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Are the Terrapins Feeling Less Pressure?

After the regular season the Terrapins endured, they are well accustomed to dealing with pressure. The team played must-win game after must-win game for what seemed like the entire last month of ACC play.

Then Maryland lost the regular season finale at Virginia and the pressure ratcheted up even further. They had to win two games in the ACC tournament, and they accomplished that feat. On Sunday night, they were rewarded with a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament. And all of the sudden, the pressure, according to Greivis Vasquez, was alleviated.

"It's no more pressure anymore," Vasquez said earlier today. "We had a little pressure, you know? We had all these things against us, people saying all this stuff and nobody was giving us credit. There was a little bit of pressure, but now all the pressure is off. I'm feeling really good right now. This is the best I've felt since I've been at Maryland."

Coach Gary Williams had a different take. He saw how his team thrived in high-stakes circumstances and would like the Terrapins to maintain that mind-set heading into Thursday's first round matchup against seventh-seeded California.

"I don't want the pressure off," Williams said. "I told the players I was going to be my usual self in practice yesterday because of that. I want the players to feel the pressure of winning. If you don't have the pressure on you to win, if you don't feel nervous before a game about whether you're going to win a particular game or not, things aren't going to go well. That [earlier] question about being satisfied, that can never come into play. I think this being in the NCAA tournament shouldn't allow that to come into play because this is different thing. This is special to be here, to be one of the 65 teams. You know, hopefully we can represent very well."

Forward Dave Neal agreed that, at least for him, nerves play a large role in pregame preparation. He has a feeling the same holds true for just about every other player that will compete in a first-round NCAA tournament game.

"You definitely get nervous," Neal said. "And now you get in the NCAA tournament, and it's win or go home, so you're definitely going to be a little more nervous than most games. Nervousness is usually a good thing because if you're not nervous then it's kind of tough. You're playing in the NCAA tournament where there's only 65 teams and you're on national television and everybody's watching you, and it's a great chance to just go out there and play basketball, just play that game that you love.

"And if you're not nervous, I don't know what to say, because I guarantee you every basketball player nowadays in the NCAA tournament gets extremely nervous, especially before the first game. It probably eases as you go, as you win more games in the tournament, but your first game out there you're definitely going to have some jitters. You're going to have cameras flashing and a ton of media. You've just got to stay composed and keep doing what you did during the season that made you successful."

By Steve Yanda  |  March 17, 2009; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Terps are gonna win it all right barno?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Terps are going to the NIT for the 4th time in 5 years, right McSh*t?


Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't normally write comments, but honestly I couldn't help myself here. Poopy McPoop is SUCH a freakin loser. I never read any comments from him until the last couple days and it's funny how once the Terps got into the tournament he jumps on the bandwagon. Hate people like that!

Go Terps!!!

Posted by: Diane18 | March 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Gary typically likes to finish off practices during the week of NCAA tournament games by having the entire team shoot half court shots. Lightens the mood, and the players love it.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Terps are gonna win it all right?

I mean, to think other wise makes you a fakey-fan and a bandwagon-fan. Right barno?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 17, 2009 3:43 PM

No, attacking our coach repeatedly for weeks and months on this website and taunting anyone who believed we might have a chance at the NCAA tournament makes you a "fakey-fan and a bandwagon-fan" you unbelievable moron.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 4:52 PM

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Poopy go away. The Terps don't need bangwagon fans like you around.

Posted by: Diane18 | March 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

GV's comments are either out of context or disturbing. Fine that maybe they feel a little relief, but what's with this comment: "We had all these things against us, people saying all this stuff and nobody was giving us credit."

We lost to Virginia. We were 7-9 in the conference. We won, what, two ACC road games?

GV had better get his head together. If he thinks making the tournament is enough, that puts him in the Koolaid Drinkers Hall of Mediocrity Bliss.


Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Someone please get Petecard some medical help immediately. What a nutcase this guy is. Remember when he went bonkers at anyone who thought the Terps might make the tourney, then when they actually did make it, he claims he never trashed Gary and the team. What a total psycho Petecard is.

Posted by: mike761 | March 17, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's out of context, and if you've paid attention to GV's comments over any length of time you should understand that his personality and the language barrier make nitpicking his quotes a fool's errand. Besides that, it's not GV's fault that he's the only go-to scorer on a team with no inside presence whatsoever. The odds were stacked against them even approaching a .500 ACC record from the beginning of the season. This is not like our 7-9 record back in '04 when we won the ACC Tourney...that team underachieved, and the ACC wasn't nearly as strong. I believe there is more top-to-bottom talent in the ACC this year than I've ever seen. And in all honesty, I think our fanbase stinks - I know of no other in college sports who have a large contingent (including press)that are so quick to turn on their own team, coach, and even players. So GV was justified in saying what he did, IMO.

And will you stop with the tired, tactless reference to drinking Kool Aid!? We're talking about a college basketball team, not a cult where people poison themselves! No one is dying here - in fact those of us who have supported the team and believed they could overcome the odds are feeling pretty good right now. No, it's not the benchmark for what they should do every year, but it's another step in the right direction, and the future looks bright.

