It was just over a year ago that I crafted THIS blog following Maryland’s win over then #1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Since that day, little has gone right for the Maryland basketball team (save a stunning win over Michigan State down in Orlando); and the struggles have taken their toll. Losses to Morgan State and Duke have been believed to be amongst the worst losses Gary Williams has suffered at Maryland. With that in mind; I figured I’d attempt to craft a list that I REALLY don’t want to remember.
The Ten Worst Losses of the Gary Williams era in College Park….
10-American 67, Maryland 59 (12/22/07; College Park, MD)
It was one thing to lose to American. It was another thing to lose to American after already suffering a TERRIBLE home loss 10 days earlier (see number 5). But it was absolutely unthinkable to be dominated by a Patriot League team at the Comcast Center the way the Terps were last season. Jeff Jones’ team outplayed the Terps in every aspect of the game, and clearly deserved to win.
9-Duke 95, Maryland 84 (3/31/01; Minneapolis, MN)
A loss in the Final Four isn’t always a terrible thing; as it certainly isn’t easy to make the Final Four. It was hurtful for the Terps to lose their 3rd of 4 to Duke in a single season; but it was the blown 22 point lead that made this one particularly painful for Maryland. It was the first taste of Final Four action for all of us who bleed Maryland red; and it was a tough one to swallow afterwards. The officiating was questionable at best; but it was Juan Dixon’s performance in the 2nd half that was even more questionable. He would have better days.
8-Morgan State 66, Maryland 65 (1/7/09; College Park, MD)
We don’t need much of a history lesson for this one. Maryland was done in Reggie Holmes’ 25 points; and Morgan State became the first in state school to beat Maryland in nearly 20 years (see number 6). A season of promise spiraled out of control after this one; and hasn’t really turned around yet.
7-Coppin State 70, Maryland 62 (12/12/89; College Park, MD)
If Gary Williams needed proof that this was going to be an uphill battle at his alma mater; the proof came VERY early in his tenure. The Eagles stunned the Terps at Cole Field House; and have not been invited back since. December 12th has been a bad day in Maryland history (See number 5).
6-St. John’s 76, Maryland 62 (3/18/99; Knoxville, TN)
With #1 seed Auburn being eliminated earlier in the night by Ohio State; everything was set up for 2nd seeded Maryland to finally make their first Final Four in school history. But a 20-0 run to close the first half would virtually guarantee Maryland’s season would come to an end. Rumor has it that Steve Francis used the 2nd half of the game to tell Red Storm players things like “At least I’ll be making money next year in the NBA!” (Francis was a junior). I guess it is debatable as to whether Francis’ or Ron Artest’s NBA career has been greater.
5-Ohio University 61, Maryland 55 (12/12/07; College Park, MD)
For those who said “At least Maryland hasn’t hit rock bottom”; this was about that bad. Non-conference home losses to teams like Florida were forgiveable; but there was nothing redeeming about a home loss to the Ohio Bobcats. Baltimore’s Leon Williams was the culprit; and he might never be forgiven.
4-UCLA 105, Maryland 70 (3/18/00; Minneapolis, MN)
It’s one thing to be blown out in a regular season game. It’s quite another thing to be blown out as a Number 3 seed in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Maryland did not appear as though they belonged on the same floor as the Bruins this particular night, and this was the beginning of the period of time where many people began to say “I’m just not sure Gary Williams can be the coach to take this team over the top.”
3-Florida State 74, Maryland 71 (2/14/01; College Park, MD)
Florida State brought a 6-17 (1-9 ACC) record into this one. It is known as the “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” The Terps hadn’t recovered from a certain debacle against Duke (see #2); and this was rock bottom. These weren’t the days when the Seminoles could beat anyone in the ACC. This was their first win in College Park since 1993. It was brutal. It shouldn’t have been close, but Maryland made a late run. They even had a chance to tie at the end. Did I mention this was brutal?
2-Duke 98, Maryland 96 (1/27/01; College Park, MD)
It is known as “Gone in 54 seconds.” When there were 54 seconds showing on the Cole Field House clock; Maryland held a totally insurmountable 90-80 lead. We all know what happened. Had the Ravens lost Super Bowl XXXV the next day; this would have easily gone down as the worst sports weekend of my life. But we know what happened, and it helped the pain. It also helped the pain to know that Maryland went on to make the Final Four this season.
1-Clemson 84, Maryland 72 (3/10/05; Washington, DC)
The only good that came from this game was that it was played in the middle of the afternoon on a Thursday. If you’re going to be executed, I guess it is only fair that you get the chance to put down painlessly. In the same season where Maryland beat hated Duke twice; it was their third loss to the Tigers that would put the nail in the coffin of their streak of 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Making things worse; an ACC Tournament celebration event was scheduled for that night with Tournament being played at the nearby Verizon Center. After the game, Clemson players joked that they would attend the party. They might have been the only ones….
Let’s hope we’ll talk about the next few weeks of Maryland basketball in a different light. Hope you dealt with these memories better than I did writing about them.
Talk to you this afternoon with a Maryland-Virginia Tech live blog.