Thursday
February 15
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issue 15
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disliking tiger is easy...ignoring him isn't


I see #DMD's favorite sports lightning rod made the comments section again yesterday.

Nothing seemingly gets people's pistons pumping quite like Tiger Woods.

In some ways these days, he reminds me of Judd Nelson's character from that 1980's classic, The Breakfast Club. Remember when he's having a not-so-nice conversation with Molly Ringwald (Claire) and Ally Sheedy (Allison) and Claire says, "He's doing it to get a rise out of you. Just ignore him and he'll go away."?

John Bender (Nelson) shoots back with, "Sweets, you couldn't ignore me if you tried."

Woods can't be ignored, either.

The Golf Channel ran four Woods stories during Wednesday's "Morning Drive" show. Appoximately 12 minutes of on-air commentary was devoted to Tiger in the show's first 30 minutes.

Tiger then (left: age 16, playing at Riveria CC) and now (right: age 42).

And he can't be ignored in forums like this one. You're either a fan of his or not. I'm not sure where he ranks among the world's most polarizing athletes, because my gut tells me he's far more liked than disliked, universally, but that's no doubt at all that a segment of the world's sporting audience wants Woods to fail.

Newsflash: A lot of people out there wanted Tom Brady to fail a couple of weeks ago in Minneapolis.

Lots and lots of people root against LeBron James.

It happens to virtually any dominant athlete at some point. Folks would rather see them fail then succeed.

I fall on the side of the fence that wants to see Woods succeed.

I'm a fan of redemption. Or redemption stories, if you will. My stance on Colin Kaepernick is well documented, but if someone finally signs him and he returns to the NFL and winds up performing at a high level again, there's a piece of me that will respect his decision to stick it out and keep trying to fight for the right to play in the league again.

I'd love to see Woods win again. I don't see any way possible that Father Time will allow him to win four majors and tie Jack's record of 18, but it would be cool to see Tiger win again on the PGA Tour and maybe sniff around at a major or three just to see what he would do under the gun and what those around him would do as well.

But if you're anti-Woods and hope he fails miserably, I don't think that makes you a bad person.

We're just different, you and I.

It's what makes the world go 'round.

Someone just asked me last weekend what it is about Tiger that I like, even now, after all the tabloid stories, rumors, etc.

That's a good question.

I suspect what I admire about him, now, is that he didn't quit.

It would have been easy for Woods to take his $500 million and go off into the sunset. He has two kids, a great house in Florida, a big boat, and all the time in the world to enjoy it all.

He could have said, "I've had enough. I beat everyone's brains in for a dozen years. It was fun. But it's time to move on."

As anyone knows who has had any kind of surgery (I've had three of varying kinds), the rehab and return from those can be grueling and painful. I'm blessed to have never had back surgery, so I can't make much comment on that rehab, specifically, but I imagine it's not painless and smiles every morning.

After his fourth back surgery last April, Tiger could have packed it in.

The fact that he didn't, though, resonates with me. It's a good teaching moment for my high school team.

Woods has plenty of not-so-good teaching moments, too. I don't ignore those. There are things Tiger did in his day that we wouldn't want to pass on to our own children or the kids we coach.

But we do pass them on. As examples of what not to do. I just talked to a few kids on my team yesterday at practice about the behavior of Jon Rahm on the PGA Tour and reminded each of them that we have a two strike rule at Calvert Hall Golf when it comes to throwing clubs. The first strike is a 2-match suspension. The second strike is "see you next season".

I don't like Rahm's on-course behavior and I'm trying to use it to teach. The same can be said for Woods, and you can dig back a long, long time to come up with a list of things you can try and get your kids to not do that Woods did along the way.

That said, I'm pretty sure all of us have own "moments" we hope our children don't follow in their lifetime. We make mistakes, we ask for forgiveness, we get it, we aspire to not make those mistakes again in the future.

I don't know much about Tiger's personal life these days, but he's paid for previous mistakes (literally and figureatively) dearly over the last decade.

He looks and sounds like a man who has been humbled. I've never shared a glass of wine with him, but I assume if you got a couple of glasses in him and Tiger started to let loose, he'd lament his mistakes and even admit he didn't think it would all crumble on him the way it did. (Wine has a way of doing that to you, haha).

And the fact that he didn't quit after back surgery last April and his May arrest is appealing to me, because he could have easily done that.

79 career wins and 14 major championships later, Tiger is once again trying to prove himself in 2018.

He's certainly not playing for the money. He makes more in one month lending his name and likeness to watches and energy drinks and golf courses than you and I make in a year. Woods is playing again because he loves golf and he loves competing.

I tell my high school team every year that one of my main responsibilities as their coach is to get them to "love golf more at the end of the season than you did at the beginning of the season." Tiger clearly loves golf. He could play for me.

I noticed in the comments that someone used the word "karma" in association with Tiger. That's certainly fair. For whatever reason(s) you believe, personally, there's no doubting this fact: Ever since Tiger's personal life blew up in 2009, he never again won a major championship.

I've talked at length with golfing friends of mine and argued that point endlessly. Some of them don't think Woods' failure to win a major since 2009 has anything to do with his personal downfall but I strongly disagree. Sure, he won a lot of tournaments in the years after, but never a major. And I've always thought there was a connection to his personal issues and his inability to win another Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA Championship.

From the outside (and admittedly from far, far away), it looks to me like Tiger is renewed, both physically and mentally. I'm happy to see that. I'm not sure how or why it's happened, and perhaps it was just the fading of scars that inevitably happens over time, but this Tiger looks much different than the 2016 Tiger we saw.

And he certainly looks a lot different today than he did last May when his mug shot was splashed all over the internet.

I suspect he'll stink it up in Los Angeles this week because his track record is less than stellar at Riveria CC. Anyone who has ever played golf at varying courses knows full well there are places you like and places you don't.

