Sunday, January 20, 2008


This ain’t no foolin’ around.


No sooner than the regular season starts than the “who’s going to the Big Dance” speculations revs up.

The prominent question in ACC circles has been who’s the #3 team behind North Carolina and Duke.

Pre-season polls tabbed NC State, but bad chemistry and a new offense has them reeling. Clemson’s inability to function under pressure or make free throws continues to inhibit their rise to the upper echelon. Miami, made a pre-ACC season run into the polls, but swooned on their first ACC road trip to Boston.

So right up until about 5:30pm Saturday afternoon Door #3 was still wide open.
Look who’s back -- Fear the Turtle.

Coach Gary Williams had to be pleased with the Terps best offensive and defensive performance all year.
We have watched the Terps (12-7, 2-2 ACC) play and most nights it looks like they will have trouble scoring 41 points in a game, never mind in each perfectly symmetrical half like they did yesterday.

We always figured the line-up that includes James Gist (22 points, 13 rebounds), Bambale Osby (12 points, 5 rebounds, All-ACC hair) and Jervis Vasquez (12 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists) to play better then they had when they were upset by American and stumbling around earlier this year.

"You never understand how a season can go," said senior forward James Gist, who finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. "I knew we're going to be a good team, but I didn't know if it was going to be at the beginning of the season or at the end of the season. Right now, we're just starting to realize how we can play. We can play with the best teams in the country."

The upset will put an end to North Carolina's 11-week stay atop the major college polls. The Tar Heels, who had survived earlier scares at Clemson and at Georgia Tech, couldn't overcome a sloppy start that helped Maryland set the tempo of the game.

"We've been living on the edge, and it really caught up with us today," Tar Heels Coach Roy Williams said.

No Maryland team had knocked off a No. 1 North Carolina squad in Chapel Hill since 1986 -- a memorable Len Bias-led overtime victory in a then-brand-new Dean Smith Center.

The stat lines were very similar. The Tar Heels outrebounded the Terps 46 to 32, but Maryland held UNC to 30 of 79 shooting (38%) while going 30 of 64 (47%). All the other stats were very close. Credit Maryland’s defense.

Danny Green #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels fouls Landon Milbourne #1 of the Maryland Terrapins during the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center on January 19, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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