Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

I just wanted to give anyone checking this site a quick heads up. I was asked to add content to Total Pro Sports. This sounds like a fun opportunity for me but as a result it means I will probably update this site even more erratically. I still plan to update regularly, but wanted to you all to know why posts might start to lag. Hopefully, it will not have a huge impact. I already am subject to the demands of school and other things happening in my life and I still plan on making time for this. But if you need a fix of my writing you can also check there. Here's the link to my first article. The Lady Terps Will Eat Your Children. Hope you enjoy it.

I also write pretty regularly for the Friday feature on Deadspin called Waxing Off. Most you probably stumbled across my site this way but I figured as long as I'm mentioning other places you can find my writing, I might as well make a note of it.

I also wrote a review of Camden Yards area restaurants and bars a while back for Fan Foodie. This is a great collaborative site to check out if you are traveling or going to any sports venue and want a feel for the local fair to prevent you from getting sucked into the local tourist trap or eating some terrible stadium food.

As always, thanks for reading.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Good for Hockey, Good by Me

A lot has been made recently of Alex Ovechkin's 'excessive' celebration of his 50th goal. Yeah, this was a few days ago, but I've been like the most people and spent the last week obsessing over college basketball. Now that my team is out and my bracket is totally busted, I can start going over the sports news I've been missing out on. One such piece of controversy, was Alex Ovechkin pretending to start a fire over his stick after scoring.

Ovechkin has always been known for his celebrations. Every goal he or a teammate scores he jumps up and down like a crazy person. He scores a lot of goals, third season in a row over 50, and he celebrates a lot. So far, this has been lauded as great for the game. An explosive player who shows great enthusiasm and truly enjoys playing the game. It has made hockey more fun for people to watch. People who nothing about hockey know who Alex Ovechkin is. He brought personality to the game. And it seems that he has done it for the love of the game, not for his own personal glory.

So why all the criticism? Yeah, maybe it was a bit of dick move, but it was fun. What's wrong with some celebration. I'm not saying he should start whipping out Sharpies and signing pucks, but an occasional over the top celebration is not a terrible thing. Not every goal celebration should involve antics or props, but an occasional clip is ok. It brings attention to the league. Suddenly people are watching hockey for something other than fights. And maybe, they'll be like me, they'll watch a little hockey for some other reason and realize that hockey is actually pretty fun to watch.

Purist will decry any change. But the league should embrace some fun. That's the point of the outdoor game right. To bring in new viewers. A star gets press and some interest and some fans. So let the guy play and have fun. The NBA just took out a huge loan and is still considered a run away more popular sport than hockey. Let the league address excessive celebrations if or when they get out of hand. Until then, enjoy the star power.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Random MMA

In an attempt to distract myself from the rout of Maryland yesterday I was just surfing some random sports sites and stumbled across a video of a Mixed Martial Arts fighter addressing some type of cheating scandal. It had something to do with Vaseline and men being paid to kiss other men, whatever, not the interesting part. Apparently there are some hot MMA fighters out there. I guess I always figured that two men grappling with each other would have to be in good shape, but I also figured their faces would be a little busted, they're fighters, it made sense in my head. Well, there is at least on hottie out there, Georges St. Pierre, and he's also a pretty good fighter, or at least that's what his website says.

I know almost nothing about MMA, except they fight in a cage, and know a bunch of martial arts styles, wrestling moves and boxing techniques. Maybe one of my readers could educate me about this sport. I know it's ridiculous to say this, but if more of the fighters look like this guy, I could become a fan. I've seen a few fights but never really gave it much thought before. But there's nothing like a little eye candy to help relieve the pain of a hard loss.

I should be catching up on the massive amount of signings the Ravens have made during free agency or how the O's are doing in spring training, or any of the sports I really care about. But I needed a down day and though everyone deserved a mindless post after my angry rant about the ACC yesterday. Sorry about that, but it's my blog, so whatever. I'll get back to my regular sports soon.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Where'd My ACC Go?

I'm not going to focus on how Maryland got blown out by Memphis. It was sad, but not really that surprising. I'm hoping that Vasquez will now stay around another year and lead a solid, experienced Maryland team deep into the tournament. But we'll all have to wait and see on that and how the new recruits turn out. Those are worries for next season. Right now my question is what happened to the ACC?

The ACC fielded seven of their twelve teams in this tournament. The only conference with a higher percentage of its teams going to the tourney is the Big 10 with 7 of 11 teams. Yes, even the unstoppable Big East did not bring more teams than the ACC or Big Ten. The Big East has approximately half of all Division I teams, so they should earn at least 7 bids on any given year. But the ACC decided not to show up for the tourney. Yeah, we had the numbers, but not the wins.

