Archive for November, 2008


Terps win $10,000 in one hand, lose $8,000 in next

And so it goes. 

The hoops team put it all together in a monstrous win over no. 5 Michigan State. They got a balanced attacked from Hayes, Vasquez, Neal, and Bowie, they played to their strengths, and they out-hustled the Spartans on every loose ball.

But then, that broken Maryland record started skipping again.

In a butt-kicking the next night at the hands of no. 10 Gonzaga, the Terps’ lacking frontcourt was utterly exposed. The Terps were outrebounded by 11, and the two main Bulldog big men, Heytfelt and Daye, combined for 39 points. Dupree, Neal, Burney, and Dino Gregory answered with a combined 12.

Meanwhile, Vasquez seems to forget his lessons just as quickly as he learns them. He channeled his intensity into great hustle and determination against MSU, but against Gonzaga it reverted to sloppiness. Hayes disappeared entirely.

I agree completely with this quote from Steve Yanda in Terrapins Insider:

Last night seemed like a throw-back to last season, when Greivis Vasquez was asked to shoulder the scoring load while everyone else tried to figure out some way to be useful. That, clearly, will not fly…the Terps need (and I mean NEED) at least two or three players besides Vasquez to score in double digits in order for them to be successful. The guy is good, but not good enough to carry the team by himself.

We need other guys to step up — plain and simple. If they do, we win. If they don’t, we lose. That’s no news flash, but it bears repeating.

All in all, we’re still ahead. The Spartans upset will be a signature win, and definitely means more than the loss to Gonzaga, who played some serious ball last night. The Terps left it all out on the floor for MSU, and gassed pretty hard last night, so fatigue played a role here, too. So overall a good effort. It’s just frustrating that the team always seems to give back so quickly most or all of the momentum it ever gains.

Silver lining: Sunday we’ve got Georgetown. Huzzah! It’s a shame they need to go all the way to Orlando to renew that local rivalry, but I’ll take it. If we can win it, that is. Goterps.


Terps for Turkey Day


Huzzah for Thanksgiving! And huzzah for any Thanksgiving sporting event that diverts attention from this year’s garbage NFL games. The Terps are making a “pilgrimmage” down to Orlando for Thanksgiving this year. And what’s on the “main course” but the Michigan State Spartans!  Hopefully the Terps will crush them like my Aunt Sally crushes a box of Franzia while she pretends to cook but really just opens the cranberry sauce and doesn’t even mush it up to conceal the can shape.  You know, because she’s shitfaced from the Franzia.  Her favorite flavor is Grapleberry.

There’s good news and bad news for the Terps on this one. The good news is that Michigan State center Goran Suton will not play in the game. He’s injured. The bad news is that the same goes for Maryland’s center. He’s in the starting lineup.

I’m just kidding, Braxton (because I just know he reads this blog). Here, have some more pillowy soft mashed potatoes! Something tells me you like those.

The game’s at 7…perfect for nap time.  Hopefully I can stave off the tryptophan, though, because this is gonna be a big test. Goterps.


second rate bowl game update: terps likely to brake for meineke

According to Eric Prisbell in today’s Post, the Terps are likely to receive a bid from the Meineke Car Care Bowl for a match-up against West Virginia in Charlotte on December 27th.  Although the Meineke Bowl ranked low on my list of second rate bowl game options, the added twist of potentially facing longtime rival West Virginia boosts the bid’s desirability.  Aside from being a fun city in its own right, the addition of a throng of Terps and Mountaineers to the scene would turn Charlotte upside down.  I’m all for it.  It’s much better than the alternative of a trip back to San Francisco.
Meineke requires that the game is played with this yellow/black nerf ball.

Meineke requires that the game is played with this yellow/black nerf ball.


florida state kicked our asses and ruined an otherwise fun time

An action shot from Florida State's first touchdown drive.

An action shot from Florida State's first touchdown drive.

