Archive for February, 2009

26
Feb
09

Duke beats Maryland, celebrates with ski trip, uses indigent children instead of skis

ski-snob

So college basketball’s evil empire wins again. Bravo. The team of twerps and 80s movie villains prevails.  Singler is the biggest twerp of them all. There’s just something about him that makes me want to put my fist through the TV. It’s like he lives in some kind of magic bubble. I could picture him walking down the sidewalk one day, eating an ice cream cone, but up ahead a crane has lost control of its wrecking ball, and the ball is headed straight for him, but at the last second a construction worker jumps in the way to save him but dies in the process, and then Singler, who didn’t see the wrecking ball because he was too busy enjoying his delicious ice cream, steps over the worker’s body, tosses 50 cents on the corpse, and walks away thinking about what a nice guy he is, and why couldn’t people be more like him.  I really despise Kyle Singler. F you, you Boo Radley lookin stickbag!

How’s that for some hardcore roundball analysis.  But really, what else is there to say? The Terps lost a hard-fought game. Milbourne continues to be our most consistently good player. The missed free throws were troubling. I hate Gerald Henderson. Best screen ever. I hate Kyle Singler. Vasquez fouled out before the game actually started. Hayes was surprisingly good. I hate Mike Kzhrewyeskzzskis. There’s your summary.

But you know what? A win last night would have been like found money. Now we have NC State, Wake, and UVA. This is the real season-within-a-season. If — IF — we can man up and win those three, I think we may be in. If — IF — we win two of those and IF we win a game in the ACC tourney, I think we may be in. The Terps’ RPI is 58. I’m no RPIologist, but I would describe that as fair to middlin. Looks like another late season run of Maryland being featured in every single national bubble discussion. They should change their name to the Bubbles. The Maryland Bubbles. Go Bubs.

26
Feb
09

Best. Screen. Ev. Er.

The best part is afterward, when Nolan Smith lies there twitching like a nerve gas victim. Big Dave Neal — or as Jay Bilas calls him, Big DAVID Neal — is the best. He laid out Smith and still had the wherewithal to stick the three on the other end. In your eye, Dookies! Scoreboard, schmoreboard.

25
Feb
09

the sixth man, overconfidence, and the bubble

Red Auerbach won sixteen titles.  He was arguably the best coach in the history of sport.  Auerbach was the beneficiary of having incredible talent, and his greatest gift was knowing how to manage that talent.  I read his biography “Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game” by John Feinsten a couple years ago.  It’s a great, quick book to go through, and I highly recommend you pick it up for some beach reading.

Of all the innovations Auerbach brought to basketball, the one thing he felt made the biggest difference in his teams was that he invented and employed the use of the sixth man.  The sixth man is an often misunderstood concept.  Many people think that a sixth man is the sixth best player on the team, and sometimes that guy just happens to do well and gets dubbed “sixth man”. For Auerbach, the role of the sixth man was much more purposeful. Red would take one of his best players and intentionally reserve him.  He used Hall of Famer John Havlicek in this capacity.  When the other team would tire they would have to go to their scrubs, and in would come Havlicek to abuse them.

Steve Yanda did a great job of highlighting Eric Hayes’s new role as sixth man in today’s Post.  Everybody wants to start, and the role of sixth man has been greatly marginalized in basketball today.  I think this role is a perfect fit for Hayes.  Hayes is a scorer that can also create for his teammates.  He’s matured into a decent defender that can turnover weaker opponents.  He’s quick.  He’s exactly the kind of guy that can abuse the opposition’s second team.  We’re going to see big things from Hayes coming off the bench.  It started with UNC, and we should see it continue tonight against Duke when he gets matched-up against Greg Paulus.

Speaking of Duke, I was on such a high this week that I almost forgot this game was coming-up.  Vegas currently has Duke as a six point favorite.  Wait, is it just me, or didn’t Duke embarrass us a month ago?  I know we just pulled off a big upset, but Duke looked really good against Wake the other night.  The UNC win provided the Terps with a lot of confidence, and that’s what scares me.  They usually play much better when the chips are down.  It’s going to take another superhuman effort on the part of Greivis Vasquez to pull off this upset.  Tonight we’ll see how much gas he has left in the tank.