I think the layout at Sparrows Point is terrific. There are several holes there I think are very well designed. I've always enjoyed going over there and playing. I think I've played six golf tournaments there in my life and I stunk it up in five of them.

On the flip side, I've always played well at Maryland Golf and Country Club in Bel Air. I'm not sure why. I have limited experience at the place. But for whatever reason, the holes fit my eye well and I've played good golf there on many an occasion.

I suspect baseball players have a similar story. Some guys like hitting in Fenway Park, some don't. Some guys light it up in Arlington, Texas, some don't.

I would be surprised to see Tiger play well this weekend in L.A., but I'm hoping he does nonetheless.

If you're rooting against him, though, that's fine by me.

I had my day in the sun -- Tiger-wise -- back in the 2000's when he was winning 12 majors between 2000 and 2008 and beating everyone senseless nearly every time he teed it up.

The anti-Tiger group has been getting their sunshine over the last couple of years.

Sports is cyclical. You're good today and a bum tomorrow.

But in Tiger's case, at least, once you're among the all-time greats, you can never again be ignored.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


where is maryland basketball going?


As I watched Maryland lose a road game it could have won against a no-more-than-passably decent Nebraska team, I thought back to nine years ago this week.

That was when Washington Post sportswriters Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda combined forces on a three-part series about Maryland basketball and its future Hall of Fame head coach, Gary Williams.

“Maryland Has become a Shell of its Former Self,” screamed the first headline, pun intended.

The next day, Prisbell and Yanda reported, and Williams pretty much corroborated, that he wasn’t interested in playing the AAU recruiting game. The final piece all but confirmed that, bowing to pressure, Williams was recruiting players with “pasts” that he never would have touched before.

Almost on cue, the Terps stunned third-ranked North Carolina the following week and beat No. 8 Wake Forest in the ACC tournament, getting the victories they needed to sneak into the NCAA tournament, where they beat Cal in the first round. The following year, led by ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, Maryland finished 13-3 in the league, tied Duke for the regular-season title and came within a lucky Michigan State pass of reaching the Sweet 16.

Gary Williams left and so did Maryland's ability to beat the big dogs in both conference play and the NCAA tournament.

Besides Williams himself, nobody knew then that he’d coach only one more year before retiring. It wasn’t until more than a year after his retirement, as the 2012-13 basketball season began, that Maryland’s Board of Regents officially voted to accept an offer into the Big Ten. The Terps didn’t actually join that league until 2014.

With the exception of the arena and the school colors, the changes since that 2009 series of articles have been sweeping. Under Mark Turgeon, Maryland doesn’t play like it used to, and Turgeon and his staff sure don’t recruit like Maryland used to.

Maryland gets Top 10 or even Top 5 recruiting classes, depending on whom you believe. On the transfer market, Turgeon brought in Dez Wells, alleged with sexual assault at Xavier, and Rasheed Sulaimon, the only player Mike Krzyzewski has ever dismissed from the Duke program.

Turgeon prefers his teams to play slower, and to play defense in containment mode instead of with aggression. He’s brought the Terps into the 21st century world of three-point shooting. In general, the players on the court have skill combinations that Williams never seemed to recruit.

Yet Maryland is still a shell of its former self.

Even with 79 wins in three years, and NCAA tournament bids in all three of those seasons, enthusiasm for the program isn’t there.

And as Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, nothing great is accomplished without enthusiasm.

Looking back to November 2012, when Maryland signed off on the move to the Big Ten, it would have been nearly impossible to predict the next five years of results. They’ve been good, despite the fact that most of Turgeon’s first recruiting class transferred elsewhere. You have to put the last eight weeks or so of injury-plagued rotten luck into perspective.

In retrospect, though, the lack of enthusiasm was entirely predictable.

On March 6, 2013, the Terps hosted North Carolina in (then) Comcast Center. Like this year, Maryland wasn’t really on the bubble, and the Tar Heels were good but beatable. A big snowstorm predicted for that day didn’t materialize; the student body, which had that day off in anticipation of the storm, was primed and ready.

Maryland played terribly that night; the final score of 79-68 in favor of UNC wasn’t a good indicator of the lopsidedness of the game. But the disappointment was two-fold for those of us in the arena.

The loss was a loss; Maryland was probably an NIT team and they played like it. But we also knew it would be the last time North Carolina came to College Park. There was no way the ACC would schedule either UNC or Duke at Maryland in the Terps’ lame duck year to follow.

The Terps had worn new white uniforms and shoes that night as part of a “white-out” promotion. The following day, on Facebook, the athletic department excitedly posted an auction of those special items, with the proceeds going to charity.

That was where we were. Not among the best teams in the ACC, a league which we’d be leaving, much to the chagrin of most of the 17,000 people in attendance, and more interested in promoting Under Armour than anything else.

A few weeks earlier, the Terps hosted Duke for the final time in the ACC. Maryland won the game, 83-81, and the crowd was as loud and “anti-Duke” as I ever heard it, in the new arena or in Cole Field House.

The atmosphere in the place was great, and the win was a big upset. But I remember walking out of there wondering if we’d ever have it again. And even with Melo Trimble, high conference finishes and more polished players than we used to get, we haven’t.

Results matter. Under Williams, Maryland lost fewer than 10 games in a season only five times in 22 seasons. Meanwhile, under Turgeon, the Terps had three straight seasons with fewer than 10 losses. The 2015, 2016, and 2017 NCAA tournament teams were at least as good as Williams’ final NCAA teams, no matter their results in the one-and-done bracket.

Results can change quickly, though. They can change with the loss of a key player to injury, as with Justin Jackson this year. They can vary depending on your schedule, when opponents you expected to be one way end up the other. They can change with a player like Trae Young of Oklahoma, in and most certainly out with a flash of brilliance.

In college basketball at the highest level, enthusiasm matters more.

The passion and fervor for a program can sustain it through a bad year, dumb luck or a miss on a recruit. The passion and fervor for a program is crucial in recruiting, where players are not only picking a coach and a team but also a place where they’ll get a great experience.

