Posts Tagged ‘Big Dave Neal

13
Mar
09

Yeeee-haaaaaa!!!!!!!!

With no regular player over 6′ 7″, the Maryland Terrapins beat Wake Forest 75-64 tonight to all but assure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

That was a fun sentence to type.  THEY DID IT!  MARYLAND’S GOING TO THE DANCE BABYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had my doubts, but they got it done.  It was a solid 40-minute effort and they didn’t fold under pressure.  Vasquez that crazy guy I love to hate, he came through.  As did Sean freaking Mosely (his block to force that Wake shot clock violation in the early second half was my play of the game), Big Dave Neal, Dino Gregory, Eric Hayes, everybody.  And how about that zone?  They shut down Teague and frustrated the bigs.  Great win.  Great win.  THEY’RE GOING DANCING!!!!!!

I think I’ll let the pictures take over now.  I’M GOING STREAKIIINNNNG!!!!!!!!!!!

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venezuela3ev1

13
Mar
09

Hero or goat…which one, Maryland?

So it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL comes down to this.

Even in this part of the regular season, when “bubble” and “bracketology” pop up in every conversation, a real honest-to-God must-win game is rare. There’s usually an “if” or a “but” somewhere. But tonight, 7 p.m. against Wake, is different. The Terps’ situation could not be any clearer. Win and they’re in. Lose and they’re out.

It is slightly akin to looking through a window at a large Thanksgiving-style meal, replete with three kinds of dinner rolls and cranberry sauce, and not that kind with the can ribbing still visible along the sides either. I’m talking, like, fresh from the bog. Wouldn’t that hit the spot right about now? You’re damn right it would. And so would this victory tonight. To further my incredible food analogy, the Terps are “starving” for a “seat at the table” come March Madness time. You might even say they are at a “fork” in the road. Or perhaps that they are “hungry” for success. Oh, man. That was great.

So it’s a big game and everyone knows it. Lots of work to do with the program either way, and no one should forget or deny that, but for this season, this one little win would sponge out a lot of missteps. It would be like one of those extreme makeover shows where they give out free plastic surgery. In short order, the clubfooted Wal-Mart greeter with halitosis becomes Halle Berry.

I don’t want to put too fine of a point on it, but in a sense it really is like they’re playing for their lives. If they lose, they’re a band of undertalented undersized undercoached underacheiving undereverything choke artists. If they win, they’re The Little Team That Could. How would your life be affected if the public permanently relegated your college career to one of those two camps? It’s crazy how much the perception of this team will hinge on this one game.

Take for example, oh, I don’t know, Big Dave Neal. If they lose tonight, in the eyes of many he’ll just be an unathletic bum. Thanks for your service, happy graduation. If they win, he’ll be the team rock who overcame adversity to discover true leadership, or whatever.

And then, of course, there is Vasquez. He had a good night last night (17-10-4). Tonight he’ll need to take it up a notch. And he’ll have to do it amid yet another patented Greivis Vasquez Self-Inflicted Media Distraction. For some reason, he chose the day before the N.C. State game to announce that he would be testing the NBA draft waters, and the reaction was apparently strong enough to elicit a clarification about his focus. Hey, you know what would have been a better way to clarify that? Don’t say it in the first place.  But no matter.  If they win tonight, his antics are instantly forgiven.

So that’s it in a nutshell. I’m getting my hopes up a little bit, just like I feared I would, although I’m still doubtful they can pull it off. Wake’s frontcourt, plus the Terps’ consistent inability to perform under pressure, is not a very good combination, as Tim McCarver might say. And yet…they got close last time. The Thanksgiving-style meal is still sitting there, just as fragrant and succulent-looking as it can be. All the Terps have to do is muster the fortitude to go in there and get it. But there’s a huge difference between “can” and “will.” We shall see. Go Terps!

04
Mar
09

Terps lose to Wake. It’s gettin dark in here, maw! I can’t see nothin!

Well, if we was pitchin horseshoes, it would have been enough. It would have been like a leaner. But as it is, after losing 65-63 to #10 Wake Forest on Big Dave Neal’s senior night (more on him later), the 18-11 Terps must win their regular season finale this Saturday at Virginia and then make some noise in the ACC tournament, or else their postseason hopes are dead and buried.

The Terps played with a lot of heart and a lot of focus, but Wake was just better. In the second half, Wake locked down on defense, used their size, got into the lane, and just put it to us. A lot of fans love to say the Terps can lose to anyone and beat anyone. But I don’t think that’s true this year…yeah, we caught UNC, but we’re 2-6 against teams with a top 25 RPI.

What can you say? This is an easy team to solve. Every close observer knows the team goes as Vasquez goes. He played great in the first half, but overall shot 7-24. Every observer also knows we are overmatched in the post. Wake outrebounded us by 18. You can’t win that way.

It’s kind of sad, though, that the gaudy rebounding stat and a few highlight reel plays overshadowed the inspired effort of one Big Dave Neal. Big Dave, who scored a team-high 19 points, hit a three at the end of the first half to put the Terps up by seven, and who could forget those three straight threes in the second half. If the Terps had won, that performance would have made Big Dave Neal a folk hero. (Well, more so.) Big Dave was never supposed to be a D-1 starter. He was forced into duty this season and has performed admirably. He has been outplayed, but never outworked. He has been bloodied, but never bowed. He knows he’s fortunate to have done this, and he had fun with it. Whatever path he takes after basketball, I believe he’ll do something good with himself.

