Saturday, March 7, 2009

Virginia Crashes Maryland's Party

Even after Maryland lost to Wake Forest, their resume still suggested they would make the tournament as long as they took care of business. But like last year, Virginia used their senior night to spoil Maryland's chances. They won 68-63 in Charlottesville, again putting Maryland in dire straits, now looking at their fourth NIT in five years.

The problems were obvious. The bench barely contributed. The three-point shooting was abysmal. They only went to the line six times while their opponents went 24. They could not take advantage of a team that had double their turnovers. Maryland did not make good decisions on the court in clutch time, which led to bad shooting.

But overall, Maryland had to win this game so their would not be many questions about the team and their NCAA resume, instead they pick up a huge loss to a now 10-17 team and must perform very well in the ACC Tournament, where they have not won a game in the last two years. Now at 18-12 and 7-9 in the conference, with their Michigan State and UNC wins hit hard by losses to Morgan State and Virginia, it will take a huge undertaking to convince the committee to put Maryland in.

This is typical of Maryland. They choose not to prepare enough for the lesser teams, and though they have gotten away with it a number of times, once in a while it bites them. Last year Ohio and American, this year Mongan State and Virginia. Sometimes losses happen, but the great teams rebound and get back into contention. Kansas lost to UMass earlier in the season, a terrible loss, but they have rebounded and are now #9 in the nation. But this is typical of Maryland football and basketball, they do not get ready for games they should win easily. Maryland wins today and they look good. They didn't, and now they look terrible. They had a good shot, and like the shooters in the Virginia game, they missed.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

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