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Friday, February 29, 2008

Thanks For the Birthday Surprise

I got pretty nervous at the end of regulation, but the Terps pulled it out last night, much to my relief. It was actually probably the most exciting part of my birthday until we ended up going to IHOP (if you want to consider that an endorsement, that's fine - it's an endorsement).

Anyway, so my favorite part besides the first made alley-oop all season (out of 167 attempts) was watching the Terps make the crucial rebounds and Gist sort of closing out the game with free throws ( a harrowing 2-4 at the end). But good job.

That said, we were SOOOOO lucky that Wake Forest cannot shoot a basketball. They ended up with a 37.9 FG% and a disgusting 25.0 3FG%. It was surprisingly only Wake's second loss at home this season, and in other facets of the game, they were very good: They had 10 steals, matched us in rebounds and had 7 less turnovers. The rising force known as James Johnson had a 25-point and 14-board night.

Unfortunately for Johnson, he still lost the battle of big men: James Gist came out of hiding where he's been for the past four games or so and decided to dominate. The result? A new career high of 31 points and a very solid 11 rebounds, including a few at the end of the game that helped but the Demon Deacons away for good. As if that wasn't enough, he also had two blocks and three steals (and the completed alley-oop from halfcourt) for good measure.

Greivis Vasqeuz also had a "sneaky good" night - 24 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists. It's only "sneaky good" because it was in James Gist's shadow - it's a great night on any other day. Everyone else wasn't too good. We don't need to mention individual performances because only the W matters, right?

Anyway, we did just about as much as we had to to win, and that matters. But that doesn't mean we can let the Terps off the hook, specifically one Terp: If James Gist can play like that, why doesn't he do it every night?

The evidence has shown that when Gist does badly, the team does badly. When Gist disappears like he does for a few games at a time, we lose - bottom line. The fact that he plays well against guys like James Johnson, J.J. Hickson and Tyler Hansbrough indicates that he should at least be pulling in 18 and 8 EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. But he doesn't, he's streaky.

There is no time like the present to take control of this team. In fact, I'd be willing to argue that the team needs Gist more than any other player on the roster (and we'll bear painful witness to this fact next season). There are only two more regular season games left, and after that only the ACC tournament will help us get off the bubble and into the big dance. We can't afford to lose his contributions any more this season; every game from now until the postseason should be considered must-win ... if we want a meaningful postseason.

Well thanks Terps for the win and good luck on Sunday against a tough Clemson team. We'll be watching.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jerome's Taking Over

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't really write any response to the Miami game. This is in part because I had conflicting feelings about what happened in that game.

On one hand, Maryland lost to a team they could've beaten, their stars struggled, and they lost a step in the race for the last bids of the NCAA tournament. It was a really disappointing thing to watch. I was fairly upset - I would start typing, look at the words and not really want to keep going.

On the other hand, Gary Williams FINALLY played my boy, Jerome Burney.

If you're a frequent reader, y'all know that I've been advocating for playing time for Burney for over two months since the freshman review. The guy is straight up physically imposing and seems like the logical replacement for James Gist at power forward after this season. I noticed that when I talked about Burney's dunking exhibition a few weeks ago before the Duke game, it picked up some interest on UMD message boards. And I think all of my close friends have now heard at least five times that Burney averaged a triple double in high school in points, rebounds, and BLOCKS.

And so finally, Gary played the guy after Gist struggled once again. And you know what? Four points and five boards in 12 minutes isn't so bad, especially considering how much our bench has been contributing. Actually, if you want to hear something really painful, consider that Burney was responsible for ALL of the bench points against Miami.

Yeah, it's that bad.

But Burney isn't bad at all. In fact, he's prominently featured in the Diamondback today. The article is about how he could receive more minutes in the coming games, which should be a relief to all of us. It's actually a relief to Boom Osby, who according to the article had been requesting Burney's minutes to be increased "for quite some time."

