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About Last Night: Disappointment Edition

January 8, 2009  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Can you ever forgive Maryland for a loss like the one against Morgan State?  Not when they look like they are 2 feet taller than the opponents.Last night turned into a mega-disappointment for teams that needed a big statement game.

First, there was Indiana, who has just floundered (for good reason, but that is another topic) for most of the season so far. They pushed a nearly ranked Michigan team to overtime in Bloomington.

It was a chance to have a statement win, something to build on for the rest of the season. But talent has a way of winning out, and Michigan was able to overcome what was the best effort of the season by Indiana.

Don't be surprised though if Indiana is able to steal one or two Big Ten games at home this season, if they are going to give that effort.

Indiana is a team you can forgive. They are lacking their usual allotment of great basketball talent.

But there were other teams last night that aren't lacking the talent, but maybe the heart and drive to demonstrate their greater ability.

Case in point, Boston College.

As if the week hadn't been bad enough for BC, they lost at home 82-70 to Harvard.

That's the Ivy League. Beating a team in the ACC. An ACC team that just beat the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation.

There is a tendency to let down following a big win, but this is unacceptable. It was the biggest upset of the year so far in the MRI, and it was more than a huge upset in the college basketball world.

While I would love to say that this shows the parity in the NCAA, I can't. No matter what strides Tommy Amaker has make in recruiting across town, Boston College should be better than Harvard.

Always. No question.

Continuing the "Always should be better" routine, turn your attention to Maryland, who lost by one to Morgan State at home.

Morgan State may be the best team in the MEAC so far this season, but this match-up should be on par with a 1-16 game in the NCAA tournament.

Sure, the trend has been that we are getting closer to the first round uber-upset, but this is not the tournament. Nothing is on the line here, other than maybe the check that Maryland shelled out for Morgan State to take the bus over.

Maryland should never lose to Morgan State.

Gary Williams has to be beside himself. How do you get it into your team's head that the ACC season is starting? You can't have an off day once conference games begin. The ACC is too good.

So Morgan State should never be a roll-over game. It should be a "trounce the team and rest the starters" type of game.

But instead, Maryland has to carry that loss, its worst of the season, through to March when every mistake is scrutinized to the utmost detail. You can forgive a team for losing to Gonzaga and Georgetown (although maybe not in the fashion that Maryland did -- 20 point defeats don't look good to the NCAA committee).

You can't, however, forgive this one.

And last but not least, Tennessee who lost to Gonzaga, 89-79 in overtime at home.

I just said it is not shame to lose to the Zags, but maybe it should be. This is not the Gonzaga of old.

This has been an "off-year" so far -- four early season losses are not normal fare for Gonzaga. And that off year has already included a win against Tennessee.

If the Volunteers didn't learn enough from a defeat on a neutral court to turn it around and win on their home court, shame on them.

It isn't like there wasn't motivation. This team beat you. It took away a potential "tournament title." Tennessee needs to be so up for this game that Gonzaga should fear coming into the gym.

Instead, Tennessee collapses and loses a game it led.

Vols coach Bruce Pearl should get together with Gary Williams and start a support group.

There are games you are allowed to lose, and those you aren't. BC, Maryland and Tennessee all had the latter. Indiana had the former, but should have instead pulled out the victory. It is these kinds of performances that end up separating teams in March. It is these games that end up being the decision point when you move a team through to the Sweet Sixteen on your bracket.

Right now, you would have to question the stamina of a Maryland, a Boston College, a Tennessee, to hold it together to get to that second weekend.

Because if they can do it, they certainly didn't act like it last night.

Ben Miraski is a freelance reporter, edits and writes for MRISports.com and is a featured blogger on FanIQ. Readers can contact Ben at bmiraski@mrisports.com


Posted January 8, 2009 5:01 PM