Wednesday
February 15
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Issue 15
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jones, duquette both showing bad form


I'm an unabashed Adam Jones fan.

Sure, I don't always care for his plate discipline and propensity for swinging at the first pitch, but he's the one making $17 million a year playing baseball and I'm the one writing about it.

But the record should show that I'm a big Adam Jones fan.

And while I'm certainly not "anti" Dan Duquette, I find his mercurial personality to be a tad off-putting. Maybe that's because I can't quite figure him out, and here in Baltimore we like people who wear their heart on their sleeve.

Come to think of it, maybe that's why I'm so fond of Jones.

Duquette, if it's possible to be weird in a nice way, is just that. I don't think I'm breaking any news here when I say Duquette is a bit of a strange bird. Anyone who has covered him, whether in Boston or Baltimore, would say the same thing.

Those two have made the news recently, and while their spat isn't nearly as ugly or damaging as the one involving Charles Oakley and James Dolan in New York, it's not a healthy situation to have the centerfielder taking veiled swipes at the general manager and the general manager poking back at one of the team's star players.

It's bad form from both of them.

O's centerfielder Adam Jones was told by Dan Duquette earlier this week that perhaps he should listen to "experts" like Doug Glanville, who have cautioned Jones about playing too shallow in the outfield.

Jones "started it", if you will, by speaking out at the team's Fanfest event a few weeks back and citing the team's need for better defensive players at the corner outfield positions. In whole, there's probably nothing wrong with saying, "We need to be solid defensively at all three outfield spots", but as we all know, most times it's not what you say, it's how you say it that matters.

The centerfielder then questioned the athleticism of returning right fielder/DH Mark Trumbo and newcomer Seth Smith, who figures to patrol that spot when the team faces righthanded pitching in 2017.

"Just get more athletic guys," Jones said at Fanfest. "And I’m not saying that Trumbo and Seth Smith aren’t athletic. They’re very good athletes, but they’re not top of the line defensive players first.”

Not good, Adam. Not good.

For starters, the ink was already dry on both contracts. Trumbo and Smith are Orioles. If you wanted to make a plea for "more athletic guys", the time to do that would have been in December, not the end of January when the signings had already taken place.

And mentioning them by name, even with the qualifier of "I'm not saying that Trumbo and Seth Smith aren't athletic", wasn't good form, either.

Jones and Duquette have had a public flare-up or two before, remember. It was early last winter when Jones remarked that he had tried to call Duquette "at least three times" during the off-season and the general manager didn't bother returning his call.

Duquette got involved in the "athletic" flap earlier this week when he appeared on a national radio show and referenced Jones by name, mentioning that there are folks around baseball who feel he plays his position awkwardly.

"There are people, Doug Glanville of ESPN is one of them, who feel Adam plays too shallow," Duquette said. "It will be interesting to see if Adam takes any of that advice to heart. Glanville was a centerfielder remember, and he's big into stats and metrics now, so he has data to support his position that Adam might need to tweak his style somewhat."

It's true that Jones has always been known for playing three or four steps "in". And, yes, occasionally a ball or two finds its way to the wall because he wasn't playing deep enough.

But those instances are few and far between and Jones remains one of the game's premier centerfielders. There are plenty of balls he gets to in short centerfield over the course of a season that would be drop-in singles if not for his positioning.

Everyone has their own playing style. Gold Gloves speak for themselves. Adam Jones is a terrific outfielder.

But putting on his GM hat and commenting about Trumbo and Smith's athleticism wasn't a good move from Jones, particularly not in a public forum. It's one thing if he wants to sit down with Duquette in late November and chat about it. It's another to make the comments known within a media forum.

And, yes, it's possible Jones tried to reach out to Duquette to talk about it privately and was ignored. That still doesn't make it smart to take your case to the media.

As for Duquette, he, too, should be careful what he says publicly, because it's often more puzzling than anything else.

Earlier this winter, he claimed the Orioles wouldn't be interested in signing Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista because "the fans wouldn't like it".

And then, this week, he takes to the air to tell Adam Jones perhaps he should listen to Doug Glanville, a player-turned-broadcaster who has statistical analysis to prove Jones doesn't play his position correctly.

Again, like Jones, Duquette would be far better served to make those comments in private to his player.

At this point, though, it appears neither can stop sniping at the other.

It's not to the "ugly" level yet, but it certainly isn't healthy to have a future Orioles Hall of Famer and the organization's top baseball decision maker at odds with one another in the media.

They both know that, too.

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We buzz through several stories, including Tom Brady asking for $2,000 for an autograph, the Charles Oakley/James Dolan spat, and the UConn women's hoops team winning 100 straight games.

There's more, too. It's worth a listen, I think, but maybe that's because I'm one of the people you'll be hearing.

As the podcast evolves, we'll try to get other sports figures in town to stop by for a chat. I'm working on a visit from former Blast goalkeeper Scott Manning, for example. We might have to expand that one to 68 minutes or split it into two shows, because Scott always has lots to say!

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You know you have a bad back when you can't make the press conference to discuss...your bad back. Tiger Woods was set to meet with the media in Los Angeles on Tuesday, but moved the press conference to Wednesday (today) in order to continue receiving treatment on his ailing back. Late Tuesday afternoon, word came down from Tiger's camp that he was canceling the press conference all together.

I'm no back doctor and most likely neither are you, but this latest development can't be seen, in any way, as a positive for Woods. A decade or so ago I had some very minor back spasm issues that came up out of nowhere and hung around for a few weeks, and to say it was concerning would be an understatement. But they went away as quickly as they showed up and -- knock on wood -- I haven't had any problems since.

So, I get it. Woods can't play golf with back spasms. He can likely do next to nothing -- athletically oriented -- with back spasms. But how is this latest ailment connected to his two back surgeries in 2015? That's the million dollar question.

Augusta is still six weeks away, but don't be surprised if Woods is unable to compete there in early April.

Dropping two of their last three isn't anything to be overly concerned with, but the Maryland Terrapins need to snap out of their little funk tonight and win what might be a tough one at Northwestern.

Maryland's hopes for a win tonight at Northwestern might rest on the shoulders of Damonte Dodd, who has a significant height advantage over Dererk Pardon of the Wildcats.

Looming on Saturday is a visit to Wisconsin, who just lost to Northwestern -- at home -- last weekend, so tonight's game takes on added importance in that Maryland doesn't want to be facing the prospects of another 2-game losing streak when they travel to Madison in a few days.

The Terps are apparently getting a break tonight as Northwestern will likely be without their leading scorer, Scott Lindsey, who has missed the last three games with mono. That didn't stop them from winning at Wisconsin, obviously, and there are others who can put the ball in the basket for the Wildcats.

Bryant McIntosh (14 points per-game), Vic Law (13 ppg) and Dererk Pardon (10 ppg) all average in double figures for Chris Collins' team. Pardon missed five weeks earlier in the season after undergoing wrist surgery, but when healthy, he gives Northwestern a solid presence under the basket.

The good for Northwestern? They hold on to the basketball. They are 17th in the country in turnover efficiency. They are also solid defensively, ranking 9th in the country in opponent's effective field goal percentage (44), one of those new quirky stats in the college game that measures how well a team shoots against you from all areas of the court.

Weaknesses? Northwestern doesn't shoot well themselves, with an effective shooting percentage ranking of 203, one of the worst in the nation.

KenPom, one of the nation's leaders in college basketball stats and analysis, predicts Northwestern wins this one, 70-65.

Maryland needs this one tonight. With my man Dale Williams on the disabled list with a bad stomach bug, I'm stepping in and calling this one a 77-73 win for the Terps. I'll go with an unlikely offensive hero and give the nod to Damonte Dodd, who outworks Pardon in the paint for 12 points and 8 rebounds in the victory.

I'm not in New York nor am I a Knicks fan, so maybe I'm not supposed to "get it", but why all the coverage of the Oakley/Dolan flap these days?>

I understand...it was an ugly scene at Madison Square Garden last week when Oakley had to be hauled out of there. But what's the "national story" of interest that keeps this in the news?

I don't get it.

Oakley was a very good player, yes, but this isn't Michael Jordan getting kicked out of the arena in Chicago because he and the Bulls' owner don't get along.

It's Charles Oakley.

And while I'll admit it was bad form for James Dolan to make the rounds to various New York radio stations and fan the flames, who gets the blame there -- Dolan, or the stations that put him on?

I guess everyone's to blame, ultimately, for making this whole thing into a much bigger deal than it is, in reality.

It's an ex-player involved in some sort of dispute with the team's owner. Who cares?

And unless I'm wrong, Oakley didn't even play for the team when Dolan took over management/ownership. So, what's the "real" story here? Something's not adding up.

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we're still looking for new #dmd staffers


I mentioned this last Friday and received several responses (thank you!) and wanted to throw it out there again once or twice this week.

#DMD is looking to expand our staff.

We're adding a new writer or two to the roster, hopefully within the next couple of weeks, but certainly before baseball season. I've been in contact with several "prospects" and feel good about retaining their services. I'm sure you'll enjoy their work.

If there's an ardent follower of America's pastime out there who would like to take on the role of writing about Major League Baseball (not focusing on the Orioles, but more all of MLB in general), let me know and perhaps we'll add you to the stable here.

Reach me via e-mail if you'd like to contact me about a writing position: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Additionally, we're looking to add another regional sales and marketing associate to the mix here as well. If you're interested in a position selling #DMD and our associated properties, you can also reach out to me via e-mail. Experience in media/advertising sales is helpful, but certainly not a mandate.


#dmd comments


George     June 29
@DF – Back from the vitamin store and jacked on B-12. Seems it was indeed exactly as you described. Mea culpa. It was one heck of an exhibition at Hayfields. Eger’s caddy had at least a two-shot distraction value, so you should have been low in the foursome that day. The woman caddying for the Sarge in the pro-am was his daughter Kelly. She travelled with him because the family expected him to collapse at any time because of heart problems. A wonderful and loving daughter. I see on Wikipedia he lived for five or six more years after Hillendale.

Thanks for setting me straight on your lowest rounds at various courses: -4 at Mt. Pleasant and -6 at Hayfields.

Josh     June 28
Drew,



Sounds like it's time for a DMD Challenge at The Mount! Something like $75 a golfer. A portion of proceeds to charity

M     June 28
Ball is a jerk of the highest proportion.



I hope his kid gets sent to the D League so we don't have to hear his loud mouth old man anymore.

Mike from Reisterstown     June 28
@DF - let us know who you are caddying for. I'm bringing the boys out on Friday and we'll try to follow you for a couple of holes.



When you shot that 66 at Hayfields, was that from the tips? If so, pretty damn impressive.

Jerry     June 28
DF, thanks for the caddy story at Caves Valley. I signed up. Hope to meet you out there on 7/12.

DF     June 28
Trying to catch up on a few comments directed at me.



@Tim -- No, I'm not PLAYING in the golf tournament at Caves Valley, I'm caddying in the pro am on Wednesday, July 12. You can, too. Information is in today's edition of #DMD (above).



@JR -- Nothing got deleted. A troll'ish attempt to try and create a stir. Nothing more.



@Chris B -- Can't imagine the Ravens are interested in him. If he didn't pass their physical in January how is he going to pass it in July? Just a guess, but I think they'll pass if, in fact, he does return to the NFL.

Chris Bennett     June 28
Hey Drew just curious what you think of the Zachary Orr situation. Any chance we get him back for this season?

JR     June 28
Did the thread get deleted as predicted?

DF     June 28
@George --



My old friend, you better get yourself checked in down there or increase your vitamin intake. Your memory has left you like my left-handed putting acumen left me. Overnight...



You indeed DID caddie for me at Hayfields. You know how I remember that? Two ways -- First, Eger (who was a professional at the time, not an amateur) had a late 20's female on his bag and she walked and you complained that I had you and my bag in a cart. ha ha



Second, the day before, I arranged for you to play in a Pro Am at Hillendale, where you played with Orville Moody and I caddied for you. Oddly enough, Moody also had a young lady of 30 or so on HIS bag. Must have been nice to be a former U.S. Open champ back in those days. ;)



Please note that my low Mount Pleasant score of 67 was a TOURNAMENT low. I shot lower than that just goofing around with you guys. But, yes, of the two (Hayfields and Mount Pleasant), the lower of my two scores would have occurred at Hayfields. But -- you're counting SCORE. Hayfields has four par 5's, remember...Mount Pleasant has two of them. And those Hayfields greens stay relatively the same throughout the day. At Mount Pleasant, you can have a six foot putt at 9:00 break right to left and then at 2:00 pm, it might break left to right. ha ha




George     June 28
@DF – You are getting old and your memory fails. It wasn’t me on the bag when you played with David Eger. I remember the round, so must have been in your gallery. But I KNOW it wasn’t me on the bag because I’d never, even jokingly, call someone who just shot 66 an amateur hack. And I seem to remember that David himself was an amateur at the time, wasn’t he?

This allows a slender opening to segue subtly back to Mt. Pleasant. I note you confessed previously here to a low of 67 in all the hundreds or perhaps thousands of rounds you played there, while you cruised around a course you played only infrequently in 66.

Curiouser and curiouser!

dazed and confused     June 28
I am definitely bewildered by the Brien comments, he did not even post an article today, did he?

Thatguy     June 28
10% of the time Brien has a point, 90% it is so poorly expressed, either cause of word choice, grammar, sentence structure, or just bad writing, hard to discern what he's saying.

Just my 2 cents

BR     June 28
The cheap shots at Brien are really getting old. Find someone else to pick on guys.

Steve in Hunt Valley     June 28
@Clayton, I still don't see what's wrong! But thank you for posting that anyway. I must be missing it.

Bob     June 28
Clayton, thank you. I misunderstood what you all were complaining about. I thought you were upset with bad grammar. I see now. Thanks again.

Clayton     June 28
Rich Bob Lincoln





"At this point it's almost a foregone conclusion that the former Super Bowl starter's career NFL career is over."





"What is unusual though is the passive aggressive campaign that the league, the media, have fans have waged against him in order to dance around the blatant fact that he's being run out of the league for his social activism."





"Tebow was certainly a cultural lightning rod to some, but worse from the perspective of a team he had a legion of obsessed fans and an entire major television network dedicated to trolling them with hyperbolic claims about his talent and constant demands to play him."

Tim     June 28
Drew is it true you are playing in the Senior golf championship at Caves Valley in July? My dad is marshaling and he wanted to know if you know what time you're playing. Good luck!

Lincoln     June 28
Rich, Bob:



There's nothing at all wrong with Brien's article today.



As is typically the case when I see critiques of him, they're off base and over the top.



He's clearly disliked by the masses here for reasons I'm not aware of, but today's article in particular is not worthy of this much complaining.

Bob     June 28
Glad @Rich said it first. I'd like to know what I'm missing with Brien's writing. I read it and it looks fine to me.

Rich     June 28
I will probably regret this but I consider my fairly well schooled and I don't see much of anything wrong with what Brien wrote today. Not trying to pick a fight here but if you're going to come to the site and critique is writing and blame him for being a poor writer you should at least point out the mistakes so we all know you're actually not full of hot air. I've read through it three times now and I don't see what's wrong with it. My 2 cents.

mike from catonsville     June 28
I forgot to mention, about 90% of the parents on "Friday Night Tykes".



Total worthless discussion but still think it's fun to point out knucklehead sports parents.

RJ     June 28
About 3 months ago the owner of DMD said that he was very in tune and was "caring" about the quality on his site. Obviously he was blowing smoke as many many errors still get through. Brien is an embarrassment when it comes to quality, please proof read his content. It is really difficult to get through and deserves the critiques it gets. People who point out the errors should be lauded not banned and censored. Threads will surely disappear today.

CJ     June 28
@Ghost

Right on. I have come to the conclusion that at this point anyone who mentions wrestling, follows it in any manner and is over the age of 16 has latent feelings for men in tights or is a intellectual moron. It shouldn't be something that grown men are into. That whole thing is odd. Fake, homo-erotic and insipid. All things that serious men should avoid. It is not sports. Eric the Midget loved wrestling and he had a IQ of 90.



As some have said there isn't much insight any longer, just spitballing. And Brien's columns are actually getting worse. That dude can't write, makes tons of errors and defends the indefensible. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. And we have yet to have proof that he ever had a byline on his claimed resume.



Who has the best record in the AL East the past 10 games? The Baltimore Orioles(tied). Another good week and do we see the new spit ball come out. "They just might be in this". They are contenders right now. Because their record says so. All of the teams have holes. The O's need their "have done it" guys get into form. We may be seeing signs.

HERMAN     June 28
We've entered that horrible time frame of sports hell where pro football is still in what feels like the distant future, and the distractions of the NBA and NHL championships are all done. All that's left is baseball and with the local team tanking that's nothing but frustration. All that's left is the British Open to distract from the humidity. These are the toughest days to have to crank out a daily column. They need to borrow from Bill Simmons, mix a little pop culture and daily life into the mix, human interest stuff. Keeps things fresh when the sports world runs dry. These are the dog days. Has training camp opened yet.........?

ghost of pgav/monk/ETC     June 28
Did we morph to the dark days already cause of the O’s slump? First the silly “winner contest” and now we get consecutive days of “Serena vs men”, “Kaeperdick” and now a non-story about this Ball guy (which BTW, how is he an “NBA problem”, and why would anyone “root against the Lakers” because his kid happens to play for them??).

Why not a little more on the O’s little streak other than “looks like TOR mailing it in”? They were declared dead long ago and now are just 2 games behind the O’s. Oh yea, O’s aren’t trying either. What happened to “sports insight and opinion”? Guess we’re focusing on opinion now, which would be fine if the topics were actually interesting. I for one would prefer to hear Drew’s take on things that matter, which I generally enjoy reading (esp the golf stuff). Oh well, SOD have at it


Cash Is King     June 28
90% of NBA players wish they had a dad who cared as much as Lonzo's dad. I agree, he is over the top and a blatant self promoter...but at least he was still raising his kids.

mike from catonsville     June 28
DMD needs to set up a contest for the worst parent(s) of all time.

Todd Marinovich

The Williams sisters

Earl Woods

The idiot Ball

Michelle Wie's dad





Looking for help from the DMD- certain there's plenty more these were just top of mind.

unitastoberry     June 28
Vince McMahon is a genious. Well minus his ill fated attempt to play pro football in yet another winter/ spring league with everyone thinking basketball,hockey,baseball etc. Maybe one day a billionaire will start a pro football league in the FALL on SUNDAYS. It worked for the AFL.

Tom J     June 28
Could not agree more about this A$$ Clown Ball. I have never wanted to see someone crash and burn more than him and his kids. It's one thing to be the crazy parent as the kid is the star, it's another when you want to be a bigger star than the kid.

Clayton     June 28
Ray ray: +1 . Probably the worst article ever to appear in print.

Ray ray     June 28
Does NO ONE proofread these articles? Brien Jackson's article is or should be embarrassing to the DMD.

George     June 27
Directors of companies have, by law, the responsibility to stockholders to make business decisions based on the bottom line. Failure to do so [by, e.g., making a decision that is moral but costs the corporation money] opens them to personal liability for breach of fiduciary duty.

Colin Kaepernick started 11 games for the 49ers in 2016. They lost 10 of them.

Forty-niners owner Jed York voiced support for what he mistakenly called Kaepernick’s constitutional right to kneel during the National Anthem, and donated large sums of money to organizations supporting the quarterback’s protests of the unwarranted shooting of civilians by police officers.

Kaepernick demanded a salary of $10 million, far more than other free-agent backup quarterbacks who did sign with teams this year.

The NFL, like the PGA Tour, has subtly incorporated the flag, the military, and the police into its branding, and attempts to portray itself as a “patriotic” entity. Owners and directors need not talk with one another (that is, conspire) to realize that Kaepernick’s presence degrades this brand.

It’s nice to see an athlete join the likes of Jabbar, Jim Brown, and Ali and to forego the billions of Woods and Jordan. But I don’t want Kaepernick as my team’s backup quarterback even for only seven or eight million dollars, and would not presume to suggest to owners of other teams that they SHOULD want him.

Jason M     June 27
Strong words from Brien J. and I think he's obviously right, NFL: teams don't want the circus coming to town and hijacking their camp or their season. As soon as a team brings in Kap for trainign camp, every single TV camera in the lower 48 will be camping out and requesting credentials. The 24/7 networks will bloviate and the old footage of him kneeling will play over and over with an American flag in the background. Kap has been black balled like Ray Rice, and the NFL has sent a message to all the younger Ray Rice's and Colin Kapernik's out there. While what they did was vastly different, but the net effect was that they brought negative attention to their team and league, and they have the same scarlet letter on them now. Now, me personally, I like to think there are second acts in American lives and someone like Ray Rice could be deserving of another chance, but apparently my thinking runs counter to the prevailing wisdom of the league.

Veritas     June 27
PICTURES. They are the reason that guys get blackballed. WE can't know for sure but maybe guys who have been convicted/charged with abuse hurt their victims more than Ray Rice, but there were no PICTURES of it. And Kaepernick(I think it was the equipment managers around the league who colluded to get him out of the league because his name is hard to spell) was shown on TV with pictures of his stance. If he had just been vocal about it, he may have been Okay. The NFL is in sales, and Kap's "look" was anti sales. Guys like Brien who believe in Russian collusion(how that story is whip snapping back at the accusers is astonishing) believe that evil white man are colluding against Kaepernick. They just don't want the headache about answering questions about him. Kind of like a husband who comes home 40 minutes late and has to answer question after question about where he's been. Franchises just don't want to hear it. Avoiding a confrontation and Kap is not a unreal talent. Dave Kingman hit 35 homeruns in his last year in the cavernous Oakland stadium(half the games), but he was a pain in the butt. Now that was collusion.



We can never know how well any female athlete in a power sport would do against men, but as was pointed out yesterday there is evidence. Just because Serena is a powerful women(against women) she has almost no power in terms of mens tennis. Two things are against her. One, the top 1000 men are faster than her and can get to more balls than her and two the spin that men put on the ball is more intense than any woman. Drew says that one offs could happen. That is nonsensical. Could a 11 year old baseball player ever get a hit off a AAA pitcher? It is just a difference in power. And though Serena is powerful, she is no where near as powerful as any man who plays tennis at the pro level. Not even close. Riggs is inconsequential. He was never a power player, was 55, drunk, bloated and was in bad shape. He destroyed the No. 1 female player in the world (Court) who was a POWER player.



It is all not provable, but basic science and logic tells us that she would not EVER beat a male pro tennis player EVER.

mike from catonsville     June 27
IMO Women can be competitive with men at "non" physical sports such as , bowling, curling, archery and some physical sports as car racing, jockey. Head to head physical sports not so much. The best UCONN women's teams would get blown out by bad D-3 mens teams.

It's an interesting discussion but doesn't mean anything. Enjoy the women athletes for their ability. The women have made such great strides and their sports can be just a riveting as the men. I actually like watching them , especially the golf, because not playing at a reasonably high level, you can identify with the yardage and the clubs they hit, unlike the mens game.



