Start Your Endings

ACC tournament week is something I look forward to all year, even the years when we stink. Which is every year lately. It's tough to beat the satisfaction of an ACC tournament run, and while the odds are really stacked against one this season, there's always that hope for one more ride. I actually feel a little conflicted because I don't want anything to change Sidney Lowe's fate at this point (I'm assuming a tournament title would buy him another season), but at the same time I could never bring myself to root against the team. Damn the consequences, I could use some fun. But the odds of fun are remote, what with a Maryland team Sidney Lowe has never beaten lying directly ahead, and Duke beyond that. This whole thing figures to be moot no later than the end of Friday.

The Terps have been trending in the wrong direction, at least; since the middle of February, their once-stout defense has been worse than the Wolfpack's, and they lost five of their final seven games. Six of their last seven opponents scored well over a point per trip, while four of them broke 1.1 PPP (including NC State). They matador D'd their way out of the NCAA tournament. So we have that in common, except we had that taken care of months earlier.

There's at least a decent chance, then, that State's offense won't be the problem Thursday, just as it wasn't in College Park. I'm going to guess that Dino Gregory does not reprise his role as mid-range jumper Jesus, and that the Terps won't hit 92% of their free throws, so maybe the defense won't be burned as badly as it was in that first game. Or we don't show up at all and none of it matters. Who knows. Feel the uncertainty!

The Pomeroy Predictor likes Maryland by six. I suspect we'll either win this game or lose by 15. I know what I'll be hoping for, even if it runs contrary to that other thing that I'm hoping for. C'mon, Sid, you owe Gary one before you say goodbye for good.

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