Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Embarrassed at Cameron

When I appeared on Bob Haynie's radio show on WNST 1570 in Baltimore on Monday, he asked me what I expected to happen in tonight's Maryland-Duke game. Instinctively, I answered, "Hell if I know." I gathered myself enough to predict a ten-point Duke victory. I was a tad off-Duke won 76-52.

Being a Maryland fan, I would have liked my team's chances if I had known in advance that J. J. Redick would make only 4-13 shots from three-point range and 9-22 overall. I also would have felt positive knowing Maryland would grab 21 offensive rebounds.

However, if I'd had any inkling the Terps would turn the ball over 29 times, including 18 in the first half, I probably would have watched the Style channel instead. Shelden Williams' triple-double, only the third in Duke history, insured the game would be a rout.

I kept an eye on the second half, waiting for that one desperate run that Maryland would make to at least scare the Cameron Crazies. I'm still waiting because the Blue Devils were never threatened.

I was prepared for a Duke win, but I was not anywhere near ready to watch my team be totally unable to handle the Blue Devil's aggressive defense. Each pass was an adventure, each attempt at driving the lane or making an entry pass was fraught with peril, often resulting in a turnover or one of Williams' ten blocked shots.

Now what? Hell if I know. Maryland is now 1-2 in the ACC with both losses coming on the road--in itself no big deal. They way the Terps have lost, however, IS a big deal. Their next game, Sunday night at home vs. Wake Forest, becomes critical. Unfortunately for Maryland, the Deacons will come in feeling the same way. Wake is 0-2 in the ACC, dropping an overtime game at Clemson after being blown out at home by Duke.

Terps' coach Gary Williams must find the right button to push to reach his team again, balancing between the abuse they sorely deserve and the encouragement they desperately need. If he fails to do so, Maryland's season will be teetering on the brink.


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