Only three teams were able to advance to the second round. Maryland, UNC and Duke. Of those teams, so far only UNC has sealed a spot in the Sweet 16. Maryland got blown out and Duke is still playing as I'm writing this. This is just pathetic. With so many top ranked teams the ACC should be fielding more than one or two teams in the round of 16. Maryland was the only bubble team of the ACC and even they managed to win their first game. They even won in an upset. I mean it's not that surprising that Clemson choked, but Wake and Florida State, what happened there? Yes, we should kick Boston College out of the ACC immediately. I whole heartily support that. But unfortunately, I can't blame them for the down year for the conference.

The ACC has a total of 10 National Championships, and you may as well start betting online that they are going to win a few more. The Big East has 8, three of which were won by teams before they were a part of the giant Big East. So shut up Big East, a few good seasons does not make you a totally superior conference. You need a few more years and National Championships to earn that. But damn it ACC, stop making my argument so hard. Even the Big Ten is doing better this year. And that's just sad since the ACC regularly schools the Big Ten in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. So when pitted against each other in the tourney when it counts you think the ACC could make a game of it. The ACC should not be the conference that upsets are expected against.

So shape up ACC. I expect better things from you next year. Relying on Duke to represent the conference is just disgusting. I'm torn between my natural desire to want Duke to lose and my desire to have more than one ACC team in the Sweet 16. Maryland preformed above expectations. Where are the rest of you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Maryland Madness

The Terps won!!! I was a little scared there for a few minutes, but they pulled it out. They did it. The team that most thought (including me) wouldn't make the tournament for most of the season just won their first round game. They beat the Cal Bears, 84-71, despite the fact that bears are a more ferocious mascot. I chalk this up to the Golden Bear not being a real animal. A turtle can outlast an imaginary creature any day. It doesn't matter, the game is over and Maryland was the victor. Now it's time to look forward to Memphis on Saturday.

This game will be hard for Maryland. But they have managed to beat some seemingly better opponents this season. Memphis also showed that it is vulnerable by playing a close game against a 15 seeded Cal State Northridge team. It's totally possible Maryland will fall flat and Vasquez will only score 10 points and foul out early in a blow out. But that's been a possibility every game of the season. Maryland has been playing surprisingly well lately though.

Maybe Maryland will be this year's Cinderella team. Can you be a Cinderella team if you are from a big conference even if you are a low seed. I guess we'll find out if Maryland can pull it off tomorrow. Right now I'm just riding the high that is a Maryland tournament win. Win or lose tomorrow, Maryland has come back from the dead this season to rally around their coach, prove sceptics wrong and not only avoid the NIT, but make it to the second round. This is something to enjoy.

Maryland was one of the few upsets the first day. People complain about the lack of upsets but doesn't that mean the Selection committee did a good job. Shouldn't most of the games be won by the higher seed. If it was all upsets wouldn't that be equally boring and questionable. I'm just looking for good games, and Maryland upsets of course.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Giddiness

I love March Madness. I love the first weekend the most. It's when the upsets happens, when the Cinderellas go looking for their slippers, and when you can spend several days in a row ignoring all your obligations and just watch basketball. And with all the terrible things happening in the world right now, we could all use a few days to focus on so pervasive that billions of dollars of production are lost. March Madness might not be what the economy needs right now, but it's exactly what people need right now.

Everyone fills out a bracket and gets a chance to win. Everyone gets to feel like they know whats going on. And even when you are crying over you're bracket a week from now, it'll be ok. All of the teams had a chance, well not the team the won the play in game, but you know, all the other ones. Everyone has someone to root for right now. Even if your favorite team didn't make it. There is some team that you are loosely affiliated with and can root for.

Personally I'll be pulling for Maryland. But being from Baltimore, I'd also like to see Morgan State do well. Maybe they'll be the first 15 seed to take out a 2 seed. Doubtful, but it'd be cool. I also will be supporting Temple. They don't hold the same place in my heart the Maryland does, but in general people don't feel as strongly about their grad schools as their undergrads. Well, at least that's how I feel. But I'd still like Temple to do well, and upsets are always fun as long as its not my team getting upset. And Dionte Christmas is explosive, I'm taking the guy from VCU to be this year's Curry but Christmas would have to be my second choice. I've probably just doomed both of those guys. But whatever, I have to put out a few predictions to be mocked.

Either way tomorrow should be great. It should be a national holiday in my mind. I'll have to add that to my platform for Sports Czar.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Fear the Dancing Turtle

Maryland is in! I was worried watching the selection show after they announced Arizona. There were only so many at large bids and so many bubble teams. But after what seemed like forever, Maryland was announced as a 10 seed. I was pretty happy with this. I thought we'd probably be more like an 11 or 12 seed. Whatever, the Terps are going back to the Tourney.