The spread might be so close because we’re officially on the bubble.  The one man Tournament Committee known as Joe Lunardi updated his Bracketology site on Monday.  Who was the last team in?  You guessed it, the Terps baby.  Win tonight and they might even move up to the first of the Last Four In. Did you know Joe Lunardi successfully picked the entire field last year?  His word is bond.

24
Feb
09

Can the women make the Final Four?

Tolliver and Coleman...that's a good name for a cop show.

Tolliver and Coleman...that's a good name for a cop show.

I’m a little late on this, but this past Sunday the Lady Terps crushed Duke 77-59 at Comcast Center. They beat the seventh-ranked team in the country by 18 for their seventh straight win…good enough for a #5 ranking in this week’s poll. The records and accolades are starting to build for this team, especially Kristi Tolliver and Marissa Coleman, who are averaging almost 35 ppg combined, will have their jerseys retired this Friday, and will probably both be All-Americans (Tolliver made second team last year, Coleman got honorable mention).

I have to say…I’m as excited as I can possibly be for a team whose games I don’t watch. Hey, I’m just being real. The question now becomes, can they make the Final Four? UConn and Maya Moore are the odds-on title favorites, but after that there’s a drop-off. According to Charlie Creme, who is apparently the Joe Lunardi of the Women’s Game (what a great tombstone epitaph!), the Terps would have a 1 seed if the tourney started today. So there you have it. Can they make it? Sure…being a number one would be a good start. Here’s hoping they finish strong…no reason to suspect they won’t. Goterps.

(Photo credit: Toni L. Sandys — The Washington Post)

23
Feb
09

I’ll hold off on the partying and the unborn chicken counting, thank you very much

executive

Good gravy!  What’s all the commotion in here?  Turn on those lights!   Hey!  You in the corner!   Put your pants back on!    One big win and suddenly Terps fans are a bunch of extras from Superbad?  Well, not in this blog post.  I know I’m a pessimistic pain in the ass and all.  But I’m a good pessimistic pain in the ass.  Because the team still has A LOT of work to do.  So I’m here to dunk some heads in the horse troughs.  Sober up out there!  It’s Monday, for god’s sake.

So yeah, Maryland beat the #3 UNC Tar Heels.  Great win.  Huge win.  An important resume win.  The gold unis are truly a power to behold. Credit where it’s due:  Vasquez was incredible.  He deserves all the accolades.  As do Gary Williams, Cliff “He should have benched me earlier” Tucker, and everyone else. It was a great team win and a  big step forward.

But whoa, Nelly. Hold the phone there. The feeling now seems to be that we’re basically in the tournament. It’s true that we’re on the bubble, but for now, that’s it.  No one should even be uttering the word “tournament” at this stage.  Nothing should be taken for granted.  But as a fan base we love to do this.  One big win and omgthatwassoamazingBIGGESTWINEVERwe’retotallygonnamakeitomg.  Should I remind you that they beat #1 Carolina last year and still didn’t make it because they fell apart down the stretch?  Or that in 2004-2005 they swept Duke and still found a way to miss the dance? For this season’s finale, the line of logic seems to be that the Terps “only” have to beat either Duke or Wake, then have the manager throw their jerseys on the floor in Raleigh and Charlottesville and they’re in with a 20-10, 9-7 record.  Or, they could win two of their last four and get one or two in the ACC tourney. Oh, the ACC tourney, no prob!  Because they’ve been so dominant in that venue.  We’ve gotta learn from the past.  NC State and Virginia now have “Trap Game” written all over them.