If you look at the big man reserves, you have Dave "The People's Champ" Neal, who hustles but is often rendered ineffective by the vastly more athletic big men in the ACC. You have Braxton Dupree, who has presumably hit a wall this season and played himself out of the starting lineup. You have Shane Walker, who has made some progress, but has still only scored a whopping 12 points in 117 minutes this season (Burney has 16 in 69 minutes, which isn't spectacular but still better). Dino Gregory is smaller and has hardly played much, so we can't say much about him.

Until Gus Gilchrist finally steps on court (and word is he's going to be as good as advertised), isn't Burney, the 6-9, 222-pound athlete, the only decent heir to the power forward throne? I think so, and I'm glad Gary is coming around to that thinking. At the very least, we now know he's doing well in practice, and as long as he continues to do so, he should get game time. Game time is going to be so valuable to Burney's development and should help him when he competes for a starting role next year (not to mention give us quality reserve minutes this year). Everyone loves to see Neal, but he shouldn't be the first guy off the bench - he's not a starter in any imaginable scenario next year.

Also, I'd like to present this snippet from Baltimore Sun beat reporter Don Markus' Q&A on Sunday about Burney:

Bill: How many minutes do you think Jerome Burney should be getting, and what should his role be?

Don Markus:
Before Saturday, which is the first I saw him play any extended time, I would say that he was probably getting as many minutes as he deserved -- none. But after seeing some of the things he did on Saturday against Miami in terms of his athleticism and physicality, the question I have is: why hasn't this guy received this opportunity before? Williams said after the game that Burney has played well in practice the past two weeks. If that's the case, why didn't he get in against Virginia Tech when James Gist and Bambale Osby got into foul trouble? If Burney continues to play as he did in Miami, I think he should be the first big forward in the game ahead of Braxton Dupree and Dave Neal, and possibly the first big man ahead of Shane Walker. And I take back the line I had in the paper about Burney resembling Joe Smith in jersey number only.

Another believer joins the flock.

Go Terps!

Photo Credit: Diamondback (Adam Fried), Baltimore Sun

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Was There When...

So for all of you wondering, yes, INRCP did attend the women's basketball game on Sunday. And in no way did it disappoint.

The Terps' senior class, I think, wanted to show one last time that "Overtime is Our Time." That's probably the best explanation they can give, anyway.

Facing a 16-10 Seminole team, the Lady Terps were challenged from tip-off. If you look at the box score, you'll notice that Maryland was superior in rebounds (51 to 30) and shot at a significantly better percentage (56.6% to 39.2%). The only reason that Florida State stayed in the hunt was turnovers (23 to 7). Maryland committed a string of travel violations in the first half that was very alarming, but settled down after awhile. In the second half, they committed another string of turnovers that erased a nine-point lead.

So down by one with 33 seconds left, Alysha Harvin stood at the free throw line and made the first shot. Ouch. The stadium got as loud as it's ever been for the Maryland women, and Harvin clanked the next shot. Maryland rebound.

I think everyone knew then that this team would win. All season, they've been too good. The seniors throughout their careers were too good to let this one slip. As it happened, Marissa Coleman drove into the post for the tying layup. Overtime. The rest is history.

But the most incredible moment besides the tying layup and the subsequent eruption was watching a walking Maryland legend being honored at the end of the game. It was wonderful to watch them unveil No. 1 in the rafters next to the national championship banner that she helped earn.

I've said multiple times that looking at stats alone, she has to be the best basketball player - male or female - that Maryland's ever had. But there's more to it than that, as DBK columnist Mark Selig wrote today. I wouldn't say she embodies what Maryland athletics is about, but rather she has the qualities that all athletes should have. She is a competitor, but she is graceful and a good sport. By all accounts, she does what she has to do in the classroom, even though she'll probably make money in the WNBA and overseas in her basketball career.

It occurred to me that one day, I might say to someone, "I was there when they hung No. 1 in Comcast." For years to come, we'll all have the opportunity to look up and see the jersey of the greatest player that ever stepped foot in Maryland, and in two years elevated them from a 10-18 team to a national championship.

