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My Report Card

Good morning, everyone. This is Eric. Now the fun begins. I will be in Kansas City this week along with Maryland beat writer Steve Yanda and columnist Mike Wise. There are a lot of great stories at this Kansas City site, and there is no team more fun to cover than the Memphis Tigers. So I am particularly excited. Congrats to Maryland, American, VCU, Morgan State and Radford.

One final word on how I did yesterday. I nailed all four No. 1 seed correctly. I also got 55 of 65 teams within one seed of their actual seed. And I correctly picked 64 out of 65 teams (33 out of 34 at-large teams). It was the second year in a row I got just one wrong. The one I missed, of course, was Arizona. I like Arizona, love their big wins, and think the Wildcats can be a dangerous team. I just had significant issues with no road wins over a top 100 RPI team and five losses in its last six games. I thought Saint Mary’s did all it could do, pretty much, to make a strong case to the committee. But this was not the year for the mid-major, to say the least.

Busy next few days. I have several radio interviews, including one on the West Coast tomorrow, an online chat today with a blogger, and I will be back on Washington Post Live tomorrow. Time to get to work. Let the fun begin.

This post was for Barno, who takes a lot of heat but keeps on coming back. I respect that.

By Eric Prisbell  |  March 16, 2009; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Barno deserves all the "heat" he gets and he is the most blatant attack artist going.

He rarely makes substantive comments and his favorite trick is to re-print others' comments, many out of context.

Eric, your standard for this site are disappointing.

Having said that, we are all hoping the Terps go deep and we certainly are looking for a win vs. Cal!

Posted by: petecard | March 16, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Barno1 is funny. Out of context or not his reprints (while they are a bit overused) always make me smile. Big ups to the Terps and big ups to the fans who had faith in Gary and this team. Fans who had faith always enjoy days like today a bit more than those who didn't.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 16, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Barno also doesn't understand, not surprisingly, the Koolaid references I make to him and others.

This is in reference to the Jonestown massacre where the followers of James Jones blindly drank a deadly "Koolaid-like"
concoction of a purple drink mixed with cyanide, sedatives, and tranquilizers.

My references are satirical and funny, but some people might be offended by a reference to a tragic story.

Since Jonestown, this reference has become a common metaphore to describe blind followers of just about anything.

So, Barno, that is why you are in the Koolaid Drinkers Hall of Mediocrity Bliss.

Posted by: petecard | March 16, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Pete, in all honesty, I don't read all the back-and-forth banter between Barno and everyone else. I read a little. But mostly, i know Barno because he emails me about 600 times a month (except when he is mad at me), so I appreciate that passion. Is he a little over the line at times?? Uh, slightly. I am certainly not saying I agree with most of his opinions. I am not saying that.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | March 16, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Can you believe, if Barno is right, that we would give Gary and extra year on his contract for making the NCAA tournament?

Now that comes from an administration that is accepting medocrity. A 10th seed? That's wothy of another year? 7th in the ACC and an overall ACC record of 9-10? That's worthy of another year?


Now, Koolaid drinkers, pay attention:

I don't want Gary to be fired.

I do really want the Terps to win.

I want our program to be an elite program.

Can't you grasp this?

Posted by: petecard | March 16, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

pete - Certainly don't want to get between you and Barno but one doesn't have to be a blind follower to appreciate what the Terps have done this year and to support Williams. I appreciate good analysis and reasoned criticisms as much as the next man but many of the negative blasts at the Terps this year have been by folks who seem to be ignorant and mean spirited (I'm not referring to you because I don't follow this site every day.). Everyone is entitled to an opinion but just because folks disagree doesn't mean that either is an idiot. It's just a game.

Go Terps!

Posted by: gw67 | March 16, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Can we please stop the pissing match between Pete and Barno? It's so freaking old.

Can anyone who watches more college hoops than me tell me how Maryland can defend against Cal? They're lights out three point shooters and I have a feeling we might be in for a long night, like when we play Duke, if they start nailing those threes and we have to keep up.

Posted by: NattyBo1985 | March 16, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think the Cal vs. UMD game will be a close one. We have deny them second chance points. I see them as very similar to us but in all honesty I think the level of competition we've faced this year will make us more formidible.

And pete - I'm glad you are a UMD fan BUT you did want Gary fired. If you changed your mind, great. Glad you've come back to your senses.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 16, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Gary Williams is a great coach. Pete, if you knew anything about the X's and O's, or watched the NCState and Wake games you would know that.

And you dont have to drink Koolaid to be true to your school, team, and coach. It's called being a FAN. GO TERPS!

Posted by: Effyeahterps | March 16, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Forget about Barno and Pete, what the heck happened to hclark? I'm going to put up a $5 reward for anyone who has information about his whereabouts.

Posted by: island1 | March 16, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

guard the perimeter hard (GV did a great job against Duke despite Henderson's one big 3) and keep Cal's percentage down a bit. And go right at them on offense. We can beat Cal.

And don't sleep on the Terps against Memphis either. They are big but sloppy and overrated. If any two of theses guys--GV, Neal, Hayes, Landon, and Bowie show up to play, Terps will advance. Three wins in a row--that's the challenge.

Posted by: Effyeahterps | March 16, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

If there is any team that mirrors Maryland in makeup, it's Cal. They don't have any post presence to speak of and they have very good guards, with the exception that their guards can actually shoot pretty well compared to MD's.

