The Terps of Dangerfield

3/4/2007 5:13:33 PM Maryland's 20 point win yesterday felt more like surgery than a game. NC State could not compete. Everything seemed like a methodical march to inevitability. Jones and Strawberry were unstoppable. Forcing their will on to their opponents. Yet, there were the freshman. Cool and focused decision makers. Dishing out dimes as needed and not turning the ball over once in the second half. The big men have come along too. Like a caterpillar to a butterfly, the Terps have completed the transfomation from also-ran to full-fledged juggernaut.

Maryland fulfilled reader Kaze's prophecy on Saturday. They won out. Yesterday's win completed what is arguably the most improbable run in school history. Sure, there are Terp teams from days gone by that have had longer winning streaks (most recently the 2002 squad), but there have been precious few that have pulled off the metamorphosis of our 2007 version.

Gary has accomplished what every coach dreams about. He molded freshman and seniors to form a team that was greater than the sum of its parts. The best part of this is that for the Terp faithful, we got to watch and be a part of what might be the most exciting and satisifying event in all of sports: an unexpected season. These last three weeks have been as memorable as they have been unprecedented. For that, we owe everyone associated with this team our gratitude.

Much will be made over the coming days about post-season awards. Dave Leitao (or is it Dan? Actually, who cares?) looks to be the front runner for Coach of the Year. Sure, UVA swept the Terps this season and they finished a game ahead in the standings. That is likely to put Leitao over the top. No matter. We know better. All things being equal, if given the chance, Gary will out-coach Leitao when it matters most.

Actually, it will be fitting if Gary doesn't get the award. No Terp player will find their way on to the ACC first team, nor will Vasquez win Freshman of the Year. Deep down, I think that is how Gary wants it. I think there is no better motivator for this team than to be ignored. Why not have that start at the top with Gary? Respect? Who needs it?

Quietly, the Terps are the most feared team in the conference and a dark horse Final Four candidate. The longer we go unnoticed, the better.

As I watch the UNC - Duke game, I'm torn. Sure, I'd love the Terps to get the bye in the ACC Tourney, but that means we would likely play Carolina in the Quarterfinals. However I had Zen-like realization a I watched the game. Instead of worrying about who the Terps are playing; other teams are worried about playing us. You think Carolina wants any part of the Terps right now? Let the chips fall where they may. Our boys will be ready.

In terms of respect, it may come this week. I would expect the Terps to find themselves in the Top 15. Anything less, and the Rodney Dangerfield show will continue its uninterrupted run in College Park.
blog comments powered by Disqus