Saturday, March 14, 2009

Maryland Keeping Its Tournament Hopes Alive

Who needs the regular season? This is the question that some basketball fans have been thinking while watching the madness start early this year in the conference tournaments. The Maryland Terrapins have certainly been a part of that, stunning the ACC with their convincing win over Wake Forest yesterday evening in which Greivis Vazquez nearly had a triple double and the Terps out-rebounded the taller and more athletic Demon Deacons.

It's very easy to say that this win was just a product of Greivis having another transcendent game, but it reminded me of the UNC game in that the rest of the team played exceptionally sound and smart basketball. They out-toughed Wake Forest from the opening tip and, unlike their previous matchup, forced Wake Forest into a litany of fouls. Maryland got to the free throw line, which has been their strength all season, and capitalized on Wake Forest's errors. Two names that I would like to throw out there for players who deserve commendation: Sean Mosley for finally stepping up offensively and playing a complete game, and Dino Gregory for his monumental improvement in play over the past few games. Dino Gregory has been a crucial part of both of Maryland's wins thus far in the ACC tournament, particularly against NCState where he grabbed a career high eight rebounds.

Now Maryland comes up against the hated Duke Blue Devils, with a scheduled tip off of 3:30 pm for a chance to go to the ACC tournament. Maryland possibly got themselves in with the win over Wake, but given the shrinking state of the bubble, I have serious doubts as to whether or not Maryland will be able to sneak in without a win today. Luckily for Maryland they have already played Duke twice, and they already have a blueprint for how to win. That blueprint being, play the same game they did against Wake except do not sag so much on defense. Maryland needs to get to the foul line, and play hard pressure defense. The Terps will need to play a perfect game to take down the Blue Devils, but they've shown that they're more than capable of doing that on any given day.

(Photo Credit: Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

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