The passion and fervor for the program is what made Maryland basketball, not the national championship. The passion and fervor came from a place of great history, great rivalries and even great disappointment, not from a couple of Final Fours.

Back in 2009, Prisbell and Yanda noted that no national champion in the previous 18 seasons had regressed as quickly as Maryland. They were talking about the team’s results in the six seasons after the 2002 title.

In 2018, Maryland’s regression is off the court. The program is in danger of not mattering as much as it should, which is worse than any loss on the court.

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how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Wednesday
February 14
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 14
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this, that and the other


Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, did something on Monday night that worked like a charm. Sure, it was one of those against-the-grain coaching moments that most would never think of, but it was perfectly thought out and executed.

And he still got beat up for it.

In case you missed it, Kerr let three players (Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and David West) take turns mapping out plays and strategy during timeouts of the team's 129-83 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Even though the ploy worked well and the Warriors easily beat the lowly Suns, folks in and around the Bay Area were quick to heap criticism on Kerr in the aftermath.

Draymond Green, out with an injured hand, ran the time-out huddle and diagrammed plays for the Warriors on Monday night in their win over Phoenix.

"If you give those guys the clipboard, pretty soon you (Kerr) will be out of job," a caller stated on the team's post-game show. "They're basketball players, not coaches."

"He (Kerr) should spend less time trying to be Phil Jackson," another caller said. "That's the kind of stuff Jackson used to do."

"You do that in the pre-season, not in the regular season when Houston is breathing down our necks," someone suggested.

Imagine if Kerr's team lost on Monday night, huh?

Fans of the team were upset about Kerr giving the clipboard to three players and yet they still won. It's a tough league when the callers are beating you up after a victory.

Truth be told, Kerr's move was extraordinarily smart.

Sure, it's the kind of thing you probably only do once a season. The NBA in-game "huddle" is a frantic place, with music blaring in the background, coaches yelling to get everyone's attention, and team staffers tapping players on the shoulder with cups of water or energy drinks. It's thirty seconds of bedlam.

It's hard enough for the coaches to call the plays and have everyone understand them and they're experts at the process. Imagine how hard it is for a player to do it.

But that's not really what Kerr was trying to do on Monday night.

What he accomplished by handing over the clipboard to those three players was more about trust than anything else.

The player-coach relationship -- in any sport -- hangs on a thread. If the player performs up to his/her capabilities, the coach rewards him/her with playing time and increased responsbility.

If the player doesn't perform well, the coach has to consider reducing that playing time and those responsibilities.

But it's not that cut and dried. Some players perform better in certain lineups, with certain teammates on the floor or field around them. Some players perform better at home than on the road. Some players perform better against top teams than they do against bottom feeders.

And that's where the player has to trust the coach. The player has to know the coach is able to see everything that's going on and put it all in its proper perspective.

Players build trust in the coach when they see the coach trusts them.

That's what Steve Kerr did on Monday night.

True, it was only one game, but what if the move backfired on Monday and the Warriors lost to the lowly Suns, then wound up losing out on the Western Conference title by just one game come mid-April?

Anything's possible, particularly with Houston having an outstanding season to date and essentially matching Golden State's record (44-13, 43-13) up to this point.

In reality, what Kerr did on Monday night was a fairly significant gamble.

But it was a smart gamble. Because in the long run, his team will benefit greatly from the trust Kerr showed in them. He actually turned the game over to his team and said, "Here, you figure out how to win".

And they did just that.


Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour tomorrow when he tees it up at the Genesis Open at Riveria Country Club in Los Angeles. It's Tiger's second tournament of the year after missing almost all of the 2016-2017 campaign due to back surgery.

One entity who is milking the Woods return for all its worth are the folks at The Golf Channel. Late Tuesday afternoon, here were the first six notes on their website's news and notes "leaderboard", if you will. Mind you, there is space for ten notes overall. The first six were as follows:

* Woods, McIlroy, Thomas grouped together at Genesis

* Woods: Honda decision "depends on soreness"

* Woods: "We pray" for Tiger-Rory showdown

* Tiger's Ryder Cup status? Furyk will wait and see

* Woods open to being RC Assistant Captain

* Tiger Tracker: Tuesday at Riveria

The first six notes were all about Tiger Woods.

Although his track record at Riveria CC isn't very good, Tiger Woods was still the center of attention during Tuesday's media day in Los Angeles.

Now, in fairness to The Golf Channel website, Tuesday was media day at Genesis and Woods spoke to the press for nearly 25 minutes, touching on a wide range of topics.

He joked about his record at Riveria CC ("I love the course, it suits my eye, but I just play awful here for some reason" - take note Fantasy Golf players).

He talked about the possibility of playing in Florida next week at The Honda, a home game of sorts for him in that it's played close to his residence in Jupiter.

And he mentioned the potential of playing in the Ryder Cup and also serving as a Vice Captain for Jim Furyk in France at this year's event in late September.

Noteworthy stuff, for sure.

Woods still moves the needle more than anyone in golf, plain and simple. The Golf Channel's nightly "newscast", if you will, led with Tiger, Tiger and more Tiger last night. That their website was filled with Tiger-stuff on Tuesday night isn't much of a surprise, then.

I'm sure the folks at CBS are hoping for a Woods appearance on the leaderboard this weekend, but past history suggests that won't happen. Even in his heyday, Woods regularly skipped what was always known as the "L.A. Open" at Riveria because he never seemed to play well there. He has one top 10 finish in his career and everything else was middle-of-the-pack.

But can you imagine what might happen on Saturday and Sunday if Tiger somehow finds himself in contention?

The Golf Channel ran six stories on Woods yesterday and it was Tuesday, two days before the first tee goes in the ground for real.

The entire internet might blow up on Sunday afternoon is the 14-time champion is somehow on the first page of the leaderboard and in contention.


Maryland's loss at Nebraska last night leaves the Terps at 6-9 in the Big Ten and means they now have to run the table and win their final three conference games to finish at .500.

