryland won or lost. If they won, I will watch the game from the beginning. If they lost, I might fast-forward through it, I might not even watch. Now, I reserve the right to scrap this plan and actually watch the game in real time, but does anyone have the stomach for this team any longer? I have been less tense during car accidents. It's so painful. Note the poll to the right. Of the 35 or so people who replied, almost all of them chose "like this team but find the whole experience painful."

And that's just what it is, isn't it? This is pain, caring about this team. They have had 3 basic phases to their season:
They Stunk.
They were great.
They stink.

Stink might be a strong way to put how they are playing right now. They are playing well enough to take a 20-point lead on Clemson, but not good enough to finish the deal. It's like a decent baseball team with Jorge Julio as the only guy in the bullpen; a disaster waiting to happen.

I don't know what will happen on Sunday night. A 20-point win? Sure. A 20-point loss? Could happen. A nail biter to the end? Most likely. It's senior night at UVa for Sean Singletary, which is supposed to be a big deal, and will be for fans and his family, but doesn't mean anything in terms of the game. Did the fact that it was senior night help Maryland last Sunday night vs. Clemson? Me thinks not.

So here we go again, back on the bubble, needing a nice string of at least 2-3 wins to get in the tournament, and even that might not be enough. What a roller-coaster ride this season has been. It's enough to make me want to hurl.

GA

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Five Stages of Caring About the Terps

After GV's desperation heave at the buzzer clanged off the top of the backboard, I turned off the TV and slumped down to the couch. I didn't pick up the paper the next day, didn't read the game stories online, and mostly avoided anything to do with Maryland basketball.

I mean that HURT, didn't it? Just when you thought it was safe to believe. Nope.

I had to take almost a full week off after Clemson to get through:

1. Denial -- That DID NOT JUST HAPPEN
2. Anger -- THOSE CHOKING DOGS!
3. Bargaining -- Let me rewind and watch that again, I don't think it actually happened, did it? I think they were up 20 with 10 minutes left right? And up 13 with 5 minutes left right? And at home on senior night right? Maybe that didn't happen at all.
4. Depression -- This team stinks, why do I care about them? I am depressed.
5. Acceptance -- Well, if they can win at UVa and win a couple in the ACC tournament...

So that's where I am. I have moved on, can't think too much about the Clemson loss because if you do, you might just decide that it ain't worth the anguish to be a Maryland basketball fan.

The Clemson loss was painful for so many reasons, not the least of which is that you can't even be pissed under any circumstances if Maryland doesn't get an at-large bid. Aside from winning the ACC tournament, which comes with an automatic bid of course, no one is alllowed to bitch if Maryland is not in the field of 65. Maryland has had every chance to earn its way to the dance on the court and has not gotten it done.

They are 18-12, 8-7 right now. If they beat UVa and get to the finals of the ACC tournament and lose, that would make them 21-13 with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. My guess is if that happens, Maryland WOULD make the tournament. But if they don't, no one has a legitimate complaint. 13 losses is a lot of losses. No team with 13 losses EVER makes a run in the tournament. You know why? Because teams with 13 losses AREN'T VERY GOOD.

So I think the only way to be safe is to go ahead and win the ACC tournament. It could happen, it probably won't. UNC is getting healthy, Duke is Duke and god forbid the Terps should have to get past Virginia Tech or Miami.

So here we are in March, staring straight at the (blech) N-I-T. And really my friends, is there anything worse? The thought of a half-empty Comcast Center for Maryland vs. Nebraska on a Wed. night before the real tournament begins is enough to make me hurl. And we've seen enough throwing up this season already, haven't we?

It ain't over yet. But it's close.

GA




Sunday, March 02, 2008

NIT

I can't imagine anyone wants to read a whole lot of rehashing about that one.
Great comeback by Clemson.
What a choke job by the Terps. 
NCAA tournament ain't gonna happen. 

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why Maryland vs. Clemson Matters

The Maryland men's basketball team will play an important game Sunday night, the kind that may define their season. Win, and they will likely go to the NCAA tournament. Lose, and they likely will not.

Other factors will weigh in the matter of course. Specifically, how the Terps perform in their contest at UVa and in the ACC tournament. But if you ask me, this Clemson game is an appropriate barometer for the tournament worthiness of the 2007-2008 Terps.

Why? Here are my reasons:
Clemson is a very good team having a solid season. They are 20-7, 8-5, and have won 6 of 8 entering the game.

I wrote earlier this year that the good news after Maryland lost to American and Ohio AT HOME, was that they play in the ACC, and they'll get plenty of opportunities to right the ship by winning games against top competition. Well, this is the last game against an acknowledged "good team" left in the regular season.

Next Sunday at UVa doesn't count, unfortunately. The Cavs ARE a dangerous team and have an NBA quality player in Sean Singletary, but facts is facts, and the fact is that the Hoos are currently 3-10 in the ACC. Beating them won't help nearly as much as losing will hurt.

So in to Comcast comes Clemson, led by coach Oliver Purnell, a one time Lefty Driesell assistant at Maryland, who has done nothing but win in stints at ODU, Dayton, and Clemson.

He is as solid as they come, with a great track record, albeit under the radar. To date, Purnell has coached teams where just reaching the NCAA tournament means a successful season. Now he's trying to make some noise in the tournament with a very talented club. Don't think Purnell ans his team don't want this one badly.

And Maryland must stand up to this challenge and win if it is to be deemed worthy of an at-large selection to the field of 65. Why? Because the tournament does not exist to reward decent teams for decent seasons. No, it exists to identify the best team, the national champion.

Of course, it doesn't always work out that way. Once in a while, an upstart team with double-digit losses makes it to the Final Four, or even wins the whole thing. Teams like Danny Manning's 1988 Kansas Jayhawks were 21-11 entering the tournament, then went on to run the table. Jim Valvano's 1985 N.C. State team caught a similar bolt of lightning in a bottle.

More often than not, however, the team that wins six straight in March and early April does so after an inspired season with five or less losses; a team like the 2002 Terps, who went 32-4 to win the whole deal.

Yet the season before, a 10-loss Maryland team made the Final Four.

Why is any of this relevant? Well, I think teams that deserve at-large bids are teams that display during the course of a season, on a regular basis, that they could go to the Final Four. Not that they will or that they should, but that they could.

And if Maryland cannot beat Clemson at home, when it is as obvious as the Fro on Osby's head that they must win, then they really aren't deserving of an at large bid.

Just one guy's opinion. As Dennis Miller says, I could be wrong.