It's about guard play and defense at this time of the year and MD seems to be playing it's best basketball right now. Their defense has been about as good as I've seen in a long long time at College Park and they've done it without any post presence at all. In fact, I'd go as far to say that they have massively overacheived in most aspects this seasons in comparison to their talent level.

Now, the questions remains, why or how did the program get to a point that they had to overacheive just to get a chance at the dance?

I feel Prisbell and Yanda answered that most emphatically a few months ago but too many Terps fans didn't want to accept what they had to say. The truth hurts sometimes and I feel that Prisbell and Yanda laid it all out there for all to see. Well done boys.

As for their possible second round matchup with Memphis, I fear that game because Memphis plays defense even better than Duke does with their overplaying of the passing lanes and their extreme athleticism. That type of team has given MD and their miniscule margin of error fits all season long.

I don't doubt the effort the Terps will put into that match (should they make it there), but I see them falling rather easily to Memphis.

All that being said, Gary yet again has done a fantastic coaching job both on and off the court this season. The question is does he need to work that hard every season? No, he doesn't. He can ease his ticker a bit if he could simply get better players into the program.

Posted by: ARickey | March 16, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I've been a big Gary critic, but have to him credit for rallying MD this year. Outside of GV there really is no talent. Neal is probably our 2nd best player at this point. I'm not going to back off of my critism though. Gary loves his back against the wall and he puts himself in this situation by having no talent on the team and acting like we're a mid major program lucky to get a few kids in we can "coach up". GV is gone though. He has improved markedly and will certainly be drafted by the later part of the first round.

Posted by: restonhoops | March 16, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"Outside of GV there really is no talent" writes a blogger. Were this extreme statement true, then most ACC players have 'no talent'. The ACC is, by most criteria, the strongest basketball conference. So how does this temple of 'no talent' do so well, year after year?

Posted by: AncientTerp | March 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Barno deserves all the "heat" he gets and he is the most blatant attack artist going.

He rarely makes substantive comments and his favorite trick is to re-print others' comments, many out of context.

Eric, your standard for this site are disappointing.

Having said that, we are all hoping the Terps go deep and we certainly are looking for a win vs. Cal!

Posted by: petecard | March 16, 2009 8:30 AM

TRANSLATION: Me name be Petetard, me gave up on this team months ago and me have been attacking the players and coach ever since. Now those comments are coming back to bite me in the arse and me look very stupid. There is nothing me can do to stop Barno from quoting me foolish comments and so me only hope is to beg Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda to kick Barno out of here...otherwise, he going to continue making me look stupid. Damn you Barno! Damn you to hell!

Posted by: Barno1 | March 16, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"he emails me about 600 times a month"

Gee Eric - You are sounding "a little over the line" yourself.

"I am certainly not saying I agree with most of his opinions."

Most people don't agree with your opinions either. Too bad we just can't read the facts.

Posted by: Steve96 | March 16, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

huh? Not sure I understand your point. Barno emails me a lot. Yeah, 600 was an overstatement, a joke. Just can't read the facts? we talked to 60 people for the three-part recruiting series. I have no regrets on the reporting for that series. we talked to everyone we could.

Posted by: Eric Prisbell | March 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"he emails me about 300 times a month"

Gee Eric - You are sounding "a little over the line" yourself.

Posted by: Steve96 | March 16, 2009 1:40 PM

I wouldn't normally comment on a relationship with a WaPo writer, but since Eric brought it up I'll elaborate. We actually do agree on most Terps issues. And I understand the hyperbole, but I do not email him incessantly nor cease writing him when I don't like something he writes. Quite the opposite, I probably email him more often when I don't like something he's written (though there are many cases where I'll write to say congrats on a great piece--such as the outstanding piece he wrote last year on Da'Rel Scott's upbringing).

It all started was I challenged him on something he wrote back in the 04/05 bball season (regarding how many wins we needed to get a bid, shocker) and we've been emailing back and forth ever since.

On occasion, he'll email me out of the blue to get my take, as he did when he was writing a national preview piece for the Terps football team prior to the season (I wrote a book about that year's team in response).

On other occasions, we'll both make predictions (as we did before the 06/07 season when he thought we'd win 21 games and I said 25. I was right).

Eric has passed along my questions to Gary Williams in the past, like the time I wanted to know whether Chris McCray was still practicing with the team after his suspension or why Dave Neal was in the game at such a crucial time (his sophomore year). Eric's been in my NCAA pool, and hope he joins again this year (I've challenged Steinberg and Wise as well, we'll see if they take me up)

And bottom line, Eric's been just about as good a beat reporter as a reader could possibly ask for over the past 5 years, whether you disagree with him on the 3-part series and recruiting stuff or not. Guys on here who are attacking Prisbell probably haven't paid attention much to the byline over these past 5 year, probably don't appreciate his body of work, and probably don't understand that he doesn't have an agenda... other than to report as much as he can about the Terps and break the occasional story. I can't speak for Yanda, but Prisbell doesn't deserve the criticism some people are throwing at him.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 16, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Just can't read the facts? we talked to 60 people for the three-part recruiting series. I have no regrets on the reporting for that series. we talked to everyone we could."

Tony Kornheiser called your 3-part series, "The 12-part series firing Gary Williams".

I can interview 60 people about you then slant the facts in such a way to make it look as if you are an incompetent reporter. Tony Kornheiser would be the first person I'd interview.

Posted by: Steve96 | March 17, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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