Bottom line: they’ve proven they are capable of making the tournament, and in general, just playing good basketball. But I’ve been on this roller coaster ride a few times before. The same emotions that get them up for Duke and Carolina also get them down for the Miamis and the Morgan States and the games they’re “supposed” to win. We have to find consistency, or else come Selection Sunday, when Jay Bilas mentions the Carolina win it’s gonna be followed by a big BUT. So come on. No more fruity business. Finish strong this year and close the damn deal. Then, and only then, would I celebrate. Huzzah Terrapins.

21
Feb
09

maryland beats unc; college park in flames

The Maryland Terrapins shocked UNC 88-85 in overtime today.  Shell Games is live in College Park, MD, where fans have spilled onto the streets.

Frat Row is in flames as Maryland students celebrate

Frat Row is in flames as Maryland students celebrate

The scene here is chaotic.  Maryland students stormed the court, busted windows in the Comcast Center, and took to the streets setting late model American cars ablaze across this college town.

Police and firefighters can only watch as Maryland fans celebrate in their own unique way

Police and firefighters can only watch as Maryland fans celebrate in their own unique way

Testudo has called a press conference in front of the White House to call for an end to the madness.

Testudo pleas for student unity, hugs a booster

Testudo pleas for student unity, hugs a booster

Damage at the corner of Rte. 1 and Knox Rd is so severe it can only be described as a midieval scene.

The Cornerstone has been reduced to rubble and historic campus buildings have been changed forever

The Cornerstone has been reduced to rubble and historic campus buildings have been changed forever

This blogger is in disbelief.  I cannot describe my emotions at a moment like this.  I can only think to say…

LETS GO MARYLAND!

20
Feb
09

chris wilcox heads to the big apple

Chris Wilcox Now

Chris Wilcox Now

High flying Terrapin alum Chris Wilcox was traded from the Oklahoma City  Thunder to the New York Knicks in a pre-deadline trade yesterday.  Wilcox joins former Wizard Larry Hughes as new additions to the team.  Wilcox’s stay in New York may be brief as part of the reason the Knicks were attracted to him was that his contract was expiring, but the Knicks seem pretty excited to have a healthy and strong athlete in the front court. 

Wilcox was a raw and gifted athlete when he joined the Terps in 2000.  Halfway through the 2002 season, Wilcox evolved seemingly overnight into a 12pt/7rb per game guy, and was a major catalyst in the Terps Championship run.  After a spectacular tournament performance he was drafted eighth by the Clippers.
Since then, this specimen of a player has spent his career in NBA purgatory.  Despite being a lottery pick, Wilcox was stuck at the end of the bench early in his career on a Clippers team that was loaded with young, talented big men.  Once Elton Brand and Lamar Odom left, Wilcox got more minutes and began to demonstrate that he could be a regular player in the league.  He began to stretch is game into a being a consistent 13pt/7rb guy.  But this season Georgetown grad and Cheverly, MD native Jeff Green was getting more of his minutes.
Chris Wilcox Then

Chris Wilcox Then

Once again, Wilcox finds himself on a young, talented, underachieving team that is on track for a 34-44 record.  Ugh.  You have to feel for the guy.  He started out on a Clippers team that had no idea how to develop talent but a firm handle on how to waste it.  He started to find his groove with the Sonics, but then the team intentionally self-destructed so they could move to Oklahoma City.  Now, Wilcox is on a Knicks team that has intentionally self-destructed itself so that it can execute its “Plan 2010” and free up enough cap room to potentially get LeBron James.  Oh, and he probably won’t be there if they do get James.  Some might say that Wilcox has been a disappointment in the NBA.  I think he may have just been a victim of circumstance.

Here’s to you Chris!  Stay above the rim and good things will happen.
18
Feb
09

Terps answer the bell, say “please take me off your list,” hang up

A while back I joked that, because Duke beat the Terps by 41 and Clemson beat Duke by 27, that Clemson would beat Maryland by around 70. Well, sadly for me, that wasn’t too far off, as Clemson destroyed Maryland by 29 last night, 93-64. So much for the momentum, not to mention the gleam.

No Terp fan needs to be told that the tournament is looking more and more like a pipe dream.  The true challenge now lies in seeing how many beers it takes me to sustain my famous optimism.