It was nice to see Crystal get her moment, and hopefully she'll still have a handful left before her college career is over.

Go Terps and thank you all seniors for your wonderful years here!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let's Try Something New...

Sorry guys, but apparently "Keys to the Game" is a death knell for the Terps, so it will be discontinued.

Instead of addressing how angry I am about tonight's game and pointing out problems (is there even enough time?), I'm going to try something different. I'm going to put all the titles for this post/headlines for this game that I considered. Here goes:

- "Wait, Weren't We Winning?"

- "Terps Play for 35 Minutes"

- "I'm Out of Excuses"

- "Guess the Hype Got to 'Em"

- "Ohio & American: Part II"

- "Slopfest"

- "Drunk Hokie Fans Have Something To Brag About"

- "We Deserve Better"

Yes, I realize that I'm saying all this because I'm angry, but you should be upset too, if you have any pride in the Maryland tradition. Bad loss. We'll talk tomorrow.

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Keys to Beating the Hokies

So if you're up late enough tonight to catch the game, here's the official INRCP scouting report.

Some of my readers enjoyed looking at last week's "Keys to the Game," so I'm giving it another shot. The Hokies beat the Terps last time, narrowly avoiding a comeback bid by Maryland when Greivis Vasquez clanked a potential game-winner in the closing seconds.

Much has changed since then: Maryland has only lost two games, both to Duke. Meanwhile, VaTech has fallen to a 5-6 record in-conference and a mediocre 14-11 record overall. Most are safe in assuming the Hokies will miss the tournament.

However, they can be a dangerous team and have the No. 1 scoring defense in the ACC (Maryland has the No. 1 FG% defense). Teams that play good defense have given the Terps problems this year - teams like UCLA, Duke and Boston College. And you can't discount that they beat us already.

On the other hand, scoring is their problem, as they only beat UVA in most scoring categories. Only three guys average double digits on the team, and I mean the low double digits. In fact, both Vasquez and James Gist average more ppg than VaTech's leading scorer (A.D. Vassallo).

Jeff Allen will be the one to watch. He'll likely match up with Boom. In the last game, he scored 17 and had 9 boards to go along with 5 steals. In addition, he hit the game-winning free throw. The frontcourt will have to play more effective defense (9 fouls last game between Gist and Boom). Besides that, the guards will have to concentrate on containing Vassallo, and perimeter D hasn't been great thus far this season (See: Duke).

So at last:


1) Contain Jeff Allen, scoring AND rebounding
2) Make outside shots (Last meeting only 2-12 for threes)
3) Don't force tempo - it leads to turnovers

I expect that this will be a physical and grinding game. I also expect Maryland will take advantage of a healthy Eric Hayes and protect their homecourt advantage. If Cliff Tucker is still sick, that could be a problem, but I don't grade the Hokies as a better team than Florida State.

Hopefully when all is said and done, the Terps will chalk up another win tonight. Go Terps!

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beat Duke AND Deliver Twins? Nice...

Women's basketball had a double (or triple, depending on how you look at it) whammy this weekend: Not only did they squash No. 12 Duke, 76-69, coach Brenda Frese gave birth to twin boys, Markus and Tyler.

And what did the rest of you people accomplish this weekend?

The Terps are a well-oiled machine right now, charging ahead with a 27-2 record. I worry when I see 26 turnovers in the box score, including 12 from Kristi Toliver. It's true her shooting is really great so far (4-5 in the game), but she can't give up four times as many turnovers as assists. As the Godfather would say, "It's just bad business." But scoring and rebounding helped carry the load in this game, and the Blue Devils got a little punishment for beating the men earlier this week. Thank goodness, because I probably wouldn't be the only fan with an aneurysm if we lost to Duke twice in a week.

In more women's news, Crystal "Greatest Terp Ever" Langhorne is being honored on Sunday Feb. 24. Her number will hang from the rafters as a testament to her greatness: not only the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in school history, but the best player on a championship team (hopefully two championship teams if we get our way).