As for Serena how she's ever been able to pass the "juice" test is beyond me. She is unlike about 99% of women athletes. Look at her sister and pics when she was younger. I believe medical science has played a role. I haven't seen many female athletes as jacked as she is.

Davey     June 27
Let's not forget that Bobby Riggs was 55 years old when he played Bille Jean King. And that earlier that year, he had beaten Margaret Court (then the No. 1 woman tennis player) handily. I remember Chris Evert once saying in an interview that her brother, who never rose above being a good college player, could easily beat her even in her prime. It's just a different game that men are playing because of their physical attributes.

Steve from Vero Beach     June 27
@ Herman, Totally Agree with your assessment of Kaepernicks situation, you make your own bed that you sleep in, deal with it !!!

unitastoberry     June 27
Back in the late 1960s early 1970s you would see the occasional fan at Memorial Stadium not stand for the anthem I suppose to protest the Vietnam war? They would be taunted and even spit on as the game would progress and the odds were a fist fight would insue.

I have tons of problems with the US government. And yes they don't listen to us middle class pions and are robbing us blind etc etc. But you stand for the anthem because of the people who died and got dismembered that fought for you no matter how corrupt the government gets. You want change make speeches and write articles and get people to vote especially in local and state elections they are the most corrupt.

HERMAN     June 27
@BJ

Pro sports is first and foremost entertainment. It's best not to antagonize the customer base, go ask the "Dixie Chicks". Kaepernick's stance does not endear him to the paying public, in fact, it antagonizes them. It's all right to take a stand, as long as you are willing to pay the price for it. And now Kaepernick is paying that price. He has made himself toxic, there is no one to blame for his lack of pro football employment past his mirror.

Bill W.     June 27
It was a pleasure meeting you yesterday at Baltimore Country Club. I love your site.

New reader     June 27
This site should go national. The breadth of the articles is outstanding.

Ron Panell     June 26
Drew, nice meeting you today at the Blaise Cook tournament at BCC! Love your website. You have a new daily reader. And congrats again on your great play today!

HERMAN     June 26
@DF



I fully realize that today's players have a work out regimen that would put the 1960's tour pros to shame. And that even some of the smaller guys in stature are just "jacked". They get maximum rotation and turn, get everything out of club arc and club-head speed possible, and that bringing "athletes" into the game has just changed everything.

However, the equipment is also "jacked", particularly the ball. They have to do something to curb the hang time.

And while I am the absolute worst golfer alive who plays regularly, another thing that is bothersome is the club numbers. Pros are tweaking down the loft a few degrees so the 7 iron they are hitting from 200 is the same as a 5 iron from the 1960's. Every club is turned down. It's an ego thing, I used to play weekly with a guy who turned his clubs down a few degrees. He wanted to hit his 7 190.

Better athletes playing the game has helped the distance, but you can't argue the equipment today is just "juiced".

I just wish it would help me. I can't swing at all anymore, no tech change is going to help an awful swing and horrible ball striker.


Chris in Bel Air     June 26
Fact: The O's have now played 78 games and are 37-38.

Opinion: The O's will need to win at least 87 games to make a playoff appearance.

Fact: In order to win 87 games, the O's will need to finish 50-34.

Opinion: Given the way the starting pitching has performed so far, I don't see that happening.

Ghost of JROB     June 26
As a lover of MP, the idea of restoring the course sounds great. I have no idea of how much it would cost but I'm very sure it would require a private/public partnership of which the city of Baltimore is incapable. I also do not believe the community could support the upgraded/renovated facility. Courses are going out of business. Bulle Rock can't hack it. Clubs are struggling. Golf is shrinking. I support George's idea but also believe it would be a great boondoggle.

DF     June 26
Herman....I think I may devote a piece soon to golf equipment and how it has changed the game...but not nearly as much as something else that has made the professionals so much better. Equipment and the ball are second....

unitastoberry     June 26
Fact-Ravens only have one player in the player picked NFL top 100. Yanda

Opinion- The Ravens are not very good especially on offense. No stand out runnng back, no stand out center, no stand out right tackle, no stand out left guard, no stand out tight end, the defense which appears to be decent will be on the field all game. The best offensive weapon could still be the kicker. Please prove me wrong.

DR (the original)     June 26
@Brien this actually happened, in January 1998 at the Australian Open. His name is Karsten Braasch. A (former, now) German professional, once ranked as high as No. 38 in the world. He beat Serena (16 yrs old at the time) 6-1 and Venus (18, maybe?) 6-2. At the time he was ranked No. 203.

Just the Facts     June 26
Hey Brien

You might want to google Karsten Braasch vs the Williams sisters.

He beat them both handily and was drinking before and during the informal matches.

In 2013 Williams said she doubt that she would win a single point against Andy Murray if they played.



Just because people think that top flight women can compete against males doesn't make it so.

Of course Brien gets it wrong again.

Brien Jackson     June 26
"Serena Williams played the 200th ranked man in the late 1990's. After playing a round of golf and smoking cigs and drinking beers during change overs, the man beat her 6-1. It wasn't close and the man was half hearted. If she played someone in the top 100 she might not win a game and would be hard pressed to win points of any kind. Most men in the top 1000 would smoke her and a high probability that the only ones who would lose would be due to nerves. "



LOL. Well done, this is the best parody I've read in weeks!

Tuesday
February 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 14
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forget golden state, tom brady, tiger's 79 wins -- there's a new sheriff in town


We're always looking at moments or accomplishments in sports and proclaiming "that'll never happen again".

We said that about the Bulls back in 1996 when they went 72-10, but lo and behold, the Golden State Warriors squeezed their way into the single-season record books in 2015-2016 by going 73-9.

That's quite a feat in today's NBA, where nearly every team in the league is capable of beating anyone else on any given night.

Tom Brady just won his 5th Super Bowl ring on February 5 in New England's dramatic 34-28 win over Atlanta. Charles Haley also has five, but Brady is the first quarterback to do it. Someone's going to have to win SIX Super Bowls to beat Brady's mark. Good luck with that.

Head Coach Geno Auriemma (right) looks at the scoreboard in disbelief and admiration as his UConn Lady Huskies racked up their 100th consecutive win last night in Storrs.

Tiger Woods won an amazing 79 times during his PGA Tour career. Unless he figures out a way to win three more to tie Byron Nelson for the all-time lead, Woods will finish second on the list, but he'll be second forever. I can't see anyone winning 80 tournaments ever again.

But there's always a chance some team, someday, can go 74-8 in the NBA. Someone might win six Super Bowl rings at some point. And, who knows, some 10-year old out in California with posters of Woods up on his bedroom wall might very well someday be the next Tiger Woods and win 80 times.

No team, though, will ever do what the University of Connecticut women's basketball team did last night in Storrs.

Geno Auriemma's Lady Huskies won their 100th consecutive game on Monday evening, at home, holding off a spirited South Carolina squad, 66-55. The Gamecocks are no slouch. They're ranked 6th in the NCAA.

UConn hasn't ducked anyone this year in their "run to 100". They knocked off Maryland, Baylor, Notre Dame and, now, South Carolina. This, experts say, isn't even a "great" UConn team, but they've kept improving with each passing game and last night they won for the 100th consecutive time.

Their secret: "We never take a day off," Auriemma beamed afterwards. "Every practice is harder and more demanding than the games themselves. These girls push and push and push. They know if they don't, someone's coming to get them. We're everyone's Super Bowl."

When Auriemma arrived in Storrs in 1985, the Lady Huskies hadn't reached 100 victories in total...as a program.

Last night, they won their 100th consecutive game.

Think about the magnitude of that accomplishment juxtaposed against the landscape of today's men's college basketball scene. Gonzaga is 26-0 at this point. They'd have to finish this season undefeated, go all of next season undefeated and extend that to roughly half of 2018-2019 without a loss to get to the 100-straight-wins category.

There's no chance of that happening, obviously.

Some will poo-poo the enormity of a women's basketball team winning 100 games in a row and remind everyone, "it's just women's basketball", but 100 wins in a row in ANYTHING is remarkable, let alone at the Division I level of college hoops, where there are two dozen extremely talented women's programs in the country.

And UConn will play them all if need be.

It's quite an amazing slice of sports history we're seeing in front of us right now. They'll lose at some point, of course, and that result, like last night's win, will be front page news.

But no matter when they do eventually lose, nothing will change the fact that UConn won 100 consecutive games.

And no one will match that, either.

Except maybe for the Lady Huskies themselves.


happy valentine's day!

What song do you play everyone for Valentine's Day?

That's simple.

You play a song called "Valentine's Day" by the great Bruce Springsteen.




I'm driving a big lazy car rushin' up the highway in the dark

I got one hand steady on the wheel and one hand's tremblin' over my heart

It's pounding baby like it's gonna bust right on through

And it ain't gonna stop till I'm alone again with you

A friend of mine became a father last night

When we spoke in his voice I could hear the light

Of the skies and the rivers the timberwolf in the pines

And that great jukebox out on Route 39

They say he travels fastest who travels alone

But tonight I miss my girl mister tonight I miss my home

Is it the sound of the leaves

Left blown by the wayside

That's got me out here on this spooky old highway tonight

Is it the cry of the river

With the moonlight shining through

That ain't what scares me baby

What scares me is losing you

They say if you die in your dreams you really die in your bed

But honey last night I dreamed my eyes rolled straight back in my head

And God's light came shinin' on through

I woke up in the darkness scared and breathin' and born anew

It wasn't the cold river bottom I felt rushing over me

It wasn't the bitterness of a dream that didn't come true

It wasn't the wind in the grey fields I felt rushing through my arms

No no baby it was you

So hold me close honey say you're forever mine

And tell me you'll be my lonely Valentine


I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports media work with ESPN, CBS and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.


The Super Bowl is over and Spring Training games haven’t started yet, so that means it’s time to speculate about the NFL offseason, and how Ozzie Newsome is going to reinforce the Ravens roster.

Last week, Drew shared his thoughts on the team’s biggest needs this offseason, and today I’ll take a crack at the same. One thing about my rankings: I’m not so much ranking them based on the team’s relative talent level at each spot, but in terms of how I think the team should prioritize them this offseason. So without further ado:

After a poor second half of the 2016 season, it's time for the Ravens to move on from Jeremy Zuttah, says #DMD's Brien Jackson.

1. Center: Not the most glamorous position on the field, obviously, but if you can point to any single position that held the Ravens back consistently in 2016 it was this one.

The offensive line caught a lot of flack for not being able to create running lanes, but all in all the group played well, especially in the second half of the season when Ronnie Stanley solidified himself at left tackle.

Unfortunately, Jeremy Zuttah was so bad in the middle of things that he nearly single-handedly negated an otherwise solid unit.

In the season’s final half dozen games, Zuttah looked like both age and physical wear had caught up to him in a big way, and when he wasn’t being blown into the backfield on the snap it seemed he was a surefire bet to draw a costly penalty.

The team’s next center might already be on the roster if they want to groom John Urschel or Ryan Jensen for the job, but one way or another this spot must get a serious upgrade for the offense to be successful next season.

2. Cornerback: In any given game, this group is definitely not the least talented unit on the roster. Tavon Young showed a ton of potential and ball-hawking ability as a 4th round rookie and, when he’s healthy, Jimmy Smith can hang with any receiver in the league not named A.J. Green.

But Smith isn’t healthy on a consistent enough basis and Young hasn’t shown the size or ability to go one-on-one with the league’s best wideouts, so too often the team lacks the reliable cover corner you must have to play great defense in today’s NFL.

Dean Pees has tried to cover up deficiencies in the group with pressure on the quarterback, but that just doesn’t work consistently anymore, as offenses can simply switch to quick-passes or speed up the tempo to simplify defenses and minimize rushers.

You simply need cornerbacks who can make plays one-on-one, and if Smith isn’t playing, the Ravens simply don’t have an adequate defense against better caliber opponents.

3. Pass catcher: It’s safe to say that this is the weakest link on the whole team right now.

It arguably was last season as well, but with Steve Smith Sr. retiring and Kamar Aiken likely leaving town in free agency, there’s little question about that statement now. So the fact that I’m putting it third on this list kind of tells you what kind of challenge I think Ozzie Newsome is up against this Spring.

The team isn’t totally bereft by any means, and they’ve got plenty of toolsy weapons like Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Dennis Pitta, and Crockett Gilmore. But they lack any one receiver who has plus ability in the combination of size, speed, hands, and route running, and they haven’t had someone who could reliably pull in passes in the redzone in just about forever.

And much like corners on the other side, the NFL is evolving such that you need one receiver like that on the outside to have a top 8 or 10 offense. Well, assuming that your quarterback isn’t Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers anyway.

4. Edge rusher: Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil definitely have fuel left in the tank, but age is catching up to both and neither is consistently a force who can beat one-on-one blocking at will anymore. That becomes a big liability in situations where Dean Pees can’t dial up a blitz or call an exotic stunt (like, say, during the 4th quarter of that Christmas Day debacle in Pittsburgh).

Interestingly, this list pretty much stays the same on a year to year basis. Last year I had “left tackle” instead of center and the priority ranking was a bit different, but for the most part nothing really changes.

That’s in part a reflection on the fact that the front office hasn’t done a very good job of filling these needs, especially at cornerback and wide receiver. But it’s also a reflection of the fact that injuries and physical wear and tear changes the estimation of an NFL roster pretty quickly, so you always need new blood in these critical areas.

Truth be told, I’d wager that just about every team in the NFL (the ones who are comfortable with their starting quarterback situation anyway) are listing these positions, in one order as another, as their biggest areas of need.

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#dmd appears on sirius/xm pga tour radio


Thanks to an appearance on "The Mark Carnevale Show" on Monday at 4 pm EST, #DMD got a little national recognition yesterday that spiked our daily-visits number to the second highest one day total in the website's history.

Carnevale, the 1992 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, had me on to chat about the piece I wrote on Monday regarding Jordan Spieth and the legacy he's starting to create after winning for the 9th time on Sunday at Pebble Beach -- at age 23.

You can hear the entire interview below:



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we have four "new" seats for the london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

Thanks to our friends at British Airways, who alerted us when a small group canceled on Friday, we now have four new spaces available on our trip.

I gobbled up four more airline tickets and four more game tickets and the hotel has room for us -- so if you're interested in going to London, we'd love to have you!

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel at 4-star property within walking distance to Wembley Stadium, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


we're still looking for new #dmd staffers


I mentioned this last Friday and received several responses (thank you!) and wanted to throw it out there again once or twice this week.

#DMD is looking to expand our staff.

We're adding a new writer or two to the roster, hopefully within the next couple of weeks, but certainly before baseball season. I've been in contact with several "prospects" and feel good about retaining their services. I'm sure you'll enjoy their work.

If there's an ardent follower of America's pastime out there who would like to take on the role of writing about Major League Baseball (not focusing on the Orioles, but more all of MLB in general), let me know and perhaps we'll add you to the stable here.

Reach me via e-mail if you'd like to contact me about a writing position: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Additionally, we're looking to add another regional sales and marketing associate to the mix here as well. If you're interested in a position selling #DMD and our associated properties, you can also reach out to me via e-mail. Experience in media/advertising sales is helpful, but certainly not a mandate.


Monday
February 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 13
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


spieth will win more than rory or day



Jordan Spieth won his 9th career PGA Tour title yesterday at Pebble Beach, finishing four shots clear of the field at 19-under par.

He won't turn 24 years old until this July 27.

To put his winning into perspective, here's a quick list of elite players who "only" won 9 PGA Tour events in their respective careers:

Seve Ballesteros.

Nick Faldo.

Sergio Garcia.

Oh, and some guy named Bobby Jones, who supposedly was pretty darn good in the 1920's -- he only won 9 TOUR events as well.

Now, in fairness to Ballesteros, Faldo and Garcia, they spent a considerable amount of time (Garcia's still active, of course) on the European Tour as well, so their numbers are skewed a bit by the fact that not all of their tournament golf was played here in the U.S.

And Ballesteros (5 majors) and Faldo (6) have 11 major championships between them.

But Spieth already has nine wins, like those three players each registered on the PGA Tour, and he's just 23 years old.

Make no mistake about it, Spieth's the real deal.

With his next win, 23 year old Jordan Spieth will tie Fuzzy Zoeller, Larry Nelson and John Mahaffey, each of whom had 10 career victories on the PGA Tour.

I know he threw away the Masters in 2016 and had a chance to win at Augusta in 2014, but he couldn't mount a Sunday back-nine charge and eventually lost to Bubba Watson.

And I also realize the 2015 U.S. Open was semi-gift-wrapped to him by Dustin Johnson, who three-jacked the 72nd hole from 12-feet.

But nine wins is nine wins, friends. And his two major titles equal the same number won by "greats" like Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer and Jose Maria Olazabal.

When you have nine wins on the PGA Tour before your 24th birthday, you're destined for greatness.

I don't see Spieth rivaling Tiger Woods and his 79 career win total. That's not going to happen. Spieth doesn't have that kind of firepower to win 6-7 times a year for ten years like Woods had at his zenith.

But you can mark this one down and stick it on the refrigerator. Spieth will have more wins and more major titles than any of the other young studs out there right now, namely Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson.

Sure, there will be a couple of college grads burst onto the scene in a year or two -- Maverick McNealy comes to mind right away -- and look the part, but they'll have to play awfully well to have nine wins by the time they turn 24 years old.

Spieth, if he stays healthy, should be able to win at least 40 times on TOUR before his career is finished. Like Woods was in his prime, he's a threat to win at Augusta every April because he chips and putts so well.

In a couple of ways, Spieth's game at 23 actually mirrors what Tiger's looked like at 23 years old. His work off the tee could use some improvement. He doesn't hit it nearly as far as Woods once did, but he drives it just as crooked as Tiger did in the early stages of his career.

It's around the greens and with the flat stick where Spieth makes up for his errors, just like Woods would do throughout the 2000's when he was regularly dusting the field.

Because he can chip and putt as well as anyone in the world, Spieth will always be a threat at Augusta. With any luck at all, he'd have three green jackets at this point and be primed to make a run at the all-time Augusta mark of six, held by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods had four Masters titles by the time he turned 29 (2005) and was going to blow Jack's record away until he didn't. Others learn the course's nuances, too, remember.

But Spieth will head to Augusta in early April with the thought that it's his tournament to lose. And there's no telling how many times he can win there.

The British Open will probably be a favorable event for Spieth throughout his career because it's the one major that doesn't necessarily put a premium on driving the ball straight.

It will all add up, I'm guessing, to eight major titles for him when the sun sets on his career.

That will be more than Jason Day, for sure, he of the vicious swing and bad back that will likely derail him, a la Woods, before he's able to do any substantial damage to the record books.

It will also be more than Dustin Johnson, who finally captured that elusive first major last June at Oakmont. D.J. will win a couple of more, I think, but Spieth will have a FAR better overall career than Johnson, who is supremely gifted but not a great putter.

Spieth's biggest rival will be Rory McIlroy, as long as he, too, can stay healthy. McIlroy isn't the greatest of putters, either, no matter what you saw at The Ryder Cup last October, but his sheer power and outstanding iron play will get him at least two or three more majors to go with the four he already has thus far in his career.

Other American hotshots like Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed? All of them are terrific players, but the four of them combined won't win as many majors as Spieth.

He has "it", does Spieth. Maybe not quite as much "it" as Tiger had, but it's unfair to compare any of these players to Woods. They're simply not on the same planet as Woods was when he was winning his 79 TOUR events.

A more favorable comparison, career wise, would be Phil Mickelson. You can expect Spieth to have a better career, winning wise, than Mickelson had.

And that's saying something. Mickelson is the second best player of the last twenty years and it's not even close. In fact, the chasm between Woods and Mickelson for 1-2 is as broad as is space between Mickelson at #2 and the guy you want to put at #3.

Spieth has the chance -- a real chance -- to win 40 career events and at least eight major titles. His schedule will likely diminish a bit as the years go on and he's able to pick-and-choose where he wants to tee it up, so his overall chances for winning will subside a bit as he gets into his 30's.

As someone noted last week when I wrote about Woods here at #DMD, Tiger would have easily won 90 or more events in his career if he would have played a "full" schedule in the 2000's instead of just hopping around and playing 16-20 tournaments a year.

Spieth will probably face the same sort of decision when he reaches 30, saving himself more for the majors and the big-money events.

But for now, young, healthy and capable of making putts in bunches, Spieth is the best American player, without question. He's not as overpowering as Dustin Johnson, mind you, but if they played five head-to-head matches, Spieth would win more than D.J. And while Spieth's game doesn't have the flair of McIlroy's, his short game separates him from Rory by the slightest of margins.

The other thing about Jordan Spieth? He knows how to win. This, again, is a very similar trait to one held by Woods in his younger days. Spieth won high-level events as a junior, including the U.S. Junior Amateur, and he was part of the University of Texas team that captured the NCAA title in 2012.

There are a couple of other ways Spieth resembles a younger version of Woods. Spieth has a little bit of on-course a**hole in him, constantly complaining about bad shots, bad breaks and putts that don't fall in. Oh, and he plays at a snail's pace, much like Tiger did when he was winning tournaments by the barrel full. In fairness to Tiger, who always hated the notion that he played slow, Spieth might be the slowest "great player" of the last 50 years. A carton of milk can turn sour in the amount of time it takes Spieth to hit a shot when there's wind in the air.

We'll see what he does at Augusta this time around and if he learned from last year's debacle at #12 on Sunday.

He promised he'd recover from that, and while winning at Pebble Beach isn't nearly as glamorous as winning at Augusta, it's a sign that Spieth's memory is short and his golf game is vibrant.

I hope you enjoy watching him. He's going to be winning a lot over the next decade.

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we have four "new" seats for the london trip to see the ravens!


Anyone interested in seeing the Ravens in London on September 24?

Thanks to our friends at British Airways, who alerted us when a small group canceled on Friday, we now have four new spaces available on our trip.

I gobbled up four more airline tickets and four more game tickets and the hotel has room for us -- so if you're interested in going to London, we'd love to have you!

Our game tickets at Wembley Stadium are in the lower concourse, I might add. And most of our group of 34 are sitting together and/or on in the same section.

The trip details are simple: We're leaving on Tuesday, September 19 and arriving (via direct flight) in London on Wednesday, September 20. We'll spend five days in the U.K., take in the Ravens-Jaguars game on Sunday, and return to Baltimore on Monday, September 25.

It's $2,445 per-person, which includes the airfare, five nights hotel at 4-star property within walking distance to Wembley Stadium, the Ravens-Jaguars lower concourse ticket, a week long complimentary "tube pass" and full English breakfast every morning at the hotel.

To reserve your space on the trip, all you have to do is go here.


we're still looking for new #dmd staffers


I mentioned this last Friday and received several responses (thank you!) and wanted to throw it out there again once or twice this week.

#DMD is looking to expand our staff.