It was the biggest game of the year and we all had tickets.  My fellow Maryalnd alumni had planned an elaborate tailgate and had already worked out several post-game celebration scenarios, most of which started with burning something and ended at the Fe.  We braved the cold in Lot 11 for four hours, fueled by grilled pork products and warm mixed drinks, preparing to take our cold steel bench seats hundreds of feet about the field at Byrd Stadium and cheer our heads off.

The first half of Saturday’s season killing, buzz killing, crowd killing game seemed to go by in an instant.  It was a blur of sacks, turnovers, and Seminole marches toward our end zone.  There is no blame to assign for Saturday’s loss.  There is no singular moment or singular weakness that resulted in Maryland’s demise.  This Saturday was Florida State’s day, and we were totally dominated on both sides of the ball. Our offensive line seemed outmatched and overwhelmed.  Our defensive line got pushed around. This loss was not a result of a lack of preparation.  We’re too late in the season for that.  This loss was a result of a bigger, faster, better group of players coming to town and razing our house.

By halftime we were freezing and dejected.  The score was 21-0, the rout was on, and Maryland was clearly not coming back.  We picked-up our stuff and joined a halftime exodus toward the parking lot.  My final image of Byrd Stadium from 2008 will be that of Terps fans quietly getting into their cars and filing out.  Hardly anyone said a word. We didn’t even need to watch the second half when we got back to my buddy’s house because we knew this season had already ended.

Now we’re left with the strange irony that if Maryland beats Boston College it would open the door for Florida State to go to the ACC Championship Game. I’m not saying that I’m rooting for us to lose, but I wish that winning would not pave the way for the Seminoles to advance. I guess this is our punishment for failing to appear on Saturday.

Emerald Bowl here we come.


terps field hockey wins the ncaa championship!

The 2008 Marlyand Field Hockey NCAA Champhionship Team!

The 2008 Marlyand Field Hockey NCAA Champhionship Team!

Congratulations are in order for the Maryland field hockey squad!  The team won its sixth NCAA Chamionship on Sunday with a win over #2 Wake Forest.  Maryland entered the tournament as the #1 ranked team, and this weekend they proved they were the best in the country.

I began following this team in August through news updates, and early on I had the feeling the Terps were good enough to win it all.  The ACC is the best field hockey conference in the country, and the Terps had arguably the toughest schedule there was, so this was no cake walk.  Coach Missy Meharg did a great job of keeping this team focused on the ultimate goal.  Senior Sarah Scholl demonstrated the team’s high level of dedication when she wrote this statement in her blog after winning the ACC Championship:

That is what led us to the title; a determined commitment to doing all the small things in practice, in life, in games.

Senior Susie Rowe and sophomore Katie O’Donnell led the offense throughout the year. Rowe tied the team record for goals in a season during the championship game. We should all be proud that the University of Maryland produced this team of young leaders. I look forward to following another run at the title in 2009!

Best wishes to the seniors, and GO TERPS!


maryland oozes past vermont; syrup-based puns continue

Cartoon illustration of me during the last 10 sec of the 2nd half.

Cartoon illustration of me during the last 10 sec of the 2nd half.

The nail biting, heart palpitating days of mens’ basketball are back.  The Terps needed a desperation three by Greivis Vasquez to tie the game in its waning moments and get into overtime last night. In the overtime period, Maryland had all the momentum and finished off Vermont with an 89-74 victory.

The Terps had lost only five non-conference games in the Comcast Center since it opened in 2002, but they were dangerously close to losing their sixth against Groovy U-V. Vasquez had 26 pts and 9 rebounds, but his reckless ball handling also led to 5 turnovers.  When asked about his off-balance, game-tying prayer of a three point shot, Vasquez stated, “They’re either going to love me or they’re really going to hate me.” Say what you want about Vasquez, but he is self aware if nothing else.

The aforementioned key freshmen, Jin Soo Kim and Sean Mosley, practically disappeared against the Catamounts.  They combined for 15 min and 1 shot attempt last night.  I am going to keep banging the drum until they get more involved in Gary Williams’s offensive game-plan.  It was clear from last night’s performance that the Terps are at their best when they are pressing and getting buckets in transition.  In order to do that, they need to play their best nine guys consistently.  Last night we saw a basic seven man rotation.  That is not going to cut it against more athletic ACC opponents.