I'm going to advise fans to actually come to the Comcast Center to say farewell to a great senior class. Laura Harper and Jade Perry are both great players in their own right. The game is at 2 p.m. and it's free, so show up!

Go Terps, ladies!

Photo Credit: AP

Monday, February 18, 2008

Yeah, I'm Lazy

Sorry, I got caught taking an extended break AGAIN and let two games get by me without comment. Here's what happened:

1) I was upset about the Duke game. REALLY upset. I was watching the game with some friends, and they were looking at my "Keys to the Game, " (more as a joke, but still). None of it happened.

2) I have another life as a crusader for justice that required my attention. (Read: Job).

So anyway, I WAS watching - don't worry.

Basically, in the Duke game, I felt that they were who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook. The game was narrowed to a 2-point margin, but we failed to capitalize, even during a long stretch of keeping the Blue Devils scoreless. Bottom line was they shot well, we didn't have a defensive answer, and we couldn't build on our momentum to take the lead. It was tough, but Duke showed why they're a tough team to beat. Congrats, BTDub, to Wake Forest for finally taking them down. Dookie fans: Arrogance is your downfall. Write that on a cheer sheet.

Florida State was pretty different. Being there, it was hard to pull out a definitive reason why we won. Greivis Vasquez had a good stretch where he made 3 threes in a row that really launched the Terps in the second half, and Landon Milbourne really helped keep the Seminoles at bay with a late surge of 13 second-half points. Milbourne also contributed this absolutely filthy highlight-reel dunk:

That's how I like it. Dag.

When you look at the stat box, Maryland's big advantage was shooting: The Terps shot over 50% from the field, over 58% from long range, and 82.8% from the line (24-29, which is really significant). Good shooting helped them overcome a torching in the backcourt from Ralph Mims (26 points).

Florida State is pretty bad, but it still felt good to pick up the win after being so out of our element against Duke. It was also nice to see solid minutes from Shane Walker and Adrian Bowie off the bench. Gary played the starters for most of the second half, but they really did well for a long stretch in the first half, keeping the game close while we were behind. Jason McAlpin also saw action, and admirably filled Cliff Tucker's role (he was sick).

Next up: Virginia Tech. I want revenge for our one-point loss, and I'm betting the team does, too. We'll see what happens.

Go Terps.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On the Rise...

Terps are on the rise everywhere. It's true - the press is starting to scramble for information and stories about Gary Williams' team that's ripping up the ACC.

As many sites now recognize (I saw this over at East Coast Bias), Greivis Vasquez earned top spot last week in the country according to ESPN.com's Andy Katz, and James Gist was cited by The Sporting News as last week's best. Very cool stuff.

But I think the star article today is one I read in The Diamondback this morning by Daniel Kobrin. He makes the claim that Greivis Vasquez is the best player in college basketball, which I couldn't possibly agree with, but I follow his logic. Please read it so you can follow my logic from here on out.

Kobrin masterfully sums up my feelings about Greivis and how the fans treat him. He's never gotten the respect from his home crowd that he richly deserves. When he does well, Terp fans gloss over it. When he makes mistakes, everyone screams to bench him. I try to defend him and change the mass perspective whenever I get the chance.

While I definitely think that racial undertones are involved in this issue, I also believe that the Maryland faithful desperately want Eric Hayes to be the next Steve Blake because they perceive the two to be similar players. Hayes is solid, but he's no Steve Blake, and I doubt he'll go on to follow Blake in the NBA as a starting point guard.

I think the tide is finally starting to turn: ESPN recognizes his contributions, as does The Sun. College basketball is an emotional game - we can't pretend that every player should be a quiet, dignified guy who doesn't ham it up or celebrate after a good play, however inappropriate. Yes, Greivis is emotional, but so are Terps fans, and no Terp fan likes to be told to hold back their emotions (however inappropriate). He has faults, but so does every player. I encourage fans to embrace the player Greivis is, because he's pretty damn good at what he does.