We're adding a new writer or two to the roster, hopefully within the next couple of weeks, but certainly before baseball season. I've been in contact with several "prospects" and feel good about retaining their services. I'm sure you'll enjoy their work.

If there's an ardent follower of America's pastime out there who would like to take on the role of writing about Major League Baseball (not focusing on the Orioles, but more all of MLB in general), let me know and perhaps we'll add you to the stable here.

Reach me via e-mail if you'd like to contact me about a writing position: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Additionally, we're looking to add another regional sales and marketing associate to the mix here as well. If you're interested in a position selling #DMD and our associated properties, you can also reach out to me via e-mail. Experience in media/advertising sales is helpful, but certainly not a mandate.

KELLY banner ad

umbc falls to undefeated vermont, 77-74


A furious UMBC comeback came up just short on Sunday afternoon, as America East leader Vermont (23-5, 13-0 America East) won its 15th straight game, surviving the Retriever rally, 77-74, before a frenzied crowd at the RAC Arena.

UMBC junior guard K.J. Maura was brilliant in scoring the basketball for the second straight game, leading UMBC (16-9, 7-5 America East) with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor. Vermont senior guard Dre Wills equaled Maura with 22 points, but added 13 rebounds to lead all players.

Maura had a chance to send the game to overtime in the waning seconds but his desperation shot from 30 feet out struck the front of the iron and fell to the floor.

Vermont showed why they're the top team in America East on Sunday as Dre Wills scored 22 points and added 13 rebounds to help the Catamounts stay undefeated in conference play with a 3-point win over UMBC.

Vermont took a game-high 18-point lead at 62-44 with 6:47 remaining and led by 15 at 67-52 after a jumper by guard Trae Bell-Haynes with just 4:08 to play. But that field goal would be Vermont's last of the afternoon.

Bell-Haynes made one of two free throws with 2:32 to play to keep the visitors in command at 69-57 with 2:32 on the clock. But UMBC converted three field goals in a span of 22 seconds to cut the lead in half, as Maura hit a driving layup and junior backcourt mate Jairus Lyles put in two straight layups after back-to-back Vermont turnovers in the backcourt.

Vermont would hit 2-of-4 free throws on its next two possessions before Maura drove to the basket for another bucket to keep the deficit at six. After another Catamount miscue, Lyles buried a trey from the left wing to make it 71-68 with 1:11 remaining.

Wills misfired on two free throw attempts and Maura converted two after he was fouled on a subsequent drive to the basket to cut the gap to 71-70 at the 50-second mark.

Vermont's Cam Ward hit one of two free throws, setting the stage as UMBC had a chance to tie or take the lead with under 40 seconds left. But Lyles' driving layup was blocked by Bell-Haynes and the ball hit off of Lyles and went out of bounds.

Back at the foul line, Bell-Haynes made two free throws with 28 seconds left, but it was Maura who responded with a baseline jumper to trim the deficit to 74-72 with 20 ticks left.

On the ensuing in-bounds play, Lyles snared his fifth steal of the game, but his baseline jumper was off the mark and Vermont's Anthony Lamb corralled the rebound and drew a foul. Lamb hit one of two free throws with ten seconds left, and Vermont quickly fouled Maura before UMBC could set up for a tying three-point attempt.

Maura hit two free throws with six seconds left and Vermont got the ball in Lamb's hands again on the in-bounds play. The freshman converted both shots, and the Retrievers advanced the ball inside mid-court before calling a time-out with 2.2 seconds left.

After one in-bounds pass was knocked over the sideline, Maura's second effort to find a teammate was batted back to him and his shot from the right side fell a tad short.

Vermont shot an efficient 50 percent (25-of-50) from the floor and converted 26 of 39 free throws, all but one of which occurred in the final 20 minutes. UMBC struggled for the first 35 minutes, but recovered to surpass the 40 percent mark (26-of-63, 41.3 percent) down the stretch. One of the nation's top twenty teams in treys made and efficiency converted only 5-of-14 shots from beyond the arc and was below par (17-of-25, 68 percent) from the charity stripe.

The league leaders dominated the glass, 46-24, and outscored UMBC, 18-4, on second chance points. But UMBC forced 10 second half UVM turnovers and recorded 18 points off those miscues. The Retrievers only turned the ball over five times.

The Retrievers travel to New York to face Albany on Wednesday. The two teams are tied for third place, both at 7-5 in the conference.

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Sunday
February 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 12
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this is the best time on the yearly sports calendar


Nothing beats the next two months on the sports calendar.

An amazing collection of local and national events highlight the docket, and even if you don't have a team in the hunt, it's still a blast to follow along.

The MIAA boys' basketball playoffs start in two weeks, and even though my Calvert Hall Cardinals are a long shot this year, the local action will be interesting as Mount Saint Joseph looks to hold off a talented John Carroll side who figure to give the Gaels their toughest competition.

We'll be covering MIAA playoff action here at #DMD.

Several local college hoops teams are closing out their regular season and have legitimate chances to make some noise in their conference tournament. They've cooled off a bit lately and suffered a surprising home loss to Delaware State yesterday, but Morgan State will be a tough out in the MEAC tournament. North Carolina Central is 9-1 and then there's Morgan State (7-3) and Hampton (8-3) and Norfolks State (9-2) all in the mix.

Towson University started their CAA season at 0-4 and have gone 9-1 since then, including Saturday's 69-65 road win at Drexel. The Tigers (9-5) are creeping up on regular season standouts UNC-Wilmington (11-3) and College of Charleston (10-4). This might be the year Towson returns to the Big Dance. They're big and strong, as physically gifted as any D1 team you'll find, but aren't a very good shooting team. If they can get hot from the field for a few days, they can win the CAA tournament.

UMBC has its biggest test of the season to date this afternoon at 1 pm when they host undefeated Vermont (12-0) at the RAC. The Retrievers (7-4) are in third place in the America East conference but the Catamounts are clearly the cream of the crop. A win today would give Ryan Odom's team some real hope come conference tournament time.

The Masters is played this year from April 6-9. #DMD will be taking a group of 24 to this year's event. Which sporting event is on your "bucket list"? #DMD might make that happen for you in 2017!

Those three teams will make early March in these parts very interesting. All three have a shot at the NCAA tournament if things fall their way.

I'm not sure why NASCAR starts their season with their most popular race, but they do. I'm not a huge stock car fan, but even I'll take time to watch the Daytona 500. This year's event takes place on the day of our charity bowling event at Stoneleigh Lanes (February 26) so I'll have to get the powers that be to show the race on the in-house TV's. #DMD will have a contest again this year where you'll get a driver that we randomly choose for you and if he wins the race, you'll receive $100 from Glory Days Grill!

March Madness rolls along five weeks from now, as we mentioned above, and there's no doubt that first weekend (16 games on Thursday and Friday, 8 games on Saturday and Sunday) is the second best four days of sports you'll find on the calendar. Brackets get ruined, upstarts are born, and the basketball is always captivating. Is this the year Mark Few and Gonzaga finally capture that elusive national title? They remained undefeated (26-0) last night with a win at St. Mary's and will go in as the tournament favorite.

Could this also be the year the Orioles finally return to the World Series for the first time since 1983? Let's be honest. If last year's Cleveland Indians can do it, why can't this year's Orioles? Spring training starts in two weeks and the O's opener is Monday, April 3 against the Blue Jays.

I purchased my 2013 Orioles 13-game plan last week, so I'm officially "all in" for baseball season. If you're a "C Plan" holder like me, let's meet up for a beer and a burger at a game this season!

OK, if the NCAA tournament's first weekend is the second best four days of sports, what's the first best?

It comes April 6-9 in Augusta, Georgia, and it's called The Masters, the first of golf's four major championships.

You know it's spring in the U.S. when you hear Jim Nantz on Thursday say something like, "The sky is clear, the temperatures are warm, the azalea's are blooming, and, so, too, is the golf game of Rory McIlroy, who went out in 32 and now stands at 5-under after a birdie at #12 at Augusta's famed Amen Corner."

I can hear Nantz now...and I can't wait for the Masters, which is my favorite tournament of the year, by far.

We'll be taking 24 of us down to Augusta again this year for a Tuesday practice round at the Masters. If you haven't been, get on the list for 2018 and join us next year!

April (and hopefully May, and maybe even June, too) will bring the NHL and NBA playoffs, with both the Capitals and Wizards set to make serious runs. The Wizards are the more surprising of the two teams. Just a month or so ago, they were near the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Now, after going 13-2 in their last 15 games, they're locked in a battle for 2nd place in the conference with Boston and Toronto.

The Caps were winners again last night, their 12th straight home victory, 6-4 over Anaheim. They're cruising now, leading the league in points (84) and on their way to a second straight President's Cup trophy. But they want the Stanley Cup, not the President's Cup this time around. We all know the Caps' playoff history. Maybe, like Gonzaga in men's college hoops, this is finally going to be their year.

We'll be putting together trips to see the Caps in the playoffs, as we did last year when we took a busload of hockey enthusiasts down to the Verizon Center to see the Capitals whip up on the worst franchise in all of sports, the Philadelphia Flyers.

That leads me to ask you this question. What one single event is on your personal "bucket list"? What haven't you seen in person that you'd like to see in 2017 or 2018? If you could just go once, and see it live, what would it be?

We're going to send you there.

Not all of you, unfortunately. #DMD's not quite that well-off just yet. But one of you (and your guest) are going to get your bucket list dream trip given to you this spring.

We'll have the details soon, but in the meantime, start thinking about that one trip, that one special place, or that one big event you've always wanted to see but haven't do it yet.

We're going to make that a reality for you.

In the meantime, enjoy these next two months of sports action. Spring training, college basketball, the Masters, baseball's opening day. Nothing beats it on the sports calendar.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2016-17 season.


terps dispose of stubborn ohio state


The Maryland Terrapins took care of business in a very workmanlike fashion on Saturday afternoon as they handled the Buckeyes of Ohio State by a score of 86-77.

On a day when the University honored legendary former Terp coach Lefty Driesell, Maryland played a game that Lefty wasn’t able use for most of his days at Cole Field House.

The Terps launched more three point shots than they did two point efforts, connecting on 41% (12-29) and helping them fend off Ohio State. The three point line was instituted in 1986, Lefty’s last year at Maryland.

The story of the game was the bench contributions from the Terp reserves.

Freshman Kevin Huerter chipped in 18 points in Saturday's Maryland win over Ohio State, including a late three-pointer that helped seal the deal.

Maryland had 33 huge bench points while Ohio State’s bench players failed to record a point. Every Terp non-started scored. Jaylen Brantley led the way with 11 points off the bench. Michal Cekovsky chipped in with 7, while L.G. Gill and Ivan Bender each tallied 6. Jared Nickens added 3.

Anthony Cowan broke out of his scoring slump with a game high 19 points that included 10 for 10 from the foul line and 3 for 4 from behind the three point line. Cowan hadn’t hit a three in five games before yesterday’s contest.

Kevin Huerter continues to impress with his overall floor game, passing, and ability to hit threes at crucial moments. He was second in points scored for Maryland with 18 (7-12, 3-8, 1-2).

Maryland went into the first TV timeout with a 9-0 lead. The Buckeyes missed their initial ten shots before Marc Loving finally connected from the floor. Ohio State was able to chisel the lead down to two, but L.G. Gill hit a three from the right corner to push the Terps ahead by 5. Cekovsky threw down back to back dunks late in the opening half and Naryland had a comfortable 14 point lead at the intermission, 45-31.

To start the second half, instead of coming out with a spark and the intention of burying Ohio State, Maryland played sluggish on offense and cavalier on defense (they allowed 46 second half points).

After a missed three by Melo Trimble, who had another poor shooting day going 3-11 from the floor including 1-6 shooting threes, C.J. Jackson connected from long range for the Buckeyes and the Terps now held just a 6 point lead at 56-50. The two teams traded baskets, Huerter for Maryland and Jae’sean Tate for Ohio State before Brantley hit a huge three to stretch the lead to nine.

The game would get real interesting when, at the 2:47 mark, another Ohio State three cut the Terp advantage to just five. Maryland called time out and that feeling of déjà vu began to creep into the XFINITY Center. The Terps, of course, just one week ago, lost a late lead to Purdue in dropping a 73-72 decision to the Boilermakers.

But, right on cue, Huerter nailed a very important three. Cowan would make a three a minute later, and the Terps had comfortable 8 point lead 83-75 with just 42 seconds remaining. They would never be challenged again.

With Maryland leaning so heavily on the three point shot, the game took an odd flow. Maryland would make some triples to gain a decent advantage, then they would miss a few and Ohio State would battle back. Luckily for the Terps, they hit key threes when they needed them the most.

The Terps' Justin Jackson was a non-factor offensively for Maryland, as Ohio State was intent on not allowing him to dominate the way he did in the first meeting between these two teams in Columbus. Jackson had just three points, making a lone field goal and a single foul shot. His numbers shooting were 1-7 and 0-3 but he did grab a team high 7 rebounds.

Coach Turgeon again elected start to Damonte Dodd, but Dodd split time almost evenly with Bender and Cekovsky. The move paid off not only in points, but in foul trouble for the Buckeyes as both of Ohio State’s big men fouled out while trying to defend the Maryland trio. Dodd had three blocks, but failed to grab a defensive rebound.

Perhaps not as important to the victory as the three point shooting, but certainly deserving of runner up status, was the lack of costly turnovers for Maryland. The Terps only committed 8 miscues for the whole game and no player had more than one.

The Terps will next travel to Evanston, Illinois for what promises to be an exciting game against surprising Northwestern. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. this Wednesday, February 15.

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calvert hall golf could use your support


Despite this week's unsettled weather, it's officially "golf season" at Calvert Hall. We started practice a couple of weeks ago in our new indoor training room in Towson and have been out on the course several times in the last few weeks, including Wednesday of this week as we took advantage of that weird 69-degree February day in Baltimore.

Our first MIAA match is at the end of March.

2013 MIAA A-Conference varsity golf champions

We're always looking for new supporters and golf enthusiasts to join us at Calvert Hall. We have a big night on March 11 that I'd love to personally invite all of you to attend, but since I can't do that, I'll just issue an open invitation here at #DMD.

We kick off every season with our "Captain's Dinner", which gives us the chance to introduce the varsity golf team for the coming season and announce our captains for the upcoming campaign. We also unveil our Honorary Captain and the Legacy Club inductee for the year.

This year's event is on Saturday, March 11 at Eagle's Nest Country Club from 6 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds go directly to the Calvert Hall golf program.

We'll be honoring two special Calvert Hall grads at this year's dinner. Brian Hubbard is our Honorary Captain for 2017 and Jeff Fick will be inducted into the CHC golf Legacy Club, joining Tim Osgood, Chris Baloga, Serge Hogg and Allan Phillips.

If you're interested in attending the dinner and would like to buy tickets, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

If March 11 doesn't work on your schedule, we have another way you can support Calvert Hall Golf. We design and produce a keepsake "program" for the Captain's Dinner and have opportunities for local businesses to advertise in the program. The ads are $100 each. A big thank you to our friends at Saffer Plumbing (front cover) and Jerry's Toyota (inside back cover) for their patronage of the program, as well as Hughes Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning, Jet Services, Inc., Full Circle Tire and Auto and Pat Simon, friend of the CHC golf program!

We can always sell more ads in the program, though. If you're unable to attend but still want to support Calvert Hall Golf, this is a great way to do it.

Proceeds from this year's Captain's Dinner go to our spring trip to Pinehurst, March 17-20.

Thank you for any support you can provide us. To buy tickets to the dinner or an ad in the program, just e-mail me and I'll get it all handled.

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Saturday
February 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 11
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thanks for the memories, tiger


If we were playing a mythical game of H-O-R-S-E with the career of Tiger Woods and the word was "D-O-N-E" instead of H-0-R-S-E, Tiger picked up "E" yesterday.

Game over. He's done.

Sure, Woods will play again, because he always does, but yesterday's announcement that the 14-time major champion will not play in his next two scheduled events was the clearest, loudest message he could send about his health.

His back is shot, and, so, too, are his chances for a comeback of any kind.

Here's my official prediction: Woods will work through this current ailment (back spasms) and play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, March 16-19. It's an event near and dear to Tiger for many reasons. He has not only won the tournament a gazillion times, but he and the late Arnold Palmer had a strong relationship.

Tiger made a series of changes to his posture over the last few years to try and lighten the stress on his back, but nothing worked.

Woods will then take off three weeks and prepare for the Masters, where he'll tee it up on Thursday, April 6.

Along the way, though, it will remain a struggle for Woods. He'll fire and fall back at Bay Hill, shooting 75-73 and missing the cut by two shots. There will be a few moments of glory for Tiger and a handful of loose shots. He'll look more like a guy capable of winning the Bay Hill Club Championship than a PGA TOUR championship.

At the Masters, Woods will open with a 71 and show the briefest of brief glimpses that perhaps he's figured it out.

Sometime on the back nine on Friday, he'll hit a shot from one of those awkward lies you find at Augusta National and his back will flare up again. Tiger will literally limp in with a second round 77, make the cut by a shot, then withdraw on Saturday morning when he's unable to make a swing.

And that, I say, will be the end.

We won't see him again in 2017. And his true, competitive career, will be over.

That's a sad look at how I think it's going to go for Tiger, but I can only write what I feel is his reality. And Tiger's reality, now, is that his back will no longer allow him to play meaningful, competitive golf.

Maybe these back spasms of the last two weeks are "just part of the process" as Woods recovers from two surgeries. But he's been "healthy" now for the better part of six months. He was playing and practicing on an almost daily basis in October and November, teed it up in December at his own event in the Bahamas, then had nearly all of January to prepare for his season debut in San Diego.

Nothing has worked, in terms of Tiger's health and recovery from his back surgeries.

The magical elixir for virtually any sports injury is "time off" and rest. Those two elements haven't helped Tiger. Nothing has helped, apparently.

I'd love to be wrong on this one, but I don't think I will be. Tiger can't physically play golf anymore. Not at the PGA Tour level, anyway.

He's still going to try and tee it up again once or twice in the next two months, mainly to convince himself, I suppose. But he's learning now, day by day, that the end is near.

Look, I don't blame Woods for wanting to play again.

Any champion of his magnitude, particularly an iconic figure like Woods who shaped an entire generation of his sport, has the right to go out on their own terms.

All the great ones have stayed around longer than they should have, for a variety of reasons.

Ali spent his last couple of years getting knocked around by Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick before he got the message.

Jordan toiled with the Wizards of all teams, giving it his best, and still having a night or two to remember, but once Father Time tapped him on the shoulder, the rest of his days were a sad sight.

The 49'ers told Montana he couldn't do it any more and he went to Kansas City to prove them wrong.

None of those guys embarrassed themselves as they extended their respective careers a few extra years, but they couldn't reproduce the level of quality they had once established, either.

Woods deserves the right to play on and try and win again, but it's a fight he's ultimately going to lose.

If nothing else, it's an example for all of us to admire in that Tiger simply refuses to give in and say "it's over". It's something I'll pass on at the right time to my high school golfers at Calvert Hall, for sure, if they haven't yet recognized it themselves. Woods will NOT quit on his career dream of winning 18 major championships.

But that noted sports-career-killer, Father Time, will win this battle with Tiger in the same way he's won every other battle.

He even beat Brett Favre, don't forget.

And he's putting the finishing move on Woods, now, too. Tiger knows it, I assume, but he's hoping beyond hope he can hang on for two more memories. He'll play at Bay Hill in Orlando and then a few weeks later at Augusta, and that, I believe, will be the end.

Father Time wins again.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2016-17 season.


terps host underachieving ohio state today


Today at 4 pm in the XFINITY Center, the Maryland Terrapins and Ohio State Buckeyes will square off in a rematch of their game played less than two weeks ago in Columbus. Maryland managed to come away with a 77 -71 victory in that game, but the final score didn't do justice to just how close Maryland came to losing.

Maryland only had a one point lead until Melo Trimble hit a three with 2:04 remaining. In fact, from 7:35 on, the largest gap that he Terps could achieve was a mere 4 points. Up until that Trimble three, it was a game that could have gone either way.

For the rematch, I like to look at what we can, and can’t, expect to happen again.

Justin Jackson's big day at Ohio State three weeks ago led Maryland to a 77-71 win. Can the freshman light it up again this afternoon when the Buckeyes visit College Park?

One change the Terps can expect out of Ohio State is at the center position. The Buckeyes started with Micah Potter and then subbed Trevor Thompson. Thompson was by far the more effective player. The 7’, 250 pound Thompson had 9 points and 9 rebounds (a team high) in only 21 minutes. Potter never scored and grabbed just 3 rebounds.

Look for Thompson to have an increased role in this game today at College Park.

In the first contest, Ohio State’s Mark Loving hit four of five three point attempts. I don’t see a repeat of that type of long ball success. For the season, Loving converts 38% and it’s fair to assume that he’ll revert back to that form today.

Jae’sean Tate had 20 points for the Buckeyes in the first game and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him come close to that today. He is just a tough guy to defend with the way he uses his 6’4” 230 pound frame to muscle his way to the hoop for easy looks. You have to expect him to get his points. Maybe not 20, but he’ll be tough.

On the Maryland side, can Justin Jackson shoot 8 for 12 again including four of seven from the three point line? One might think that Trimble and Cowan couldn’t possibly miss 9 of their 10 combined three pointers.

But, with Melo connecting on only 2 of his last 16 and Cowan hitting none in his last five games (0-9), it’s conceivable that they may continue to struggle with their outside shot. That may work in the Terps' favor however, as both should be able to get to the rim.

The biggest differences for this game are the most obvious two. First, this one will be played in College Park. That’s huge in college basketball. With the crowd providing energy, and a little bit of that home cookin’ from the men in striped shirts, the home court will serve Maryland well.

Second, the Terps have their backs to the wall a little bit, having lost their last two in a row.

You can almost give Maryland a pass for losing to Purdue. Yes, they were up late in the game, and yes it could have been a victory for Maryland. But Purdue is a solid team with an NBA lottery pick type player in Caleb Swanigan.

I can even almost look past the last loss. For me that defeat at Penn State wasn’t all that surprising. In no way do I feel that Maryland underestimated the Nittany Lions, but they surely had an emotional letdown, and faced a jacked up and capable Penn State team coming off an embarrassing loss at home to Rutgers. It was just a bad match-up for the Terps in so many ways.

I might not give them a total free pass on that one, but I can give them an “I understand.”

For today’s game, there is no excuse for a poor effort. The Terps know the importance of this conference, as a loss here drops their NCAA tournament seed considerably. They are more rested than the Buckeyes too (one day, but that’s big this time of year), and they are at home.

Don’t expect Ohio State to roll over, at least for a while. They have some consistent talent, and some streaky talent which should enable them to hang for a half.

If Maryland can come out with some fire during the opening of the second half, then a double digit win is not out of the question.

The Terps will cover the 8-point spread today. Cowan, Trimble, and Brantley get to the rim frequently which opens up things for Kevin Huerter and even Jackson. A moderate halftime lead gets pushed to double digits later in the half.