Vermont provides test, wholesome maple-y goodness

Tonight the Terps square off against the Catamounts of Vermont.  I didn’t know you could make up an animal for your team mascot, but apparently you can.

The big headline on the Vermont Web site? Men’s Basketball To Appear on Television Friday. Ahhh, the simple pleasures of mid-majordom. Would that being on the TV were enough to satisfy the Maryland fanbase. However, the fanbase may be interested to know that the Catamarans have a big Terps connection — former Terps assistant (and championship-winning coach at Catholic U in D.C.) Mike Lonergan now leads the program. And who else is on staff but former Terp and Terrell Stokes backup Matt Hahn. So for today, the Gary Williams coaching tree is a maple tree. Spectacular.

Matt’s on the left, coach Lonergan’s in the middle

True story: I went to this house party in College Park once, showed up at like midnight, and there were Matt and Matt’s dad, then-assistant-coach Billy Hahn, running around hammered and hugging each other and everybody else. Billy Hahn, who was like 55, kept calling everybody “dog.” I was Billy Hahn’s dog. That was a great night. Not Gary Williams great, but great nonetheless.

I was talking about something. Right, so best of luck to coach Hahn and coach Lonergan, on every game of the season except tonight’s. The game itself will be interesting for Maryland. Vermont’s program has been on the up and up since the halcyon days of Taylor Coppenrath. Hey, that’s the new Vermont for you. Maple syrup, ice cream, hippies, and straight ballin’, son! The Catamounts are good shooters, they’re led by defending America East Conference player of the year Marqus Blakely, and they will obviously know what Maryland wants to do. No offense to Bucknell or Youngstown State, but it will be interesting to see how this group reacts to a real team. Goterps.

Go UVM! Cat Stevens rules!


maryland freshmen get first real test against catamounts tonight

In the first two mens’ basketball games of the season, two Maryland freshmen have received significant minutes.  6’8″ South Korean forward Jin Soo Kim has been playing 17 min/gm, while 6’4″ Sean Mosley has been getting 14.5 min/gm.  The two players have combined for 10 pts and 5.5 reb/gm, but those efforts were against cupcake opponents.

Tonight’s game against Vermont will be their first real test, and a real test of Gary Williams’s will.  When asked about who the starters would be before the Bucknell game, Williams said that it would be Vasquez, Hayes, Milbourne and “whoever practices the best [that week].”  Williams has been notoriously stingy with playing time for freshmen in the past.  Tonight will be the first opportunity for Kim and Mosley to prove their worth against a decent opponent, and they better make the most of it.

The Terps have had difficulty getting production from freshmen due to Williams’s approach to minutes.  The college game has changed a lot during Williams’s career, and in my opinion he’s been slow to adapt to the need for recruiting and playing freshmen in order to replace talented players that go pro (Wilcox), flunk out (McCray), or loose their minds (Gilchrist).  Williams’s comments and dedication to playing these two freshman in the first two games indicate that he might be willing to change his approach. In fact, the Terps are running a special on Comcast SportsNet called “The Proving Ground” before tonight’s game.

I hope Kim and Mosley show Gary that freshmen can contribute right away.  In today’s college basketball, there is no time for “rebuilding”.  Talented players generally don’t stay with the program for four years. Williams needs to start winning with the talent he has each year.


Weekend at Burney’s

It took me 30 minutes to come up with that headline.

Anyway, I’ve said before that the basketball team’s season will come down to Vasquez. And I still believe that. He’s the emotional center of the team and its best overall player (warts and all), and his development as a true two instead of a combo point guard, his mentoring of the young guys, and the keeping down of his own mistakes are crucial to their success.

