I don’t think it is an understatement to say the Terps possibly saved their season last night. It was ugly (again!), but the fact of the matter is that this was a resume builder for the Big Dance. If NC State truly is the class of the ACC (and only time will tell), then this W could very well be the difference between dancing, and holding up the wall come March.
And that is what made Len’s basket so big. If that doesn’t fall, where are we? We are screwed. Throw in UNC waiting for us in Chapel Hill, and the alternate outcome could have turned even the stoutest of Terp supporters into Chicken Little. But Howard’s….well whatever it was, he’s says pass, my eyes say shot, worked. And the Terps had their biggest tip in, even if it wasn’t really a tip in, since a young skinny kid from the Virginia Tidewater beat Duke in what will forever be known as the “Flu Game”.
Not to digress, but what a game that was. What made it even more memorable was that despite living on campus, the only way both of us could follow it was via radio, as we were both freshman, and living in a cable-less dorm. To students now days, a cable-less dorm doesn’t mean everything was wireless, it means you had three TV stations to choose from and maybe four if you had a nice piece of tinfoil and a window with the correct exposure. Man does it shock me to see how much the world has changed in what seems like the brief time I’ve been out of school. Heck back then we still wrote letters to people….honest to God LETTERS!
Anyway, enough of the grandpa routine, huge win for the Terps. Alex Len shook off the rust from the Miami game and justified the ticket money spent by the NBA scouts. Sure he didn’t light up the stats sheet (10 points 6 boards) but he did what it took to win, and more importantly for a future NBA big man, went 4-4 from the foul line.
Some other stats that stick out, no other Terp scored in double digits. Shaq Cleare had 8, and Seth Allen had 9, but that was it. Also the outside shooting was suspect, with the Terps only making 3 of 18 (NC State switching to zone really exposed that weakness to say the least!). But the Terps have shown their strength lies in rebounding, and though the margin was tight (45-41) they once again out boarded their opponent. Yes, only by four, but the difference between a resume win, and a “How did we let that slip away” lose was one point, so those 4 boards are big.
Next up, the Terps will travel to UNC for I believe the final time, ever. Or at least a while. So all you Maryland fans with the Maryland is too BIG for the ACC shirts, don’t come crying to me when the UNC-Terps rivalry ends. Enjoy this one, and start gearing up for those passion fueled PSU-Rutgers Basketball games….idiots! Ok, that was a little inappropriate, but to reiterate, I hate leaving the ACC and anyone who had anything to do with the decision, and time doesn’t seem to be healing that wound.