Now it's time to fill out brackets, speculate on upsets and wait for Thursday when we can all start blowing off class, work, and everything else because of the wonders of technology. The first weekend of March Madness is one of the best if not possibly the best sports event of the year. Again I'm biased as to what time of year it is when claiming this and which of my teams happen to be playing in the post season. But regardless of my personal seasonal penchants, how can you not love March Madness.

Every team really has a chance to win. Yes, it's an outside chance, yes, a 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed, but it's possible. Everyone can have hope. The lowest seed to ever win a tournament was an 8 seed. That's a team that's predicted to be right in the middle of the pack, and they won. A few years ago, George Mason, an 11 seed made it to the Final Four. So while it seems unlikely that Maryland as a 10 seed is going to do a lot of damage, it's still completely possible. Maryland is the kind of emotional team that could make a huge run or completely fall flat in the first game.

At this time of year some people try to argue that the tournament should be expanded to let in a few more of the bubble teams. I don't like this idea. I love the 65 team format. I could do without the play in game, but the having teams on the bubble is part of what makes it fun. Not everyone should get in. But you should let some of the lesser/smaller teams in because that's what leads to great upsets and all the excitement. Making the tournament smaller would take away from the excitement.

Even if Maryland was on the other side of the bubble, I still wouldn't want to change the format. I would want to drive to Indianapolis and hurt a few people; but, that's the committee's fault, not the tournament set-up. Don't change a thing. This tournament is just about perfect. People just want something to complain about.

So enjoy the next few days of dissecting the bracket. I won't bore you with my picks, unless they turn out to be really good, then I'll gloat a little. Remember, fear the turtle.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shall We Dance?

The suspense is killing me. I want it to be 6:00 right now so I can know for sure if Maryland is in or not. I tried watching the ACC Championship game but watching Duke beat up on Florida State was too much for me. So now I'm trying to find ways to occupy my time for the next few hours so I can stop going over the reasons Maryland should get a berth in my head. I'm literally twitching in anticipation, though that might have something to do with all the coffee I drank this morning.

I'm not going to go over the arguments for Maryland again because if you have any interest in the ACC you've already heard them. So right now I'm just waiting and hoping that Maryland gets in and even better they play their first game in Philadelphia. I know that seems like a lot to ask. But I've never been to a tournament game before (ok, I did go to a NIT game once, but that doesn't really count) and would go nuts if Maryland was able to play in the city I happen to be living in. I have to believe that since Philly is so close to Maryland that the arena would be packed with red clad supporters.

Excuse me while I dream of seeing my Terps win their first round game in front of basically a home crowd. If they don't make the tournament I might wind up crying later tonight. But I don't really want to think about that. Right now I'm thinking about how much fun its going to be. I just want to dream about Maryland appearing on the bracket. Please don't burst my bubble.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seal the Deal

Personally, I think that after resoundingly beating Wake Forest yesterday, 75-64, Maryland has all but punched it's card to the big dance. But in an increasingly tight fight for those at large bids I wouldn't mind another win to shore up a spot. I mean, I wouldn't mind an automatic bid by winning the tournament either. That would be pretty ideal. But I'm nowhere near that hopeful and confident. If the Terps don't make the tournament with this resume I'll be screaming about a snub on Sunday night.

They have 4 really quality wins, three of those against top 10 teams. They have a few bad losses, but overall, they've stepped up as the season has gone on. And they only have two losses to really bad teams. And UVA beat Clemson when they were a top ranked team. So that loss isn't really that terrible, kinda, sorta.

Whatever, I'll save my arguments for later. Right now I want to focus on Duke. They beat Maryland twice during the regular season. The first time it was almost comical to watch. But Maryland seems to have tapped a new enthusiasm. They actually played better against Wake than they did against NC State. Stringing two wins together has been hard for the Terps this year, and two wins where they played better the second game seems even less likely. But that gives me hope that they'll show up again today ready to play and win.

The team seems to have rallied around Gary. Taking the criticism to heart and playing for to vindicate him as much as to win for themselves. It's very reminiscent of the 2004 ACC tournament. Duke is a really good team. And they tend to shine in the tournament, but if Maryland can keep buckling down and playing their hearts out, they have a good shot at beating Duke. Duke played a hard game against BC last night and I think Maryland will be able to challenge them again today.

LET'S GO TERPS!!! Silence the critics and stop the skepticism. Win today and show the selection committee that there is no doubt you belong in that field of 65.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Let Me Down Easy

Dear Maryland Terrapins,

You are my favorite team. I have watched all season for many seasons. I've weathered the ups and downs. I've suffered with you and enjoyed your successes. So as a long time fan and alumna of the great University of Maryland please grant me one small request. If you are going to break my heart and crush my soul tonight by losing, please do it early. Get blown out by Wake. Make it almost comical, similar to that Duke game earlier this season where I really tried to give up on this team. You keep dangling this carrot in front of me and I really just can't take it any more.

