It might've been a snowpacalypse, but Maryland won't be complaining about it. Plenty of fans didn't show up to the afternoon game in snowy conditions, but Maryland was able to find a willing student or two to take their seats, and the Comcast Center ended up about 70% full of students despite one of the biggest snowfalls in history. Those that showed up were served a rare delicacy - dismantling North Carolina.
When Greivis Vasquez looks for career-defining games, he'll probably point to matchups against those same Heels. First came a double-double in a two point win over an undefeated, #1 ranked UNC team in Chapel Hill. Then there was the triple-double in the Comcastle last year against the #3 ranked Heels. He added another Tar Heel notch on his belt today, dropping 26 points and 11 assists for yet another double-double, and Maryland rode that super performance on Super Bowl Sunday to a big win, 92-71.
Actually, dismantling might be kind - after a short UNC comeback, the Terps turned on the jets and outplayed UNC in basically every aspect of the game. After getting within 4 a few minutes into the second half, UNC simply disappeared, and Maryland played just as well as they have at any point in the season.
Of course, UNC is really down this year, but as one commenter said in the game thread: "Destroying UNC is destroying UNC." It won't look great on the resume, but it's more than just beating an NIT-bound team at home. It's a name win - maybe just for the fans or morale, but it's UNC, and that's always something.
With that out of the way, I'll caution anyone on taking too much out of this. While its greater meaning may be bigger than beating an NIT team at home, that's precisely what it is on paper. This isn't much different than destroying Miami in terms of talent.
Now, time to bask in the greatness that is this game. Maryland was utterly lights out from deep, mostly thanks to Eric Hayes (4-5) and Vasquez (6-10). Fun fact: they shot better from three (54%) than they did from the field (52%). That won't happen a lot, but it will boost the ol' 3 point shooting percentage.
Vasquez was the undisputed star of the game, but Hayes was fantastic as well. He had 16 points on 6 shots - that's just absurd efficiency. When Hayes is hot, he just can't miss.
Dino Gregory is starting to come on strong, too - despite a few bad plays, his energy is starting to make differences. He had 8 points and 3 boards in 19 minutes, and made some big momentum boosting plays. He still couldn't outside Jordan Williams, though, who continuously showcased his soft yet strong hands. He had 8 and 6 for another great freshman performance, and threw in solid defense against Ed Davis for good measure.
The biggest differences in this game for Maryland were certainly outside shooting and transition play. They shot an absurd % from 3, which we already went over, and scored nearly half their points in transition. When the Terps can get out and run, watch out - they can score at will.
That's not to say the game was perfect: Davis grabbed a ridiculous 16 boards (UNC outrebounded Maryland by one) and MD gave up a few too many second chance points for my taste. But no game can be perfect, and any time you destroy a team made up of McDonald All-Americans, you take it without complaining.
Hope everyone has a good Super Bowl. Duke remains on the horizon, but Maryland has to get through a surprisingly good UVA team first. We'll have more on that in the coming days.