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Mike Wise: Two Sides to One Program

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By Mike Wise
Saturday, March 21, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo .

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Sixteen teams won first-round games Thursday, so 16 sets of fans and boosters should have been feeling pretty happy and content, right?

But here's a loud, proud request from a Gary Williams booster Thursday, in front of easily 100 courtside fans after the Terrapins' win over Cal: "I got your column tomorrow."

What's that?

"Fire Debbie Yow."

Beautiful. Great.

Williams has somehow siphoned every last drop of passion from this once-woebegone team and has the Terps tucking a stone into their slingshot for Saturday's game against Memphis, a Final Four favorite. Yet some of the Terps' biggest fans just can't let go of their venom toward the athletic director who they religiously believe wanted their coach out.

It's the elephant in the room as Gary and his point guard proxy, Greivis Vasquez, get ready to do battle with John Calipari's Memphis Tigers.

The focus should be on Saturday's study in coaching contrasts: Calipari, the maligned game coach who annually assembles an NBA-like roster, against Williams, one of basketball's great game coaches who enters with, well, Vasquez and a bunch of kids borrowed from the NAIA tournament across town. Instead, some vindictive souls don't want to merely celebrate Maryland's incredible run to the tournament; they want to humiliate.

You're either anti-Debbie or anti-Gary in this passion play. Pick one, for goodness sake, because you can't be both.

And to you people, scarred for whatever reason, I say: Enough already.


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