Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cooler Head, Please Prevail

(SCSD now has multiple daily posts. Don't miss the others below.)

Now that I've had at least twelve hours to calm down, I can start to look at last night's 79-72 loss to the Terps from a saner place. If you don't like sanity, and want to get thrust directly into the mind of an angry human who ends up not getting his way, read the post below. But here, now, I'm going to use my new sanguine outlook to re-visit the game, asterisk style.

*First, it needs to be said that we played a pretty good game. If you want to try to pinpoint why we lost, it's easy- Scheyer went 7-21. In this post, I chronicled his streaky shooting throughout the year, and hoped that when tournament time came around, we'd be on the happy side of those streaks. Last night, we weren't. It cost us the game.

*But there were other things. The refs sucked. If you read this blog, you'll see very few instances where I whine about the officials. In any sport. Fans everywhere, even intelligent ones, are way too quick to play the blame-the-refs card. But they screwed us last night. There were the blatant calls, like Scheyer's phantom travel, and the 6-10 instances where one of our players was shoved without punishment (especially on the second-to-last possession, when Scheyer was bodied aggressively almost out-of-bounds).

But it goes deeper than that; some of the touch fouls called on Duke were atrocious, and had no equivalent on the other end of the floor. Anytime a proper call was made against Maryland and the fans erupted in anger, you could expect an unnecessary make-up call to follow. I'm not suggesting any kind of conspiracy, but I am suggesting that certain referees become intimidated, or persuaded, or whatever, by loud home crowds. And they take it out on the visitors. This is the definition of choking for them, and last night's crew were chokers.

*Maryland shot 50% from the field and 89% from the line. Needless to say, these far exceed their usual season totals. A lot of those shots were pure bullshit, especially near the end. Can we please stop calling Greivis Vasquez's performance 'clutch'? Nolan shut his ass down for about 38 minutes, and then he made three incredibly lucky shots near the end. Emphasis on lucky. If he re-created that last shot 10 times, without defense, he'd probably make it twice.

*Getting back to our performance, this loss doesn't worry me one bit. I wish we could have won, but I think we played well enough to win. Certain shots didn't fall, they couldn't miss, and that's the way it goes. I was happy with the offense and semi-satisfied with the defense. After getting punched in the mouth early, our rebounders had a nice game; the final margin was 34-34, but at one point Maryland held an 18-8 edge. So I'm not going to panic. I'm still more confident in this team's tournament fate than any Duke squad in recent memory.

*I badly, badly want Maryland one more time in the ACC tournament. They'll probably lose to someone like Georgia Tech just to piss me off, but if not, I guarantee a win.

*The fans are still scumbags. There's no class in that entire university.

*Greivis Vasquez needs to be 'dealt with' in some kind of old school way.

*I'm still bitter.

*Here's a wonderful article about Coach K, and the pin he wears on his lapel, to help us forget the loss and paint a nice contrast between our program and the goons elsewhere.

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