Maryland breaks their modest two-game losing streak with an 80-70 win over Ohio State.

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calvert hall golf could use your support


Despite this week's unsettled weather, it's officially "golf season" at Calvert Hall. We started practice a couple of weeks ago in our new indoor training room in Towson and have been out on the course several times in the last few weeks, including Wednesday of this week as we took advantage of that weird 69-degree February day in Baltimore.

Our first MIAA match is at the end of March.

2013 MIAA A-Conference varsity golf champions

We're always looking for new supporters and golf enthusiasts to join us at Calvert Hall. We have a big night on March 11 that I'd love to personally invite all of you to attend, but since I can't do that, I'll just issue an open invitation here at #DMD.

We kick off every season with our "Captain's Dinner", which gives us the chance to introduce the varsity golf team for the coming season and announce our captains for the upcoming campaign. We also unveil our Honorary Captain and the Legacy Club inductee for the year.

This year's event is on Saturday, March 11 at Eagle's Nest Country Club from 6 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds go directly to the Calvert Hall golf program.

We'll be honoring two special Calvert Hall grads at this year's dinner. Brian Hubbard is our Honorary Captain for 2017 and Jeff Fick will be inducted into the CHC golf Legacy Club, joining Tim Osgood, Chris Baloga, Serge Hogg and Allan Phillips.

If you're interested in attending the dinner and would like to buy tickets, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

If March 11 doesn't work on your schedule, we have another way you can support Calvert Hall Golf. We design and produce a keepsake "program" for the Captain's Dinner and have opportunities for local businesses to advertise in the program. The ads are $100 each. A big thank you to our friends at Saffer Plumbing (front cover) and Jerry's Toyota (inside back cover) for their patronage of the program, as well as Hughes Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning, Jet Services, Inc., Full Circle Tire and Auto and Pat Simon, friend of the CHC golf program!

We can always sell more ads in the program, though. If you're unable to attend but still want to support Calvert Hall Golf, this is a great way to do it.

Proceeds from this year's Captain's Dinner go to our spring trip to Pinehurst, March 17-20.

Thank you for any support you can provide us. To buy tickets to the dinner or an ad in the program, just e-mail me and I'll get it all handled.

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Friday
February 10
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 10
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it's catch-up friday at #dmd


About once a month or so, I like to jump in here and bring everyone up to speed with what's happening at #DMD.

Today's a good day to do some catching up, so let's do that. Hence, the headline above.

Let me start by saying we're adding a writer or two to the roster, hopefully within the next couple of weeks, but certainly before baseball season. I've been in contact with several "prospects" and feel good about retaining their services. I'm sure you'll enjoy their work.

If there's an ardent follower of America's pastime out there who would like to take on the role of writing about Major League Baseball (not focusing on the Orioles, but more all of MLB in general), let me know and perhaps we'll add you to the stable here.

Reach me via e-mail if you'd like to contact me about a writing position: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

Additionally, we're looking to add another regional sales and marketing associate to the mix here as well. If you're interested in a position selling #DMD and our associated properties, you can also reach out to me via e-mail. Experience in media/advertising sales is helpful, but certainly not a mandate.

We continue to grow here at #DMD. Our February 1 "Alexa ranking" of 165,598 was our highest February 1st ranking since #DMD started in August of 2014. Just last year, we were at 202,039 on February 1st. That's quite an improvement, and we owe it to those of you who come every day and who have shared the website with friends via social media.

As we continue to grow, so do our corporate partners.

Dallas-based ClubCorp recently purchased Eagle's Nest Country Club and has started a re-invention project that will include massive improvements to the property in 2017 and 2018.

Many of them are in the middle of expansion, re-invention and new levels of success.

Our friends at Primary Residential Mortgage have recently enlarged their office space at 1220 East Joppa Road and now have a full in-house marketing team in the building in addition to their mortgage professionals and experts. If you need mortgage guidance of any kind, this is where you turn. I'm a twice-satisfied customer of Primary Residential, so I'm speaking from personal experience. Check in with Vic Biscoe at Primary Residential - (443) 442-1597.

Eagle's Nest Country Club is undergoing some impressive changes these days! Eagle's Nest was recently purchased by ClubCorp, the country's leader in owning and operating private golf and country clubs, with over 200 clubs now in their portfolio. They'll be starting their "re-invention" project soon, with an estimated $1 million in improvements and renovations set to take place in the next 12-16 months. ClubCorp's very first move upon buying Eagle's Nest and opening the doors? They lowered the dues by 25%! And just this week alone, 49 new members joined the "new" Eagle's Nest! Now is a great time to join what promises to be an amazing club in Phoenix, Maryland. Give Eagle's Nest a call at 410-252-8484 or visit their website here.

The hard working people at Full Circle Tire and Auto just never stop doing great things! They're running specials throughout February to keep your car running safe and sound in the cold winter months and right now, they have an awesome program for those of you who need four new tires! And if you mention "DMD" to Dave Buchanan when you stop in, he'll have an even better treat for you and your vehicle! They've just moved into a new, bigger, better shop in Abingdon, right next to the ice rink. The next time your vehicle needs service or repair, please give Full Circle Tire and Auto a call -- (410) 676-2277.

Have you picked up your Royal Farms Rewards Card yet? If not, do it today -- and start saving on everything from gas (25 cents per-gallon in your first month!) to fried chicken! For every dollar you spend in a Royal Farms store, you receive 5 points. For every gallon of gas you buy, you get 1 point. And how about this cool offer from Royal Farms! On many in-store items, once you buy six of them, the seventh one is free! For more information on Royal Farms Rewards, please go here.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes will hold their annual Maryland Celebration and Fundraising Banquet on Monday, March 6th at Martin's West, starting at 6 pm. This year's featured guest speaker is former Ravens great Ray Lewis. If you haven't been to the FCA's annual banquet before, it's truly a "can't miss" occasion. This year, naturally, it will be made even more special with the appearance of the future Hall of Fame linebacker. Tickets are still available.

I'd ask that you patronize any of our #DMD partners you see on the website, but I took the liberty of listing a few corporate partners above who are embarking on new projects. Whether it's a new or pre-owned car from Jerry's Toyota, employment-related functionality from Kelly Payroll and Benefits, charity-driven work from The Cause Network or anyone else you see at #DMD, please know your support of their products and services is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for giving me a minute of your time to bring you up-to-speed on some important things going on in the world of #DMD.


we now need one more bowling team


Yes, we thought the charity bowling event was sold out. And it was, right up until Wednesday night when I received an e-mail from a team telling me they could no longer participate due to a work-related conflict.

So -- we need ONE more team for our bowling event on February 26th. Can someone out there put together a team of four, pick a charity to represent, and come on out on February 26th and bowl with us at Stoneleigh Lanes? We have everything you need for a great three hours of fun (3 pm to 6 pm): bowling, DuClaw beer, food, fun and prize money!

And we'll also be bowling and raising money for the Malone family of Baltimore, who lost their home and six children in a tragic fire back in early January. Shawn Shannon and Unison Business Solutions will donate ten cents per-pin in the first game that all 14 teams bowl on February 26!

We need one more team. The entry fee is $75.00 per-player and that includes the bowling, beer, soft drinks, food, etc. Please join us for one of our best events of the year! E-mail me to get your team signed up: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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a quick a.l. east rundown


This time next week, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training sites all over Florida and Arizona.

Before you know it, real baseball games will be played -- again.

We'll break down the American League East in greater detail late next month, but I figured we'd do a little sneak-preview of the division here today.

The Orioles will need a stellar 2017 campaign from Kevin Gausman, among others, to combat the pitching-rich Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox are obviously the team to beat in the East, and perhaps, even in the entire American League.

They added lefty Chris Sale from the White Sox to go with an already-better-than-decent rotation that includes Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and fellow southpaw David Price.

Pablo Sandoval returns after missing nearly all of 2016 with an shoulder injury and reports (and pictures) from Florida say Sandoval has arrived in camp carrying far less weight than this time a year ago.

The Red Sox will have to replace David Ortiz both in the boxscore and the locker room. Say what you will about Ortiz, but it's not easy to replace winners, particularly those who were as productive as he was in 2016. The Boston faithful have tried to downplay Ortiz's departure, but it will certainly have an impact on the Red Sox in 2017.

Still, they're the heavy favorites in the East.

There's no telling what the Yankees might do in 2017. The recent signing of 1B/DH Chris Carter was a nice late off-season move. After all, he did have 41 home runs a year ago in Milwaukee, and with Mark Teixeira now retired, Carter can compete for the job at first base or serve as the team's right handed designated hitter.

Former St. Louis Cardinals star Matt Holliday might have enough left in the tank for one more decent season. And the return of Aroldis Chapman gives the Yankees a bonafide closer.

New York's starting pitching is the question mark. They have Masihiro Tanaka and...and...and...well, not much else.

Luis Severino was expected to be a world beater, but that dominant streak hasn't been on display yet. C.C. Sabathia is in the December of his career and Michael Pineda is just too unreliable to expect anything except inconsistency.

Gary Sanchez gives the Yankees a big bat behind the plate, but they'll need better starting pitching in order to contend.

The Toronto Blue Jays should be formidable again, despite the loss of Edwin Encarnacion to the Indians.

Toronto's starting pitching, if healthy, is as good as anyone else in the East not named the Boston Red Sox, and their lineup will again be explosive. They didn't add much in the off-season, but the return of Jose Bautista gives them another semi-big-bat, albeit an aging one.

Bullpen and closer are the concerning issues in Toronto, as they were in 2016. Look for Toronto to be actively in search of relief arms at the deadline, if they're in the race in late July.

Don't expect much of anything from Tampa Bay. Their marquee off-season acquisition was centerfielder Colby Rasmus. That says it all.

As for the Orioles, expectations will be high in 2017 and unless injuries to key players come along, the Birds should again be battling for a playoff spot come September.

I'm not one who dismisses the loss of Matt Wieters as "no big deal". I think the O's will miss him on the field and in the clubhouse. But his departure isn't enough to turn the O's from a contender to a pretender.

None of the off-season moves were startling or impressive, even, but the same lineup from 2016 returns in 2017, minus the aforementioned Wieters. The acquisition of Seth Smith was sensible, but he can't hit left-handed pitching, so where's the right-handed bat who can also play left field or DH against southpaws? And please...don't tell me it's Nolan Reimold (although it probably will be).

The key for the Orioles in 2017? Their starting pitching. We'll play the "if game" for a second, because that's what you do in February. If the Orioles get representative seasons from Tillman, Gausman and Bundy -- 3.75 ERA or better from all three, let's say -- the Birds might very well be in the hunt for a division title next Fall.

The bullpen should be solid again. A quality left-hander would help, but O'Day, Brach and Britton are more than capable of handling the late inning load again in 2017. And who knows? Next October, the manager might even use Britton in a playoff game.

Everything about 2017 points to success for the Orioles, as long as the starting pitching holds up its end of the bargain, which it did, for the most part, in the final four months of the 2016 campaign.

It would help if Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley kick in a dozen or more quality starts, but those kind of expectations might be a tad high for both of those hurlers.

As long as Tillman, Gausman and Bundy pull their weight, the Orioles are a 90-win team in 2017.

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umbc stunned at home by last place hartford


Visiting Hartford hit 15 of 24 shots in the second half and rallied to defeat UMBC, 84-77, at the RAC Arena on Thursday night.

UMBC's three-game winning streak was halted and the setback dropped the Retrievers to 16-8, 7-4 in America East play. Hartford (7-19, 2-9 AE) snapped a six-game slide and moved out of the basement of America East with the win.

The Retrievers got standout offensive efforts from junior guard K.J. Maura and senior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.). The 5'8" Maura buried 6-of-8 shots from behind the arc and scored a career high 24 points, while Darley added 22 points, including 17 in the first 20 minutes.

Will Darley's outstanding senior season continued last night with 22 points, but UMBC lost at home to Hartford, 84-77.

Hartford's Jalen Ross led all scorers with 28 points.

UMBC led, 42-31, at the break and increased the lead to 13 on two occasions in the second half.

But the Retrievers could not stop the Hawks as they scored on seven consecutive possessions in the middle of the half. Maura hit three treys to temporarily keep the Retrievers in the lead, but Hartford erased the entire deficit and took their first lead since the early stages of the first half when Jack Hobbs hit a jumper to put the visitors ahead, 63-62, with 4:49 remaining.

Hobbs then hits a trey on the next possession to put the Hawks up by four, but Darley halted the 8-0 run, converting a layup with 3:46 remaining. Hartford would miss two free throws, but Darley's jumper to tie the score drew iron and the Hawks scored the next seven points to take a game-high nine-point advantage at 73-64 with 1:59 remaining.

Maura's sixth and final trey of the night trimmed the deficit to 77-73 with 40 seconds to play. Hobbs made one of two free throws, but Jairus Lyles' three to bring the game to a single possession with 26 seconds left was off the mark and Hartford's J.R. Lynch hit six straight free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the victory.

UMBC actually shot exceedingly well from behind the arc, hitting 14 of 29 attempts (48.3 percent). But Hartford's second-half zone forced nine uncharacteristic second half UMBC miscues and the Hawks outscored the Retrievers, 13-2, off turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

The Retrievers also committed their third highest number of fouls on the year – 23 and UH attempted 20 more free throws than did the hosts in the second half, hitting 18-of-24 in the stanza and 26-of-33 for the game. UMBC converted 11-of-13 free throws in 40 minutes.

UMBC hosts league-leader and undefeated Vermont (12-0) at the RAC Arena this Sunday, Feb. 12.

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this weekend in
english soccer


Contributed by #DMD's English Premier League Reporter
MATTHEW CARROLL

Chelsea may have consolidated their lead at the top of the table but we can’t hand them the title just yet, as both Tottenham and Manchester City continue to hang around with the latter rediscovering the early season form which had them looking as if they would run away with the title themselves and, combined with a late season matchup with the Blues followed by a favorable run in to the end of the season that includes three games against teams all fighting to avoid the drop, could be worth the investment of a few bucks to win the league at +1200 odds. Tune in to see if both sides can keep their hopes alive with all of the action throughout the long weekend available live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 11 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Hull City @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC Sports Network

A sensational solo effort from Eden Hazard, where the Frenchmen marauded half the length of the field before deftly chipping over goalkeeper Petr Cech, proved to be the difference as Chelsea vanquished another title challenger and dealt Arsenal their second straight setback in a 3-1 victory. With barely a grasp on fourth place and any hopes of catching the league leaders well and gone, the Gunners will have to turn things around quickly if they hope to remain in the Champions League places when they welcome the reborn Hull City to the Emirates Stadium to kick off the weekend action Saturday morning.

After looking like the odds on favorite to be the first team to endure the drop this season, Hull City took points for the third time in their last four league games and moved within a single point from climbing out of the relegation zone as they added to Liverpool’s misery when they pulled off a massive upset in a 2-0 victory over the floundering Reds. Making it clear to safety will be a tough ask against a desperate Arsenal side though, with the Tigers managing just one win in the last one hundred years (yes…100!) against the Gunners and losers of eleven of the last thirteen meetings across all competitions (D2).

12:30pm – Tottenham @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC

It was by no means a stroll in the park, but Tottenham eventually broke down a resilient Middlesbrough side when Harry Kane converted from the penalty spot early in the second half to send Spurs clear into second place while Boro now find themselves firmly planted in the six-team relegation fight that will play out over the final fourteen weeks of the season. They will highlight the weekend action with a trip to Anfield to face a Liverpool side still stumbling in the New Year, with the loss to Hull City continuing their slide down the table and the Reds winless run in the league (L2 D3) since the calendar turned.

Liverpool now find themselves on the outside looking in on a spot in the top four and, with Manchester United nipping at their heels only a point behind, will hope for a result against a Spurs side that have won seven of their last nine league games but, after winning four of their previous five matchups (D1) with the Reds, somewhat surprisingly find themselves winless in their last ten meetings, coming away empty handed in seven of those matches (D3) and in four of their last five encounters across all competitions at what is sure to be a raucous Anfield.

Sunday, February 12 (all times eastern)

11am – Leicester City @ Swansea City – Liberty Stadium, NBC Sports Network

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri is on the hot seat as his team is in danger of relegation just one year after winning the EPL title.

We have danced around the idea for a few months now, and with their 3-0 loss over the weekend to Manchester United the possibility of Leicester City becoming only the second team in the entire history of the English top flight to go down a year after winning the title could be in the verge of reality, as the Foxes sit only a point above the drop zone when they travel for a huge relegation showdown with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, with the Swans denied a point when Manchester City newcomer Gabriel Jesus earned all of the points for City when he put away a 92nd minute injury time winner.

The defending champs have now lost four in a row and have only one win to show for their last nine league outings (L6 D2) and, with a meeting against fellow relegation rivals Hull City bookended by a visit from Liverpool and a trip to Arsenal over the next three weeks along with the resumption of their Champions League duties, will need something against a Swansea side whom they have beaten in their last four league meetings and in nine of the their last twelve across all competitions however, all three losses came at the Liberty Stadium where the Welsh side have won three of the last four meetings (L1).


calvert hall golf could use your support


Despite this week's unsettled weather, it's officially "golf season" at Calvert Hall. We started practice a couple of weeks ago in our new indoor training room in Towson and have been out on the course several times in the last few weeks, including Wednesday of this week as we took advantage of that weird 69-degree February day in Baltimore.

Our first MIAA match is at the end of March.

2013 MIAA A-Conference varsity golf champions

We're always looking for new supporters and golf enthusiasts to join us at Calvert Hall. We have a big night on March 11 that I'd love to personally invite all of you to attend, but since I can't do that, I'll just issue an open invitation here at #DMD.

We kick off every season with our "Captain's Dinner", which gives us the chance to introduce the varsity golf team for the coming season and announce our captains for the upcoming campaign. We also unveil our Honorary Captain and the Legacy Club inductee for the year.

This year's event is on Saturday, March 11 at Eagle's Nest Country Club from 6 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds go directly to the Calvert Hall golf program.

We'll be honoring two special Calvert Hall grads at this year's dinner. Brian Hubbard is our Honorary Captain for 2017 and Jeff Fick will be inducted into the CHC golf Legacy Club, joining Tim Osgood, Chris Baloga, Serge Hogg and Allan Phillips.

If you're interested in attending the dinner and would like to buy tickets, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

If March 11 doesn't work on your schedule, we have another way you can support Calvert Hall Golf. We design and produce a keepsake "program" for the Captain's Dinner and have opportunities for local businesses to advertise in the program. The ads are $100 each. A big thank you to our friends at Saffer Plumbing (front cover) and Jerry's Toyota (inside back cover) for their patronage of the program, as well as Hughes Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning, Jet Services, Inc., Full Circle Tire and Auto and Pat Simon, friend of the CHC golf program!

We can always sell more ads in the program, though. If you're unable to attend but still want to support Calvert Hall Golf, this is a great way to do it.

Proceeds from this year's Captain's Dinner go to our spring trip to Pinehurst, March 17-20.

Thank you for any support you can provide us. To buy tickets to the dinner or an ad in the program, just e-mail me and I'll get it all handled.

Thursday
February 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 9
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a look at the draft and what the ravens need in 2017


From our "ask and ye shall receive file" comes today's reply to Bob in Hereford, who yesterday in the comments section asked for my opinion on the Ravens and their 2017 draft.

I'm game.

I'll admit I'm not much of a draftnik. I watch college football, yes, but sitting down and poring over data, stats, game film and the like just to hazard a guess on which team might take which player? Not my cup of tea.

But, I love talking about the Ravens. And having watched all 16 games in 2016, I think I have a fairly good idea of what they need moving forward if they want to break out of this little 2-year non-playoff drought they're in.

This is all an inexact science, of course. The Ravens have been overly successful at drafting defensive linemen over the years and woefully inept at drafting wide receivers. Why? Who knows?

They took a chance on a quarterback from the University of Delaware in 2008 and that's worked out just fine, even if there's bubbling unrest surrounding Joe Flacco ten seasons later. They're also adept at picking offensive linemen as well.

All in all, the Ravens are still considered one of the league's "premier" drafting organizations. They're one of those teams come draft day who always seem to snatch a player or two that others don't highly rate and turn them into decent players.

Is Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams worth moving up for in the 2017 NFL draft?

They're not the only team in the league with solid drafting acumen, but the Ravens do still know what they're doing.

That said, I'm here today to help, mainly because Bob in Hereford asked me to help.

I've always thought Ozzie Newsome's player personnel philosophy of "the most important ones are those guys who touch the ball or touch the quarterback" was a complete contradiction to the other famous football personnel term - "the game is won in the trenches".

Newsome, though, has clung to his philosophy since showing up in Baltimore, but curiously enough it's the "trench guys" who have been among the best Ravens draft picks ever.

To me -- and I'm no football general manager, mind you -- the best philosophy for choosing football players is a little more simple: Get the best players you can, given what needs your team has at the time.

That's not too far off of Newsome's "best player available" mantra that he also follows on draft day, but the tweak to my philosophy is that I'd take two or three wide receivers, for instance, with the hope that a couple of them pan out to be starters. If you don't need an offensive guard, for instance ,why take one?

The Ravens own the 16th pick in this year's draft. Their habit of trading out of that spot and moving back is far more realistic than trading out and moving up. It's just not in their DNA to jump up several spots to get a player, although they've done it before (Flacco, of course) when the situation called for it.

This year, though, might be different.

Depending on their draft board, the Ravens might find themselves needing to scoot up a spot or two to grab wide receiver Mike Williams from Clemson. Corey Davis from Western Michigan might be there in the 13-16 draft slot range, too, and some feel he could be a better pro candidate than the talented Williams.

Would the Ravens give in and lose a pick or two in the later rounds in exchange for getting Williams or Davis? Should they?

The "get the best player" philosophy answers that question with a resounding "yes" when you realize the Ravens are very thin at wide receiver heading into 2017. Steve Smith Sr. is gone, Kamar Aiken is a free agent, Mike Wallace is likely a cap casualty and Breshad Perriman continues to be a mystery, but it's fair to note that 2016 was really his first year in the NFL.

To me, the Ravens have three dire draft needs in 2017. And, yes, they could fill those needs via free agency, but that's not been an area of traditional activity for the Ravens.

1. Wide receiver -- I'm not going to cling to the "it's a passing league" theory anymore. It's really just a "score a lot of points" league, but throwing the ball is certainly one way to bag a bunch of points, as the Atlanta Falcons proved in 2016. The Ravens are desperately in need of pass catchers and high quality ones at that.

There's not one incumbent wide out on the team of any REAL quality. Aiken is a nice complimentary receiver and Perriman has go-route speed but not much else. It stands to reason that both of those players could be fits in Baltimore's offensive system next season, but putting those two at the top of the depth chart is very reckless.

Perriman has the skill set to be a top receiver, but he's far too unproven to come anywhere close to predicting that kind of fortune for him. And if you were betting, right now, "boom or bust", as a NFL player, your smart money would probably go on "bust" given what we've seen from him in the last two seasons.

