Wake-Maryland: When Winning Feels Like Losing

1/15/2008 10:04:27 PM The Sling Box is back in action, although it is with less excitement that I tuned in tonight. This past weekend's loss at Va Tech was a watershed moment for me and the rest of Terp nation. The goal of an NCAA berth is, barring a miracle, out of reach. The hole is now too deep to climb out from.

Tonight, Maryland should have beaten Wake Forest by 15 points, yet we were in a dogfight until the end. The freshman don't know what to do in the offensive sets. Compound that with a shoot first, out-of-control point guard and the result is ugly.

At least Billy Packer was announcing the game. Yeesh.

For me the most telling sequence of the game occurred with Maryland up 51-38. Coming off a Wake Forest time out, Maryland turned the ball over multiple times (Vasquez played a crucial part) and gave up 7 points in under a minute of play. It was as if the Terps said, "Ha-Ha, we fooled you into thinking that we know what we are doing! Don't you know, we suck?"

Before I go on, I have to devote three paragraphs to Greivis Vasquez.

His performance tonight was truly epic. Find me another player who can have a terrible game while scoring 22 points? I desperately want to know what goes through his mind. Here's a typical scenario: the Terps are up 11 points, the game clock is under 5 minutes, and there is Vasquez launching threes with 28 seconds on the shot clock!

What is he trying to prove? You play to win the game! What is the point of trying to stick a three-point dagger at that juncture of the game? Work the clock and get the ball to Gist in the paint. Unreal! It's not that hard and yet for Vasquez, these obvious game situations prove impossible for him to manage.

Will Vasquez ever learn? If he plans on playing professionally (notice I didn't say NBA), he best figure out how to control his emotions and make better decisions. At this point, I'll settle for average decisions. Good decisions are light-years away for him.

Can you imagine Gary Williams' level of frustration? Jason McAlpin was playing crunch time minutes tonight. Please read that last sentence again. Are the freshman so inept that Gary literally had to go to the end of the bench to find someone who could play his way? Jason McAlpin? Are you kidding me? I didn't even know what he looked like until tonight.

The only thing the Terps do well is play defense. That's it. In particular, Osby and Gist are truly gifted shot blockers. Fortunately, good defense will keep you in most games, but it can only take you so far.

Remember when being in the game was a given? Now, a loss to UNC is so inevitable that just being close will feel like a victory. The worst part is that they are not even fun to watch. The brand of hoops being played is as ugly as it is ineffective.

The nightmare continues with our trip to the Dean Dome this weekend. It's about to get worse.
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