However, that was probably slightly facile on my part. That’s what comes from drinking paint — the paint is so smooth going down, and the vomiting is visually sublime, but don’t let anyone tell you there isn’t a downside. In any case, everyone knows that the season also hinges on the bigs and their progress. So far, they’ve been underwhelming. We have a slimmed-down Braxton Dupree, but through the first two games he is averaging just 5.5 boards. The Terps were outrebounded by 11 — ELEVEN — by freaking Youngstown State, and only outrebounded Bucknell by three. Holy Jesus.

The fine young lad Patrick Behan led all players in
rebounding with nine when the Terps played Bucknell.

I know he’s young, and it’s very early in the season and all, but at this very second, if you squint really hard at the words “Braxton Dupree,” they look a lot more like the words “Travis Garrison” than the words “Lonny Baxter.” Here’s hoping Braxton can find the intestinal fortitude to capitalize on his talent.

But in the meantime, where does that leave us? Well, how about the bench? In the first two games, Coach Williams seems reluctant to go there: Dupree is averaging 18.5 minutes a game, while sophomore Jerome Burney averages 7.5 and 6’10” freshman Steve Goins averages 4. I know Burney isn’t Shaq, but he has real athleticism and showed some flashes last year. And Burney doesn’t have to run the triangle offense anyway. Just put him in there and tell him to jump every time he sees a basketball. This great game, it is not rocket science. Burney’s player bio bills him as a “solid shot-blocker and an aggressive rebounder.” Doesn’t that sound like just what the doctor ordered?

Burney’s not scared to mix it up in the middle.

As for Goins, frankly, I have no idea, other than the words “sleeper” and “late bloomer” keep getting thrown around in discussions about him, and rebounding apparently is not an inherent strength.

But why not give both of these guys, especially Burney, more of a look? Isn’t this what the creampuff portion of the schedule is for?

(Photo credits:  The Daily Item, The Baltimore Sun)


It’s a Shell Games field trip!

This Saturday’s tilt against Florida State will be HUGE for the Terps.  A win puts them in the driver’s seat of their division. And if Wake also beats BC on Saturday, we’re in the ACC championship.

So yeah, lots riding on this. And what makes it even more exciting is that the Shell Games staff — all two of us — will be in attendance.  Tickets are purchased, spousal permission forms are signed, cameras and hip flasks are charged up, lunch money is taped to our jacket linings. 

To make Byrd Stadium extra intimidating (I guess), they’re encouraging fans to wear black:

This kind of works out for me, as I was planning to wear black anyway — with a predicted high of only 39 degrees, I’ll need it in order to absorb the sun’s precious rays.  On the other hand, I’m getting tired of these contrived stadium gimmicks.  Let’s all wear a certain color! Does it matter whether it’s the actual team color?  Shut up! Hey, let’s all wave dish towels over our heads!  Everyone bang thunder sticks!  Everyone learn the macarena! Everyone bring one red carnation wrapped in a banana leaf!  Everyone wear adult diapers! It’s like the Terp marketing team comes up with new gimmicks, campaigns, and jersey designs just so they have something to talk about at their weekly staff meetings.  But it’s a larger issue, too.  Every crowd is the same now.  Same gimmicks, same jumbotron, same cheers, same songs.  Everyone jingles their keys on third down, everyone hops around when their hoops team is on a run.  Et cetera.   Some times certain sports leagues are accused of being “copycat.”  I guess that now goes for many fan bases, too. Or at least PR staffs.  Hey, you guys want an intimidating environment for the other team?  Sell beer.

Anyway, it looks like tickets are still available for the game.  How is this not sold out?  I feel like there are a lot of Maryland fans out there who get up for the Duke game at Comcast Center and nothing else.  We’ve got a conference championship in the balance here!

I’m sure it will be rockin once kickoff rolls around, especially since it’s at 7:45. Someone’s going to break the campus police’s BAC record.  Let’s just hope it’s not me.  And let’s hope Terphed has some black he can wear so university marketing security doesn’t find him and extract him at the turnstiles.


Contact the authors

Tips? Questions? Comments? Tirades? E-mail us here.
Add to Technorati Favorites
November 2008