Dale Williams will handle all of the heavy lifting of last night's game with his thorough review of the events in Lincoln, but I do have one question about the Terps and the Mark Turgeon regime.

When has Maryland posted a marquee road victory in Turgeon's 7-year career at Maryland?

Maryland has to win their final three games, including a road contest at Northwestern, just to finish .500 in the conference this season.

Granted, last night's game at Nebraska wouldn't have been "marquee". I just wanted to bring that point up, again, as the Terps get set to conclude their seventh season under Turgeon.

Think about it. The team only has a handful of eventful home wins with Turgeon at the helm. I can't recall a significant, "marquee" road victory for Maryland in the last seven years.

That's not all on the coach, obviously.

Teams need piano movers AND piano players.

But at some point, coaching has to be considered.

This year's Maryland team has been burdened with injuries, including the loss of Justin Jackson back in November.

An already-slim bench was reduced even more recently when Michal Cekovsky missed three weeks with a foot injury.

That's all been documented.

But I'm not sure that means much when we're talking about Turgeon's full seven-year body of work.

I don't know much about how "the hot seat" gets turned on at the college level. Fund raising and local corporate support sometimes matter almost as much as wins and losses.

I admit I don't know a whole lot about the inner workings of the basketball program at Maryland, as it relates to revenue and such.

But Turgeon's seat should be warming up down there.

In my opinion, at least.

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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 2017-18 season.


terps fall by four at nebraska


Maryland lost yet another close road game last night as the Nebraska Cornhuskers handed the Terps (6-9) their seventh straight defeat away from College Park by a score of 70-66.

James Parker Jr. went off for 24 second half points, going 9-13 from the field to lead Nebraska (11-4) to the victory.

The outcome was determined in the last minute and the two plays that defined the loss also define the season to date for the Terps.

Maryland fought back from a 7-point deficit at the 5:42 mark and found themselves only down one, with the ball with 1:08 remaining in the game.

They ran a few sets looking for Bruno Fernando, but Kevin Huerter, from the top of the key, decided not to attempt the more difficult pass inside to Fernando, who had slipped down the lane, but instead kicked it sideways to Anthony Cowan. Cowan was deep on the right wing, maybe two steps from the three-point line. He launched what I thought was a very ill advised three-point try, which was blocked by Glynn Watson and collected by Nebraska’s Evan Taylor.

Freshman Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points last night but his late game foul was a key moment in the 70-66 loss at Nebraska.

I have no idea why Cowan (1-7 shooting threes) thought the shot he took was the right call in that situation. There were still eight seconds left on the shot clock and Fernando had gained really good position on Isaiah Robey. Bruno was having good success with the Nebraska interior defenders, and for sure was the better option. It was a classic case of bad decision making at the end of a close game.

Sound familiar?

But there was another potential game changing breakdown yet to come for Maryland. After the Cowan miss, and rebound by Nebraska, they called timeout.

When play resumed, the Terps caught a break when Watson elected to take a deep three with eight seconds left on the shot clock. It was almost as bad a decision as Cowan’s brain freeze 20 seconds earlier.

But Maryland’s chances to win disappeared when, instead of boxing out his man, Fernando collapsed to the basket. The shot hit the front rim and went directly to Roby. Fernando fouled him, and essentially the game was over.

Flashback to the 18:15 mark of the second half. Isaac Copeland tries a three, and it’s short. Fernando steps towards the basket instead of maintaining contact with his man, Roby. The ball hits short and goes right to Roby for an easy layup. Either Fernando didn’t learn from the earlier play or in the heat of the moment he wasn’t able to focus. Either way, it’s a common theme for late game losses for Maryland.

The first half was played without either team getting more than a 4-point advantage. A buzzer beating tip-in by Fernando gave Maryland a 2-point halftime edge.

Fernando led all scorers at the break with 12 points, but he really lacked defensive intensity at the beginning of the game. His assignment at the time was Copeland, and Copeland had 4 rebounds and 6 points before the game was even four minutes old.

The biggest stories of the second half were Palmer shooting 9-13 and scoring 24 points, Kevin Huerter being limited to 13 minutes because of foul trouble, and Anthony Cowan going 0-7 from the field.

I had said yesterday that Cowan needed a big offensive game if the Terps were to finally get a road win in Big Ten play. Unfortunately for his team, Cowan shot 3-13 from the field and just 1-7 from the three-point line. Two of his three-point shots were blocked, and several others were just not good shots.

I’m certain Cowan's second half collapse was fatigue driven, but that can’t happen if Maryland expects to beat a solid team on the road.

Michal Cekovsky saw just 7 minutes of action and failed to collect a rebound in that time. Perhaps he’s hasn’t recovered from his foot injury or maybe he needs to get back into game shape. Regardless, there wasn't an occasion when he and Fernando were on the court together.

Tuesday night's outcome may have been different if Huerter didn’t get hit with his third personal foul just 47 seconds into the second half. He was pulled at that time with Maryland having a 2-point lead. When he returned, Maryland was down seven.

I’ll touch on one last thing. I re-watched the game and focused on most of Nebraska’s baskets. I’ve already condemned Fernando’s efforts early in the game, and now I’ll jump to something I noticed about Dion Wiley.

Here’s what I'd say: Dion, you’re the only upper classman in the starting rotation. You have two guys coming in next year (Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala) who can play your spot, and you’re already behind Darryl Morsell on the depth chart. Young man, if you want playing time next year, you need to play harder.

I noticed Wiley being way to passive in his attempts to defend and rebound. In one instance, he boxed out Roby, but never made a try at grabbing the ball. He never even extended his arms, and then he looked shocked when Roby tipped it away to another Cornhusker as Nebraska maintained possession.

