Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last night college basketball season tipped off with Duke beating some cupcake team. I know that's how big college programs start their seasons in every sport. Whatever, I'm fine with that, I like to see a win in the season opener as much as anyone. And with the Maryland team this year, we're going to need all the cupcake teams we can get, or maybe not.
Last season, Maryland gave up some easy wins to not very good teams, including American and Ohio. Yet, they managed to beat UNC while healthy, one of the few teams to do that. I fear that Maryland basketball might suffer the same problems as Maryland football, they play to the level of their opponent and forget to show up sometimes. This is a young team that is lacking in leadership and big men. Yes, they have Vasquez and Hayes as solid guard options, and that new freshman who was magically declared eligible, but this is a team that is going to struggle with consistency.
I know I'm sounding pessimistic again, as I tend to do at the beginning of any season for a team I follow, but lets be fair. I haven't had a reason to be optimistic before any season started this year. And with the Terps missing the NCAA Tournament 3 out of the last 4 years, and having an epic collapse last year, can I really get excited. I'd rather be surprised if Maryland does well than disappointed if they play terribly.
I believe that the ACC is the best conference in college basketball. Yeah, some people will argue that the Big East is the best, but I think they lose credibility when they have so many teams, they can't all play in the Big East tournament. The ACC was a little weaker than normal last year, but it's still a force to be reckoned with. And with 6 teams from the ACC ranked in the top 40 on rivals.com and 7 teams in the top 65.
This seems to be yet another rebuilding year for Maryland. Though I hope Gary will be able to motivate the team to somehow make the tournament. I'm tired of getting excited only to wind up watching the NIT every year. I'd rather go out in the first round to the Tourney than go deep in the NIT. And I think most people would agree.
I'm not going to make any preseason predictions as to what the Terps record is going to be. I really haven't put that much effort into analyzing the schedule and looking at how other teams are doing. And I really just have no idea what's going to happen. Maybe, Gary will get his alcoholic ass together and be able to motivate this young team and coach them into solid play, while showing the fans and alumni that there is a lot of upside for this young talent. And maybe, Gary will get so drunk he'll pass out mid game, leading everyone to think he finally had that heart attack everyone sees coming. Or maybe, he'll actually have a heart attack during an ACC game. Really, I can see any of these possibilities happening.
One thing I'm pretty certain of though, this whole, I won a Championship seven years ago routine is not going to fly much longer if the Terps keep missing the tournament. Maryland fans expect this team to be competitive every year and are getting tired of going to the NIT. If Gary doesn't turn things around this season, a lot more people will be calling for his head.
Photo: AP and found on the Baltimore Sun website