Thoughts on Tournament Eve

3/7/2007 10:12:11 PM If Virginia or Va Tech advance to the ACC Final, Maryland will have the opportunity to avenge at least three (potentially four if UVA advances) losses from earlier in the year. Now granted, this will require four straight wins including a neutral site victory against UNC; but the fact that this discussion is not pure fantasy is a testament to the quality and confidence our Terrapins have displayed over the last month.

I cannot emphasize enough how much Gary Williams deserves ACC Coach of the Year. Look how much the team has improved this season. That is the definition of coaching. It's the same players as the ones who sucked in January. The difference is that they are now playing as a team. Gary's finest performance ever.

I laughed this week as I thought about playing Miami. Just about every Terp fan looked at that loss back in January and thought that it would be the loss that kept us out of the Tournament. Who could have imagined that it would have been the loss that kept the Terps from earning a share of the ACC Regular Season Title?

Of course we should know better than to play through those kind of scenarios in our heads. I think everyone would agree that we don't get the joys of February without the despair of January. The loss to Miami, as it turned out, was an essential part of the maturation process. In an odd way, the Terps and their fans should be grateful for our seven losses. They have made us contenders.

Tomorrow, we get to thank Miami in style. While we are at it, I expect an equally inspiring "thank you" for Boston College on Friday. Anything beyond that is too hard to guess. I will say this: whomever beats the Terrapins this weekend, will have earned the title.

Before I sign off for the night, I'd like to take one last parting shot at Duke. If they lose tomorrow, here is my argument for sending them to the NIT:

- Their non conference wins look less impressive every day. Air Force looks atrocious. Indiana couldn't beat anyone on the road all year. Gonzaga, Temple, St. Johns? All having bad years. The only quality win is Georgetown.

- Aside from a sweep against a reeling Boston College, none of Duke's ACC wins came against teams with a winning conference record.

- Duke is 4-6 in their last 10 games.

- Take away the officiating gift against Clemson and Duke would have finished the ACC Season 7-9.

If Duke loses tomorrow and Fla St. or Clemson can advance to the semis, I say the ACC gets seven teams in the Dance and Duke should stay home. I know it will never happen but it absolutely should.
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