We kind of knew beforehand that Maryland Madness would be awful again. Ever since Wale announced he would perform at Syracuse instead of Maryland, it was clear that the type of genuinely-interesting entertainment act fans had been craving wouldn't be present. And then throw in elimination games for the Nat's and O's, plus a comedy show on campus at the same time, and ... well, it was a rather tame evening.
I'd estimate a couple thousand were in attendance, which I didn't think was an embarrassing total but it was hardly the type of impressive showing that Kentucky or Kansas enjoyed. But like I said earlier: you can't blame them. Maryland Madness is dull, and everyone knows it. Until it becomes actually entertaining, or at least until Maryland is good again, people won't show up. That's the admin's fault, not the fans'.
At least the A.D. got rid of the student mini-games. Thank Juan. That's definitely a start, but there's still a long ways to go.
A few thoughts from the evening:
The uniforms. Basically, the UBC ones that leaked early were the right ones. I haven't seen the fancy press shots yet for some reason, but will update once they hit. Basically: they're pretty inoffensive, but it's not really a home-run, either. The arm piping is love-it-or-hate-it, I imagine; I think it looks good when it's on a color (either black or red) but stands out a bit too much on white. Still, I appreciate the throwback to the Juan days. (And an overlooked touch, but one I like, is getting the red graphic on the side of the shorts, which isn't cheesy and isn't traditional piping but still adds some depth. I'm a fan of the Terrafont numbers, too.)
The problem? Gone is the old MarylanD logo on the front, replaced by a generic Terrafont "Maryland." And it's weirdly quite small, so much so that the first time you see it you're kind of thrown off by it. It's like Kentucky's no-frills front, only smaller. It might grow on me, and I was never in love with the MarylanD as much as some others were, but there's hardly any easily-identifiable feature on these things. I guess they're tying themselves to the piping on that count. We'll see how they wear as the season goes on.
The "This Guy Looked Good In The Scrimmage So Now Let's Everybody Overhype Him" Award goes to ... Seth Allen! Allen looked good tonight. Real good. He looked comfortable with the ball in his hands, had a great first step, showcased some incredible hops, and knocked down an outside shot to boot. Heck, he even played some defense. Increased calls to start him in three ... two ... one ... go.
Also impressive: everyone. There wasn't anyone who I looked at during the scrimmage and thought "ergh, he's scaring me a bit." I mean, it's a glorified pick-up game, so that's to be expected to some degree, but it's happened before. Alex Len knocked down a three-pointer. Nick Faust dunked a lot. So did Dez Wells, who had some extraordinary finishes and is every bit the player we thought we were getting. Shaq Cleare ran the break at one point (which was awesome) and showed nice body control with a layup in the lane later in the game. Jake Layman actually excited me quite a bit; he was the flowing, rangy athlete we expected to get, throwing down a lot of dunks and doing it with some unexpected swagger. (He did the Karl Malone pose dunk, which was awesome, then I'm fairly sure he kind-of mean-mugged a walk-on after another dunk, hopefully in jest.) Charles Mitchell showcased some handles, Conner Lipinski knocked down a pull-up three-pointer - heck, even Varun Ram got up to throw down.
No one had an awesome intro dunk this time around. Layman, coming out with a Sunshine haircut to DMX's Party Up, had the funniest one, I think, but no cartwheel tricks or double-ball dunks were to be found. That said, Logan Aronhalt got up to throw down an alley-oop off the glass, which was unexpected. People have wondered if his leg is healthy. After seeing that, I'd say it probably is.
Also, Len has once again let me down by not having Gogol Bordello as his hype song.
By great Vasquez's beard. Let Greivis show you how facial follicular excellence is really done. I mean, are we sure that's real and not just a prop glued on to his face?