The Ravens need to draft wide receivers, and, most notably, they need to get one of the high-profile receivers at #16 if he's there or if they can move up a couple of spots to get him.

2. Cornerback -- OK, quick...without the aid of the internet. Name the two starting cornerbacks for New England, Atlanta, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

Right, you can't do it. That's OK, not many people can.

Oddly enough, those eight players played in their respective conference title games and no one really knows who they are.

Yet, I think the Ravens should make the cornerback position a priority in the draft.

Why? Well, cornerbacks are like umpires and referees. You don't realize they're even there until they do something wrong.

The best cornerbacks are the ones who blend in, do a solid job, and don't get lit up a half dozen times a game.

And even then, as the Steelers showed again in 2016, you can have a so-so secondary and still win a bunch of games and come within one half of football of going to the Super Bowl.

The Ravens, though, are awfully thin at the cornerback position.

They have Jimmy Smith and that's about it.

Tayvon Young had a solid rookie season but it's unlikely he can do the job for 70 snaps a game over 16 weeks. And at 5'10", he's giving away three or four inches to the top receivers in the game, which winds up being a major factor at some point.

The Ravens need cornerback help, big time.

Marshon Lattimore from Ohio State will likely be gone by the 16th pick, but if the Browns don't grab him at #12, there's a slight chance he could be dangling there at the 13th spot. He might be moving up for, although USC's Adoree Jackson figures to be available at 16, too. Jackson suffered an injury in the Rose Bowl that might drop his stock, but all indications are he'll be healthy by the time the 2017 campaign kicks off.

In a division where they go up against A.J. Green and Antonio Brown four times a year, the Ravens need someone else besides the oft-injured Jimmy Smith to combat those two stalwarts.

3. Center -- I know. Center? WTF? Center?

Yes, center.

Now, get this: I'm not suggesting the Ravens take a center in the first round of the draft. No, no, no. But I am suggesting they make the center position a priority in the draft and get the very best one they can without sacrificing the two needs I listed above.

The Ravens haven't had a good center since Matt Birk retired in 2013.

I realize most people just think the center snaps the ball and that's that, but, in all seriousness, it's a tad more complicated. He's the anchor in front of the quarterback, for starters, makes the line calls at the point of attack, and generally serves as the very first line of protection for your team's biggest investment.

Jeremy Zuttah has reached December on his career calendar. It's time to turn the page.

Pat Elflein (Ohio State), Ethan Pocic (LSU) and Kyle Fuller (Baylor) would be reasonable selections for the Ravens as they attempt to upgrade that center spot moving forward.

And it would make Joe Flacco happy, too, I bet.

Let's all remember again, what I wrote above about drafting players. It's not an exact science.

Let's look at Justin Tucker, for example. No one even drafted the guy. And he's now the best kicker in the league and could very well go down as perhaps the best kicker in the history of the NFL when his career is finished.

I realize no one drafts kickers. I get it.

But, now, given what we've seen Tucker do over the last five years, isn't it reasonable to say someone should have drafted him?

Here's one step further. Tucker, at his specific position, has very much performed with the same skill and talent of any first round draft pick since 2012.

That's not to say Tucker is a better "football player" than, say, Ezekiel Elliott, who went #4 to the Cowboys last year.

But that is to say that given the limits of his production capabilities, Tucker is every much as valuable at his position than Elliott is at his.

I'm not here campaigning for teams to pick kickers in the draft, but I am here to say that teams should start looking at ALL players, including kickers and punters, with more of a thought about their performance ability and the relative level compared to others in that round.

Rather than take a linebacker/special teams player in the 4th round, would 32 teams have been better off taking Justin Tucker in that same 4th round? You bet.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but every team in the league who passed on drafting Tucker lost themselves a potential game-changing, Hall of Fame kicker.

The Ravens need better players, period. But their three biggest areas of need all involve the passing game, in some way. They need receivers to catch the ball, cornerbacks to defend the guys trying to catch the ball and someone to snap the ball to their quarterback and help keep him upright.

That's what I think, anyway.

Share your insight below in the Comments section.

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and the greatest champion is...


The voting audience at #DMD has settled the score.

The greatest champion of the modern era -- of the five choices provided in this week's poll -- is 6-time titleist Michael Jordan.

Jordan claimed 42% of the vote in our poll, which asked you to determine who the "greatest of the greats" is on the heels of Tom Brady winning his 5th Super Bowl ring on Sunday night.

Brady was next with 25% of the vote.

Tiger Woods finished third with 20%.

Wayne Gretzky secured 11% of the vote.

Derek Jeter had a tough go of it against those other four. The former Yankees great received just 2% of the vote.

It's certainly hard to argue with the selection of Michael Jordan. He took a franchise that never won anything and transformed them into a brand AND a champion.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote.

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calvert hall golf could use your support


Despite today's unsettled weather, it's officially "golf season" at Calvert Hall. We started practice a couple of weeks ago in our new indoor training room in Towson and have been out on the course several times in the last few weeks, including yesterday as we took advantage of that weird 69-degree February day in Baltimore.

Our first MIAA match is at the end of March.

2013 MIAA A-Conference varsity golf champions

We're always looking for new supporters and golf enthusiasts to join us at Calvert Hall. We have a big night on March 11 that I'd love to personally invite all of you to attend, but since I can't do that, I'll just issue an open invitation here at #DMD.

We kick off every season with our "Captain's Dinner", which gives us the chance to introduce the varsity golf team for the coming season and announce our captains for the upcoming campaign. We also unveil our Honorary Captain and the Legacy Club inductee for the year.

This year's event is on Saturday, March 11 at Eagle's Nest Country Club from 6 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $75 each and the proceeds go directly to the Calvert Hall golf program.

We'll be honoring two special Calvert Hall grads at this year's dinner. Brian Hubbard is our Honorary Captain for 2017 and Jeff Fick will be inducted into the CHC golf Legacy Club, joining Tim Osgood, Chris Baloga, Serge Hogg and Allan Phillips.

If you're interested in attending the dinner and would like to buy tickets, please send me an e-mail: drew@drewsmorningdish.com

If March 11 doesn't work on your schedule, we have another way you can support Calvert Hall Golf. We design and produce a keepsake "program" for the Captain's Dinner and have opportunities for local businesses to advertise in the program. The ads are $100 each. A big thank you to our friends at Saffer Plumbing (front cover) and Jerry's Toyota (inside back cover) for their patronage of the program, as well as Hughes Mechanical Heating and Air Conditioning, Jet Services, Inc., Full Circle Tire and Auto and Pat Simon, friend of the CHC golf program!

We can always sell more ads in the program, though. If you're unable to attend but still want to support Calvert Hall Golf, this is a great way to do it.

Proceeds from this year's Captain's Dinner go to our spring trip to Pinehurst, March 17-20.

Thank you for any support you can provide us. To buy tickets to the dinner or an ad in the program, just e-mail me and I'll get it all handled.

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Wednesday
February 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 8
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why i voted for tiger


I not only create #DMD every morning, I participate, too.

So, shortly before 7 am yesterday, I voted in our #DMD "greatest of the greats" poll and I went with Tiger Woods.

I don't feel like I owe an explanation in the same way none of you owe an explanation for your vote.

But I'm going to explain it anyway, because any of the other four guys on the list are worthy candidates.

Side note: Michael Jordan has taken the lead in our poll (see below for your chance to vote), with nearly 40% of the vote going his way. Tiger Woods and Tom Brady are at 24% each.

Back to Tiger.

Let's get the qualifiers out of the way first. I'm far more familiar, as an adult, with the sport of golf -- from a playing standpoint -- than I am any of the others. I played football, baseball, basketball and, yes, ice hockey as a kid. In fact, a little known secret about the writer -- hockey was actually my "best" sport, from a skill perspective, growing up in Glen Burnie.

I didn't touch a golf club until age 25 and didn't play in a golf tournament until I was 30 years old. But, as an adult, I've played more golf than any other sport.

So, I'm naturally inclined to focus more on golf because I know more about the nuances of playing it. That tilt forces me to go to great lengths to give consideration to Jordan, Gretzky, Brady and Jeter. And I did that.

But I voted for Tiger Woods in our #DMD poll.

He's the greatest "winner" I've ever seen.

Please spare me the calcuated snipes about his personal life. I'm aware of what happened to him. I'm also aware that what happened between Woods and his wife and family have nothing at all to do with winning 79 tournaments and 14 major championships.

I'm also aware that none of us are perfect. If having empathy for someone who has stumbled in their life -- albeit of their own doing -- is wrong, I guess I'm guilty as charged.

What happened to Woods off the golf course never once affected how I looked at him on the golf course, although I also think it's VERY fair to connect his personal downfall with his diminished visits to the winner's circle, particularly in major championships.

But before injuries, ailments and his personal life fell apart -- Woods was the greatest of the greatest.

Here's how great Woods has been since joining the PGA Tour in 1996.

Phil Mickelson has 42 career victories and 5 major championships.

Tiger won 37 more times than Mickelson. In four or so fewer years on TOUR.

Woods has 14 major titles, Phil has nine less.

No one else is even worthy of comparison to Tiger in his era. The only guy even remotely close, that you could put in the same relative category, is Phil Mickelson. And Woods has 79 wins to Phil's 42.

Woods, with 14 majors, has more than Mickelson (5), Els (4), Singh (3) and Furyk (1) -- combined.

Those other four players represent the golden crop of challengers during Tiger's "run" in the 2000's and Woods has more major titles than all four of them put together.

I could go into the whole deal about Woods showing up and "everyone else immediately knew they were playing for 2nd place", but some of that, frankly, is hyperbole. Those guys on the TOUR didn't give up as soon as Woods stepped on the property Thursday morning. They didn't give in right away and say, "I can't win this week".

They just rarely won when Tiger was in the field, that's all.

Someone else who voted for Woods yesterday asked an interesting question: "How many wins would Tiger have collected had he played in, say, 30 events on TOUR every year instead of the 18 or so he played during the height of his supremacy?"

Great question. Tiger would have won a lot more, although it's also fair to remember that perhaps one of the reasons why Tiger was sharper than most when he DID play is that his calculated schedule might have kept him more fresh and more healthy than others out there who were teeing it up 30-35 times a year.

Without a doubt, though, had Woods played in 30 events a year in the 2000's, he'd have well over 90 TOUR wins by now.

Someone can make a case for Michael Jordan. Or Wayne Gretzky. They're both great champions. So, too, is Tom Brady. Derek Jeter is lagging behind in our voting, but that's more of a testament to the competition he's facing and less about Jeter not being worthy.

Woods, though, gets my vote.

When he played, at his zenith, he won at a clip no one else could match.

I keep going back to Phil Mickelson, another great champion. He has played six more years than Woods (four at the start of his career and two recently when Woods hasn't played due to injury) and Tiger has 37 more victories overall and 9 more major titles.

That's like Secretariat beating the field by 31 lengths at the Belmont.

Oh, and in case you care...Michael Jordan would earn my 2nd place vote, if we were giving those out.

The #DMD poll is up for one more day. You'll find it below. Please also feel free to add your insightful (Google it if necessary) commentary in the "Comments" section and explain your own reasoning behind your vote.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Which of these two is the better "winner"?
#1 seed, Tiger Woods
#3 seed, Michael Phelps
- x
- y
- z
Name
Email address

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caps stay hot, blank hurricanes, 5-0


I keep watching the Caps beat up on everyone in the NHL and constantly remind myself that we've seen this whole act before.

We've seen it several times, in fact.

But the more I watch this 2016-2017 edition of the Washington Capitals, the more I feel like this time might be different.

Braden Holtby and the Caps registered their 5th shutout in their last ten home games last night.

For the 5th time in their last 10 home games, the Caps shut out an opponent last night, as they pasted the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-0.

No one stood out. No one had 3 goals and 1 assist. Braden Holtby made a handful of nice saves, but he wasn't the second coming of Ken Dryden in the net.

It was just a solid, workmanlike performance from the Caps, who now lead the NHL with 80 points.

So, what's different about this team than the one who got dusted by the Penguins in six games in last spring's second round of the playoffs?

Well, three players have become big time contributors, two of which weren't in D.C. last season. Jay Beagle (11 goals) has already reached his career high for goals in a season, while newcomers Lars Eller (10 goals) and Brett Connolly (11 goals) are also in double figures now. Those three contributing 32 goals between them is one of the unwritten stories of the season to date.

That's 32 goals that Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov don't have to score to keep the ship steady. And with Andre Burakovsky blasting out of his early season slump and coming on like gangbusters since mid-December, Washington's offense is no longer all about Number 8.

Yes, I've looked at the standings and I see the Flyers, Bruins and Islanders fighting for that eighth playoff spot and I hope, as always, that Philadelphia doesn't figure out a way to finish 8th. But other than that, no one in particular scares me in that first playoff round.

I'm smart enough to know, though, that none of this regular season play really matters. Sure, it feels different this time around. There's something going on now that we haven't seen before in previous seasons of winning hockey in D.C.

But, let's call it like it is: The Caps are the NHL's equivalent of the Cincinnati Bengals. They always figure out a way to lose in the playoffs.

Perhaps this is the year it's all going to turn out different.

I have a feeling...

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2016-17 season.


terps stunned by penn state, fall to 8-3 in big ten play


There was little surprise in Maryland’s 70-64 road loss to Penn State last night.

In a classic case of “the other team tries too”, the Nittany Lions tried a little harder and much longer than the Terrapins.

Despite hitting just 2 of their 18 three point attempts, Penn State hitched a ride on Lamar Stevens’ 25 points and parked themselves at the foul line 38 times, hitting 26 of those freebies. Maryland just couldn’t find an answer on either side of the court.

Penn State has athletic guards who did great job of keeping the Terp guards from driving to the rim for easy buckets. Maryland's guards were a combined 6 for 26 including Melo Trimble’s 4 for 13. Combine that with the soft play of the Terps big men, and you have a perfect recipe for a loss to an unranked opponent.

A 4-for-13 shooting night and some late misses from Melo Trimble were just part of Maryland's problems in Tuesday night's loss at Penn State.

Maryland was coming off of its marquee home game, a tough, tight, late loss to Purdue on Saturday. With a quick turnaround time to travel to Penn State, it was a bad spot for a young Maryland team who were primed for an emotional let-down.

Penn State was more aggressive from the start and their physical guards gave Maryland trouble.

Maryland's centers played way too softly to be effective offensively. Throughout the game we saw countless short shots missed by Terp bigs. Some were just missed shots. Other chances, taken weakly to the basket, were blocked severely below rim level.

If there was a surprise for me in last night's game, it was the disparity in effort between the Maryland and Penn State big men. I expected UM guards to be pushed around, but I didn’t expect the front court of Maryland to be physically overmatched.

The game started off just fine for Maryland. An old fashioned three point play by Melo Trimble gave them an early 3-2 lead with 18:43 left in the first half. That lead would last all of 18 seconds and it would be Maryland’s only lead of the game. They continually chased Penn State from that point on but could never catch them. The Nittany Lions led by six at the half 35-29.

Penn State, coming off of their own awful home loss to Rutgers, expanded the lead to 13 with 14:40 left in the game.

With Stevens catching second half fire from the field, Maryland just couldn’t get a stop. It seemed like every time it appeared they might get some momentum, a whistle put Penn State on the foul line.

The Terps hit a few late three pointers to cut the lead to four with 3:26 left and things were possibly swinging Maryland’s way.

Penn State’s Shep Garner (1 for 9 from the floor) then took what I thought was an ill-advised, and very deep, three from the left wing with nothing but Terps under the basket. However, Nittany Lion guard Nazeer Bostick flew in from deep on the right wing and grabbed the offensive rebound for an easy put back. It was a key play in the game.

Kevin Huerter had completely lost contact with Bostick and never attempted to put a body on him. It was a play that summed up the game for the two teams. Penn State wanted it more than Maryland did and was willing to put out the effort required to win.

Maryland had one more chance to scare Penn State when a back court violation gave Maryland the ball down four points with 1:36 left. Twelve seconds into the possession, Jaylen Brantley found himself wide open for a three from the left corner. His air ball was way off the mark and Penn State had secured their second win this season over a top 25 team.

The Maryland offense never looked in sync. Their spacing was often bad and the guards had little room to operate. The half court pressure by Penn State bothered the Terps, who turned it over 15 times.

When Maryland got the ball inside (which wasn’t very often) the big guys maneuvered with no authority at all.

The Terps shot only 34% from the field, and 27% from the three point line. They missed 10 of their 27 foul shots while putting Penn State on the line 38 times.

It didn’t matter that the Nittany Lions only hit 2 of their 18 three point attempts. They played better defense and with more heart throughout the game.

The Terps were trying last night, but Penn State tried much harder.

Next up, Ohio State in College Park on Saturday at 4:00 pm.

Glory
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caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- we need eight more hockey fans to join us!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

We need eight (8) more people to join us on this trip. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

The per-person price is going to be in the $165-$175 range, which gets you an upper level seat, a relaxing ride to/from DC in a luxury motor coach, all the DuClaw beer you can handle, some great food from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin and a Caps trivia contest with a $50 cash prize!

If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Tuesday
February 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 7
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


so...who's the greatest of the greats?


With ten minutes of historically impressive play on Sunday night, Tom Brady did something no other NFL quarterback can lay claim to -- he won his 5th Super Bowl title.

Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Peyton Manning...none of those four could do in their career(s) what Brady has done thus far in his.

Perhaps somewhere out there a handful of folks will still argue that Brady's not the greatest quarterback ever just for the sake of having something to argue about, but for purposes of today's exercise here at #DMD, we're going a step further and giving in and dubbing Tom Brady the greatest "champion" in NFL history as well.

Follow along, you'll understand why in a couple of seconds.

You're nothing in sports without a championship. Yes, there are occasionally outstanding, Hall of Fame players who somehow never wind up winning one. In football, Dan Marino comes to mind right away, as he lost his only Super Bowl appearance and finished his career with no jewelry to sport on his finger.

Ken Griffey Jr. was a great baseball player who never won a ring.

Presently, Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals is the best NHL player without a ring.

So, yes, there are some exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, great players become champions at some point along the way.

Are 79 wins and 4 Masters green jackets enough to make Tiger Woods the "greatest of the greats"?

Brady now has 5 rings.

But where does he rate among the greatest of the greats?

Let's find out today. #DMD has a poll to test your championship values. Who's the greatest sports champion of the "modern era"?

Is it Michael Jordan, with six championship rings?

Tiger Woods won 79 golf tournaments and 14 major championships. Is he the greatest?

What about Wayne Gretzky? He not only won four Stanley Cup titles, but still leads the NHL in goals, assists and points.

Derek Jeter? He matched Brady with five rings during a stellar career with the Yankees.

And then, there's Brady, with his 5 rings and the chance, perhaps, to win another in 2018.

Which of those men stands out as the greatest of the greatest?

I'm interested to hear arguments made for any of them.

Jordan took a moribund Bulls franchise and turned them into not only a winner, but an iconic franchise along the way.

Gretzky's Oilers won four titles in five years and he then went to Los Angeles late in his career and took the Kings to the Stanley Cup Finals in a losing effort against Montreal.

Jeter was surrounded by talented players in the 1990's and 2000's, but his play and leadership proved to be benchmarks for the Yankees.

Brady, as we saw on Sunday night, seemingly gets better with age, which defies all logic in the NFL, where Father Time typically takes his victims quickly and without concern for their stature.

And Woods, from 1999 through 2013, dominated golf in a way no one else ever had before back surgeries in 2015 and 2016 derailed and, apparently, ended his career.

Which of those men is the greatest of all time?

Champions come in a lot of shapes and sizes. Four of those five not only created a legacy for themselves, they put their franchises on the map, although Jeter's Yankees were obviously good decades earlier before falling on hard times in the 1980's and early 1990's. And Woods, the only non-team sport athlete among the list, not only won 79 professional tournaments, he's the only golfer ever to capture three straight U.S. Amateur and three straight U.S. Junior titles as well.

I asked a respected Baltimore media member the question on Monday and he responded, without hesitation, "Gretzky".

When I questioned him, his answer was simple: "He made the NHL into something worth watching. Before Gretzky, only hockey fans watched hockey. With Gretzky playing, people wanted to learn more about hockey and follow it."

He then added one more point. "And Gretzky is the only one of those players to leave his storied franchise and go somewhere else and build that organization (Los Angeles) into a winner."

While that part is true, it's also worth noting that Gretzky is the only of the great champions in our poll who played for more than two teams. He also spent brief time with the St. Louis Blues and played the final three seasons of his career with the New York Rangers.

Brady made a great case for himself on Sunday night with that epic comeback against Atlanta.

The other four are worthy choices as well. Who's the greatest champion of the modern era?

Make your choice below and add any relevant, insightful commentary below.


 Drew's Morning Dish

#DMD Poll

Question: Which of these two is the better "winner"?
#1 seed, Tiger Woods
#3 seed, Michael Phelps
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from the desk of
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BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports media work with ESPN, CBS and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.


I have to admit it; I am fascinated by awful football coaching.

I don’t mean the kind of one-off “bad” playcalls that usually come down to execution more than anything else. Marty Mornhinweg’s “worst play call ever” got a lot of knee jerk reaction, but there was also a receiver open for a game-sealing touchdown, too.

Even Darrell Bevell’s baffling decision to have Russell Wilson throw a quick slant on the goalline at the end of Superbowl 49 rather than at least faking a handoff to Marshawn Lynch and rolling out is the kind of one-off snap judgment that can easily work out completely differently if just a few nearly imperceptible factors go differently.

No, I’m talking about the kind of failure that’s repeated and borderline systemic. Slow motion train wrecks that just about everyone but the coaches in question see happening in real time. Think of an Andy Reid offense taking it’s sweet time on a late 4th quarter drive (and wasting a timeout or two along the way), or how Mike McCarthy has a peculiar way of making decisions as though he’s forgotten that he has one of the best quarterbacks of all-time on his team.

The Falcons’ extended collapse in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Super Bowl definitely falls into this category.

Sharing the blame for Sunday's fourth quarter collapse in the Super Bowl were the quarterback (left) and offensive coordinator (right), who both made puzzling decisions along the way.

While there are several individual calls that stand out as head scratchers, the sum total of Atlanta’s strategic decisions are just shockingly inept. A 3rd and 1 pass play when everyone expects you to run? Hey, Joe Flacco did it in Superbowl 47, Anquan Boldin caught it for a first down, and in hindsight that was one of the plays that sealed up a title. So sure, I can grant some leeway to Kyle Shanahan for putting the ball in the hands of the league MVP on 3rd and 1 with a 28-12 lead.

But to come back and do that again, multiple times, and essentially give away the game as a result? How does that even happen?

That’s the question that intrigues me the most in these situations: How does this kind of thing happen? How does an offensive coordinator talk himself into that many counter-intuitive calls in such a relatively short span of time, even as they continue to fail?