Tonight as most are well aware is the Duke game, part II. I'm feeling vaguely optimistic about our chances tonight - Maryland plays Duke in Cameron better than any team in the country, and we were only at the start of our upswing when we first played them. I feel confident with all our starters at this point, but we'll need three things:


- Bench has to contribute (Someone besides Dave Neal, please.)
- Perimeter defense has to lock down on their shooters.
- We need to make threes.

I think this is very doable, and really I feel like if we can accomplish two out of three, I think Maryland has a really good shot at winning this matchup.

See you on the flip side and Go Terps!

Monday, February 11, 2008

BTDub, Michael Beasley is the Player of the Year

Every now and then, I catch an announcer or some list on the web anointing either Kevin Love or Tyler Hansbrough as THE Player of the Year. No. That's just completely wrong.

Michael Beasley of Kansas State is Player of the Year - clear as day. Not only is he leading the race, he's running ahead like Secretariat.

It seemed to me that last year, Kevin Durant was the consensus POY. Why? Not because Texas was the best NCAA team, as Rivals.com's Andrew Skwara says, but because of his numbers and how otherworldly they were. The guy was the only player both in the top-10 in scoring and rebounding. Add that to a couple big-game performances, Durant basically had the award wrapped up by February.

Now here's the confusing part: Beasley is doing it again this year, but he still seems to be flying under the radar.

I suppose any player that goes to Kansas State is bound to fly under the radar, but Beasley is single-handedly making that team relevant. He averages a ridiculous 25.2 ppg and 12.3 rpg. The rest of the starters average only 40.2 ppg and 15.1 rpg. B-Easy also leads the team in steals and blocked shots. How else do you explain that Kansas State is now ranked No. 18 and beat then-No. 2 Kansas under a first year coach when last year, they choked on a 23-12 record and an NIT berth under Bob Huggins?

Also, about the "otherworldly" stats? Yeah, Beasley got those, too. Remember those averages in the paragraph above? Well they're good for No. 4 on the scoring list and No. 1 in rebounds per game in the whole country. You can't say that about Hansbrough, and you definitely can't say that about Love.

Some people say it's not all about stats, and that it's about team success. Ok, first of all, stats are a huge part about how a player impacts the game. But sure, UNC and UCLA are among the best teams in the nation. But you know what? They were among the best before Hanbrough and Love even got there. UNC won the championship the year before Hansbrough came to town and Roy Williams recruits tons of talent every single year. Beasley isn't surrounded by the likes of Lawson and Ellington. Same thing goes for Love - UCLA has been a two-time Final Four contender, and the credit goes to Ben Howland. He doesn't always have the biggest or most athletic players, but he finds ways to win, especially on defense.

Not that Psycho T and K-Love aren't good players, I've said as much before. But if they all played together in some kind of Collegiate All-Star game (that I'm making up but I wish could happen), I don't think you could have any doubt about who was the best player on the floor. Beasley has post game, he has really good shooting range (43% 3FG) and rebounds like no other - literally. Love and Hansbrough are very good post players and that's about it. They aren't really athletic and they can be outplayed by forwards and centers with better athletic ability (i.e., James Gist against UNC). Their NBA game is surrounded by question marks (way to stay in school, Tyler), while it's almost certain that Beasley will be a star. He has the body to ball in the pros (which Durant still doesn't really have), and, in the words of a friend of mine, "he can do just about anything he wants with a basketball."

This is just a public service announcement really, for the people that only pay attention to the top-5 teams. Just because someone is on a good team doesn't make them the best player in the country. Michael Beasley has shown that he's the only player in college basketball worthy of this distinction.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated, MichaelBeasley.org

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yeah, We're Gellin'

So if you happened to catch the Maryland game last night, you were treated to a pretty good game that (understandably) got passed over by the major networks. Really, neither Maryland nor NC State is a power player right now, and the ACC is a huge mess anyway.