His effort at the very end of the Penn State game last week was extremely questionable. Cowan drives the right side and puts up a wild floater that misses by a mile. The Terps are down three and there are but a few seconds remaining. Wiley is on the left baseline when the shot goes up, and he never moves. When an offensive rebound and kick-out for three can potentially avoid a defeat, and you don’t even move, I question your intensity.

The Terps return home to face a big, but struggling Rutgers team on Saturday at 8 pm.

KELLY banner ad

how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

Primary Residential banner


Tuesday
February 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 13
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don't worry, the players see it as well


Zach Britton is some 3,000 miles or so from Baltimore but he hasn't lost touch with the Orioles.

And while he won't be pitching at all this spring due to an off-season achilles injury, Britton gave the Birds a little mid-February chin music late last week when he commented on the team's lackluster winter work.

I won't go so far as to say he "blasted" the organization, but the roots are in place for it. Anytime a player uses the word "frustating", that's a professional, polite way of saying "angry".

Britton was a guest on a Baltimore radio show when he was asked about the off-season and the issue of the O's not signing any starting pitchers.

"I did think that maybe we would go out and sign a guy, an established major league player during the Winter Meetings, to fill at least one of the slots and maybe let the kids in the organization fight for the last two," the O's closer said. "But, yeah, to be this close to spring training with three rotation slots in our division open, it’s maybe a little frustrating for myself and I know some other teammates, especially the fact that a lot of us are free agents."

It's good to see Zach's paying attention.

The rest of us are frustrated as well, kid, but we pay to see the games while you get to collect a paycheck no matter if the rotation improves or not. Consider yourself fortunate.

Orioles closer Zach Britton had some fairly harsh comments on the team's off-season efforts to improve the roster late last week.

Britton went on to mention the team's long list of impending free agents and gently danced around the issue of the veteran core's disappointment with the way the off-season went for the Orioles.

"We’re normally a pretty patient organization and kind of wait for some of those deals to happen later on and even during spring training,” Britton said. “I’m not sure the last time we needed to fill three rotation spots, so I felt like this offseason is slightly different, but guys like myself and Adam and Manny and Brad and, I’m sure I’m missing guys who are free agents next year, I think maybe we thought that some guys would get signed a little sooner and we’d come into spring from an organizational standpoint like, with the fire ready to go and try to take the division instead of just kind of waiting to put together the roster, but the free agent market has a little bit to do with that. We’ll see."

As I mentioned yesterday morning on The Juice, our daily podcast you can find over in the upper right hand corner of #DMD, it's one thing for a team to bottom out in mid-season and have to grind through a few months of going-nowhere-fast baseball. The team starts off 38-33 and looks decent well into mid-June before several injuries send things on a downward spiral and July, August and September are a chore. That kind of stuff happens all the time.

It's another thing entirely to go into the season with a poorly constructed roster and know from jump street you're going to be out of the race by Memorial Day.

You can pull off that sort of campaign if you have a bunch of rookies and prospects in the fold who are cutting their major-league-teeth and need a season or two of losing to get their bearings straight.

How does Dan Duquette look the likes of Davis, Machado, Jones, Trumbo, Schoop and even Gausman and Bundy in the eye this week at Ed Smith Stadium?

The general manager had the better part of three full months to obtain some sort of quality left-handed bat.

He didn't do it.

He had three months to obtain some starting pitchers. The Birds need three. Two would be fine. Duquette hasn't even signed one, yet.

In fairness to Manny Machado, why on earth would he obligate himself to the Orioles for the next 5-8 years of his career if this is the sort of pedestrian effort the organization is going to produce in an off-season where they clearly had significant holes to fill?

Oh, and the manager's contract hasn't been renewed yet, either.

No left handed bat, a need for at least two veteran starting pitchers, if not three, and the best manager the team has had since Earl Weaver remains unsigned past this season -- and we expect the veteran players to be excited about what lies ahead?

I didn't even mention the four Rule 5 players that will be in Sarasota. The O's are, at least for now, working with a "legitimate" roster of 21 Major League players heading into the season.

Like Britton, I know the Orioles are known for being "patient". That word -- patient -- is also code for "slow and unwilling to bend", which has become an Orioles off-season trademark.

Reports are starting to surface about Lance Lynn and the Orioles nearing a contract agreement. The fight, of course, is over Lynn's desire for a four-year deal and the O's position of offering just three years.

Maybe he'll sign for three years and the O's will get their way. Or maybe if the O's would have given Lynn a 4-year deal back in early January there would have been another free agent or two that saw the O's as more attractive for the upcoming season.

Right now, you're joining a sinking ship.

Or, at the very least, you're joining a ship that lost its engine and is just floating along, letting the waters take it along without a clear destination in the offing.

The Orioles are going nowhere.

Not this team, anyway, as its presently constructed.

If they can add Lynn and another decent major league pitcher and get themselves a quality left-handed bat...and then if everyone performs to their highest level...and if their chakras all line up properly together...and if both the Yankees and Red Sox throw up on themselves this season -- then the Orioles have a chance of playing meaningful baseball in September.

That's four "ifs" there. Probably one or two more than we'd like to see.

We should applaud Britton for telling it like it is last week. I'm quite certain Adam Jones feels the exact same way. Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo probably do as well. Machado might not care all that much because he'll be getting $30 million a year in New York this time next season, but he can't be looking forward to four months of torture before he's mercifully dealt at the trade deadline.

And I'm one million percent sure Buck Showalter isn't happy with it all.

"I like our guys" and "I'll go to war with any of these players" are Buck-isms we've heard a lot over the years, but Showalter's no dummy. He's in a story-writing contest with a pen full of ink while the other contestants have a barrel full of ink.

It won't be long before Buck's pen runs dry.

And how he can keep the veteran players excited in February and March is anyone's guess.

They all know the truth and they know what's coming.

And it won't be any fun.

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in today's edition of "the juice"


An interesting story has surfaced out of the Olympics with regard to the goalie masks being worn by the U.S. women's hockey team.

You won't believe it, honestly.

I actually heard the story on TV and had to google it to read up on it because I simply couldn't believe it.

