I am moving forward from yesterdays huge debacle. I have not looked at a boxscore or even an article about the game. I saw all I needed to see, and I ready to move on to Tuesdays game against BC. I am not giving up on the season, but things have to change quickly.
I was starting to think, the entire program puts beating Duke on such a pedestal, that sometimes that defines our season. There was a time where we are almost at the top of the peak as a perennial power, and the only thing that was stopping us was the dreaded four letter word. D-U-K-E. Then we had some success against them, we ripped down football goal post, burned some stuff, and all of the sudden we became obsessed, like that is truly what defines a season. I myself admit, I got sucked into that excitement. I lived for beating them for so many reasons we don’t need to go into. After the national championship, a lot of my fondest memories about Maryland Basketball are from beating Duke. It is obvious the students only care about Duke and Carolina. I never slept out for a game against Clemson, even though they were a top 5 team while I was in school. I never slept out for Wake tickets, when Tim Duncan was dominating the ACC. Why?
The Comcast Center looks like a WWF event when Duke or Carolina rolls into town. Everyone gets fired up, the stars all show up, and the place is rocking with signs about anything to try and get in their heads. Game Day has been there, Cal Ripken shows up. It is the biggest draw in the DC metro area when they come to town.
Well, I decided to take a look at how we have done against the ACC since the 2003-2004 season including ACC Tournament games. I selected that time since I kind of feel that is where the end of the talent from our National Championship team ended. In that time span (including yesterday) we are 5-8 against Duke. That is not bad. You would think if you were that good against a team that finished 1st, 3rd, 1st, 6th, and 2nd in the ACC, we too should be a team that is consistently a top 25 team. Let’s take a look at Carolina as well. We are 3-5 against them. Again not bad against a team that has finished 5th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, and 1st in the conference. That is a combined 8-13, but that is against two of the elite teams in the country. I would call that fairly successful. So why have we struggled to get into the tournament the last few years? Looking back through that stretch, we are 9-2 against UVA. That is pretty good. UVA has finished 7th, 10th, 8th, tied for 1st, and 10th. You would expect a team that is a power to beat up on a team that has been toward the bottom of the standings for the last few years. Maryland also has a 6-2 record against Georgia Tech. They have finished tied for 3rd, tied for 4th, 11th, tied for 6th, and tied for 7th. I would say they were kind of middle of the pack. Against Wake Forrest we are 5-3 in that stretch. Wake finished tied for 3rd, 2nd, 12th, 11th, and tied for 7th. About what you would expect. That leaves us with Clemson 4-5. They have a 9th (last), 8th, tied for 7th, tied for 8th, anda 3rd place finish. The killer was 2004-2005, where Clemson was 3-11 in the ACC against teams not named Maryland. We also lost in the first round of the ACC tournamnet to them. That year we finished 7-9 in the conference. That makes all those Clemson games look like “Big” games to me. We are 6-4 vs NCST in that time period. This kind of surprised me. I feel like they have been toward the bottom of the pack, and should have a better percentage against them. Let’s see where they finished: 2nd, T6th, 4th, T10, T11. So they have been up and down lately.
That concludes the teams we have a winning record against. The rest we all have losing records against, starting with our 3 new friends from the Big East. We are 2-6 against Miami, 2-4 against Boston College, and 2-4 against Virginia Tech. That makes us a grand total of 6-14 against teams that no one in their right mind would consider college basketball powers. So we are 5 games under .500 against Carolina and Duke, and 8 games under against VT, BC, and Miami. If you want to make it worse, throw Florida State in the mix, we are only 4-5 against them. Here are the finishes for those preceding teams: T 7th (FSU 03-04), 04-05 VT T4, UM T6, FSU 11th (last), 05-06 BC 3rd, FSU 5th, UM T7th, VT 10th. 2006-2007 brings us: VT and BC T3 (with MD), FSU 9th, Miami 12th, and finally last year: VT 4th, UM 5th, FSU 7th, and BC T11th. So a quick glance at those four schools, and they are generally middle of the pack and down, with the occasional higher finishes. For the most part though I would consider them middle of the pack at best.
What does all this mean? Well lets forget about Carolina and Duke for now. We are not in their category. We were once, and we could be again, but for the time being, we are not. Sure it is a huge win to beat them, but look at our record against these other teams. Some of those loses also could have been huge wins. Tournament birth sealing wins if we could have just pulled them out. So I am proposing for Tuesday’s “big” game against BC you get all your fun signs out. You get loud and get on them from the beginning. I propose you students who “scan and leave” stay for the whole game and make Comcast a home crowd advantage. Sure it would have been nice to beat beat Duke at Cameron and see all those dorks go home as losers, but losing at HOME to BC will be a bigger loss. So get there early and let Tyrice Rice and company know what Maryland Basketball is all about. Until we can consistently beat these middle and lower tier teams, beating Duke and Carolina is just another win. And last time I checked they all count the same in the win column. After all, every single one of those teams are ACC teams, and it is the best basketball conference in the country.