Posted by: Jeremy76 | March 17, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments made by bloggers like B and Poopy and some others like them add nothing to a discussion or analysis of the Terps, Gary, Grevious, the ACC, etc. It comes out like so much garbage. These guys are entitled to their opinion. But instead of just knee-jerk opinions, reactions to each other or knee-jerk reactions to anyone who tries to bring civility to a blog conversation, they need to state an opinion in a civil manner and back it up with some kind of reasoned argument. Problem is, if that is done, then someone can usually pick their argument apart point by point and they don't like that.

The big thing is,the Terrapins are in the Big Dance and we should all be glad. They draw an excellent opponent - Cal, Berkeley -who they match up well with. Ca;'s strength is their guard play and they can shoot the 3. We need to counter that. And Gary type basketball can do that, if the guys on their game Thursday.

If we win, the probable opponent is Memphis and we'll be definite underdogs. But the Terps have been ACC tested, while the Tigers have not. That's why they play the games.

The No. 1 Terrapin fan in Asheville, NC says, "Fear The Turtle!" and enjoy Thursday's game.

Posted by: sfr123 | March 17, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Amen Jeremy, Amen.

Petecard, you should seriously think about keeping your crazy off the wall comments to yourself. Sure, this is an open forum. But you've spent months trashing our coach and players and now you want to be taken seriously? Give me a break.

You've got a lot of nerve even coming around here after the things you've said on this blog about Gary Williams and the Terps. A lot of nerve.

My advice to you, Petecard, is to seek professional help for your obvious signs of schitzophrenia.

Posted by: mike761 | March 17, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Exactly what about the future looks bright to you, Jeremy76?

The odds were stacked against them even approaching a .500 ACC record because?...not enough talent?

I don't know how long you have been a Terps fan, but your standards fit right in with Barno and the crew.

Mediocrity Now!

Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you want an elite program?

If you do, can you possibly believe we are on the right path?

Do you think Duks, UNC, UConn, Louisville, Memphis...etc, are worried about Maryland beating them out for talent?

Just wondering....

Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Trash me for typo...Duke

Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Not even going to bother responding to yet another pitifully ignorant comment from Petetard, seems like others already said what needed to be said to him. His posts are unintentionally hilarious anyhow, and it's fun to quote them ad nauseum after he is proven wrong.

I will say this about the pressure of these games, you definitely want a guy like Vasquez on your squad in the NCAA tourney. Someone whose confidence is through the roof, who won't get nervous playing in the biggest games of his life, someone who wants the ball in his hands with the pressure on.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't going to respond to Petetard's earlier comment, but the most recent one is too ridiculous not to respond to.

The fatal flaw in Petetard's argument about talent, one that he refuses to even acknowledge, is that Maryland went to back to back final fours and won a national championship with supposedly untalented recruits like Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter. They were unheralded coming out of high school and guys like Petetard went ballistic when we signed them, trashing Gary for his poor recruiting.

Then after the national championship we signed back to back top 5 recruiting classes in 02 and 03, with All Americans like Travis Garrison, Mike Jones, and Ekene Ibekwe. Those supposedly "talented" players got us to back to back NITs. Hmmmm...

The fact is (and again Petetard simply can't comprehend this due to his extremely, extremely low IQ) Gary Williams does better with middle of the pack recruits, not All Americans.

Joe Smith was a no name in high school, and Gary turned him into the best college player in the country. Same for Juan Dixon. Same for Baxter.

That's the fatal flaw in Petetard's bumbling, incoherent argument.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Barno, we all know what you think. You are happy with where we are.

My question was directed at others who may want more from the program.

Besides just taking shots at my position (or me personally), which is your obsession, why don't you explain why Duke, UNC, WF, FSU, BC and Clemson all have better talent.

Why do we never have big men to match up?

Why do we not have the shooters?

You just won't deal with it. But I really don't care what you think. I do believe that there are a lot of Terp fans who want us to be much better and whose obsession is the program and NOT the coach.

Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Man Petetard, you just don't stop with the incredibly ill-informed comments do you?

Gus Gilchrist was a very highly sought-after big man who signed with the Terps last year. He practiced with the team, fit in well, and was set to be our starting center this year. Are you really that unaware of this? Shane Walker showed some nice flashes last year as a freshman, he was set to get major minutes this year. Both players transferred for their own reasons. Jerome Burney is a solid PF who has produced well whenever he's been on the court, unfortunately he's been beset by injury this year. Gary successfully recruited all 3 of these big men. Why is this so hard for you to comprehend? It's not like he's just ignoring the front court.

Last year James Gist and Bombale Osby were considered one of the best front courts in the ACC. Gary successfully recruited both of them. Again, why is this so hard for you to comprehend?

Are you really this uninformed or this all just an act?

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Can Gary recruit a big man that works out. Why is it always the kids fault that he doesn't stick?

Guess WF had lot's of problems getting their big men.

Posted by: petecard | March 17, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Petecard you are a psycho. No really, you are. Just thought I'd point this out.

Posted by: mike761 | March 17, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

I just hope the team didn't leave the "Win 2" T-shirts in Atlanta.

Posted by: mabkhar | March 18, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

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