But it honestly was a great game - close enough to make you nervous, but Maryland played well throughout for the most part. Even when they were behind, there were rollouts galore. And in the end, they finish the Wolfpack with a game-closing finish that put them to bed long before the final seconds. Terps pick up a W, taming the Pack 84-70.

The game was marked by tremendous individual performances. Check out these stat lines:

- James Gist: 30 pts, 9 rbds, 3 blks, 13-18 from the field
- Greivis Vasquez: 13 pts, 15 asts, 9 rbds, only 4 turnovers

Gist had a career-high in points, and Gravy tied the school record held by Terrell Stokes for assists in a game. In addition, all starters scored in double digits, the team went 6-10 from long range, and shot 85.7% from the charity stripe. They also outrebounded NC State 36-26, gave up a scant 11 turnovers, and generally dominated after a case of the misses. Add a free T-shirt to that mix, and wow, what a game!

Anyway, it was clear to me that Maryland had a solid all-around effort, and for the first time, I was very comfortable watching Greivis run the offense. He looked very in control throughout gameplay and a 15-4 assist-turnover ratio is really good.

So just so we're clear, I want everyone to realize that Greivis is good. Last night, I was sitting next to someone who said, "Gosh I hate Greivis." I quickly helped explain why she really shouldn't hate him.

In the conference, he's fourth in scoring, second in minutes played, and first in assists. In fact, in the last national rankings, he showed up at No. 11 in assists per game (which will go up after the latest game). It's true that Eric Hayes has an excellent ATR, but Greivis' is set at 1.5, which isn't too bad, and will probably improve. In addition to all that, he's good for over 5 boards per game, third-best on the team. What I'm really trying to say is that I was right back when everyone wanted him benched, and I'm right now. Try and find another point guard who averages 17.1 ppg, 6.35 apg, and 5.2 rpg. Even if you do find a player like that, it will be pretty hard.

Gist, by the way, is pushing for all-conference honors right now. In conference play, he's averaging 18.3 ppg and 8.6 rpg, and he's also playing more minutes, too. Bambale Osby is another guy who's exploded in ACC play, averaging a very respectable 14 ppg and 9.1 rpg. Even Landon Milbourne is doing better now.

I'm very excited for this team - they're making me regret leaving them for dead on the NCAA bubble. Yes, there's a lot more work to do, but before conference play, I estimated that they needed a 10-6 record in the ACC to make it in to the tournament. Well, they only have to go 4-3 the rest of the way to reach that once-lofty goal, and besides a game versus Duke in Durham and one against Clemson at Comcast, there's not much fight left in the schedule. Of course there is still the ACC tournament to consider, and I think that we should win at least one game to make it in the dance, but that's still a ways off.

Not that ESPN's projections mean anything, but Maryland is starting to show up in them. In bubble talk, Andy Glockner has essentially scooped the Terps into the bracket as the 4th ACC team. In the recent Bracketology, Joe Lunardi has Maryland as a 10-seed. Ohio and American seem like a season ago, don't they?

Have a great day and Go Terps!

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun, AP

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ESPN Holds Basketball Games Hostage

I can't remember being so infuriated after a win.

Maryland got sweet revenge on Boston College, kicking them to the ground in a 70-65 win. Again, it was close at the end, but the Terps pulled away in a close one, and Gary Williams earned his 600th win against his old team (delightful irony). Maryland now sits at a decent 5-3 in the ACC.

None of that is why I'm angry. I was planning on titling this post "Sweet Revenge" in fact, because I was so upset after this season's early loss to the Eagles. This victory should've been mine (and my fellow fans') to savor.

That means being able to, you know, watch the game. No dice.

Of course, the game was broadcast on ESPNU, the station that ESPN keeps telling us is real, but no one has ever watched. It's not on regular cable; it's not on ESPN360; as far as I can tell, the only place you can watch it is in a bunker somewhere in Northern Canada. This is where Maryland-Boston College is broadcast. You know what game was on ESPN2, a channel we actually do get? Elon-Davidson. Yeah, really.