How does a head coach not overrule him on a strategic level? Dan Quinn could have easily told Shanahan to run the ball and set up a reasonable field goal chance that would have given them a two possession lead inside of 4 minutes to go. How does Quinn just let that debacle happen? How does no one on the coaching staff think to tell Matt Ryan to run the frickin’ play clock down to 0:01 before he has the ball snapped?!?!?

NFL coaching is just incredibly, bizarrely weird in this fashion, because so many of the league’s best coaches make blunders like this.

And lots of them, like Reid and McCarthy, have chronic failings that are never corrected, and sometimes it seems no one is even trying to fix them.

For all of the talk we hear about the legitimately insane amount of hours NFL head coaches work in a week, you’d think some enterprising front office type might wonder if his coach wasn’t past the point of diminishing returns when he goes to pop in yet another reel of game film or practice footage, and couldn’t maybe getting ahead of the curve by studying clock management issues or devising some kind of exercise to practice making strategic/tactical decisions in particular game situations.

In the razor-thin-by-design margins of the NFL these are often the most important contribution head coaches make to wins and losses, and yet by nearly every account the guys wearing the headsets aren’t practicing for this job at all.

This is a big part of the reason that Bill Belichick and the Patriots have just been ahead ahead of everyone else and so consistently good for so long. Yes, having Brady helps a lot, but Aaron Rodgers at his peak hasn’t had Patriot-level success, either in the regular season or the playoffs. That’s in large part because he’s been saddled with a head coach who nearly single-handedly blew a conference championship game with decisions like twice kicking field goals from the one-inch line and then taking the ball out of his star quarterback’s hand in favor of calling a pre-determined and completely arbitrary number of second half running plays.

Belichick doesn’t make these mistakes. Not only can he adapt his strategy to the opponent and his own personnel with amazing flexibility, he gets the percentage calls right time after time after time.

The decisions might not work every single time, but as much as anything Belichick is a walking testament to the fact that if you go with the 55% chance and ignore “your gut” every time, over the long haul you really are going to come out the winner more often than not. And, incidentally, this is why the one coach who has consistently been able to give Belichick and the Patriots a real challenge is…John Harbaugh.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2016-17 season.


terps face gritty penn state team tonight

Maryland had better not walk into the Bryce Joran Center in University Park, Pennsylvania tonight thinking that a win against Penn State is inevitable, or they may go home to College Park riding a two game losing streak.

I know the Nittany Lions have lost 5 of their last 6, including a home lose to lowly Rutgers, but they boast the best shooting percentage player in the Big 10 (Mike Watkins, 58.5%) and two of the top seven payers in 3 point shots made (Shep Garner, Payton Banks).

The Terps had better take this Penn State team seriously.

Can Maryland's two freshman, Kevin Huerter (left) and Justin Jackson (right), bounce back with big games tonight against Penn State?

The fact that Garner, Banks, and Wallace have achieved such lofty positions statistically is fairly ironic considering that Penn State is one of the poorest shooting teams in the conference.

Only Rutgers, at 37%, misses more frequently than the Nittany Lions, who make only 40% of their attempts.

Garner and Banks take a bunch of threes in order to average their 2.4 made threes, each, per game. Banks hits 39% and Garner makes 37%. Both of those numbers are decent, but it’s not the type of proficiency that the Terps defended in the Purdue game.

What makes this match-up with the Nittany Lions interesting is that like Maryland, Penn State is very guard oriented. Starting a three guard lineup of Garner, Tony Carr, and Josh Reaves, I expect Penn State to allow their athletic trio of backcourt players to pressure their Maryland counterparts at the guard position.

It’s pretty much what happened in their game last year when Maryland squeezed out a come from behind victory, 70-64, behind 39 points from Diamond Stone. In that game the Terp guards hit only 3 of 25 shots. Stone also had 8 offensive rebounds. Melo Trimble was 3-of-15 from the field.

Much of the Penn State lineup has changed since that game in December of 2015, as has much of Maryland’s, but one constant remains. Penn State still has trouble defending the interior.

Lamar Stevens (6’7” 218) and Julian Moore (6’10” and a generous 235) are better than last year’s front court duo, but they lack the physical presence to be much of a defensive force. If Maryland chooses to emphasize their interior game with Damonte Dodd, Justin Jackson, or especially Michal Cekovsky, then I expect foul trouble for Penn State and points in the paint for Maryland.

Penn State is near the bottom in a whole host of Big 10 statistics, but they have managed to ring up four conference wins against seven losses. Their victims include Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Rutgers. Of their seven losses, two were by three points, one was by two points, and one loss was in triple overtime. Penn State plays hard, get steals, but have too many breakdowns defensively and usually don’t shoot well.

Maryland has struggled with Penn State since joining the Big 10. The Terps have won all three matchups, but none by more than 6 points. Last year in College Park, Penn State held the Terps to 23 first half points before succumbing to Diamond Stone’s freshman record performance.

I can see this game being a tight but sloppy, grind it out affair. The Nittany Lions will play hard and tough basketball. The PSU fans, known as The Legion of Blue, will help their team stay energized for a while, but it won’t be enough.

If Turgeon can motivate this team to bounce back from their disappointment just a few days ago against Purdue, I see Maryland’s big men combining for 20 points and Kevin Huerter taking advantage of a size difference to help propel Maryland to a two point win, 68-66. It won’t be easy, but that could describe most of the Maryland victories thus far in 2016-2017.

Royal Farms banner ad

caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- we need eight more hockey fans to join us!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

We need eight (8) more people to join us on this trip. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

The per-person price is going to be in the $165-$175 range, which gets you an upper level seat, a relaxing ride to/from DC in a luxury motor coach, all the DuClaw beer you can handle, some great food from our friends at Palmisano's of Baldwin and a Caps trivia contest with a $50 cash prize!

If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Monday
February 6
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 6
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


tom brady settles that argument
once and for all


We now need to come up with another discussion topic besides "Who is the greatest quarterback in NFL history?"

That question was answered last night in Houston.

Oh, the Atlanta Falcons helped us reach that answer, sure, and we'll highlight some of those ways shortly, but when they turned off the lights at NRG Stadium early Monday morning, Tom Brady was the king of the football quarterbacks.

That's probably not a popular theory anywhere other than the Boston area and in his hometown of San Mateo, California, but the truth hurts sometimes.

Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

Tom Brady threw for 466 yards and was named the Super Bowl MVP on Sunday night in Houston after engineering a 28-9 fourth quarter comeback against the Atlanta Falcons.

Some day, maybe, a new kid will come along and do it better. But no one will likely do what Brady managed to do last night in engineering a 4th quarter comeback for the ages, as the Patriots won Super Bowl LI, 34-28 in overtime over a Falcons team that completely came apart in the game's final ten minutes.

I already thought Brady was the best ever before last night, so I'm not here shouting "I'm convinced now!", but even I didn't think it was in the cards for Brady when New England trailed 28-9 heading into the 4th quarter.

But then, sports happened.

Atlanta, with no pedigree for this sort of thing, showed why big game experience is vital, as they did just about everything a team could do who was unintentionally trying give away the game.

And New England, now a 5-time champion, knew how important it was to keep the golden rule of sports in mind -- "It's never over until the final whistle blows."

Oh, and it helps to have the greatest quarterback ever on your side, too.

It also helps that the other team didn't know what to do to close out the game.

The Falcons were up 28-9 and merely needed to play smart in the final ten minutes. They couldn't do it.

After a New England field goal cut their lead to 28-12 with 9:44 left in the game, Atlanta took the field for the series that would seal their first ever title.

Or not.

Matt Ryan routinely came to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock. Do that four times and there's one extra minute you're giving the Patriots at the end of the game.

No one on the FOX broadcast brought it up, but Ryan's inability to manage the clock in the last half of the fourth quarter gave Brady and Company far more time than they might have otherwise had.

Up 28-12, on 3rd and 1 from their own 36, the Falcons inexplicably tried to throw the ball rather than simply handing it off to Devonta Freeman, who chewed up New England for 6.8 yards per-carry on 11 rushing attempts. Dont'a Hightower knocked the ball out of Matt Ryan's right arm and New England pounced on it, setting up a touchdown and successful two-point conversion to trim Atlanta's lead to 28-20 with 5:56 remaining in the game.

Because sports is cruel to those who don't win, Atlanta would have yet another opportunity to sew up the championship. And, again, they would conspire against themselves.

Moving quickly down the field thanks to the all-world efforts of Freeman and wide receiver Julio Jones, the Falcons had the ball at New England's 22-yard line with 4:40 remaining. Just a couple of runs, some time off the clock, a field goal, and the Lombardi Trophy was heading to Atlanta.

But that didn't happen.

A Freeman run on 1st and 10 from the 22 was stopped, then Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan lost his mind. Instead of just running twice more to keep the clock moving (or forcing New England to use their timeouts, which they did), Shanahan had the Falcons throwing the ball. A sack, a penalty on a completed pass, and an incomplete pass took Atlanta out of field goal range and the ensuing punt gave the Patriots one final drive with 3:38 remaining.

And that's when Brady and Company took over and that, history will show, was when the argument was settled.

Brady went from trailing 28-20 in the Super Bowl to the greatest quarterback in football history with two amazing drives, one to tie the game -- along with the two point conversion -- and then one to win it, as James White dove in to the end zone for the game-winning score after Brady drove New England right down the field on the first possession of overtime.

Oh, and somewhere in there was one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history, as Julian Edelman caught a pass on the game-tying drive that defied all logic, somehow grabbing a ball just an inch from the ground and corraling it under his body before it touched the ground to give Brady and Company new life inside Atlanta territory.

By the time New England got down to the goal-line trailing 28-20, it was obviously inevitable. With his ailing mother watching from the stands for only the second time in 18 months, Tom Brady was destined to pull off the comeback of all comebacks.

And, somehow, he did.

Bill Belichick gets a lot of credit, too, but as he likes to do in all of his post-game interviews, Belichick gave the credit to the guys on the field.

"How'd you pull this one off, Coach?" FOX broadcaster Terry Bradshaw asked on the stage afterwards.

"We have great players," Belichick replied. "We have a bunch of great players who never stopped fighting."

Great players, yes. And the greatest quarterback of all time.

Signed, sealed and delivered on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

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gaga, commercials and atlanta's owner


As always when it comes to the Super Bowl, there are lots of other things on the menu besides just a football game.

Sunday night's 51st Super Bowl offered plenty of discussion points that didn't center on Tom Brady's greatness.

Let's start with the in-game TV commercials, which now cost $5 million per-30 seconds. A lot of companies buy spots that are one minute or even 90 seconds in length, forking over a cool $15 million to peddle their product to you at a time when you might actually be at the refrigerator getting another beer or soft drink.

Here's the overall summary of this year's crop of commercials: They weren't very good.

There was the warm story about a kid from Germany who came over to the U.S. to start the Anheuser-Busch beer company. Cam Newton made you realize a Buick really WAS a Buick. And Honda put together a nice commercial using high school yearbook photos of various sports and entertainment celebrities.

I seem to remember those, but not many others. Most of the commercials I saw ended with me saying, "I don't get it" or, "Should have spent your $5 million on your employees, instead."

Like everything associated with the Super Bowl, the commercials rarely live up to the hype. They sure didn't this year.

Stefani Germanotta, known musically as "Lady Gaga", was the featured performer at Super Bowl LI, starting her performance on the roof of the stadium.

Speaking of living up to the hype, Lady Gaga was the halftime performer on Sunday evening and she had a lot of work to do to pick up her end of the bargain during her 13-minute routine.

And she nailed it.

I'm not a Lady Gaga fan at all. I didn't know any of her work prior to last night and don't know that I ever actually heard her before she appeared on the rooftop of the stadium to kick off her performance.

But when her opening moments included reciting part of the Pledge of Allegiance and she said the words "Under God, indivisible..." I was ready to give her an A+ for the night and she hadn't hit a note of singing yet.

Everyone's afraid of the Pledge of Allegiance these days and, for sure, everyone's afraid to say "Under God" for fear it might offend. That she stood up there and said those words in front of 110 million or more TV viewers earned her a gold star from me.

Oh, and one step better: She didn't stop the performance for 45 seconds to pontificate about her favorite cause, chastise a political party or otherwise cause a stir with commentary about a controversial topic. Lady Gaga took the novel approach. She just did what she was supposed to do. She entertained.

I'm not running out to buy a Lady Gaga CD today or anything, but good on her for keeping it real and staying on topic.

When he wakes up this morning, Falcons owner Arthur Blank will probably look back at the last ten minutes of the game and say to himself, "Did that really happen?"

Yes, Mr. Blank, it did. And you, unfortunately, had a front row seat for your team's collapse.

Why, why, why would the owner of the team go down to the sideline with ten minutes left in the Super Bowl?

I get it. He's the owner, he can do what he wants. But what would compel him to go down there with his team ahead 28-12, yet still needing to finish off the game before any celebrating could occur?

Blank and his wife made their way from the club level of NRG Stadium to the sideline and FOX cameras quickly picked up on it.

I understand he's the owner and all, but what possible good could come from Blank being on the sideline at that point in the game?

It's not like he needs the face time on TV. Everyone watching the game knows he's the owner of the Falcons and the guy who started Home Depot. What possible reason -- other than just wanting to be part of the big moment -- could Blank have for leaving the suite and going down to the field?

Did he want to be part of the celebration? Fair enough. You're the owner, remember, they hold elevators for you. If your team is up with 30 seconds to go, make your way down to field level. That's fine.

But heading down there with ten minutes left to enjoy the moment that, as we saw, never actually comes around? Bad form...

Owners are a necessity in sports. We all know that. But sometimes -- for as smart and wealthy as they are -- they just don't get it.

Hopefully other owners around the league saw that horrifying experience and will remember not to make the same mistake next time around. Stay. Off. The. Sidelines.

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oh, and somehow, the patriots
covered the spread


If you tore up your New England Patriots wagering tickets midway through the third quarter last night, you have a great story to tell your grandkids someday.

In what can only be deemed the most unlikely of sports betting "covers" ever, New England went from losing the game to not only winning, but covering the 3-point spread by virtue of their 34-28 win over the Falcons.

Your host here was the benefactor of New England's late game prowess, and Atlanta's meltdown, as I went with New England (-3) in "Show Me The Money", to finish off a wildly successful playoff season where I went 9-2 against the spread for you.

The only two games I missed? I had the Dolphins covering against the Steelers in the Wild Card round and the Packers covering against the Falcons in the NFC title game. Other than that, I hit every post-season game against the spread.

Remember me fondly when you put down that deposit on your new summer home in the Hamptons, please. Even a nice bottle of 2004 Silver Oak (the good one from Napa, not the "B+" edition from Alexander Valley) would be a nice gesture on your part. I work for tips, you know.

Those of you who bet Atlanta (+3) last night -- I feel your pain. That one was sealed up, lock, stock and barrel. Right up until it wasn't sealed up.

Heartbreaking if you had Atlanta, unthinkably crazy if you had New England.

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caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- what a treat!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

A number of you reached out on Wednesday and expressed interest in the trip. I need a few more hockey enthuiasts to join us to make the trip a reality. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Eagles Nest banner
Sunday
February 5
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 5
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


that was one super sports saturday!


If tonight's Super Bowl matches the excitement of what we saw in the sports world on Saturday, we're in for a doozy of a game in Houston.

For the record, as I noted here on Thursday, I'm taking New England to win this evening's contest, 27-23.

Now, back to Saturday's fun.

I'll let Dale Williams handle the in-depth stuff on Maryland's loss to Purdue (below), but a few things stood out on Saturday in the 73-72 defeat.

Maryland was due to lose one of those kind of games, I suppose. They've been so good at clamping down on the opponent in the final minutes that eventually something had to give. As Roy McAvoy said in the movie Tin Cup, "Perfection is unattainable".

Sure, Roy was talking about the golf swing, not college basketball, but Maryland is far from a perfect team. And when their shooting hands went cold in the second half, it kept Purdue in the game long enough for the Boilermakers to pull off an improbable victory.

The other team tries, too, remember.

I haven't changed my tune on Maryland as it relates to their chances next month. Like a lot of teams in March Madness, Maryland's "run" will depend a lot on the match-ups they get come seeding and bracket time. The Terps have a chance to win more than two games in this year's tournament, I believe.

I'm still concerned a little about the fatigue factor given the roles played by the three freshman, but nothing about Saturday's Purdue loss changes my tune about Maryland moving forward.

Two other teams in town had big wins on Saturday.

The UMBC Retrievers continued to roll on, as Will Darley scored a career high 31 points in UMBC's 83-71 stifling of Maine up in Bangor, ME. The win puts the Retrievers at 16-7 overall and 7-3 in America East play.

I wrote about UMBC here at #DMD back in early January when they were just starting their conference campaign and praised their progress. I told you they'd have a chance to make some real noise in America East this year and, ten games in at least, I was right.

They now have four of their next five at home, including next Thursday's visit from Hartford and then the big showdown with conference leading Vermont (10-0 as of 2/5) next Sunday at 1 pm.

The Retrievers have four players who are consistently in the 12-15 point range, including Darley, juniors Jairus Lyles and Rodney Elliott, and sophomore Joe Sherburne, the 3-point shooting specialist who has cooled off a bit over the last few weeks but still has the ability to pour in buckets from long range on any given night.

Vermont is awfully strong, and Stony Brook (8-2) is equally dangerous, as always, but UMBC seems to be getting better with each passing week. These two home games coming up are critical.

Quiet for most of the afternoon vs. William & Mary, Mike Morsell came alive in the game's final five minutes and hit the winning 3-pointer with seven seconds left on Saturday.

If the Towson Tigers wind up winning the CAA tournament in Charleston in early March and advance to the NCAA tournament, they might very well look back at yesterday's 82-80 win over William & Mary as the turning point of their season.

Towson trailed by 13 at the intermission and by 16 in the second half before staging a furious rally against the ice-cold-shooting Tribe, with Mike Morsell's 3-pointer late in the game sealing a wild victory before a crowd of 2,500 at SECU Arena.

The Tigers led 4-2 early in the contest, then trailed throughout until they eventually went ahead 77-75 with three minutes remaining in the game.

Towson (7-5 in CAA) got some huge minutes from two improbable sources; Zane Martin and Dennis Tunstall. While others were scoring points, Martin and Tunstall were doing great work on the defensive end, particularly on the Tribe's Daniel Dixon, who scorched the Tigers for 16 points in the first half, then tallied just seven points in the final twenty minutes.

Morsell had a quiet afternoon until inside of five minutes remaining, then rattled off seven of his eight points in rapid succession, including the game-winning three pointer from the left side with seven seconds left.

Dixon got a decent look at a potential game-winning three pointer from 23 feet out as time expired, but the ball bounced off the front of the rim and Towson was a winner.

Pat Skerry has an interesting team. They do not shoot the ball well at all, but what they lack in shooting touch they make up for in size, strength and the ability to wear down their opponents.

The smaller William & Mary squad learned all about Towson's strength on Saturday, particularly in the game's final ten minutes, as every trip down the court became a battle of wills. It got messy in the paint and the bigger, stronger Towson team wore down the visitors with punishing work under the basket.

Towson is nowhere near the most talented team in the CAA (Charleston and Wilmington are both 10-2 after wins on Saturday), but as the season marches on and they climb the conference ladder, their physical style might bode well come tournament time.

That was a good William & Mary team they beat on Saturday.

Another day, another win for the Washington Capitals, who nipped the Canadiens in Montreal on Saturday afternoon, 3-2.

Washington continues to lead the NHL in points with 76 and also leads the league in goal differential at +56.

It was a solid defensive effort that led the Caps to Saturday's win, as Braden Holtby was forced to stop just 20 shots on the afternoon. Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky and Nicklas Backstrom scored for the Caps, who have not lost a regulation game in Montreal since 2009. Washington is 12-0-2 in that 14-game span at Bell Centre.

The Capitals return home today for a 12 noon matinee contest with the L.A. Kings, who did God's work on Saturday by beating the Flyers in Philadelphia, 1-0.

And the Blast scored a huge home win last night before over 9,722 fans at the Royal Farms Arena, as Baltimore turned back the Milwaukee Wave, 5-2.

The game brought back memories of indoor soccer circa 1982, when the Blast would routinely draw sell-out crowds to the then-named Civic Center. At one point in the mid 1980's, the club recorded 56 consecutive sell-outs of 11,510.

Saturday's crowd saw the Blast improve to 10-5 on the season and remain in first place in the MASL's Eastern Conference. Milwaukee fell to 11-6 with the defeat, as they sit in 3rd place in the Central Conference.

Only Maryland's home loss to Purdue disrupted an otherwise stellar afternoon of local sports action.

It was quite an exciting Saturday in these parts.

And with the end of the football season coming later tonight, we can smell the fresh grass of spring training in the air.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


terps lose late lead, fall to purdue


It’s accurate to describe Maryland’s 73-72 defeat yesterday at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers in the XFINITY Center as a tough loss.

Anytime you lose the lead with 2.1 seconds remaining after leading almost the entire game, it’s tough.

But make no mistake about it, the Boilermakers were deserving winners.

In a game where Maryland led for 39-plus minutes, the team that shot it better and played smarter headed home with the victory.

That, of course, was Purdue.

A late missed shot from Melo Trimble set up Purdue's winning points as the Terps dropped a 73-72 decision to the Boilermakers on Saturday in College Park.

Both teams struggled from the field overall, but Purdue hit 9 of 22 triples (40%) while the Terps shot a disappointing 4-19 (21%).

Maryland had a 12 point lead at 52-40 with 13:45 remaining in the game after a “raise the roof” dunk by freshman Kevin Huerter. It was then that Maryland began taking bad shots and playing shoddy defense.

In a flash, Purdue made 3, three point shots and a two pointer, to cut the deficit to one point. The Terps answered by going into their “prevent offense”. This offensive strategy is the one where Melo Trimble dribbles until the shot clock is about to run down, runs into a defender while shooting, and then prays that he gets the call.

We've seen that from Trimble a lot in his three years at Maryland.

From the 13:45 mark of the game when they had that 12 point lead, until the clock reached 00:00, the Terps made only two field goals. Those made shots were a dunk and a two foot jumper, both by Michael Cekovsky.

I’ll repeat it because it’s almost unbelievable. Maryland made only two field goals, both by Cekovsky, in the last 13:45 of the game. And they made none at all in the last 7:38.

They deserved to lose when you take that kind of shooting into account, particularly against a good team like Purdue.

Maryland, in recent games, has shot the ball well enough to overcome their weaknesses. Against Purdue yesterday, they shot poorly and it cost them. As a team they were 4-19 from behind the three point line and only shot 40% from the floor.

Trimble and Anthony Cowan were a combined 0-7 from long range, but at least Cowan’s shots were of the in-and-out variety. Cowan was 2-10 overall while Trimble was 4-15. Melo also turned it over five times.

Yes, Trimble had 22 points to lead the Terps, but overall I thought Melo had a rough day. His turnovers late in the game were critical.