"I know I didn't hear that right," I said.

It turns out I did hear it right. I share the story in today's podcast.

I also spend a few minutes on Ted Potter Jr.'s win on the PGA Tour last weekend and look ahead to this week's event at Riveria CC in L.A., where Tiger Woods is in the field.

The Masters isn't that far away. Who is starting to shape up as the early favorite for the green jacket at Augusta National?

Please check out "The Juice" today and give it a listen. It runs every weekday morning here at #DMD.

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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 the 2017-18 season.


terps face improved nebraska tonight


The Maryland Terrapins take on the surprising Nebraska Cornhuskers tonight in Lincoln at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. It’s a 7:00pm tip-off.

No one would have predicted that coach Tim Miles' Nebraska team would we 10-4 at this point of the season. With only Maryland, Illinois, Indiana, and Penn State left on their Big Ten schedule, the Cornhuskers are poised to attract an at-large bid from to the NCCA selection Committee.

Three of those remaining ‘Husker games are at home, with their only road contest being against Illinois.

The dramatic turnaround from last year’s next-to-last team into this year’s 4th place squad has been largely accomplished on the backs of two talented transfers. Leading scorer, James Palmer Jr, came to Lincoln via Miami. At the “U” Palmer only averaged 12 minutes and 3.5 points, per game.

In Big Ten games this year the junior guard is dropping 19.6 points per game in just a tad over 30 minutes. He doesn’t put up eye popping shooting percentages, but he knows how to score. Palmer’s game reminds me of a slightly taller, and slightly quicker, Dez Wells. Palmer is tough to handle when he has the ball.

Isaac Copeland is 6’9”, 221 lbs., and a better outside shooter than Palmer. The Georgetown transfer has a nice inside and outside game, is the team’s leading rebounder, and plays solid but not spectacular defense.

Copeland had some sensational games at Georgetown. He posted a career high 32 points in a game against Marquette, and dropped 21 points against Duke. Some Terp fans may remember his 13-point, 13 rebound effort against Maryland in November of 2016.

Significant minutes from Michal Cekovsky tonight at Nebraska could go a long way in helping the Terps snap a 6-game Big Ten road losing streak.

Shortly after that, a back injury requiring surgery ended his season. When he came out of high school, he was a highly sought after 5-star recruit. They’re happy to have him in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The emergence of sophomore Isaiah Roby has also contributed greatly to Nebraska’s success. Roby doesn’t take a lot of shots, but he is his team’s second leading rebounder and leader in blocked shots. Roby puts his enormous, 747-like wingspan, and 6’8” height to good use in blocking almost two shots a game and grabbing 5.7 rebounds.

Anton Gill and Glynn Watson Jr. provide steady but unspectacular guard play.

Gill occasionally gets hot from behind the arc (39.7%) but only averages 8.7 points per game.

For Maryland to compete with this team they must attack the Nebraska guards and defend their bigs. The Terps’ Anthony Cowan must have a big game offensively if Maryland wants to avoid their seventh consecutive Big Ten road loss. Roby and Copeland are good at blocking shots from off the ball on low post attacks, but neither one will move quickly enough to constantly distract Cowan when he goes to the rim.

Cowan is a key for this game offensively.

I’d like to think that Bruno Fernando could give Copeland some trouble down low, but Fernando has struggled with his low post game and if he does find success, Nebraska coach Tim Miles might counter with his 6’11” 270 lbs. back-up center, Jordy Tshimanga.

Tshimanga gets 5 rebounds per game in only 14.5 minutes of action. If Fernando could provide a little inside balance to Maryland’s scoring they might just break that road losing streak.

Before they do that, the Terps must defend the Cornhuskers 3,4, and 5 spots. This is where minutes from Michal Cekovsky would be a blessing. Ceko’s presence in the lineup dramatically changes the matchups. With Ceko in the game, Fernando would be free to play Copeland, leaving Darryl Morsell on Palmer. That puts Cowan on Watson and Kevin Huerter on Gill. Those two guard matchups are a double win for Maryland.

Ceko would then get Roby, another win for the Terps and the Fernando/Copeland pairing is a toss-up. Palmer/Morsell favors Nebraska, but Palmer would have to work hard for it.

But without Ceko, things really change.

Huerter gets Roby and his long arms while Dion Wiley gets Gill. Those matchups are much better for Nebraska. I’m not so sure Cekovsky and his injured heel are ready for 20 to 25 minutes of effective Big Ten play, but Mark Turgeon and all the Terps fans would like to see it.

Nebraska will play zone at times, either a 1-3-1 or a 3-2. If they do, I expect the Terps to shoot them out of it.

But what else can we expect? Is Nebraska a legitimate 10-4 team? Their record is 10-4, but who have they beaten? They have two wins against Rutgers, two against Minnesota, and two against Wisconsin. They beat Illinois once, Iowa once, and Northwestern once.

Their lone quality, in-conference, win was against Michigan in a game where Nebraska was avenging a 93-57 beat down. It was the worst home loss ever for Nebraska. I guess what I’m saying is that perhaps the Cornhusker 10-4 record is a bit deceiving.

We all know that anything can happen in college basketball.

Look at last week when St. Johns, who hadn’t won a conference game all year, took down Duke in a non-conference game and then beat Villanova. Could an upset -- of a smaller degree, admittedly -- happen tonight at Nebraska?

The early line had Nebraska as a three-point favorite and I see this game as a toss-up. Will Fernando play up to the level that we expect from someone with that physique? Will Cowan get 20 points? Can Ceko give us 20 minutes? I’m saying yes, yes, and probably not, but maybe 15.

I was impressed by the close Nebraska losses to Ohio State and Kansas, but I’m not all that impressed with the recent wins against the bottom of the Big Ten.

This game should be a see-saw battle, but Maryland, and their foul shooting, prevail by a score of 68-65.

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how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

Monday
February 12
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issue 12
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why all the hate?


