by Terrence Mayrose
Greivis Vasquez : A proven winner or desperate to be the center of attention ?
All I could think of while watching and suffering through the home stretch of that Duke-Maryland game was what exactly to make of Greivis Vaquez’s actions. My gut instinct was to characterize it as another “look at me” type of performance that is not much different from a little child screaming in the grocery store becuase of what it’s aimed for : attention. You saw the act.. the chest pounding, the pointing to the stands, raising his arms, and putting his hand to his ear saying “I can’t hear you”. I was utterly disgusted that he couldn’t just play, and win the game. He made it a show. My attention wasn’t focused on saluting his performance for beating my Dukies, it was not focused on how dumb he looked. Let’s be serious. He’s easily one of the top 10, possibly top 5 players in the country. Does he really need to hear the fans chanting to be the best player on the court ? Doubtful.
Duke fans have every right to be annoyed by these actions given just how much of a spectacle Vasquez made himself last night, but Maryland fans James “Mopez” Lopez, and Sally I. have their reasons to justify Vasquez’s actions. ” In my opinion, Vasquez thrives in those situations.” Lopez states. ” He wants to take the shot,and usually hits it. That’s his shot and I’ve seen him hit it consistently for four years.” When asked about the sideshow act he put on, “A great competitor, and an even better entertainer….if your a Maryland fan. If not, he’s public enemy #1 and I can see why.”
Sally I. was thrilled with the victory as well, and commented “Greivis Vazquez was as emotional as I have ever seen him in any game (including NCAA Tournament games), you could tell he wanted to soak in the Maryland home crowd one last time which is exactly what he did.” The piazon went on to tell me that you shouldn’t jump on his actions so quickly. ” That game was extremely gratifying for Vazquez for three reasons: he won on senior night, gave Maryland a share of the ACC crown (barring a disaster at Virginia), and he finally put together a good individual game versus Duke, who has haunted him and the Terps during his 4 years there.”
Lopez and Sally I. both make valid points about just how important Vasquez is to the squad, which ultimately can justify his actions on the court. Not something a Duke fan wants to hear.
So what’s the verdict ? Is Vasquez a proven winner or proving to be the center of attention ? It looks like it’s a little bit of both, but one thing is for certain. After 20 points, including a back-breaking fall away shot to seal it the clutch, I can see why Maryland fans love him with the ball in his hands in the clutch.
Things can only get better for Terps seed
Lopez, and Sally I, both (separately) predicted that as of right now Maryland will be a 5 seed heading into the tourney. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Terps slated as a 5 as well in his current bracket, but the pro- Maryland duo predicts things could be better come Selection Sunday. Sally I, “can see Maryland as a 4 seed if they were to win the ACC tourney. No higher given the weakness of the conference.” Lopez thinks ” there’s no reason they can’t be a three with an ACC tourney title.” Optimistic thinking, especially by Mopez, but who am I to judge maybe the hottest team in the country.
Wildcats can kiss a one seed goodbye after loss to Kansas ?
Heading into last night I was pretty confident that K-State was in great shape to position themselves on the top line of the bracket. I reasoned that if Jacob Pullen and company could topple Kansas to split the season series (after a tough two-point loss to Kansas in January on a questionable coaching decision by Frank Martin), they would be heading into the Big 12 Tournament essentially neck and neck battling for a 1 seed.
That thought ended quicker then Joey on NBC, as Kansas proved once again why they are the best team in the country with an 82-65 win or did it ?
Personally, I don’t think Kansas State is set as the last 1 seed. Although it’s highly debatable. Joe Lunardi has the Wildcats on the top line, based on their “total body of work”, while Doug “who’s credit card is that” Gottlieb and Gary Parrish claim Duke has the spot.
K-State : 24-5 (11-4) -14 games vs RPI Top 100- -7-4 vs RPI Top 50-
Duke: 25-5 (12-3) -21 games vs RPI Top 100- -8-4 vs RPI Top 50-
Tough call. The T & 2 predicts the final decision should come down to how well each fares in their conference tournament. If both should win, give the edge to Kansas State because they play in a tougher conference.
What Irish Curse ?
Notre Dame moved to one of the last four teams in the field of 65 with a 58-50 slug-fest over UConn.
Seems like the Irish have finally clicked, oddly it comes after an injury to their best player Luke Harangody. The play of Tim Ambromaitis, and the fact that Tory Jackson has changed his 08-09 habit of passing to the other team have been the difference for the team on a mission.
Don’t punch that ticket quite yet. A regular season finale vs Marquette is where the T & 2 predicts the luck runs out and ND loses, which would put the Irish at 20-11 (9-9) to finish the regular season. Heading into the Big East tourney as the 7 or 8 seed. This is where the Irish will need to win a game to secure a spot. 21-11 (10-9 overall) puts the Irish in the Big East Quarterfinals playing with house money, where regardless of the outcome they will be on the bracket.