Or, at least, my ability to continue watching these blowouts to their conclusion (they’ve now lost four times this season by 17 or more). And last night’s second half was near the top for sheer ugliness.  If you found a time when either team ran a coherent offensive play on two consecutive possessions, you’re ahead of me.  The Terps’ offense fell apart because they lost their composure.  The Tigers stopped running offense because they didn’t need to.

Big man Trevor Booker was the star for #13 Clemson. His final line was 11 points on 5-5 shooting, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 three-pointer, 1 highlight-reel dunk, 1 hamburger consumed on the sideline, 5 pantomimes implying sexual domination, 7 text messages sent during game action, 4 bitch smacks on Gary Williams’ mama, 1 wading into the crowd to bang a groupie, and 2 horseback ridings of Big Dave Neal. You get the idea. I give Big Dave Neal credit though…he hung in there. Braxton Dupree would have been rocking back and forth under the basket like Rain Man.

What else, what else. Oh, Sean Mosely had the worst two-minute stretch of basketball I’ve seen this season. Before he was mercifully pulled at 17:45 of the second half, he missed two layups, committed one foul, and got smoked and roasted by Terrence Oglesby for an easy layup. Oglesby actually spread relish on Mosely’s arm and took a bite as he drove by. It was just wrong.

But Mosely wasn’t the only one. That second-half stinkfest was a group effort, as evidenced by the team’s 38 percent FG percentage (and Clemson’s 58). One bright spot: Jerome Burney made his return from injury and got two points and three boards. It’ll be nice to have him for the stretch run…such as it is. The 16-9 Terps have Carolina next. Any time they want to start that patented late-season run, that would be great. In the meantime, hand me another beer. Go Terps.

17
Feb
09

Hoping for a Clemson upset

The Tigers have lost two of their last four including an OT loss to Virginia. With the exception of Maryland, they’re probably the most maddening team in the league for their fans. Meanwhile, the Terps have won three of four. Could there be something in the air? Is that possible? Or am I just looking for a reason to be interested?

Clemson has been cracking our heads for a few seasons now. Of course, who could forget their 20-point comeback that basically killed last season? Terrence Oglesby, who hit the winning shot in that game, is still on the team. He’s a sophomore. I don’t like that guy.  Just FYI.

However, there is talk that the seemingly fragile Paper Tigers (rimshot!), who are currently ranked 13th, might be feeling the pressure.  And on the other hand, the Terps seem ready. Gary is talking about an air of “quiet confidence” around the team — although I’m not sure that (a) it’s really all that quiet if you’re talking about it in the paper, and (b) talking about it is not a one-way ticket to Jinx Town.  But still.  Quiet confidence.  Gnarly.

Basically, the Terps are right where they want to be mentally…it’s them against the world again, there’s no real expectations for victory, and they can play giant killer. With their biggest wins so far coming over Michigan and Michigan State, they need another “resume” win. And with Carolina, Duke, and Wake coming up, Clemson could be their best chance.

I can feel something. Call it hope. Could it be a glimmer? A spark? Could it be…a gleam? Yep, that’s what it is. There’s a gleam, men! There is a gleam.

14
Feb
09

Two hard-boiled basketball coaches walk into a bar…

gary

Gary Williams: Bartender. Double Chivas on the rocks please.

A voice behind him: Make it two.

ACC Media Day Basketball

Seth Greenberg: Whaddya know, Gary? Looks like we got the same taste in Scotch.

Gary: I’ve been a Chivas man since I was 15. I used to mix mine with Maalox, but lately I’ve been taking it straight.

Seth: Sometimes I like to grind up some No Doz tablets in there. It’s great for long recruiting trips.

(Awkward pause)

Gary: Say, our drinks are here.

(They raise glasses)

Gary: No hard feelings about the game today, huh?

Seth: What can I say?  Your team wanted it more today. It was a must-win game for you and you got it.  Great job, coach.