I love you, man

I love you, man

But his storybook Senior Night wasn’t to be, and now the Terps are in a big hole. They’re better than UVA on paper, but they’re also 2-5 on the road, and UVA always gets up for Maryland. They know they can spoil their rivals’ season. It’s all the more important considering that the selection committee likes to see you play well in your final 12 games, and Maryland is 5-6 in their last 11.  It’s not dark yet, but it’s gettin there.

(Photo credit:  UMTerps.com)

03
Mar
09

They’ll never take our preview: A Maryland-Wake Forest analysis from Scotish freedom fighter William Wallace

mel-gibson-braveheart-photograph-c101019223Sons of Maryland!  I am William Wallace.  I come here today as ye sit on the eve o’ battle.  The largest battle o’ the year, laddies!  A battle for yer tournament lives!  If you be winnin this one, you may well find yerselves on the path to glory

The Demon Deacons from the Forest of Wake are comin.  And they are a formidable foe.  Aye, tis true.  Everyone knoos aboot Jeff Teague.  He’s a first-team all-ACC soldier on my soldiery ballot. 

So they have good guards.  But so have we.  I hoop Grrrreivis is equal to the mooment.  We wull see now woon’t we.  Aye, we wull.  

But in the meantime, the real problem for the Terps tonight is the bigguns.  Aye, the bigguns.  I ask ye.  What’ll they do aboot the Bigguns!?!?   They’ve a three-headed giant in 6’9″ James Johnson, and 6’9″ Al-Farouq Aminu, and the 7’0″ Chas McFarland.  Together they’re nae 20 feet high if they’re an inch!  The first two are in the top 10 in ACC in rrrreboondin!  Where does Maryland rank?   Dear sweet Jesus, where do they rank?   LAST?  Dead last in the conference in reboondin margin?!?!?  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, laddie.   The bigguns are gonna ride right over ye!!  How wull you stop em?

I’ll tell ya how.  I see a whole army of my fellow fans, here, in support of their players.  You have come as free men, Terps.  And free men you are.  You controol yer oon destiny, men!   And yer pleein in yer oon backyard.  Will yer countrymen come to support ye?   Will they be full of throat and loud of tongue and besotted with whiskey?  I hoop soo. 

Now, for the bigguns.   I once made spears twice as long as a man.  They stopped a charge of heavy horse.  May Landon Milbourne and Big Dave Neal now build those spears in their minds.   Here’s hoopin the mind spears will stand up to the charge of the Demon Deacon bigs, a charge so fierce it shakes THE VERY GROOND!!!   So that’s what I got for ye on that, is  mind spears.

So aye, yes, tonight wu’ll see what stuff they’re meed of.  It’s all one game, laddies.  Fight, and you may die.  Run, and you’ll live.  At least for a while.  But when yer dyin’ in yer beds, many years from now, would ye be willin to trade all the days from this day to that, for one chance — JUST ONE CHANCE — to come back to the Coomcast Center?   So that ye could tell yer enemies, that they may take our lives.  BUT THEY’LL NEVER BURST……OUR BUBBLE!

ABBAAAAAAAA MAAAA MUUU GAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s old Scotish for GOOOOOOOOO TEEEERRRRRRRRPSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

01
Mar
09

Terps inch a little closer with N.C. State win

It’s been a crazy few days here in the D.C. area.  The Obama administration’s first budget, The Biggest Snow Storm in Years coming through (although it’s gonna end up only being like two inches, but whatever), plus the resignation of Nats GM Jim Bowden under some strange circumstances, and of course, let’s not forget the Redskins overpaying for Albert Haynesworth and winning yet another Paper Bowl, for which, last I checked, you receive no trophy.

Not to be outdone, Terpland was abuzz as well, as the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams both dispatched the Dookies, the lady hoopsters won an ACC title, and last but not least, the men beat N.C. State to keep their tournament hopes afloat.  Only two games left, and as usual it’s set up for a crazy end.  Can the Terps do it?  I want to believe, Scully.

This game embodied how people thought Maryland would be this season. They got totally worked on the blocks (Wolfpack center Tracy Smith was like Baby Shaq down there), but the Terps guards were able to compensate, turning N.C. State’s miserable ball handlers over 16 times while keeping their own mistakes to a minimum.

Vasquez led the way from wire to wire, scoring 33 on a combination of threes and pretty runners in the lane. Even more importantly, he did a great job of keeping Evil Greivis at bay — that is, until he swished a meaningless three at the buzzer just to piss off the fans. And he wonders why he’s a target. But whatever. Vasquez has been rolling lately, and may have worked his way back into all-ACC contention. Props also to the resurgent Cliff Tucker (man, has he been nice down the stretch) and the rock solid Big Dave Neal, who hit four Big Dave threes.

Given the mismatches inside, this had Trap Game written all over it. N.C. State made it tight, but the Terps manned up and pulled away.  I’m dangerously close to drinking the Kool-Aid on this team.  I’ve just been burned so many times, it’s hard to let my guard down.  I want to take things slow…I hope you understand, basketball team. We’ll see how I feel after the huge, HUGE game this Tuesday in the CP against Wake. You could maybe even say…that it alllllllll comes down…to that.

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.

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.




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