Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Final Four

I've been a little under the weather lately so this won't be as long as normal.

Maryland outlasted TCU 85-73 at Comcast on Saturday. The game was much closer than the final score indicated. Maryland held a razor thin 69-68 advantage with 5 minutes left in the game. They pulled away with the help of 8 points by Nik Caner-Medley and salted the game away with 6 straight free throws by Chris McCray. TCU shot a ghastly 34% from the field in the 2nd half and only 18% (2-11) from 3-point range. I'm sure some will look at Medley's 20 points and assume he had a great game, when in reality part of the reason the game was so close until the closing minutes was that he had played so poorly for most of the game. He was totally unable to play the smaller TCU three guard with straight man defense which contributed to the Horned Frogs shooting 50% from outside in the first half. He has always been a defensive liablility and will continue to be so for the rest of his time at Maryland.

Sterling Ledbetter was shaky at times but again played well when Maryland needed him to. He struggled guarding Corey Santee, who finished with 21 points, but limited him to only 6 points in the 2nd half. McCray, Garrison, Mike Jones and Ibekwe all contributed solid performances in the win as Maryland shot almost 50% from the field.


Maryland has played in the friendly confines of Comcast the last three games and relied on an up tempo style that wore out smaller teams in the 2nd half. South Carolina is used to playing a faster pace in the SEC and will not wilt in the 2nd half like the other opponents did. Maryland will have to control its turnovers and contain Carlos Powell (16.4 ppg 6.5 rebounds) to come away with a victory. Even with Powell underneath Maryland will enjoy a rebounding advantage and is a better free throw shooting team. USC will rely on scrappy defense and hope to keep the game in the 60s.


Notes
So that is what my Terrapin Club dues pay for...
Maryland's "Fear the Turtle" team bus has a DirectTV hookup so the team caught all the NCAA action on Sunday.

For a few of the players this was their first visit to New York City. I recommend Sarabeth's for breakfast and the Pizza Joint on the Upper West Side for the best burgers and pizza in the city. Having lived there for a few years I can tell you that Manhattan women will not be impressed that you play basketball unless it is for the Knicks, fellas.

The NIT semi-finalists all were treated to a reception at Tavern on the Green. Hope they enjoyed it.

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