Monday, December 20, 2004

Maryland 90, Florida State 88 OT

“Mike Jones saved our ass tonight” That was an email I received from my buddy Goodman. He’s right. Maryland won in overtime against a team that lost to the University of Texas Corpus Christi earlier this season. That is NOTHING to be proud of. As it stands now, Maryland stinks. We have two cupcake games for Gary to make some wholesale changes so we can prepare for some unbelievably difficult road tests against UNC and Wake. It’s a good thing we won tonight because I think an 0-3 start would be disastrous.

I was at the game tonight thanks to my buddy Pert. I’m grateful for those tix but Maryland’s “play” made me nauseous.

The night started off poorly. Thanks to everyone who was on the Beltway at around 5:30 tonight. No one in this fucking state knows how to drive. I don’t care if there are flurries. You can drive more than 30 mph on the beltway. I made it to the “Gigantic Advertisement for high speed Internet Center” right after the first TV timeout. The next 41 minutes of play were agonizing hell.

The fans have completely given up on Nik Caner-Medley. I probably need a day or two before I can speak rationally on the subject. But I will try nonetheless. NCM was so bad tonight; that there were times that Gary would have been better off pulling a Gene Hackman and rolling out four players. NCM had several airballs. Some of his shots were so bad that I seriously think he might need glasses. Things on the other side of the ball were just as bad. I have not seen a Terp get so consistently beaten on defense since Chris Kerwin (anyone remember that guy from our probation days?). Gary should be ashamed of his small forward.

I don’t know how many more times this can be said. Gary needs to bench NCM, move Chris McCray to small forward and start Mike Jones. For some inexplicable reason, Mike Jones remains a fixture on the bench. Why? Why? Why? Why? No Seriously? Why?

Finally after watching a team that had no one for Gilchrist to pass to for the entire second half; Gary inserted Mike Jones into the lineup for NCM in overtime. Mike Jones promptly hit a three (the first three that wasn’t from Gilchrist since 15 minutes left in the first half) to put the Terps up two with 1:30 left. What other evidence does Gary need to play this man?

I can’t stress this enough. If Gary doesn’t wise up and start playing Mike Jones, this team is going nowhere. He is the only Terp besides Gilchrist who can consistently hit from the outside.

The Terps have become so predictable on offense, it is sickening. Gilchrist is the only guy out there doing anything. Gist has potential, but at this early stage in his career he is one-dimensional.

The problem with Maryland is that we have guys who don’t complement each other. DJ Strawberry and Chris McCray have the same game. Ibekwe and Gist have the same game. Bowers has no game. Garrison (McDonald’s All-American) has disappeared (more on that later), and Mike Jones (McDonald’s All-American) doesn’t play. I don’t know another coach in America that would sit two McD’s AA’s and keep trotting out some slow white guy from Maine. . Gary, these guys were your top recruits for Chrissake.

Some more takeaways from the game:

• Hot girl always trumps cute baby in the “fan of the game” contest.
• The cheerleader coach for the Terps is a 20-something guy. I can’t describe the unintentional comedy of watching him tell the cheerleaders what to do and when. In the list of jobs that most likely make you gay, “cheerleader coach” has to be number 1, or at least number 2 behind starring in the movie “The Last Samurai”.
• The crowd was dead tonight. I blame the players on the court. They gave us no reason to cheer.
• James Gist has serious ups. He got hurt when he went up for a full court pass and he must have been 50 inches off the ground. I don’t know if I have ever seen a human being get that high off the ground.
• Gary needs to run some plays for Travis Garrison. He has a good medium range jumper. Run him off some baseline screens to get him open. It will free up the middle for Gilchrist’s drives. I have stressed this all-season and I’m getting tired of saying it. Between Garrison and Jones, the Terps should be getting 25-30 points a game. We are going nowhere unless these guys get involved. Get your head in the game, Gary. You have good players, use them!
• With Fofana now gone, the Terps are dangerously weak down low. We have no natural center aside from the artist formerly known as Mike Mardesich (Will Bowers). A strong breeze can push Ibekwe out of the lane. Garrison is our big banger and that’s it.
• Toyota needs to grow a pair. It’s hard enough for these students to win a car in the halftime shootout by hitting a lay-up, free throw, three pointer and half court shot in 25 seconds. Do you need to throw a fat girl up there? I mean this girl was airballing free throws. How was she going to hit a half court shot? Make it interesting, you corporate wusses.
• The Marylad State Police are mobilized and prepared for directing traffic out of the Comcast Center. I felt like I was in a Presidential motorcade as they blocked off traffic for cars leaving my garage. Why can’t they do anything else right?

A note from last week’s column about Maryland’s lack of famous alumni: A reader pointed out that Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm has surpassed Connie Chung as our most famous living alumni. Frankly, I’d be honored to have sit courtside and reenact the Curb episode where he trips Shaq during a game and puts him on the DL with a knee injury. Only instead of Shaq, it would be NCM. Now that is making a contribution to your alma mater.

In response to your latest posting on the quoting Gary Williams that "They had to play,” said Williams, who added that Jones’ shot likely will earn him more playing time." I respond with the following:

23 Mike Jones.......... 0-2 0-2 2-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 7

7 MINS against American??? what the hell is he thinking? I guess his clutch shot against FSU didnt earn him anything..I didnt see the game, but i can't imagine that the Terps played inspired ball the first 30 minutes of the game.
Can't agree more on NCM - he's a bum. NCM can play great against the Liberys' etc. but is no match for real competition. Jones needs to be more agressive when he's in the game. He needs to make things happen not wait for them. Gist should be taking NCM's time - we need real power inside. We need that Lonny Baxter turnaround J to keep the defenses honest and to help when we're not shooting well - which is more often than not. McCray is our best shooter - I don't think he can bang inside.
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