On the whole, the Maryland defense held up well against the bigger and better shooting Purdue team, but Purdue’s Big 10 Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan was certainly a tough task for anyone to handle.

Swanigan feasted on whatever Terp defender tried to guard him one on one. He had a game high 26 points and a game high 10 rebounds.

Maryland had some success defending him with double teams, but they attempted to play him straight up way too many times and paid the price for that failed strategy. Defensively, the Terp guards played hard and were effective.

The game was not even two minutes old and Maryland had already knocked down two three point shots. Justin Jackson hit the first and Huerter hit the second. Those two shots helped Maryland jump to an early 11-2 lead. Purdue fought back, and briefly took the lead at 29-28 before falling behind by two at the half, 36-34.

The second half started with Damonte Dodd and Trimble getting to the rim and converting layups. Huerter got hot and hit two three point shots (the last successful 3 pointers for Maryland) and a short jumper to help his team get that 52-40 lead before the bottom fell out for Maryland at the 13:45 mark.

In a game that was this close, there are many individual plays that could be called game changers. For me, three plays stand out.

The first was Caleb Swanigan’s three point shot with 1:31 left that cut a four point Terp lead, 70-66, down to one. On that play Dodd and Huerter failed to react to a pick and pop which left Swanigan open at the top of the key. That was one huge shot from Swanigan.

Trimble responded on the ensuing possession by going to the line after being fouled, and converting both shots. The lead was now three at 72-69. The second key play was about to happen.

Purdue’s offensive set was interrupted when their coach called time out. Shortly after inbounding the ball, Justin Jackson was called for an off-the-ball foul when he held a cutting Isaac Haas. It was a call that many times won’t be made, but it was a horrible move on Jackson’s part. Haas hit two foul shots and the Terp lead was again one point.

Maryland now had the ball with only 38 seconds remaining on the clock. That Trimble had the ball was no surprise, nor was it a surprise when he started to go to the basket. What was surprising was that he pulled up and shot the ball from just inside the foul line extended, and outside of the lane.

There were still 8 seconds left on the shot clock and 16 on the game clock. It was an ill-fated attempt from Trimble, who most times would work closer to the basket for a lay-up or a foul. But he took it, missed it, and set up the game winner for Purdue.

The final sequence was the dagger: Purdue brought the ball across half court and called time out. Six seconds remained. Purdue inbounded the ball to Carson Edwards who drove to his right while Haas attempted to seal off the lane. (By the way, Haas was in the lane for more than 3 seconds). Edwards drove all the way to the baseline where he was met by Damonte Dodd. Jackson was trailing. Edwards tried to get off a short jumper despite the likely block by Dodd.

Jackson swatted at the ball and clearly hit both of Edward’s arms. In person, at the XFINITY Center, it looked like a play deserving of a no-call at the end of a game. After getting home and looking at the replay, (15 times) it was an obvious call that had to be made. Edwards hit both free throws and Purdue had the lead, 73-72. Only 2.1 seconds remained.

Maryland opted for a desperation heave down court instead of a shorter pass, quick dribble drive, and long shot attempt. The pass sailed over Dodd’s head and easily landed into the arms of Purdue’s Haas. Instead of just standing there until the horn sounded, Haas decided to walk away, with the ball. The ref whistled him for a traveling violation and the Terps had hope, albeit slim hope.

After conferring and reviewing the replay, Maryland was awarded the ball under their own basket with .5 seconds on the clock. They ran a nice play, getting Huerter open for a three in the right corner, bue failed to get the shot off in time and it was off the mark regardless. Game over. Purdue wins.

This was supposed to be a game that answered some questions about the quality of this Maryland team. I’m not sure it did. Maryland failed to beat a top 25 team at home, but at times they looked like the better team. Perhaps a new question has come front and center.

Did Maryland (and Turgeon) learn anything about the effects of not running your offense when you have a lot of time left in a game and less than a 20 point lead?

Next up is Penn State at State College on Tuesday night. Tip off is 7 pm.

KELLY banner ad

caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- what a treat!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

A number of you reached out on Wednesday and expressed interest in the trip. I need a few more hockey enthuiasts to join us to make the trip a reality. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Eagles Nest banner
Saturday
February 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 4
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


what would make nfl exciting again in 2017?


During my weekly appearance on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday, my former radio co-host threw a deep-thinker-question my way based on his personal assessment that the 2016 NFL season was a "dud" from an excitement/entertainment standpoint.

"The NFL would be a lot more exciting in 2017 if (blank) would happen."

A few folks quickly chimed in via Twitter and social media, with responses like "the Patriots dropped out of the league", "every touchdown required a 2-point conversion attempt" and so on.

You get the idea, right?

Would Tim Tebow returning to the NFL and actually being an elite quarterback add excitement to the league?

You've been given the ability change the NFL for the better in 2017, with one wave of your magic wand. What's your answer to Clark's question?"

I didn't come up with a good answer on Friday, by the way. I honestly couldn't think of anything, right away, that seemed to be a suitable response.

I did figure it out later on in the day, though.

And now I have it.

It's a bit "pie-in-the-sky", as the sun has set on this kid's NFL career, but what would make the NFL more exciting again in 2017 is Tim Tebow returning to the league and suddenly "finding it" and turning into one of the league's star players.

Clark, by the way, believes one of the biggest reasons the NFL lost its luster in 2016 was due to the drop-off of the Carolina Panthers and the associated lack of coverage of Cam Newton.

My answer falls in line with that, except on the opposite end of the spectrum.

If Tebow could play in the NFL in 2017 and become a first-string quarterback who suddenly jumps from a ranking of "terrible" to "elite", we'd have ourselves a whole lot of excitement.

"Excitement", of course, is a word worth dissecting when it comes to sports, because it comes in different forms.

In my case involving Tebow, I think he'd make the 2017 season more exciting -- assuming his play was high quality -- because of his polarizing nature.

Most folks either love Tebow or are turned off by him.

I'm a Tim Tebow fan. I fall in the "love" camp, obviously.

I was a Tebow supporter because he stood up for what he believed in at a time in his life when most people his age didn't have the conviction of faith that Tebow had circa 2008.

And he served as a terrific role model for young men and women everywhere, athletically inclined or not. I once said on my former radio show that I'd like nothing more than my own son (and now, daughter, too) to grow up like Tebow. If he did, all would be well in my world.

Tebow was a terrific college quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and could have easily won it in 2008 or 2009 had the powers-at-be not been afraid of the backlash of giving the trophy twice to the same player -- and a Christian, at that. (Archie Griffin is the only player with two of them).

Tim Tebow was a champion at the University of Florida.

He was nothing more than an average NFL quarterback. Actually, he probably wasn't even "average", truth be told.

And that's a shame, because Tebow would have brought excitement along had he been a top-flight quarterback in the NFL.

As a Christian who openly expresses his faith, Tebow is an extremely polarizing figure in a country that has dramatically changed its view on religion over the last thirty years.

With the nation leaning in the direction of fearing God and discounting the Bible, Tebow took the exact opposite approach. He professed his faith publicly and utilized his position as a popular public figure to encourage others to join with him as a Christian.

Oh, and he did all of that while kicking ass and taking names on the football field at the University of Florida.

It wasn't an easy four years for Tebow in terms of his position in the spotlight, but he put himself in there with his religious convictions front and center for all to judge. And judge they did.

Tebow was an equally polarizing figure during his brief NFL career, mainly because his skill-set just didn't match up with the quarterback position. He had a smidgen of success and even pioneered the Broncos to an overtime playoff win over the Steelers, but it was over before it started, really.

Because people these days inherently would just rather see people fail than succeed, I suppose Tebow had more detractors than supporters during his NFL days.

Most of that, I suppose, is connected to Tebow's faith and his desire to promote Christianity.

I get it.

I get it because I'm on the other side of the fence with him. As a college quarterback, he was "just another guy" to me. But as a college quarterback who was willing to promote the Bible and his belief in the work of Jesus, he won me over.

And I couldn't care less about the University of Florida football now. I have zero connection to that program.

But when Tebow was there, I wanted Florida to be successful.

I understand how polarizing he's been and if, by some fluke of nature, he returned to the NFL in 2017 and suddenly became Aaron Rodgers instead of Kyle Boller (and, let's be honest, Boller had a FAR better career than Tebow...and that tells you a lot), I think the league would bubble with excitement.

It might not always be "good" excitement, mind you. The Tebow haters would bolt to the surface and publicly yearn for his failure, but they'd be watching every Sunday, that's for certain.

The Tebow faithful, no pun intended, would finally have something to crow about and they, too, would be front-and-center every Sunday promoting the work of their favorite quarterback.

I'd love to see Tim Tebow become a prominent player in the league because I respect what he stands for and what he believes in. The NFL is filled with bad characters. One star player talking about Jesus and the Bible isn't going to do anyone any harm.

Alas, I know it's not going to happen. It was just a discussion point on a Friday radio show. I only wish I would have thought of the answer right away.

Instead, we wound up talking about how boring it is to have the Patriots beat everyone like a drum every season.

We need more Tim Tebow and less Tom Brady.

There, maybe that's something we can all agree on in 2017.

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dale williams aims
the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


underdog terps hope to pull off home upset over purdue today


Just how good is this Maryland basketball team?

The answer to that question may become a little more clear after the conclusion of today’s noon contest featuring the 17th ranked Terrapins and the 23rd (or 24th) ranked Boilermakers of Purdue.

It’s easy to look at Maryland’s record and their continued success on the road and come to the conclusion that this team possesses the talent and intangibles to make a good run come March. But are they really that good?

The skeptics point out that the Terps have yet to beat a Top 25 team while their fans point out the obvious: “You can only play the teams on your schedule”.

If there's one player from Maryland today who might be too much for Purdue to handle, it's freshman guard Anthony Cowan, who should be able to cause problems with his speed and ball handling abilities.

Try telling that to the selection committee who makes the decisions regarding the NCAA football playoff. Strength of schedule matters.

Short term investment analysts (gamblers) utilize past performance when assessing a team’s chances of covering based on prior performance, not just wins and losses.

Vegas must have looked at strength of schedule when they decided to make Maryland (20-2, 8-1) a three point underdog at home today against Purdue (18-5, 7-3). So the questions remains, just how good are Turgeon’s Terps and can they beat Purdue today?

Offensively, Purdue has a lot more than just their superstar forward Caleb Swanigan. Swanigan is a 6’9” 250 pound beast who leads the team in scoring with 18.8 ppg. His power inside makes him tough to defend when he gets the ball close to the basket and his 50% shooting from the three point line requires a defender to play him tight throughout the entire offensive set.

But Swanigan is not the only Purdue player who is effective from long range.

As a team, the Boilermakers boast the second best three-point shooting percentage in the entire country. They have 5 players in their regular rotation that shoot over 40% from long range In addition to Swanigan, Vince Edwards hits 46% of his three point tries, Dakota Mathis makes almost 50% Ryan Cline hits 44% and P.J Thompson connects on 42%.

With Swanigan and the enormous Isaac Haas (7’2” 290) working inside and hitting 55% and 60% from the floor respectively, it forces defenses to choose between the lesser of two evils. Effectively defending the post against either Swanigan or Haas usually requires a double team that leaves the defense vulnerable on the perimeter. But the choice for Maryland may be simple to make.

Swanigan and Hass, together, account for six of the Boilermakers 13 turnovers per game. Swanigan especially is prone to throwing the ball away when pressured inside. In their game last week, Nebraska doubled down almost every time Purdue got the ball to the low blocks and managed to win the game while holding Swanigan to 5-of-15 shooting.

Maryland’s speed and their ability to pressure the ball will be huge if they expect to hang with a Purdue squad that is at, or near, the top in most statistical categories in the Big 10.

Easier looks can be had if Maryland can use their speed to push the tempo beating Purdue down court.

Rebounding well enough to get out on the break might be achievable for the Terps considering one of the few areas where Purdue does not excel is offensive rebounding.

Purdue’s turnover margin is second worst in the conference, making me believe that ball pressure can be successful in forcing turnovers against Purdue. Maryland has Melo Trimble, Jaylen Brantley and Anthony Cowan to provide pressure for long stretches.

Recently, the Terps have overcome deficiencies in certain areas of their game by outshooting their opponents. They can’t count on outshooting Purdue today and must turn to other areas to gain any advantage.

Look for Maryland to double down low, pressure the ball and run when they can. Purdue will work from inside out, looking to shoot from the behind the three point line whenever space allows. If either team gets a cold hand shooting, it could be too much to overcome.

In a game that should produce a bunch of scoring, many players should stuff the stat sheet. For the Terps, one player that hasn’t hit a three point shot in three games might come up big today.

Anthony Cowan’s speed should be a problem for Purdue. He’ll exceed his 10 ppg average and propel the Terps to an 82-81 victory that begins to answer the question about how good they really are.

KELLY banner ad

caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- what a treat!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

A number of you reached out on Wednesday and expressed interest in the trip. I need a few more hockey enthuiasts to join us to make the trip a reality. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Hughes Mechanical
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Friday
February 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 3
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and your super bowl winner is...


I've only watched a very small amount of Super Bowl 51 coverage this week.

I saw something about Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan losing or misplacing his playbook during a press conference.

I assumed Bill Belichick was the mastermind behind that incident, only to find out some goof in the media picked up the wrong backpack and walked out of the building with Shanahan's playbook.

There was a story about "health issues" within Tom Brady's family, as his dad didn't see one game in person this past season and his mom was only able to attend one. Brady seemed genuinely choked up when talking about it earlier this week. I hope they're healthy enough to travel to Houston for the Super Bowl and watch their son play in person.

But, that's about it. I've had a swamped personal schedule this week and haven't had much time to read up on what's been going on down at Houston. I know this: Both teams will be ready to play come Sunday night.

Arguably the most successful player-coach duo in NFL history, these two are appearing in their 7th Super Bowl together this Sunday night in Houston.

Who wins?

Well, let's take a look at that.

The odds-makers aren't really sure, as they made New England a 3-point favorite at the outset and the line has stayed that way ever since. Making the Patriots a 3-point favorite is natural. If you made them an underdog, most of the money would come in on them, and, remember, a 2-point underdog doesn't even have to win, they just have to cover.

Anything above, say, four or five points (favoring New England) would have resulted in big money being thrown at Atlanta.

The fact that the line hasn't moved from its initial setting of three points tells me Vegas got it just right.

But who is actually going to win the game?

Right -- let's get to it.

I don't tend to look too much at what went on during the regular season when it comes to Super Bowl prognosticating. The Falcons were 11-5 on the year, New England cruised to a 14-2 mark. Atlanta lost a couple of stinkers, including a late season defeat at Philadelphia. The Patriots only real blemish -- with Tom Brady at QB -- was a home loss to Seattle.

All in all, I'd rank the two teams fairly even in terms of regular season performance. Atlanta's offense averaged 33.75 points per-game, tops in the NFL. New England's defense surrendered just 250 points all season, the lowest total in the league.

So, the highest scoring offense goes up against the defense that allowed the least amount of points.

That should make for a great game on Sunday.

Oddly enough, though, it's Atlanta's defense that has been in the spotlight in their two post-season games.

New England didn't have to break a sweat in winning their two playoff games, easily disposing of Houston and Pittsburgh.

Atlanta, though, stymied Seattle and Green Bay en-route to Houston, and completely suffocated Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC title game.

Someone's defense will need to rise to the occasion on Sunday in the Super Bowl.

I think it will be New England who does the rising.

Yes, I'm taking the Patriots to win the game, and I'm going with defense as the theme on Sunday night.

I do not think this one turns into a shootout, for a couple of reasons.

First, my guess is both teams try and establish a running game early on, which generally shortens the game because the clock keeps running between plays (assuming the runner doesn't step out of bounds).

The more running plays, the shorter the game. The shorter the game, the less offensive possessions, overall.

That's just a small thing along the way, but one of the reasons why I don't see the game being high-scoring is because I feel like both teams want to establish superiority on the ground so they can then mix in the pass without giving it away as a foregone conclusion.

Neither coach wants to turn the ball over. That's a given. There are far more interceptions than fumbles in the NFL. Giving the other team the ball is a recipe for losing.

While I thought Atlanta would beat Green Bay and the NFC title game wouldn't be too big for Matt Ryan, I feel like this, his first trip to the Super Bowl, against the Patriots, will be a hurdle he can't overcome.

Sure, Eli Manning beat the Patriots in his first Super Bowl effort. It can happen. But if you're making me bet one way or the other, I'm certainly not betting AGAINST Bill Belichick when it comes to a Belichick vs. Ryan encounter.

I'm doing what virtually everyone else is doing who is picking the Patriots to win the game. I'm betting on Brady and Belichick. Period.

I know there's much more to it than that, and 52 other players besides Brady have a hand in who wins and loses, but Brady is the Commander and he's the one that guides the ship. If he got the bird flu on Saturday night and couldn't play on Sunday, Atlanta would immediately become a 7-point favorite.

It's Brady and Belichick vs. the Falcons.

I'm going with the two guys who have been kicking ass and chewing bubblegum for 17 years now.

And, honestly, I don't really care who wins the game, which is probably why I'm not overly excited about watching it on Sunday night. I'll be tuned in, of course, but I'll be OK with it if New England wins and I'll be perfectly fine with an Atlanta victory.

But, if I had an extra hundred bucks lying around burning a hole in my pocket, I'd be putting it on New England (-3), as I see a lower scoring game than most people assume we'll get.

I'm taking the Patriots to win Super Bowl 51, 27-23.

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back spasms end tiger's trip to dubai


I got up at 3:30 on Friday morning for nothing, it turns out.

Tiger Woods withdrew from the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic after suffering from back spasms on Thursday night. Woods shot an opening round 77 and was twelve shots behind leader Sergio Garcia after 18 holes of the European Tour event.

Woods arrived at the Dubai course on Friday morning and received treatment for the spasms, according to his agent, but was unable to make a full rotation of his body.

Tiger is scheduled to play next week's PGA Tour event at Riveria CC in Los Angeles and the following week's Honda Classic in Florida.

"He's still on schedule to play there," Woods' agent confirmed. "He just needs to get the back spasms calmed down, obviously."

Woods contends the back spasms are in no way related to the two surgeries he underwent in 2015-2016, but it's hard to not connect the two issues if you're watching from the outside and wondering why Tiger keeps having back problems.

Skeptics will point to Tiger's opening round of 77 and contend he just didn't want to tee it up in the second round, but there's not much logic behind that. Woods shot 76 last week at Torrey Pines and was well outside of the projected cut line, but came back on Friday for round two and posted 72.

There's also not much logic behind the "Tiger quit" theory when you realize -- and understand -- what he needs now, more than anything, are competitive golf rounds. The worst thing for Woods is NOT playing. If he has any hope of ever returning to top form and competing for major championships, Woods has to play more golf, not less.

Anyone who has tried to play golf with a back injury or ailment can understand Woods' dilemma. It's virtually impossible to do, or, at the very least, virtually impossible to do well.

You either take Tiger at his word that he has back spasms and can't play -- or you don't take him at his word.

It comes down to that, for those looking to judge him for the Friday morning withdrawal.

For the last 3-4 years, I've said Woods will never be able to return to his glory -- on the golf course -- unless he gets 100% healthy.

While others talked about his personal life breaking down, his violent golf swing, his numerous golf instructors, etc., I stuck with one thing that I always felt was Tiger's "make or break" issue: his health.

If he can't get healthy again, he'll never be able to play good golf.

And by "healthy again", I'm not talking about one round or one tournament, even. I'm talking about getting healthy and being able to play a competitive "season" on the PGA Tour.

If Tiger's back, or health in general, won't allow for him to compete regularly over a 6-8 month period, his career is over.

I realize he's downplaying, initially at least, the back spasms that forced him to withdraw from Dubai, but where there's smoke, there's fire. If Tiger's back won't cooperate, his game will never return.

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this weekend in
english soccer


Contributed by #DMD's English Premier League Reporter
MATTHEW CARROLL

Matchday 24 of the English Premier League will waste little time getting started when a massive London Derby bright and early Saturday morning kicks off the weekend action with the outcome likely to determine the top of the table, while at the bottom relegation rivals face off with the result similarly likely to determine who will drop down to the Championship by seasons end. Set the alarm for bright and early to catch all of the action live on the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 4 (all times eastern)

7:30am – Arsenal @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in danger of not having his contract renewed at the end of the 2016-2017 campaign if he can't right the ship at Arsenal. A 2-1 home loss to Watford last week surely didn't help his cause.

Despite splitting the points in their showdown with Liverpool at Anfield, Chelsea were still able to get one hand on the league trophy when second place Tottenham failed to make up ground after a 0-0 draw with Sunderland and third place Arsenal followed suit in a 2-1 loss at home against Watford, which confirmed the almost annual capitulation of the Gunners under Arsene Wenger following the busy Christmas period and is yet another example of why we continue to believe the Frenchmen’s successful but maddeningly frustrating tenure will come to an end when his contract expires at seasons end.

All hope may not be lost for Arsenal and the rest of the league though, as the Gunners have been one of the few teams who have got the better of Chelsea this year, winning for only the second time in their last eleven league meetings (L7 D3) in the reverse fixture earlier this season. It was after that game however that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte switched to his preferred back three with the Blues proceeding to win their next thirteen league games and fifteen of their last seventeen to take command of the table and on the verge of their second title in the last three years with a result at the weekend.

10am – Sunderland @ Crystal Palace – Selhurst Park, CNBC

While Chelsea could for all intents and purposes lock up the title earlier in the day, at the other end of the table Crystal Palace snapped a four game losing streak and gave manager Sam Allardyce his first win since taking over the relegation threatened Eagles just before Christmas with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth to move the London club two points from safety ahead of their massive relegation battle against Big Sam’s former side Sunderland at Selhurst Park, with the Black Cats still searching for their first win since the New Year but content with earning a point in 0-0 draw against Tottenham.

It was only last year that Big Sam worked his magic to against all odds keep Sunderland in the top flight and his record perfect avoiding relegation in his four previous managerial stops. The Black Cats looked well on their way to their first win of the season and for the second time in their last three meetings with Crystal Palace (D1) in the reverse fixture back in September until three unanswered goals gave all the points to Palace, with a similar result at the weekend more than likely sealing the fate of the currently five points from safety Black Cats and their long overdue drop down to the Championship.

Sunday, February 5 (all times eastern)

8:30am – Swansea City @ Manchester City – Etihad Stadium, NBC Sports Network

One side sure to have a close eye on the result the day before from Selhurst Park is Swansea City who, after winning just one of their previous six league games and seeing their second manager of the season off, followed up their historic away win at Anfield the previous weekend with a 2-1 victory over Southampton to make it three wins from four (L1) since Paul Clement succeeded Bob Bradley after the New Year to go two points clear of the drop zone. They will look to continue their run of form when they kick off the Sunday slate with a daunting road trip to the Etihad Stadium and Manchester City.

