March 13, 2009

Terps Beat Wake - Going Dancing?

I'll leave it to Jeremy to find the "touch of grey" in the silver lining, but that's a gigantic win for the Terps.  I'm not a Bracketologist, so I'll have to take others' assessment that the Terps are now a lock to make the tournament at face value.  

It's tough to imagine a bigger game for a team than tonight for the Terps.  The stakes couldn't have been higher: win and you make the NCAA tournament, lose and you face an NIT invitation and the whole season is considered a failure.  Like they have so many times this year, the Terps rose to the occasion when it mattered most.  

This Maryland team can be frustrating to watch at times, but games like this make it all worthwhile.  It was a complete team effort led by the team's unquestioned leader (Vasquez) and his trusty sidekick (Neal).  Everyone contributed, even Braxton Dupree (that was a very smart foul at the end of the first half).  OK, so Jin Soo Kim continued his disappearing act, but almost everyone else was heard from during the game.  

Like most of the Terps' wins this year, tons of the credit goes to Gary Williams.  He came out with a pefect strategy for this game, with a zone defense that made the Wake offense look awful.  Teague certainly didn't look like an All-ACC player.

Next up for Maryland is gravy.  Pure gravy.  Provided things fall into place like people are predicting and the Terps make the NCAA Tournament, the season is a success.  The pressure is off and they can have a little fun.  Expectations are low (especially Jeremy's expectations, I'm sure) and fans will be happy if Maryland can either advance further in the ACC Tournament or make any kind of run in the NCAA Tournament.  As a fan, this is where it can be really fun.  The rest of the season is all upside - losses aren't all that disappointing, and wins are very, very exciting.  I love March.

12 Responses:

M.A.S.H. said...

What a win...I didn't think they ha it in them to be honest. Bring on the Dookies!

Jim said...

this is the sam,e team to UVA at the end of the season. LEt's not get too carried away just yet this year for Gary

Baltimorean said...

Yep, St. Gary is God in Maryland. A womanizer, drunk driving, major league asshole for sure. But great coach. No question.

Brien said...

Jim, it doesn't matter what happens next, Gary did an amazing job this season. The Terps were picked to finish 11th of 12 teams in the ACC and they'll probably make the tournament. That's a success no matter what happens in the next few games.

Baltimorean, I'm sure Gary's an asshole. I've heard it from plenty of people. But he is a great coach. Since this is a sports blog, I don't really feel the need to caveat comments about his professional abilities with rumours about his personal life. I'm sure he's not a saint, but I am pretty sure he's the best coach for the Terps.

Jeremy said...

No touch of grey last night. I have never seen a Terp team that was so on the wrong side of the talent matchup come out and just lay a total asswhupping on the other team. Last night's game was a masterful act of coaching by Gary and an opus by the kids who were willing to do WHATEVER it took to get that win for their coach. I am incredibly proud of Gary and incredibly proud of these kids. I would lay this coaching job over the course of the entire season by Gary against any season in his career. Hell, maybe any season by any team in ACC history in terms of doing the most with the least.

J-Red said...

I'll provide the touch of grey - Wake loses to bad teams. Look at who they lost to in the ACC.

I think we still need to beat Dook to get in, and I hope the team is as pessimistic about playing RPI roulette with 9-9 in the ACC as I am.

Nikhil said...

J-Red, I disagree with having to beat Duke. I think Maryland is in, unless there are many conference upsets today. Beating Duke would be nice, but I don't think it's necessary to make the tournament. Brien, yes in some ways it pains me to say this, but this is one of Gary's best jobs ever. I would put it fourth behind the late February and all of March run in 2001 to the Final Four, then the 1999-2000 season, and the 2004 ACC Championship. A great job, no question.

Nikhil said...

While this was a great job by GW, let's keep some things in perspective. We have gone from an era where we regularly make the tournament and go to Sweet 16's- even winning a National Championship- to being a program that is on the bubble and considers just making the tournament an awesome job.
Why the hell should we even be on the bubble every March? How is it that just making the field of 65 is considered some great accomplishment? We Maryland alums USED TO have standards higher than that.

We were 7-9 in ACC regular season play. We lost to Morgan State, Duke by 41, Clemson by 19, and an 11th place UVA team. We barely, and I mean barely, beat Georgia Tech.

And all of us are sitting around here so happy and satisfied that this team is going to go the NCAA tournament? Every year since 2004, we enter March "on the bubble", hoping and praying to get in. Ok, March 2007 we were a lock. But besides that?

Yes, this was a great coaching, and I emphasize the word COACHING, job by Gary. No question.I totally agree with Brien on that. But the talent on this team is mediocre at best.

Maybe you Maryland fans are happy and satisfied with just making the tournament.

But I submit to you that this program should be the 3rd best program in the ACC and ought to be one of the top 15-20 programs in the country.

Having lived through the 1994-2003 years, I want a program that is the 3rd best in the ACC and is a top 15-top 25 program. I don't think that's asking for too much.

Do you guys?

Lee said...

MD IS the third best program in the ACC, look at the records from the last 5 years. Them and BC neck and neck behind UNC and Duke. Wins count and this is 14 straight years with 19+ wins for MD.

All hail Gary! All hail Greivas! All hail the Mayor! All hail TERP!

ps 44-40 MD on the boards? Against a team that has 6 players 6 9 and taller? As Shyne used ot say "oh thats gangsta..."

Nikhil said...

Lee, that's exactly my point. We ARE the third best program in the ACC.
By the way, those 19 wins came and some cupcake non conferene home wins in November and December and after some wins in the NIT. So while I give all credit to GW and GV, I also don't understand how we got to the point where just making the tournament becomes this big deal. Back when J-Red, Jeremy, Brien, Russell, and I all were there, we EXPECTED to make the tournament.
I don't expect a National Championship or Final Four. However, is it not asking too much to not be shocked when we make the tournament?

Lee said...

Oh yeah, I am all for expecting to make the sweet sixteen every year. My senior year was the National Championship year. I think MD has had some tough luck with injuries, assistant coach attrition (due to success) and insanity over the past few years. Gary will get his extension for making the tourney this year, Born Ready will declare next Saturday, GV will come back, MD will be sick nasty next year, the 2010 recruits will sign. Mosley will be a 4 year lock down defender glue guy, Padgett will develop into a monster on the block. Final Four again by 2012. Lock it.

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