A friend texted me during the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am yesterday.

We engaged in brief discussion about the potential for Ted Potter, Jr. to hold off the likes of Dustin Johnson and Jason Day and win the tournament.

”Anybody but Mickelson,” he wrote.

”Why? What’s wrong with him?” I asked. I’ve known the guy for a long time. I never before heard him speak ill will of Mickelson.

”I can’t stand that jerk,” my friend shot back.

We went on to have a 10-text exchange about Mickelson.

I was genuinely curious about finding out why my friend was so down on the 3-time Masters champion.

The closest thing he came to providing any sort of honest answer was when he wrote, “I don’t know what it is. I just can’t stand him.”

That got me to thinking.

"I can't stand that jerk" someone said of Phil Mickelson recently. Why do sports fans develop such strong dislike for players and coaches?

Is there anyone in the world of sports that I simply “cant’ stand”? Besides anyone who plays for the Flyers, that is.

And, frankly, there isn’t any one player on the Flyers that I “can’t stand”. I probably only know two or three players by name on the whole roster.

In general, anyone who plays for the Flyers is a rat fink. But that’s only because they wear that uniform. If they leave the Flyers and go elsewhere, I think their “rat-finkness” gets left behind in Philadelphia. (Except for Danny Briere, maybe).

Seriously, though. I challenged myself yesterday to really think long and hard about an athlete that I can’t stand.

I added coaches in there, too.

Here’s the weirdest thing: I can’t think of anyone in sports that I can’t stand.

What’s wrong with me, right?

I guess the most polarizing sports figure of 2017 might have been Colin Kaepernick, the erstwhile 49’ers quarterback who was blackballed by the NFL for leading the “take a knee” crusade back in the 2016 season.

I’m definitely not a fan of Kaepernick. I wouldn’t sign him to play for MY team.

But I wouldn’t go as far as to say I can’t stand him. I don’t even know that I dislike him, per se.

I dislike what he did. I guess that’s different than disliking him.

I asked my friend how long he’s disliked Mickelson.

”I don’t know. A while now,” he wrote back.

More confusion. You dislike the guy. “I can’t stand him” were your exact words. But you can’t pinpoint either why or for how long.

Weird…

We’ve had a couple of famous sports villains in Baltimore in baseball over the last 20 years. Both players spurned the Orioles. Mike Mussina and Mark Teixeira.

Oddly enough, neither of those guys ever bothered me.

Mussina got low-balled by the Orioles and took a (much) better offer from the Yankees. You and I would have done the same thing if our company would have made us a ridiculously low offer after years of successfully producing for them.

And the same went for Teixeira, who wound up getting roughly $50 million more from the Yankees than the Orioles offered him.

It’s kind of hard to dislike someone who makes $50 million more. To me, anyway.

Lots of people around the country have somehow become anti-Ray Lewis over the years. Just last Saturday when it was announced he was entering the Hall of Fame, social media pages filled up with Ray venom, ranging from attacks on his religious devotion to snipes about the incident in Atlanta almost two decades ago.

I’m not a huge NBA follower, but when I do follow it – mainly via the web and social media – I see a lot of disdain for LeBron James. I don’t get that either. What’s he ever done to warrant so much hate?

You never see LeBron on the police blotter. He's not a "go through the motions" guy on the court. Why the hate for him? I don't understand.

This one might be on me. Maybe if I followed “the Association” more I’d get it.

As I sit here writing this on Sunday night, I keep stopping every ten minutes to think this through more thoroughly.

”There has to be someone in sports you can’t stand” I keep saying to myself. “There just has to be…”

I can’t come up with anyone. Except for everyone on the Flyers – and I don’t even know nearly all of their names, so that’s sort of like “fake dislike”.

There’s not a golfer on the PGA Tour that I dislike.

There’s not a tennis player that I dislike.

I saw lots and lots of internet hate for Tom Brady last Sunday, but I don’t feel any real animosity for him. In fact, as I wrote here back in the regular season, I think I probably have more respect for Brady now than I ever have before.

I wasn’t really rooting for him last Sunday night, but I wasn’t rooting against him, either.

I almost feel like I’m doing it wrong…

All these sports and coaches and athletes that I follow every day and there aren’t any at all that I simply despise?

There has to be…

What about you?

It’s time for you to confess…

Who do you dislike? And why?

I actually think “the why” is the most important part of the whole deal.

It’s one thing to say, “I can’t stand that guy…”

It’s another thing entirely to have good, sound legitimate reasons for feeling that way.

So, as Brian Billick would often say, “Have at it.”

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


pecota edition


You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?


Who?

Bill Pecota

Bill Pecota was a utility infielder in the late 1980s and early 1990s, playing mostly for the Kansas City Royals. He’s one of those precious few Major Leaguers to have played every position, including pitcher.

Years later, Nate Silver’s PECOTA rankings for Baseball Prospectus (see below) made his unspectacular career more memorable.

When Ryan Flaherty signed with the Phillies this past week, ending (for now?) his Orioles career, I started wondering about our luck with utility players here in Baltimore. I even sent a text message around to a few friends. Who is the best utility guy in team history?

Someone mentioned noted Randy Johnson killer Jeff Reboulet, who played three years of his long career as a part-timer in Baltimore.

Lenn Sakata was a popular choice; who can forget the game in 1983 where he was forced to play catcher, and the Blue Jays were so eager to run on him that Tippy Martinez picked off three runners in one inning?

And then there are guys who were probably meant to be utility players, like Melvin Mora or Mark McLemore, that became way more than that. I’m not even including notable pinch hitters like Terry Crowley or Jim Dwyer.

Flaherty, by the way, has played only seven positions of the nine; he’s never caught or played center field. He made his one and only pitching appearance in a blowout loss to Houston in 2016.


What?

PECOTA

It’s a “backronym,” a new phrase to fit an already existing name, with the words chosen to fit the letters, not the other way around. In this case, it stands for “Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm.”