Gary: Here’s to Gus Gilchrist developing a fungal infection on his scrotum.

Seth: Good Lord…I toast to the exact same thing! Every time.

(They clink glasses, drain their drinks, order another round)

Gary: Small world.

Seth: Indeed.  Great game today, though, seriously. Our man-to-man defense is usually pretty tough, but you shredded it.

Gary: For a second there I thought you had us with that half-court 1-3-1.

Seth: Well, I’ll tell ya, that Milbourne kid is something else. People don’t really talk about him, but he has quietly become the best player you’ve got. He always seems to make the right play.

Gary: I appreciate his steadiness. He’s always focused, always ready to play. Sometimes, my guys seem a little tightly wound.

Seth: (takes big swig) You don’t say.

Gary: No, it’s true. I don’t know what the problem is either. I talk about it in practice all the time. You have to focus, I tell them. Play for 40 minutes! A lot of the times I SCREAM it at them. YOU’VE GOTTA BE INTENSE THE WHOLE GAME, I say! INTENSITY!!!! YOU GOTTA BE INTENSE!

Seth: I actually don’t talk the entire offseason so I have extra screaming power come practice time.

Gary: I make Braxton Dupree cry periodically. We have to stop the whole goddamn practice so Big Dave Neal can rub his back until he calms down. HEY, ANOTHER DRINK OVER HERE!

Seth: Sometimes I try to read the mentality of my guys and tailor my approach to each individual player, but whatever, that’s just me.

Gary: Wuss.

Seth: DID YOU JUST CALL ME A WUSS?

Gary: I SURELY DID, WHAT, YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?

Seth: YOU DRUNK, I’M CUTTIN YOU OFF!

Gary: WHAT! WHAT! YOU CAN’T CUT ME OFF, THAT’S RIDICULOUS ARE YOU EVEN WATCHING WHAT’S GOING ON THIS IS ONLY MY NINTH DRINK OPEN YOUR EYES JERK-OFF! JESUS!

a_williams_195

Seth: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE DOING WHY DON’T YOU. USE YOUR HEAD MORON, YOU’RE SLOSHING EVERYWHERE THIS TIE IS FROM SEARS GODDAMMIT, IT’S HOKIE ORANGE YOU GONNA REPLACE IT? ANSWER ME!  I OUGHTTA CHOKE YOU OUT RIGHT NOW!

greenberg

Gary: All right, all right, fine.  I’ll replace the tie.

Seth: Great, hey, thank you so much, man.

Gary: No problem, hey, so what were we talking about, oh right, the game.  We played well, but we got lucky, too; Malcolm Delaney was off today.

Seth: Yeah, he was jacked up for his homecoming and he just came out too tight. I bet it was interesting to see a player from the other team get rattled.

Gary: You kid, but it truly was. And hey, we closed out the game today.  It was a good thing to see.

Seth: For you.

Gary: Well, I needed it. The wolves are at my door, Seth. You know, you try to do things the right way, and you get shit for not recruiting blue chip players from the big cities. But then when you recruit blue chip players from the big cities, you get shit because their “character” isn’t meeting some artificial standard. Everyone wants me to find a kid with Kobe Bryant’s game and Mother Teresa’s disposition. Where are those kids, Seth?

Seth: You got me, Gary.

Gary: Well, you got me, too.

Seth: I’m just like you. I don’t get many blue chips either — I coach ’em up the old-fashioned way.  But I have yet to get quite as much out of one of my teams as you’ve gotten from yours. You’re a damn good coach, Gary.

Gary: Can we get you on TV?  Where’s Dave Feldman when you need him.

Seth: Bottom line, Gary, you win four of your last six, and you’re probably in the tourney. It’ll be tough, but it could happen. Can you believe it?

Gary: Don’t even say that, Seth.  TAKE IT BACK THIS SECOND!

Seth: I love you, man.

Gary: No way, man. I love YOU.

Seth: Right back atcha buddy.

Gary: Awesome. Now let’s destroy all the camera phones in here and go get some chicken wings.




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