So as Maryland fans, we can't watch the win, and we can't get the satisfaction that should be ours. Wonderful. Do we have any other brilliant ideas ESPN?

As a matter of fact, they do. See, if you watch ESPN at all, you know that they've been talking about the North Carolina-Duke game as the best thing since Ali-Frazier. It's unbelievable how overhyped that game is, but still it's worth watching for a matchup with tradition and two top-3 teams.

So my roommate and I were chilling out, checking the ESPN box score for the Maryland game we couldn't see, psyching ourselves up for the UNC-Dook consolation prize.


I'm checking the broadcasting schedule right now. Guess which network that game is listed on?

You guessed it ... freakin' ESPNU.

I hate ESPN. I hate that they won't let us watch the games that we want to watch, and if we want to watch them, we have to leave the comfort of our own homes and go to some bar where you're pretty much guaranteed to sit next to some guy who spends the whole game screaming (unless you're me and you are that guy ... that's why I stay at home). I just don't get what the heck they have against us, but I have a message for the bigwigs over in Bristol:

We surrender. Please give us our basketball back.

Photo Credits: ESPN, Baltimore Sun (note that creative liberties were taken with the ESPNU logo)

Basketball and Football - It's What Maryland Does

I know I'm not going to have much of a chance to write tomorrow, so I thought I'd just offer up a few links for y'all:

- Recruiting Report's full breakdown of the football signing class. Barring any incredible announcements tomorrow, this is pretty much the final list. The Terps will see strong upgrades at wide receiver and defensive tackle - honestly, they have the one of the best classes for those positions in the country.

- The women clinched an overtime victory against VaTech, beating them 74-71. The Terps suffered from early shooting woes, letting the Hokies gain a 22-2 advantage (they probably could've shot better blindfolded. But anyway, "a win is a win." Hopefully they learn. Also, I sense that Brenda Frese's absence on the road has a lot to do with these struggles. But here's a nice story about her from the Sun.

- Plenty of people are taking notice that the Maryland men's team is improving. It's nice to see such positive articles from The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Times. Still waiting on The Washington Post to write anything editorial about Maryland.

Finally, this isn't Maryland related, but I want to leave you and a legendary coach with a few quick highlights from his career:

Anyway, that's all I have time for today, have a good one.

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Karma's a ... Well, The Patriots Know What It Is

When looking at the greatest 4th quarters of all time, the 4th quarter of the Patriots-Giants Super Bowl will have to be considered.

We all saw something inexplicable, incredible and possibly supernatural when Eli Manning completed a spellbinding drive with a TD pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining. The Tyree catch in and of itself is an immortal highlight-reel play.

But most important, I believe, is that we all bore witness to a team that fell from its lofty heights.

The Patriots probably entered this game believing they were going to win - I really believed they would win. All week, experts and media were asking, "Does another championship make the Patriots the greatest dynasty ever? Will the 2007 Patriots be remembered as the greatest team ever? Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback ever? Is Bill Belichick the greatest coach ever?" Really, it appears these conversations were best saved until after the game.

I see a team brought down by self-confidence, a team that believed they were more unique and more special than any other team in the NFL. I see a team that was all too willing to believe that Bill Belichick was something more than a football coach and that Tom Brady was something more than a quarterback. As it turned out, Belichick was a coach who couldn't wait one second to leave the field before the game was over and Brady was a quarterback who threw erratically most of the night.

It was a team not worthy of perfection: Their players would love to talk about "humble pie" and only caring about championships, but they also seemed to care about talking to the press and receiving adoration for their achievements and how special they were. All the talk about not getting respect and using negative press as motivation served to mask the fact that a team can only pretend to be the underdog as long as they actually are the underdog. When everyone believed they would win, suddenly their philosophy seemed empty.

