Friday, March 20, 2009

Vasquez has some words for Memphis

Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez is a guy who plays with tremendous emotion on the court. He certainly did on Thursday when he helped lead the Terps to a 84-71 win over No. 7 seed California with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

But from time to time, he lets his emotions get the best of him even when he's not in a game. And he did just that earlier today while answering some questions about No. 2 seed Memphis, the Terps' second round opponent:

When Chick Hernandez from Comcast mentioned that some of the Memphis players couldn't pronounce Vasquez's name - implying that they didn't know who he was – Vasquez said, "I like that. They will know my name. They will know who I am tomorrow on the court ... I thought it was disrespectful not knowing my name, but, uh, it's definitely going to be a good game, a competitive game. Hopefully the best team is going to win and hopefully we get this win so we can shock the whole world."

Dan Hellie of NBC4 then suggested to Vasquez that the Maryland star wouldn't be shocked if the Terps won, right? Vasquez, you could see, was starting to let this idea of the Memphis players disrespecting him fester and take root in his head. He was about to ready to blow. And, on cue, Mt. Greivis finally did:

"No, not at all," he said. "We beat Wake Forest. If they play in the ACC conference, they would have a losing record in the league. Probably win all their games outside the league, but losing record in the league."

And if that wasn't enough, Vasquez had this to say:

"The ACC is too tough. You can't just win games night in and night because you're so athletic. I don't think those guys came to play yesterday. They won it, they won the game because they have a better team overall but tomorrow they’re going to face a good team. So I think we're good enough to win."

Regardless of whether or not the Memphis players who were talking about Vasquez were being disrespectful, Vasquez should be a little smarter. First of all, Maryland is playing inspired basketball right now -- probably the best they've played all season. And second, the Tigers were just pushed to the brink in their opening round game against No. 15 seed CS Northridge. They didn't look very good in that game, and they even needed 35 points and 10 three-pointers from Roburt Sallie, a reserve guard who averaged about five points per game during the regular season. If there was anything Maryland needed to avoid, it was to give Memphis some bulletin board material.

But even if you don't buy into that sort of thing, which I really don't -- really, is either team going to play any harder now? -- what exactly is Vasquez trying to say? Obviously the ACC is better than Conference USA, but I seriously doubt that Memphis would have a losing record in the ACC. But we'll never know that.

What we do know, though, is that Maryland does have a chance against Memphis, and Vasquez doesn't need to be talking about who Maryland played during the season or how they beat North Carolina who beat Duke so that means they're as good as Duke, or whatever he's trying to say. None of that means anything.

But for the record, Vasquez really isn't that hard of a name to say. Maybe they got stuck on the Greivis part, which is a little more understandable.

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

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