City were back to their old ways against West Ham in the mid-week, absolutely steam rolling the overmatched Hammers in a 4-0 thrashing that has now pulled them level on points with Liverpool in fourth place and one back of both Tottenham and Arsenal, who they will hope to eclipse early Sunday having won eight of the last ten meetings with Swansea City across all competitions (D2), coming away empty handed in only one of their eleven all time Premier League meetings and winning all five matches at the Etihad Stadium while outscoring the visitors 12-2.

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caps hockey, duclaw beer, beating up the flyers -- what a treat!

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

A number of you reached out on Wednesday and expressed interest in the trip. I need a few more hockey enthuiasts to join us to make the trip a reality. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Thursday
February 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 2
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tiger stumbles to opening round 77


I should get some kind of credit on my cable bill for watching Tiger shoot 77 at 2 am in the morning.

What would they file it under, "Golf crazy nut"?

Woods opened play at the Dubai Desert Classic on Thursday with a 5-over par 77, leaving him a whopping 12 shots behind Sergio Garcia. You remember Garcia -- he was one of the guys Tiger used to beat with one arm tied behind his back about a decade ago.

That was then. This is now.

Woods might not make the "A Team" at Eagle's Nest these days.

Tiger's opening round 77 in Dubai puts him in jeopardy of missing a second straight cut.

OK, all kidding aside, Tiger's actual tee-to-green play wasn't that poor in the opening round at Dubai.

He did manage to hit 10 of 14 fairways, a monumental achievement for a guy who found the short grass just 4 times in 14 tries last Thursday in the opening round of the event at Torrey Pines.

Woods hit 11 of 18 greens on Thursday, which, too, isn't an awful number by any means.

But the putting -- holy cow, the putting.

The 14-time major champion took 33 putts in his round of 77, including a pair of 3-putt bogies and several missed chances from within ten feet. He didn't make one birdie in the round.

I wrote a piece a couple of years back here at #DMD about Tiger and his putting and the possibility that he had, in fact, lost his putting "nerve".

I first noticed it at the 2015 Masters, where Woods finished the event at 5-under par after stumbling to a final round 73. He missed short putts at #2, #3 and #4 that derailed his efforts for a 5th green jacket, and those slick Augusta greens he once owned like no one else of his generation were suddenly turning the tables on him.

Tom Kite once said, when asked about using the "claw" grip and trying alternative putters and putting methods: "Well, it's my belief you only have "X amount" of putts in your body. Once you've used them all up, you have to start fresh with some other grip or some other approach and try and get a new "X amount" again.

Sort of like replenishing the money on your toll pass, I guess.

Woods, perhaps, has used up his "X amount" of putts.

If you go back to last week at Torrey Pines, Woods actually played rather well on Friday in the second round on Torrey's North Course. He hit 10 of 14 fairways, outplayed both Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, but couldn't make a putt that mattered.

It's a small sample size, for sure, but in his first three rounds of 2017, he hasn't actually hit the ball all that poorly (overall) but his putting has been an obvious issue.

Woods also looked like an old guy with a bad back on Thursday at the Dubai event. As they showed him warming up, Tiger stretched and gingerly hit a few short wedges before working his way to a full swing.

Even on the course, Tiger's walk looked tentative and he, on more than one occasion, did some light stretching while waiting for his playing competitors to hit their shot.

But, afterwards, Woods denied there were any back issues or soreness.

"No, I wasn't in pain at all," he said. "I was just trying to hit shots and I wasn't doing a very good job. At the end I finally hit some good ones but the damage had already been done. On top of that, I could have hung in there, could have shot something near even par if I would have made some putts, but I made nothing."

"Made nothing" is exactly right.

Anyone who has ever played golf at a reasonably high level knows how fickle putting can be. There are days you hit great putts that just don't go in. They burn the edge, stop one turn short of going in, or hit the lip and spin out.

Woods, in his last two rounds, has simply not putted very well. He's not burning edges or barely missing. He's simply not hitting the putt well. There's a big difference in those two profiles.

All along, given his 17-month recovery from two back surgeries, most of us assumed Tiger's eventual downfall would be his inability to compete from a health standpoint.

His golf swing, at least in the three rounds I've seen from him in the last seven days, doesn't look all that unnatural or out-of-sync.

But the putting -- it's just not good. Not good at all.

And I'll stick with what I wrote nearly two years ago. I think Tiger's putting nerve is shot.

As someone who has tried 23 different putting grips and has putted left handed and right handed ON THE SAME HOLE a few years ago in the Maryland Open (yes, I carried two putters with me -- and used the left handed putter for putts that broke left-to-right and the right handed putter for putts that broke right-to-left), I know all about your putting nerve being shot.

I can't identify with much about Tiger's golf game, but one thing I'm keenly aware of is how impossible it is to play high quality golf when you can't make a repeatable, tension free stroke on the greens.

We'll see how Friday goes for Woods, but barring some sort of miracle, he'll be heading home early (again) after a two-round flame-out in Dubai.

I'm sure that $3 million appearance fee will help stitch up the wound, but I'm also certain if you asked Tiger, "$3 million appearance fee or 68-68-68 with a chance to win on Sunday?", he'd take "the chance to win on Sunday."

I hate seeing any professional golfer go through putting issues, because I know the sickening feeling that comes along with it.

Sometimes those "nerve issues" can't even be seen by the naked eye. Your playing competitors don't see it, but you sure feel it. They'll look at your putting style or watch you hit a putt and say, "That looked pretty good to me" and you'll say to them, "You're nuts. I knew as soon as I took the putter back it wasn't going in."

Tiger "looked" OK on Thursday but he was far from OK. No birdies in 18 holes on a course most of the rest of the field tore up wasn't a good start for him.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports media work with ESPN, CBS and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.


Normally I try not to revisit the same topic too often, let alone twice in as many columns, but I think the situation at Baylor must be addressed at least one more time, in light of all of the discussion going on here since Monday.

First of all, I didn’t bother to condemn the players accused in the many, many reported incidents there because, well…I kind of thought it went without saying that rapists are to blame for their actions.

If there’s one thing that seems to be agreeable to everyone, it’s that the individuals committing the actions have done awful things and deserve to be punished where the accusations can be proven. Even in the deplorable Penn State “conversation,” we at least don’t have to debate the fact that Jerry Sandusky is a monster who ought to go to prison, even with people who can somehow bring themselves to defend Joe Paterno’s honor.

On the other hand, when it comes to assigning blame for their actions, or lack thereof, with coaches, programs, and universities, then suddenly it really is quite controversial, and there’s never any shortage of people who want to deflect and minimize the role institutional figures played in the scandal. And by extension, to argue that the prospects of the program itself shouldn’t be jeopardized by any kind of punishment.

This is pretty clearly the case at Baylor. Yes, the players in question deserve to be blamed for their bad actions, but former head coach Art Briles deserves a ton of fault for his conduct as well.

The central claim from Baylor concerning its decision to remove Briles from the position is that he was aware of an accusation one of his players had raped a female athlete and didn’t tell anyone about it. Not just the police, and in Briles’ defense the accounts state that the alleged victim did not want to report the incident to law enforcement, but also not to the school’s Title IX office or judicial system either, which is (was) required of him.

Maybe that’s a pretty minor offense in a vacuum, but it’s impossible to consider that fact in a vacuum. Rather we have to consider it in the context of a program and a school that saw 17 allegations of rape in a four year period by the school’s own accounting.

We’re supposed to believe that this was the only incident that Briles had knowledge of and didn’t report? That he never tried to make an accusation go away or help his players cover things up? Yeah, and Tom Herman spent this year 100% focused on coaching Houston and wasn’t thinking about getting the Texas job at all.

And to make matters worse, based on all of his public appearances and statements since his firing, Briles clearly doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and sees himself as a victim in this story.

Sure, Briles makes the typical noises about doing things wrong. He’s analogized himself to a ship captain who has to go down with the ship in responding to the firing (and angling for a new, possibly better, job). But he has rather pointedly never admitted to any wrongdoing or specific failures of judgment on his part, and he’s now suing Baylor for wrongful termination and defamation based on how this was handled.

Most appallingly, when Briles made an appearance at the Houston Texans’ camp and gave a statement to reporters, he said “I’ve [coached] for 38 years, lived the right way 60 years of my life, never done anything illegal, immoral or unethical…”

That’s right, in Art Briles’ mind failing to report an accusation of sexual assault up the university chain as required by federal law is neither “immoral” nor “unethical.” Gosh, I wonder where those impressionable young men got the idea they could do whatever the hell they wanted?

And this gets at why the failings of coaches and administrators in these matters is at least as galling as the actions of the rapists themselves. The entire justification for the edifice of “amateurism” in college sports is the idea that these players are getting education, both in the classroom and in life. The coaches aren’t just there to win football games, part of their charge is to guide impressionable young adults and mold them into men of character and responsibility.

The term “father figure” gets tossed around liberally. If we take all of these claims at face value, then we damn well should be outraged when coaches like Art Briles and Joe Paterno and James Franklin choose to cover up sexual assaults in order to protect their program and maximize their win/loss record…and by extension their next contract.

And this doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game by any means; being outraged at Briles demanding his head on a platter doesn’t in any way, shape, or form absolve any of the players of responsibility for their actions.

Now, will paying the players a salary or wage fix this problem in college sports? Maybe…or maybe not.

As commenter Chris in Bel Air pointed out on Tuesday, there will still be incentives for programs to cover these things up to keep starters and star players on the field, even if in the long run actual monetary payment does reorient the system away from the current system where players are “paid” with privileged status on campus.

But here’s the thing: The current NCAA system is the purest form of exploitation you’re going to see in early 21st century America. The old guys running the show are making millions of dollars a year from an industry pulling in billions of dollars of revenue, and the young people doing most of the labor aren’t getting a damn thing beyond a room to live in and a make-believe “education” that everyone knows isn’t worth the paper the fabricated report cards are printed on.

Art Briles and other head coaches like him are in the former camp, making millions of dollars every year while the young men they’ll be happy to tell you are like sons to them bust their butts and turn their brains into mush on the field and in practice every day for nothing.

And it’s not hard to draw a clear line between being just fine with benefitting from that form of exploitation to justifying to yourself why keeping your starting linebacker on the field is more important than taking the girl who claims he raped her seriously, or reporting that claim to the Title IX office.

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retrievers roll on with win at binghamton


UMBC senior forward Will Darley (Dulaney H.S.) scored a game-high 22 points on Wednesday night as the Retrievers ran past Binghamton, 92-74, before 4,939 at the BU Events Center.

Darley was one of four Retrievers to reach double figures in points in the road win.

UMBC shot 56.1 percent from the floor, including 64 percent in the second half. They buried 12 treys to sweep the season series from Binghamton and improve to 15-7 overall, 6-3 in America East play.

UMBC's Jairus Lyles had 19 points on Wednesday night as the Retrievers improved to 15-7 overall with a win at Binghamton.

The Retrievers also snapped the Bearcats’ (12-12, 3-6 AE) three-game winning streak.

Junior guard Jairus Lyles added 19 points for UMBC, while junior guard Rodney Elliott and sophomore forward Joe Sherburne added 14 points apiece.

The game was tightly contested through the first 16 minutes of the first half, until the Retrievers created a little separation in the latter stages of the period. Binghamton led, 25-24, on a Bobby Ahearn three-point play at the 9:15, but Elliott's trey on the next possession gave the visitors the lead for good in the half.

UMBC led, 35-31, at the final media time out, but outscored Binghamton, 14-6, in the final 3:37 of the stanza to take a 49-37 lead at intermission. Lyles hit a pair of long treys and Darley capped the scoring with his fourth trifecta of the half with 48 seconds to play.

UMBC opened the second half on a 16-7 run to open up a 65-44 advantage just six minutes into the second half. The Retrievers converted 7 of their first 10 shots from the floor to open the half and cruise to their third victory in four outings.

The Retrievers outrebounded the bigger Bearcats, 34-25, and committed just two second half turnovers (8 for the game).

The 15 victories for UMBC is the most since they finished the 2008-09 campaign at 15-17. UMBC has a quick stop at home before heading back north to take on Maine on Saturday.

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caps-flyers in d.c., anyone?

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

Join us on March 4th to see T.J. Oshie and the Caps dismantle the Flyers at the Verizon Center.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

A number of you reached out on Wednesday and expressed interest in the trip. I need a few more hockey enthuiasts to join us to make the trip a reality. The tickets are on hold, the bus is on hold and the beer, well, that will be cold.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com



Wednesday
February 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoVolume XXXI
Issue 1
subscribe to the #dmd rss feed


this, that and the other


That was another impressive performance from the Terps last night as they won at Ohio State, 77-71. I wrote it here a few days ago and have been saying it for a while now: Maryland's biggest strength is they know how to close out games.

The Terps hit the right shot at the most opportune times and their foul shooting with the game in the balance is terrific.

Yes, I watched the game. I saw Ohio State's feeble attempt to play defense. I get it, OSU is not very good. But you're not looking for style points on the road, in conference play. You're looking to leave the building with a win.

He didn't shoot well for 35 minutes, but Melo Trimble made a couple of huge shots late in Tuesday night's win over Ohio State that helped Maryland stay on top in the Big 10.

Maryland still hasn't defeated a ranked opponent this season, which is probably why Wisconsin -- with one more loss than Maryland -- is ranked #10 and the Terps are at #17. Purdue comes to town this Saturday for a 12 noon tip-off at College Park.

Kudos to the Ravens for forking over $120 million of their own money to make improvements to the football stadium. Most of the stuff is glitz and glamour add-ons like better video boards, more sky boxes and a better sound system, but $120 million is $120 million. By 2019, they will add several escalators in the stadium to help carry ticket buyers from the ground level to the upper deck.

The in-game experience in the NFL -- across the board -- has become a bit dreary over the last couple of years. The Ravens recognize that, and the planned improvements will (hopefully) do a lot to help jazz up the stadium from 1 pm to 4 pm ten times a year.

The Maryland Stadium Authority is kicking in $24 million of their own money, which is nice.

If the roles were reversed and the baseball team in town wanted to fix their facility, the contributing numbers would probably be the opposite: Stadium Authority/City kicks in $120 million and the Orioles throw in $24 million.

It wasn't a great night for the Capitals on Tuesday in Brooklyn as they slogged through sixty minutes of uninspired hockey to lose to the Islanders, 3-2. In all fairness, they didn't slog all that much through the first period...the Caps actually played well at times in the opening 20 minutes and led 1-0 at the intermission after a goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov six minutes into the game.

But the 2nd and 3rd periods were drab, with not much puck movement, a lot of overskating and, in general, just a considerable amount of lackluster play from Barry Trotz's team.

It might have been a case of the post-All-Star-Game blues. We'll find out tonight when the Caps host the Boston Bruins down in D.C.

I'll close with this: The Islanders, who finished 3-2 vs. Washington in '16-17, are a potential match-up issue for the Caps in that they're nothing if not hard working. They have good team speed, create a lot of activity around the goal and do a nice job of keeping the plan alive at the blue line. The Caps have a HUGE edge in the goaltending department, though, which is critical come playoff time. I'm not saying I'd be worried if the Caps draw the Islanders in the first round, but I can think of a couple of other teams I'd rather face.

After a missed cut at Torrey Pines, Tiger Woods is in Dubai this week for a European Tour event before heading back to play in the U.S. later this month.

It's back to work for Tiger Woods later tonight when he tees it up in Dubai along with a bunch of the world's best golfers in a European Tour event. Woods returned to golf last week in San Diego with a 76-72 finish and a missed cut, then traveled to Dubai on Sunday to play his second tournament in as many weeks. He'll skip next week on the Tour, then return to play two more weeks in a row, in L.A. at Riveria CC and in Palm Beach, Florida at PGA National.

In other words, three weeks from now, we'll know how much progress Woods has made from his two back surgeries and missing nearly 17 months of action. The golf course at Dubai is more forgiving than the one Woods faced at Torrey Pines last week. If his driver continues to be uncooperative at the Dubai layout, he won't be penalized nearly as much as he was in the first two rounds out in San Diego.

I expect Woods to play better than he did last week at Torrey Pines.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is in Arizona this week/end for their traditional Super Bowl-weekend visit to TPC Scottsdale. They have a heckuva field there, including Justin Thomas, who won twice in a row recently in Hawaii, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and, last week's surprise winner on TOUR, Jon Rahm, who played his college golf at Arizona State. Expect all four of those names to reach the leaderboard at some point this weekend.

On a non-sports note, I was saddened to see that one of the founders of the band "Asia" passed away on Tuesday. John Wetton was 67 years old.

Wetton and the other three, Carl Palmer, Geoff Downes and Steve Howe, formed "Asia" after all of them had enjoyed successful stints with terrific bands. Wetton was the bassist and vocalist with "King Crimson", Palmer was the drummer with "Emerson, Lake and Palmer", while Downes and Howe were both with "Yes".

The "super band" effort has been tried a lot over the years. Some have worked, some haven't. Asia was a true "super band" that worked right away. Their debut album is easily in my personal Top 10 albums of all-time.

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london, masters, bowling -- now sold out


Just a quick note to mention that our trip to London next September to see the Ravens and Jaguars is officially sold out.

We're looking into the possibility of launching a "second leg" with another media entity in town, but those details won't be finalized for a few days at the very least.

Meanwhile, though, I'd like to thank all of you who expressed in an interest in our trip, even those who wound up not going with us. If we see you over there in the U.K., we can still have a pint of warm beer nonetheless.

The group we're taking over will have a great time, I'm sure. Thanks, as always, to our friends at Jerry's Toyota, for their continued support of our "Bucket List" road trips. The visit to London is most certainly on a lot of people's bucket list. We're looking forward to a great six days in London!

And our 2017 Charity Duckpin Challenge on February 26 is also now sold out. Fourteen teams will compete for prize money for THEIR charity and, thanks to my friend Shawn Shannon at Unison Business Solutions, we'll also be raising money for The Malone family of Northeast Baltimore, who lost their home and six children in a fire in early January.

Thanks to our bowling teams for stepping up and making a difference on February 26!

And our 2017 trip to The Masters on April 3-4 is also sold out. If you've never been to Augusta, we'll be doing this trip again in 2018 and it's a "must do" if you're a golfing enthusiast!


caps-flyers in d.c., anyone?

I can't believe I'd torture myself with this, but if you guys want to do it, I'll go along.

The Caps play host to the Flyers on Saturday, March 4 (7:30 pm) at the Verizon Center.

We're teaming up with our friends at DuClaw Brewery to put together a road trip to see the game and enjoy some outstanding DuClaw-made beverages on the ride down.

You know how these trips work: We provide round trip motor coach transportation, we feed you, we provide plenty of "refreshments" and you get a game ticket along with others in the group to enjoy Caps hockey.

We're also working on a special event with the folks at DuClaw, so hang in there a day or two and we'll have complete details.

In the meantime, for ticket purchasing needs, I'd like to know how many people are interested in going with us. If you're interested in attending the Caps-Flyers game with us on March 4, would you kindly just send me a quick e-mail today? You're not obligating yourself by checking in...I just need a rough idea of how many tickets I might need, that's all. -- drew@drewsmorningdish.com

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the terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his third season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in 2016-2017.


jackson's 22 lead visiting terps past wilting ohio state, 77-71


Back on November 20th I was lucky enough to be invited to the scorer’s table to view the Terps game against Towson at the XFINITY Center.

Towson dominated Maryland inside for most of that game before Melo Trimble made a slew of foul shots to secure the win for Maryland.

Before the contest started some radio guys asked me what to expect from Maryland. My immediate response was, “Watch this Justin Jackson kid. He’s really good.” He didn’t disappoint that day, pumping in 21 points while shooting 8-13 from the field and 5-7 from the three point line.

Another superb night from freshman Justin Jackson helped Maryland turn back Ohio State in Columbus, 77-71.

Doing that against Towson is one thing. Doing it night after night in the BIG 10 (and on the road) is another.

Last night against Ohio State in Columbus, Jackson was the most dominating player on the court as he led his Terps to a 77-71 victory. His 22 points (8-12, 4-7) were a game high as were his 12 rebounds.

Yes, indeed, that freshman is good. Really good.

Jackson scored by knocking down threes, working for tip ins, and by going to the line after grabbing offensive rebounds. Color commentator Dan Dakich compared him on two occasions to Scottie Pippen. Connecting him with Pippen may be a stretch at this point in Jackson’s young career, but the pro scouts are surely taking notice.

The Terps continue to do whatever is needed in order to emerge victorious. Last night, at crucial moments in the game, both Kevin Huerter and Trimble came up big. Melo, who hadn’t hit a three all night (0-5 up to this point), found the range with 2:04 remaining in the game and the Terps clinging to a one point lead. The triple put Maryland up 74-69.

Moments later Trimble hit a floater in the lane to all but seal the deal.

Huerter, another freshman, continues to contribute in many ways.

He hit a three in the second half that put a halt to a mini Ohio State run after Maryland had been stuck at 58 points for over three minutes. He had a second half dunk to extend a one point advantage to three. Huerter also had several key assists and led the game with 4 blocked shots.

Maryland jumped to a 10-3 lead just two and a half minutes in to the game before the Buckeyes were able to whittle it away, eventually taking a lead (16-15) that they would hold for only 3:30. After that, neither team could establish much of an advantage until Maryland scored the last seven points of the half to enter the break ahead, 42-36.

Offensive rebounds allowed the Terps to take five more first half shots than the Buckeyes and they capitalized by hitting one more shot from the field, including 4 more three pointers than the Buckeyes.

In the second half, the Buckeyes could never get over that hump. The Terps led the entire way, but things did get interesting late.

The three minute scoring gap that Huerter broke with his earlier mentioned three point shot allowed Ohio State to cut a 10 point deficit down to as little a one. But every time it looked like the visiting Terps might surrender their lead, someone wearing gold made a play.

Maryland won this game because Justin Jackson was outstanding and because Huerter hits big shots and makes big plays.

They won because Trimble has that special knack for making shots down the stretch even when he’s been bricking for most of the game. They rebounded well, for a change, and that surely made a difference too.

It’s not always pretty or impressive with Maryland, but they win.

Maryland has yet to beat a top 25 team, but the collection of wins they have amassed is definitely starting to impress. The Terps can now get a little rest before the Saturday contest at noon against Purdue. The XFINITY Center will be rocking as Maryland tries to capture a win over the #16 Boilermakers.

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RETRIEVER ROUND-UP

UMBC baseball fell to in-state rival Maryland, 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. The Retrievers fell behind early, but got a two-run home run from Hunter Dolshun to take the lead. However the Terps scored four runs in the sixth to take the victory.

The Retrievers fall to 18-20 on the year while Maryland improves to 32-15 in 2017.

breakfast bytes

A.L. East: Yankees give up two runs in bottom of the 9th, lose to White Sox, 4-3.

Red Sox move into first place with 9-2 win over Minnesota; Rays win 4-2 at Pittsburgh.

NBA: Phil Jackson/Knicks to part ways today.

Nationals steal team-record 7 bases off of Arrieta/Montero as Cubs lose in D.C., 6-1.