You can hardly blame the sports media for overhyping, at every single possible occasion, the importance of public smack-talk by teams before they play an important game. Not only does it make the media’s job of filling inches and radio time that much easier, but it also lets the media feel like they’re part of the game now, even when they aren’t. Whatever “bulletin board material” comes from the pre-game interviews probably has about zero effect on the game itself.
That said, if you’re going to question a team’s credentials, don’t do it if they’re eight seeds better than your team, and really don’t do it to the point where you suggest their team’s no better than yours. Coaches (and 99% of America) know this, and that’s why their players are coached to be boring, generic talking point robots; let’s keep the embarrassment on the court, etc. etc. But then there’s Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez, whose only problem has ever been, um, “caring too much.” Someone asked him a loaded question about Memphis’ strength of schedule, and the star Terrapin answered with the kind of honesty that makes coaches want to quit.
(Terrorist fist jab: THE SPORTING BLOG):
Asked about Memphis, Vasquez said during a question-and-answer session: “Their conference is pretty much questionable. They don’t have tough games. But I still believe they’re good.”
He later qualified his remarks, saying, “I didn’t mean to disrespect their conference. We have tough games night in, night out” in the Atlantic Coast Conference. “Every game we play in the ACC is tough.”
Well, that seems pretty reasonable for the most part, I don’t see wh…
But about 20 minutes later, Vasquez — interviewed this time in the Maryland locker room — was back on the subject.
“They’d have a losing record in the league — probably win all of their games outside the league, losing record in the league,” he said. “The ACC is too tough. You can’t just win games night in and night out because you’re so athletic.”
Just for a little bit of context, Maryland went 7-9 in the ACC, the best losing record possible on a 16-game schedule. So Memphis couldn’t do any better in the league than Maryland? Well, that’s funny, because the Tigers just got done kicking the living hell out of the Terps, 89-70.
To his credit, Vasquez led the Terps with 18 points on 8-16 shooting, plus contributed 5 of his team’s 9 assists. But most of that production came in a second half where Memphis coasted; the game was over by halftime, as Memphis shot 70% in the first half and held a 55-35 lead. Ballgame.
Now, it’s probably onto the NBA for Vasquez, who has been compared to Manu Ginobili (probably for being South American and annoying). We’re sure that once there and receiving giant paychecks for the first time in his life, he’ll calm right down and maintain … pffffffhahahahaha, never mind, this will end badly.