I can't take the game being close until the last three minutes when you're small size become overwhelmingly evident and every shot gets blocked. I just can't watch another game like that this season. It's been a rocky year. I started mourning the end of the season only to have you come back from the dead. I watched as Gary and Debbie exchanged words and embarrassed the once proud program. I defended the team to friends who insinuated all was lost when the revival started.

Please, if I have to suffer through another year of the NIT, give me some time to accept that. Don't give me hope that Selection Sunday will be all smiles for me and all the other Terp fans out there. Ideally, you guys will win tonight. But I'm not sure I'm ready to believe that will happen. I'd love to see the team step up and come together. To play like you did against UNC or Michigan St. I'd love to see a team that won't give up and plays a full 40 minutes. But I won't hold it against you if you don't. I know its hard to keep up the emotional intensity. It's hard to play a fresh team when you battled hard the night before. And I know, no matter what happens tonight, I'll be cheering you on whenever your next game is, be in NCAA, NIT, or next season.

I can't give up on you. I'll be there for you regardless. So please, try to treat all the fans that feel the same way right. Don't tease us and play with our emotions only to let us down and hurt us. Let us know where you stand early on. It's the humane thing to do. Remember, we love you anyway.




Photo: found at the Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hope Hurts More

I know I haven't written in a while but I just couldn't sit down and write this post. But every time I tried to write about something else it just seemed wrong. I wanted to just ignore the loss to Virginia, I want to just let my hopes and dreams die. I want to be able to accept that once again I won't be filling out a bracket that included Maryland.

But then there's the matter of the ACC tournament. In 2004, Maryland looked like it was sitting on the wrong side of the bubble, then they went on a tear and won the ACC tournament. And for that reason alone, I am forced to suffer through another few days of believing in a miracle. In 2004, the emotional and inconsistent leader, Gilchrist stepped up propelled the team to upset Duke's reign as ACC champ. This year, when Vasquez has shown up he has shown bright.

Maryland has already beat NC State, so the first round is not really impossible. And after getting beaten by UVA I'm guessing the team will want to salvage some of its pride. If Maryland can manage not to blow it again, they would move on to face Wake Forest. They were close to beating Wake last game. And while this doesn't bode well for them it is possible they could win. I'm not going to speculate past that round of the bracket. Even thinking about it makes me hopeful and I'm not ready to be that let down again.

After all this turmoil and all the ups and downs of this season, I kind of wish I had left Maryland for dead after the Duke game. I wish I had gotten on with my mourning, walked away and waited for next season. But a real fan can't do that. I'm tied to this team. I have to follow them. I have to watch the games and suffer through this tournament drought. And worst of all, I somehow still have hope.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Better Time to Be a Terp

It was a good weekend to be a Terp fan. The Lady Terps won the ACC, the men's and women's lacrosse teams beat Duke, and the men's basketball team kept their tournament hopes alive by holding on and beating NC State. The men are back to .500 in the ACC with two games left to play before the ACC tourney. It's nice to occasionally take time to look at the other sports at Maryland and see them doing well.

Sometimes I get so caught up with football and basketball that I forget that Maryland has other teams and that those teams are usually ranked near the top in the country. It's hard with the snow outside to remember that its spring time which means time for lacrosse. I never played lacrosse but it is pretty fun to watch. Watching guys beat each other with sticks is strangely appealing. Also, it's a great excuse to tailgate in the springtime. And any reason to tailgate is good with me.

Also, anytime a Terp team beats Duke is a good day. But maybe its not such a big deal in lacrosse since Maryland is 55-17 all time against Duke. I know Maryland is a hotbed for lacrosse but that is just a pathetic stat for Duke. I think of lacrosse as a Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina based sport. Right now there are five Maryland teams ranked in the top 20. I would guess that there will probably be around 5 Maryland teams in the 16 team tournament at the end of the season.

In general, I love tournament play of any kind. For the last two years, I've even filled out women's basketball brackets on a random ESPN group. And if they have a lacrosse bracket I'll probably fill that out to. The women's bracket is a little easier than the men's because there are clear powerhouses and number one and two seeds usually go pretty far. Also, this is easier for me because I always pick Maryland to go far and they tend to do well.

Basically, this winding, random post is me trying to say check out the other teams at Maryland or whatever college you tend to cheer for and show them some love. At Maryland they tend to be pretty good. I apologize for the rambling nature of this post but my brain is somewhat fried from working on a research paper. I just figured I should throw something up here before tonight's MD-Wake game. And the other teams do deserve some love for their achievements.