Sunday, February 22, 2009
Yesterday afternoon a graphic kept flashing across the bottom of the Maryland-UNC game. It was every major win by an ACC team over a top 10 ACC opponent. Even UVA had one. But next to MD there was a question mark. Every time it came up I felt the need to just shake my head. It was a huge gaping hole in an already very questionable resume for a NCAA bid. Maryland wasn't even on the bubble before yesterday. Then it all changed with a yellow clad, red hot Greivis Vasquez.
With the first triple double for Maryland since 1987, he kept the Terps in the game in the first half until someone else managed to hit a shot. The Terps who hadn't led all game managed to tie it up and send the game into overtime with 76 points. But Maryland managed to step it up in OT. And walked away from the #3 ranked UNC with a huge win 88-85.
All of a sudden Maryland is back to 6-6 in the ACC. Two of their next four games are very winnable, with UVA and NCST coming up. If they can win those, they become a legitimate bubble team by finishing 8-8 in the ACC. If they can also pull an upset against Duke or Wake Forest, a tourney bid becomes a real possibility. This erratic season is killing me but I have no intention of complaining if they can come back from the dead and make something happen.
Less than a month ago I was mourning the death of the Maryland season, Gary Williams and Debbie Yow were having a very public feud about recruiting and the Terps had suffered there worst loss in years against a hated Duke team. They couldn't hold onto leads in the second half, and everyone just seemed demoralized. But somehow this team made it through all that and started working its way back to .500. I keep giving up on them and they keep coming back and giving me hope. This is why no matter how bad they are I can't seem to abandon them. I can't stop watching.
This undersized team seems to have a big heart. Next year with a legitimate big man hopefully they will be a force to be reckoned with. But this season might have renewed my faith in Gary. Let's see if they can continue to rise to the challenge and maybe even make the tourney. I'm giddy with anticipation.
Photo: AP/Rob Carr found at ESPN.com