Terps tank is empty

March 11, 2008 |

Sunday nights have not been kind to the Terps men’s basketball team these past two weeks. After the second half meltdown at Comcast Center vs. Clemson last Sunday, Maryland had a week to rest, prepare and take their show on the road to UVA for the season finale. Scratch out a road win and they keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.

As Lee Corso likes to say, “Not so fast, my friends”. The Terps took a one point lead into the locker room at half time, but, once again, faded down the stretch and suffered a lopsided 91-76 loss in Charlottesville.

Greivis Vasquez filled the stat sheet as he usually does, with 16 points, 9 assists and only 3 turnovers. The bench provided some productive minutes led by Adrian Bowie’s 15 points and Cliff Tucker’s 4 assists.

James Gist (6 points) and Bambale “Boom” Osby were in foul trouble. Several reports say that both Gist and Eric Hayes were battling a flu-like virus which may explain the team’s dreadful second half performance. When your starters go down, you need to have an experienced bench to pick up the slack. Maryland is seriously lacking in that department.

The loss leaves the Terps at 18-13 (8-8, 6th place ACC).  The ACC tournament starts on Thursday, and depending on who you listen to, Maryland needs 2 or 3 wins to sniff a tournament bid (a four game sweep and an ACC championship trophy would be nice…)

They have a favorable matchup in the first round against 11th seed Boston College, if someone can even half-way contain Eagles guard Tyreese Rice. If Maryland wins on Thursday, they get the grudge rematch on Friday night against 3rd seed Clemson, a team they match up well against. Get to Saturday, and Maryland is looking at a possible showdown with Duke, a very good, but not unbeatable team.

Here’s the problem. Maryland peaked in January and hasn’t played well in over a month. They could just as easily play an uninspired game, run out of gas in the second half (again…) and lose to BC on Thursday night. That’s the current state of Maryland basketball. The players appear physically and mentally worn out.

I’m a “glass is half full” person, but Maryland is much closer to “earning” another disappointing trip to the NIT, than gaining a berth to the NCAA Tournament.     

Let’s see if Gary Williams can fool us all and pull a rabbit out of the hat in Charlotte…

Congrats to Greivis Vasquez and James Gist who were named second team all-ACC. Gist was also named first team all-ACC defense.