Thursday, January 27, 2005

FEAR THE TURTLE!!!

Just when I thought the Maryland's season was headed towards the gutter, Gary Williams motivates his team and pulls the biggest upset of the week and maybe even the year. The Terps came into last night's game against Duke with an 11-5 record and a 2-3 record in the ACC. With games in the next month against Georgia Tech, at North Carolina State, Duke, and UNC, I presumed that the Terps were going to fall under the pressure of playing in the ACC. But the Terps proved me wrong. They went into one of the hardest places to play in college basketball in Cameron Indoor Stadium and emerged with a 75-66 victory.

My friend Jim earlier in the day had told me that the Terps were going to win by 2. I responded back that the Blue Devils were going to kill Maryland and win by at least 15. The funny thing about this is that Jim knows basically nothing about college basketball (sorry Jim). Last night, I was watching the game in my friend George's room and I could not believe that the Terps had a lead in the first half. I totally expected a blowout in this game. The Terps held tough, and played great defense against a team that can really shoot from outside. As the game was about to end with a minute left I started IM'ing Jim like crazy telling him I could not believe what I was seeing. The convo went like this:

"This is UNBELIEVABLE"
"I cannot believe what I'm seeing."
"This is great."
"You were right."

Come to find out a few minutes later, that Jim had no idea why I was IM'ing him. He was not watching the game, and had no idea what was happening. This proves two points: anything can happen in a given college basketball game, and although I watch a TON of college basketball, I can be wrong in my predictions of college basketball games. This is why I love college basketball. Heck, an 8-9 Providence team can within a three pointer by Donnie McGrath that would have sent the game into OT against an undefeated Boston College.

The win by Maryland last night was great for two simple reasons: I like Maryland and I hate Duke. My love for Maryland started in 2000 when they had Juan Dixon, Steve Blake and Lonny Baxter among others. Steve Blake was my favorite college basketball player for the 4 years he was with the Terps. It was also during this time that I developed my hate for Duke. I respect them as a team, and I think Coach K is an excellent coach, but they have beaten Maryland several teams in the past few years in crucial games. There was the game where Maryland lead by 10 with under a minute left, until Jay Will took over the game and lead Duke to an OT victory. There was the 2001 Final Four where the Terps had a 20 point lead over Duke in the first half only to see Duke come back and win the game and the National Championship. The last few years the Terps are the team taking the important games from the Blue Devils. Last year in the ACC tournament the Terps were down by 12 with 3 and half minutes to go, only to be lead by John Gilchrist to a victory and an ACC tournament championship the next day. That string of four days in the ACC tournament prompted me to look for a Maryland tee shirt and I almost ended up buying the Fear the Turtle tee shirt. And then last night, with Duke being only one of three undefeated teams left, the Terps went into Cameron and beat Duke.

The conference season is still not even half way through, so the Terps still do have some important games that they most win to get into the tourney, but this win is by far their biggest win of the season and hopefully will lead to big wins down the road.

Matt

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