Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Miami Vice

Looks like Ed Rios has run afoul of Miami head coach Frank Haith again and has been suspended indefinitely. It probably won't be a critical loss though I think point guard Lance Hurdle is a real weak spot for the Hurricanes and without Rios available in case Hurdle struggles it could leave Haith with few backcourt options. Besides senior Jack McClinton the only other true guards on the squad are Hurdle and James Dews. DeQuan Jones and Adrian Thomas are more wing players than true guards and wouldn't be able to provide much ball handling if they were needed. Miami obviously won at Boston College without Rios but then again Harvard also can claim that. Haith likes to spread his minutes around but if Maryland can keep the game close in the 2nd half it will bear watching if fatigue will become a factor for Miami's guards.

The physical frontline of the Hurricanes poses significant problems for the duo of Dave Neal and Landon Milbourne. In recent meetings the soft Maryland frontcourts of Ekene Ibekwe and James Gist got pushed around and abused by Miami's under skilled but relentless rebounders. Forwards Dwayne Collins and Cyrus McGowan are two of the better offensive rebounders in the ACC and it will probably require the efforts of Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory to keep them off the boards. It would be great to see Jerome Burney, who made a surprise appearance last season at Miami, to get back on the court even if only for a handful of minutes. The low post double teams and sagging perimeter defense that the Terps have played to help out Dave Neal and Milbourne will be deadly against Miami's 3-point shooting. Unfortunately Miami is configured to take advantage of Maryland's weaknesses very well.

The one bright spot for the Terps is that Miami can be rattled with pressure and will turn the ball over. They don't play particularly good defense either but Maryland will have to find its shooting touch to take advantage and be able to set up their full court press.

Gary Williams had a talk with Vasquez after the taunting incident during the Georgia Tech game and let the junior know he could not react to fans like he did on Saturday. It is good that the team can get away from College Park this week, they will stay in Florida to play FSU on Saturday, and not be distracted by the controversy. My guess is that Vasquez will either have one of his best games of the year against Miami, or one of his worst. As I wrote after the game Vasquez can't let himself be distracted by the fans, especially the home crowd, because it can effect his decision making. Why you would go to a game to boo your own team I'll never be able to understand but Maryland has no shortage of those kinds of fans.

If you start tallying the exploits of fans at Maryland over the last eight years or so you don't see a pretty picture. For some reason Maryland supporters seem to have a "little state" inferiority complex and have decided to embrace their outlaw reputation with enthusiasm. Unfortunately it neither helps their team win nor does it make the University look good. This group of fans has drawn most of its recent fame for destructive riots, hurling objects at the parents of opposing players, showing off a limited four letter vocabulary on national television and even booing a team that made it to the first Final Four in the history of the program. Once your program stops winning regularly those fans that were once considered "rowdy" and "hostile" start to look merely stupid and crude. It is only a matter of time before that nasty edge was directed at the Terrapin players themselves. It is a pity because it just reinforces the already poor opinion regarding Maryland fans among the rest of the ACC schools. The only thing Maryland leads the ACC in these days is a bad reputation. At some point the line between passionate support and uncouth hooliganism has disappeared at Comcast Center. Perhaps that is an unfortunate side effect of winning a national title and drawing in many of the worst kinds of fans (and the kinds of students that pick a school because they have a good basketball team) but regardless of what Gary Williams, Debbie Yow or especially Greivis Vasquez say or do the behavior of the fans is the responsibility of the fans alone. There are no excuses or justifications for heckling your own team no matter how the program has struggled or how much money you pay for tickets. Maryland fans are no worse than the average college basketball fanbase, but certainly not among the best. It is time that Terrapin fans drop the brattiness and self importance and get back to supporting the the basketball program they claim to love.


FREDTERP said...

Esq well said. FREDTERP

xfreestater said...

A significant number of MD fans seem to equate vulgar and abusive conduct that borders on hysteria with passionate support. It is amazing to me that there are people who will attempt to justify such appalling behavior by noting that the program has declined significantly, as if frustration is an excuse. Small children often throw a temper tantrum when things don’t quite go the way they want as well. Behave with some dignity and maturity for goodness sake!