Monday, February 11, 2008

The Bog Poll Comes in on Little Cat Feet

These Terps look familiar, don't they? Not the individual players - I think it's safe to say we haven't seen anyone quite like Greivis Vasquez or Bambale Osby before. And not just the style of play - that is pretty typical of a Gary Williams team. No, I am referring to the arc of the season, the plot line, as it were. I have no stats to back this up, but I am willing to bet that over time, Williams' teams have had great second half records that almost always come on the heels of disappointing second quarters (or Decembers or whatever you want to call it). One of the voter's in Big Stein's poll described Maryland's bad stretch as nauseatingly familiar and not made better by the probability that they would come through and hit their stride, which is exactly what has happened. Watching them win against NC State the other night impressed me almost as much as the win at UNC and more than the "gallant" home loss to Duke. If Vasquez can eliminate the poor second-half decisions (launching a three with a lead and 10 seconds on the shot clock, taking a steal downcourt for a missed layup instead of pulling back and running some clock), then the Terps could be a Final Four team. Seriously. They have corrected the defensive lapses that led to career performances by opposing guards and Osby and James Gist are more than most teams can handle inside. But keep your eyes on Vasquez to see where this team is truly headed.

In the poll, Maryland is closing fast on Georgetown, leaving the various Virginia teams behind. VCU has to finish strong to have a shot at an at-large bid if they lose in the CAA Tournament, Virginia Tech drops two spots with two straight ACC losses, but Mason can't pass them with a CAA split last week. UMBC is catching up with a win over Mr. Tony's Binghamton Bearcats, but they'd better keep the wisdom of Satchel Paige in mind because the Morgan State Bears are hotter than Amy Winehouse's hair dryer right now. William and Mary looks like a decent spoiler bet in the CAA and American is looking more phoenix than eagle, with a sudden resurgence. As for Virginia, well it doesn't look very good for the Wahoos right now, does it?

1. Georgetown
Rick Pitino changes from a white suit to a black suit at halftime, and his team goes from losing by eight to winning by eight. After the game, Al Sharpton calls a press conference and demands an apology.
2. Maryland
When the Terps’ dramatic turnaround season is made into a feature film, I’ve got Dennis Hopper playing Gary Williams, John Leguizamo as Greivis Vasquez, but for Bambale Osby, I keep getting stuck on ‘70s TV stars. Lawrence Hilton Jacobs? The guy who played Coolidge on the White Shadow? How about a little help here?
3. VCU
Rams win at Georgia State and Delaware, which is about the same as winning at Delaware State and Georgia, I think.
4. Virginia Tech
I keep reading that Seth Greenberg got an extension, but you have to get more than one if you are trying to get rid of the bald look, Coach.
5. George Mason
Following GMU’s loss at Old Dominion, Jim Larranaga announces that his team has suspended its campaign for an at-large bid.
In his pregame pep talk, Binghamton alumnus Tony Kornheiser asked the team to win one for his ailing comrade, Michael Wilbon, but, apparently, the Bearcats prefer Around the Horn to PTI.
7. William & Mary
William and Mary’s leading scorer against Northeastern made three field goals, but the Tribe’s failure to recognize the Huskies’ zone-blitz packages doomed their three-game win streak.
8. Morgan State
Seven-game win streak has the Bears’ swag approaching Kanye West level, the Defcon One of arrogance.
9. American
First place in the Patriot League! Tenleytown hasn’t been this excited since the Red Line was extended to Shady Grove.
10. Virginia

Cavaliers are staring into the abyss, a pit of hopelessness more bitter than the heart of Jim Fassel.

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