March 1, 2007


When Maryland was 3-6 in the ACC (it seems like forever ago, even though it has just been a few weeks), I looked at the upcoming schedule and started counting losses. I figured that we had to go at least 7-9 in ACC play to make the tournament, and realistically we needed to be 8-8. With two games against Duke, one against UNC, and a trip to Littlejohn ahead, I figured this year would be another trip to the NIT.

Obviously the entire season has turned around since then, and I've been loving every minute of it. But what changed from that second UVA game to today? It's the same players, same coaches, totally different outcome. I've been trying to put my finger on the difference between the first half and the second half of the ACC season, and I think last night I figured it out.

The difference became clear when Duke came back to tie the game last night (with about 5 minutes left). They team didn't collapse, they responded with a run that put the game away. Something similar happened in the UNC game. The team faced adversity and, just when things looked worst, played their best basketball.

What was so shocking to me is that, in both of those games, I never doubted that we could win. I haven't had confidence in any sports team like that since the NCAA Champion Maryland team.

My biggest complaint about the team the past two years was that they lacked heart. There just didn't seem to be a real will to win, and when things started going bad for the team, they would check out. Even when things were going well, they would often mail in a huge chunk of the game. I can't count how many times over the past three years the team went more than 5 minutes without scoring. This year's team is different, and it makes me excited for March.

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