Monday, December 05, 2005

Should Maryland play in the BB&T?

To be blunt the answer to the above question is "no". Putting aside the money that the event raises for local charities for moment, from a pure basketball standpoint Maryland has nothing to gain from participating in this event. The Terps already play in the preeminent college basketball conference in America and get plenty of marquee national games as a result. Any program would jump at the chance to have a home and home series with Maryland. Maryland has nothing to gain from playing someone like George Washington, if they win everyone shrugs their shoulders, if they lose it is seen as a big upset. Forget about GW being ranked #19, no one across the country really believes that the Colonials are one of the top 20 programs in the nation. High profile teams are willing to come to the MCI center for the chance to play Maryland on a "neutral" court and that is the only reason. They don't come to play a team that barely matters in its home city let alone anywhere else.

With the BB&T becoming an all local event this year it makes even less sense for Maryland to participate. Unless this changes for next season I don't see Maryland participating. I don't have any interest in cultivating a rivalry like the Big Five in Philadelphia. You can't manufacture that kind of thing in the first place and moreover I could care less about GW or Georgetown. There are few if any ties between the schools and frankly neither are on Maryland's level. Georgetown may be able to build something under Thompson, but GW will always be a 2nd tier A-10 program. Maryland has enough great rivalries in the ACC and it doesn't need to create any more just because it would be neat for the "locals".

The Washington Post had a funny article about the BB&T and GW's obsession with Maryland. I suppose it is a natural result of the fact that Maryland is the preeminent local sports power, probably second only to the Redskins, and GW can hardly get a blurb in the sports section. Given that the GW students are dimwitted rich kids from New York and New Jersey it makes even more sense. During the Boston University game the students started chanting "We want Maryland!" and cheered when the score was posted showing Maryland behind to Minnesota. That shows the contrast in the programs only too starkly. Maryland was playing a nationally televised game against a Big Ten team that had made the NCAAs last year while GW can't get a major school to play them except in an away game. There is no rivalry with GW. Maryland always has far bigger goals than beating GW, such as winning the ACC or a national title, but for the Colonials it is normally the biggest game of their season. It must foster some bitterness when the highlight of your basketball season comes in December every year.

Dookie Miracle
Lost in all the hoopla surrounding Sean Dockery's last second heave that beat Virginia Tech the other night was how ordinary the Dookies looked. Against a totally over matched Hokies squad the Blue Devils shuffled through the game like zombies and yet developed a double digit lead with only a handful of minutes left in the game. The offense was lethargic and the defense porous. Sheldon Williams, in spite of 21 points and 19 rebounds, has been in some kind of funk this year. He isn't the dominant defensive player he was last season. The new players on Duke don't appear to have any sense of what their roles are and Paulus and McRoberts have struggled as a result. JJ Redick still chucks up shots he has no business taking and with Demarcus Nelson out Duke is suffering from a real lack of athleticism. They certainly don't look like the #1 team in the nation and I have a feeling we'll see that when the go to play Texas.

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