MARYLAND VS CAL
NCAA TOURNAMENT - MARCH
Gary William’s Maryland Terrapins are the definition of up and
down. Their season has experienced lows such as a 41 point loss to
their arch rival, the Duke Blue Devils, and an 11 point victory over
the highly regarded Wake Forest Demon Deacons. After being cast off
as out of the running for a tournament bid, the Terps caught fire.
This resulted in wins over North Carolina, and two wins in the ACC
tournament. They have advanced to the NCAA Tournament, so stage one
of their quest is now over. Stage two, which is to defeat the
California Golden Bears, will begin on Thursday.
The California Golden Bears are among the best three point shooting
teams in the entire country. That percentage is helped tremendously
by a trio of players. Jamal Boykin is connecting at 50% from three
point land, and teammates Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher are
hitting 46.8% and 37.8%, respectively. The last two mentioned
players were both named to the All Pac 10 First Team. If they catch
fire from long range it could spell lights out for the Maryland
Maryland is led by Grieves Vasquez, who was named to the All ACC
Second Team. He would’ve been first in nearly any other league, but
he had the misfortunate of going against Ty Lawson for that honor.
The Venezuelan literally does it all; he is averaging 17.2 PPG, 5.5
RPG, and 5.1 APG. He can single handedly dismantle the opposing
team. Vasquez proved that when posted a triple double against North
Carolina with 35 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. If he does
anything like that against the Golden Bears, it will probably lead
to an emphatic win for the Terrapins.
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As it currently stands, the Golden Bears of California are a one
point favorite to send Maryland packing. California has lost five
out of its last six games ATS, and they were just 6-4 in their last
ten games. They have lost three of their last four games. The
biggest games of the year for California came against UCLA and
Washington. They lost both games to UCLA, but pulled off the sweep
of Washington. Losses to teams like Oregon State and Stanford raise
some doubts, but if they are lighting it up from three point range,
they can beat any team in the nation.
Maryland has great guard play, but they have one glaring weakness
that will probably prevent a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Their
biggest starter, Dave Neal, is just 6 foot 7 inches tall. Luckily
for the Terrapins, California doesn’t really have any players to
exploit this weakness. Maryland tends to get off to a fast start and
go flat in the second half. I attribute this to a 17 point lead over
Miami in the second half that they let evaporate causing a victory
for the Hurricanes.
Coach Gary Williams has been out to prove something ever since local
papers called for his firing. This has been a completely different
team since that occurred. This is a man who won the 2002 National
Championship. I expect him to exploit California’s flaws and lead
his Maryland Terrapins to a 10 point victory over the California
Bears. I love the line at +1 Maryland, so this will be one of the
best wagers of the first round. Good luck and check back to
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