Clemson and Texas = AWOL
Clemson and Texas might as well be sitting on an island with Red and Andy Dufrain, because they are no where near their pre-season expectations. Texas as high #3, and Clemson #24 both predicted to be capable of deep runs come March. Clemson is unranked, and Texas just sniffs the ESPN/USA today poll at #25. T & 2 thinks Rick Barnes and Oliver Purnell can start practicing their short game, as neither will go very far in the tournament.
Credit to Boeheim
“Indiana Vance” and “Darren Pajama Pants” emailed the T&2 about a tidbit they each had picked up during Saturday’s Syracuse-Villanova telecast. NONE of Syracuse’s five starters were ranked in the Top 100 coming out of high school. Proving last week’s point that Boeheim should be coach of the year. Thanks Vance and Darren.
Planting the right seeds
Based on Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket :
Team who should love their seed : UTEP
Pegged as a 10 seed in the South region. The Miners face #7 UNLV in a highly winnable first round game. Likely waiting for UNLV is #2 Duke. A great team, but look for much improved 6-9 center Derrick Caracter, 6-11 Arnett Moultrie, and 6-7 Jeremy Williams to give over-matched and sometimes defensively clueless Brian Zoubek fits.
Team who should hate their seed: Kansas
1 seed in the Midwest region. How can you hate a 1 seed ? Well put #9 Louisville and proven winner (and nutjob) Rick Pitino, an underrated #5 Gonzaga, sleeper #12 Siena, and #4 Tennessee (whom the Jayhawks already lost to) in your way of the Sweet 16 and the possibility of #6 Butler, and still improving # 3 Pitt in your way of the Elite 8…. that’s how.
T&2 advises you to look for these type of match-ups when the bracket comes out.
Injury bug likely has coaches bugging out
Purdue’s Robbie Hummel went down last week and will miss the remainder of the season, bubble battler Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody is uncertain of a return, and Georgetown’s Austin Freeman was just diagnosed with diabetes.
Tickets punched to the Dance
With no conference tournament in the Ivy League, Cornell can clinch the regular season title and automatic bid with a win Friday night @ Brown.
Other teams will start to fill out the field this weekend. The guide :
Atlantic Sun :
Things are wild already in Macon,GA. Three of the top four seeds were upset in the Quarterfinals, as only #2 Jacksonville survived. Friday’s semi’s pit #8 Kennesaw State vs #5 East Tennessee State at 6:30, and # 6 Mercer vs #2 Jacksonville at 9:00.
The winner friday will square off on Saturday March 6th at 6:00 on ESPN 2.
The T & 2 is pulling for Kennesaw State to shock the world, but thinks Jacksonville is a safe bet given their 16-4 record since the turn of the calendar to 2010.
#1 Coastal Carolina takes on #3 Winthrop Saturday March 6th at 4:00 on ESPN 2.
Anything is possible here, the two squads have split the season series. The T & 2 likes past Cinderella Winthrop to find the glass slipper again Saturday.
Friday pits #1 Murray State vs #4 Eastern Illionis at 7:00, and #2 Morehead State vs #6 Tennessee Tech at 9:00.
Semifinal winners square off Saturday March 6th at 8:00 on ESPN 2.
Murray State is 28-4 (17-1) with a 5 point loss to Cal to open the year. Like balance ? The Racers top six scorers average 10.8, 10.7, 10.6, 10.3, 10.3 , and 9.5. T & 2 senses a team who shares the ball, and can likely be a deadly match-up as a double digit seed. I’ll be watching to see if they prove me right.
In a nutshell : one of the most entertaining conference tournaments, with the dumbest name. Arch Madness as they call it, gets underway Friday with Quarterfinal match-ups of #1 Northern Iowa vs #8 Drake at 1:05 , #4 Creighton vs #5 Bradley at 3:35 , #7 Missouri State vs #2 Wichita State at 7:05 and #3 Illionis State vs #6 Indiana State at 9:35 pm.
The Semifinals will be Saturday, and the Finals Sunday at 2:05pm on CBS.
Northern Iowa just about needs this tournament to secure a bid, but the T &2 likes Wichita State to winner the rubber match final. Expect the selection committee to reward Northern Iowa with a an at-large despite the loss and send a big conference team home unhappy.
T & 2 advice for Fans
Rick Reilly recently wrote about the criteria for fans being allowed to rush the court (which is happening way to much these days). There are some great points but the T & 2 has simple rules for Championship Week.
– STOP RUSHING THE COURT if you’re already ranked. DON’T EVER DO IT. Period. The phrase “act like you been there before” comes to mind.
– For the teams in low level conferences you can rush the floor when you clinch a bid. IF:
-you haven’t been to the NCAA tournament during the entire time of your enrollment
This ensures that all students (freshman-seniors) have never experienced a conference title, making the experience that much more enjoyable.
It’s that simple. Other than that, enjoy the games because it’s the best time of the year.