Now what will become of the franchise - a team that somehow swept steroid use (Rodney Harrison, that's you) and Spygate under the rug? For the NFL, the Patriots actually had to lose, because the league can't have a champion that is under scrutiny for cheating, especially cheating to win one of their Super Bowls. Things are only bound to get worse for the Pats, as their videotape controversy is likely re-examined and their players lose some faith in what seemed to be an ironclad ideology before one unlikely Giants drive.

In my opinion, it's a lesson, and hopefully one the Patriots learn well. Undefeated is over. Now what?

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Got Away With One

The Terps escaped with a win over Georgia Tech on the road. A nail-biter until the final seconds, they pulled it out due to a few lucky breaks. Final score: 88-86.

Matt Causey was fouled by Boom Osby with 2.5 seconds left, and faced 2 free throws with his team down by 3 points. He made the first and was presumably trying to miss the second so his teammates had a shot at the rebound, but it rattled in. The look on his face was priceless when Causey realized he had just lost the game by MAKING a free throw.

After that, Maryland was 2 free throws and a full-court shot away from picking up their 4th ACC victory - and a much need one at that. The Terps now sit at a very respectable 4th place in the conference, and having already played the two best teams in the conference, it appears that they're sitting pretty.

Too bad they aren't sitting pretty for the NCAA tournament. A 3-point loss to Boston College and a single-point loss to Virginia Tech now look very upsetting in terms of the big picture. I catch myself wondering all the time what might've happened if Greivis Vasquez hadn't fouled out of the BC game, or if Eric Hayes was able to play against the Hokies.

It is what it is, however - since we can't take back the past, the Terps are looking directly ahead. The next game is again on the road against Boston College. I don't think that Greivis will be punching any basket supports this time around. Maryland is hot right now, and they have a great chance to get revenge and beat a likely tournament-bound team. If they perform like they did this afternoon (minus the late near-choke), I think they'll have a decent shot.

The good things: scoring, rebounding, and great play from Bambale Osby, Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes especially. The bad: TURNOVERS! We don't need 24 turnovers. That will kill us. Being smart with the ball is a coachable problem, so really it's up to Gary Williams to tell players to slow down the game and to find the open man on double-teams instead of taking an ill-advised shot.

If the Terps still have the desire to be a NCAA-tournament team, they should start playing like it. Beat BC, and then we'll talk.

I'm out, Go Terps.

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Friday, February 1, 2008

100 Posts of Brilliance

Today marks an important milestone in INRCP history: We now have 100 posts. I couldn't be more proud of the site - it's really come a long way (despite looking mostly the same). Thanks a ton to all our readers for making this a successful venture. October 16th, 2007 seems like quite a long time ago in retrospect.

I'm going right to Tate - Kenny Tate that is. Yesterday, as some of you heard, 4-star recruit Kenny Tate accepted a scholarship at "Maryland University," but thankfully he switched his commit to the University of Maryland a short time later. Tate is big and rangy, at 6'4 and 210 lbs. His stats aren't completely out-of-this world (about 500 yds and 6 TDs), but he's definitely an athlete and a consensus top-five player in Maryland.

It seemed like the deciding factors were location, the opportunity to work with a retooled offense, and just feeling like he fit in. Another bonus was that his parents liked Maryland.

Here's the video:

Also, Matt Bracken did a little interview, and here's the parts I appreciated:

Favorite music: Aaliyah

Favorite movie: The Bodyguard

Favorite TV show: Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse, cartoons

Favorite thing about College Park:
“Chipotle. That’s the spot.”

Fascinating insights, indeed. Chipotle is probably the No. 1 thing about CP.

Also tomorrow, the Terps men play Georgia Tech tomorrow. The Yellow Jackets are 5th in the conference in offense, but dead last in defense and FG% defense. By contrast, Maryland is No. 1 in both of those categories. GT is a spot below us in the conference standings, so it's important to win to start distancing ourselves from the rest of the mediocre ACC pack.

Let's get a win - Go Terps.