Sports 56 WHBlog Q

March 21, 2009

Kansas City, Day 4 (Tigers 89 Terrapins 70)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter Edmiston @ 6:31 pm

What a difference two days can make.  What an amazing turnaround in level of performance.

The Tigers utterly dismantled Maryland here in Kansas City this afternoon with an extraordinary display of offense, particularly in the first half.  They shot over 70% in the first half, and shot better from behind the arc than inside it.  Maryland was completely powerless to stop the onslaught from outside – the Terrapins played exceptionally poor defense throughout the game, which helped the Tigers get open looks and easy baskets.

It is very difficult to put in words how much better Doneal Mack was today than Thursday.  He was absolutely sensational shooting the basketball, and he played energetic and tough perimeter defense.  Mack missed a layup, then missed a three early in the game, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a case of same ol’ Mack.  But he didn’t drop his head, didn’t lose confidence, and proceeded to make 5 of his next 7 threes.  He was rightly proud of what he had done – remember back to the summer when Mack almost transferred to New Orleans?  He thought he should have been playing more – I asked him and John Calipari about that time, and Calipari’s comments were telling: “You should have been getting playing time in front of who?  Derrick Rose?  Chris Douglas? Antonio Anderson?” Mack came to his senses and came back, and instead of being a star at New Orleans and watching the NCAA Tournament from his dorm room, he’s a starter for a team in the Sweet 16.  Good decision.

Greivis Vasquez is probably wishing he hadn’t said what he said.  Vasquez didn’t have a terrible game, but he was largely inconsequential.  For the heart and soul of the Maryland team to be inconsequential shows you what a nice job Antonio Anderson and the rest of the Tigers did defensively.  Without an electric Vasquez, Maryland is little better than average.  They were below average today.  I was shocked that Gary Williams tried to show some man-to-man at the beginning of the game, but when Tyreke Evans was abusing Vasquez and threatening to get him in foul trouble, Williams went to the zone.  It didn’t matter.  The Tigers weren’t going to be stopped regardless of the defense.

The really encouraging thing you can take from this game is that the Tigers handled the press very well.  That’s been a concern for some time – how would they handle the press in a big game situation? – but they acquitted themselves well today.  Should Missouri advance to Phoenix, the Tigers will have not only seen an aggressive press in the tournament, but will know they can handle it.  They got several easy layups (and one alley-oop) off the Maryland press.  Good sign for the rest of the tournament.

Another good sign is that it appears Tyreke Evans is ready to play at the top of his game for the rest of the tournament.  He looked a bit nervous and tentative against Northridge, but stepped it up in a big way against Maryland.  He played with speed and without fear, and when he’s in that mode, he is tough to stop.  He ran the offense well, distributed it where it needed to go, and kept the standing still to a minimum.  He needs to play at a high rate of speed all the time; he’s much better when he does.

There was a funny moment at the end of the game when the Tiger fans started chanting “A-C-C” as time was winding down, which led to the Maryland fans (and the many Kansas fans who were in attendance) starting the “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” chant.  I guess the best Maryland fans can do is take a shot at a team that lost in the National Championship game.  You lash out in times of stress.

Tiger fans should know that tickets will be distributed on the normal basis – platinum and gold donors get 4 tickets each, the rest get 2 apiece.  The allocation is 1,250 and tickets are $167 each (they are good for both sessions).  Get them online at www.gotigersgo.com/tickets as soon as you can; they will go fast.

I’ll be flying out to Phoenix on Tuesday – I’ll have all the interviews and coverage you have come to expect as the Tigers prepare for another Sweet 16 appearance.

Continued thanks to Acura of Memphis and Central BBQ for their support – we could not do this without them.  A reminder – Acura of Memphis is celebrating March Madness with a special sale – check out their site and you could save a huge amount of money on a fabulous car.

Ive been driving this beauty in KC - get yours soon!

I've been driving this beauty in KC - get yours soon!

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1 Comment »

  1. No way can the Tigers dominate a ACC team ask Tiger hack ASSKEW.Nevermind the idiot has not been correct about the Tigers the last 2 years.The fool can`t get past his dislike for the Tigers to see straight.He could try to be professional but he chooses to bias idiot Tiger hack.Hey ASSKEW WE DOMINATED YOUR ALMIGHTY ACC TEAM CHEW ON THAT

    Comment by mike — March 22, 2009 @ 5:03 am


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