The Washington Times - February 14, 2008, 10:54AM
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\ Go on the road with Maryland’s basketball program and there’s one sentiment that crops up time and again.\ \ \ Opposing fans don’t like Greivis Vasquez.\ \ \ That’s OK. The Venezuelan has all sorts of crazy antics that are part of the way he goes about the game, and fans certainly have reason to come prepared with comments and boos to greet him. One of last night’s czars of the dry erase board at Cameron Indoor Stadium scribbled “Vasquez + Chavez = Valentines,” a nice nod to the leader of the Maryland guard’s home country.\ \ \ But I was intrigued when I opened the Raleigh News & Observer in the airport this morning and read this sidebar suggesting Vasquez ticked off more than just Duke’s fans.\ \ \ Take this comment from Duke guard DeMarcus Nelson:\ \ \

“If you could read my mind, I might be in trouble. He might have gotten his points tonight, but his teammates didn’t, and we got the win. … It’s more about himself than his team. That’s something, I guess, they allow in their locker room.”
\ \ \ That’s an interesting jab, one I’m quite certain Maryland fans will add to their pile of qualms with what they perceive as Duke’s haughty, holier-than-thou program. Of course, you can talk that way when you’re 22-1 (and not 22-11, as the Blue Devils were last year when they remained relatively silent on the topic of Vasquez’s preening and histrionics).\ \ \ The amusing part of all of this is Vasquez is generally no different in his showmanship against good teams and bad teams (though he does get up for trips to particularly hostile venues. But oddly, arguably the best player on the nation’s No. 2 team (and Nelson has been flat-out fabulous for much of the season) takes it more personally than many others.\ \ \ I won’t lie: I found last night’s game sort of so-so, in part because the stakes were not all that great. Duke was going to be in first place regardless of the result, and Maryland was basically playing with house money after winning six of seven to rise up the conference standings. The Terps could have gotten a big boost, but there was no great desperation on their part.\ \ \ But a Round Three in the ACC tournament next month (perhaps in the conference semifinals) would be a real treat, especially to watch the dueling No. 21s go at it.\ \ \ – Patrick Stevens

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