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NCAA Tournament – MARCH MADNESS 2009



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 Terrapins.

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 for the latest March Madness information!



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