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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

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