As opposed to an acronym, letters chosen to fit words. Like “radar” or “scuba.” Anyway…

With only two proven major league starting pitchers at his disposal entering spring training, Buck Showalter is expected to watch a lot of losing in 2018 -- at least that's what the famed PECOTA rankings say.

The most recent PECOTA prediction from Baseball Prospectus has the Orioles at 69 wins in 2018. In the American League, only the Tigers and Royals are predicted to win fewer games.

Remember 2014?

Baltimore won 96 games, and the AL East by a 12-game margin; the Orioles clinched in mid-September. Meanwhile, in the AL Central, Detroit and Kansas City fought it out for the division title until the final weekend of the regular season, with both teams earning playoff spots.

The Orioles swept the Tigers, and the Royals caught fire and won eight playoff games in a row to make the World Series.

That was four years ago.

Now, they’ve been predicted to win 69, 68 and 66 games, respectively, and I can’t quibble with any of those predictions.

The main reason behind the 69-win number for the Orioles is the prophecy of 875 runs allowed, which would be by far the most in either league. On the bright side, how can that even be an educated guess if we have no idea who 75 percent of the pitching staff is?


When?

2012

There’s a parallel between Spring Training 2018 and the surprise 2012 season, and that’s the sheer number of pitchers the Orioles are bringing to Major League camp. 35 of them, according to reports from last week.

Who are some of these guys? If one of them last pitched in the California Penal League I wouldn’t be surprised.

During that 2012 season, 12 pitchers started at least two games for the Orioles. Only one them, Wei-Yin Chen, started on a “full-time” basis, pitching nearly 200 innings in 32 starts. Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel were next with 20 starts apiece.

Eddie Encina of The Sun made a good point recently: that 2012 team had the luxury of lots of minor-league options with its pitchers, making the Baltimore-to-Norfolk train a possibility in the way that it won’t be this year.

While we won’t know how the pitching staff will play out for a month-and-a-half, and we won’t know if it’s going to be as bad as it seems until a couple months after that, Spring Training should be interesting.

35 pitchers are way too many for a camp; apparently, the Orioles and their neighbors in Bradenton, the Pirates, have already scheduled several “B” games so that pitchers can get some work and be evaluated. If anybody wants to sneak over to the Buck O’Neil Complex in Sarasota for those, maybe you’ll get a few laughs.


Where?

The South Bronx

According to Baseball Prospectus, five of the six division winners in 2018 will be the same as they were in 2017: Cleveland and Houston in the American League; Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in the National League. The only new first-place team should be the Yankees, under first-year manager Aaron Boone.

By adding the game’s best veteran power hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, to a lineup with the game’s best young power hitter, Aaron Judge, the Yankees made a great lineup downright scary. Even if they don’t reach their combined total of 111 home runs from 2017, they’ll get relatively close. Thanks a lot Derek Jeter!

That being said, the Yankees are still somewhat of an unproven commodity. That includes Boone, who spent the last eight years as an ESPN announcer, not a manager.

For a team with such a good bullpen and quality pitching in general, New York actually struggled in close games last season, finishing 18-26 in one-run games.

As Orioles fans remember, the Yankees won a tremendous amount of blowout games; they were 37-13 in games decided by five or more runs, averaging more than eight runs in those games. That’s not really a recipe for postseason success.

The most talented player on the Yankees might be 21-year-old infielder Gleyber Torres, whom they acquired from the Cubs in 2016 as part of a deal for Aroldis Chapman, now back on the team. So, they basically got the best prospect in baseball for nothing.


Why?

Football is better than baseball?

I don’t really think football is better than baseball; check the archives from last April for a column I wrote entitled “Baseball is the Best Sport.”

Still, being a fan of an NFL team is probably better than being a fan of an MLB team, because you don’t have to spend every waking day of the offseason wondering why your team is doing nothing while someone else signs up every decent free agent.

Your NFL team’s ability to sign and develop good players is based on solid decision making, good scouting and coaching and sometimes a little luck. Your MLB team’s ability to do so is dependent on how much money their owners want to spend.

The Yankees traded Chapman in 2016. By the beginning of 2017, they had him back, and they had a future All-Star rocketing up their system. Shrewd, for sure. But you can only be shrewd if you’re allowed to be shrewd by your resources.

The best part about the whole thing is that Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees are being lauded these days because of how little money they are spending compared to what they could be spending. I’ll be interested to see what happens if some of New York’s young players don’t reach their potential and the fans start calling for a little George Steinbrenner instead.

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how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Sunday
February 11
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 11
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it's time for the orioles to knuckle down and get a pitcher


The first pitching domino fell yesterday when Yu Darvish signed a 6-year, $126 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

I'm so happy Darvish finally set the market. Now the Orioles can go out and get Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb and make a legit push for .500 in 2018.

OK, that's probably not going to happen.

But Darvish's signing at least opens the door for some movement as spring training kicks off later this week.

Expect the Dodgers to sign one of the prominent names still looking for work; Cobb, Lynn or former Oriole Jake Arrieta.

They need to replace the departed Darvish and, in case you haven't noticed, Los Angeles has this thing about wanting-to-win now that causes them to spend money on good players. Their rotation is already pretty daggone good, but Cobb or Lynn would help them even more.

I suspect the Cardinals will get one of the others, although it's highly unlikely Lynn would return to St. Louis or he already would have done so. Arrieta seems like the perfect fit for them given his knowledge of the N.L. Central.

St. Louis is probably getting tired of seeing the Cubs win the division. They could use Arrieta.

Now that Yu Darvish has signed, will former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta be the next prominent starting pitcher to pick his new team?

There's no telling where Cobb will end up. I suspected all along he'd sign with the Yankees, who could use a quality arm to support their powerful offensive lineup. But it stands to reason if the Bronx Bombers haven't coughed up the money for him by now, they probably won't do it.

Jason Vargas is still looking for work, but he's probably going to be a spring training signing. He's the least impressive of the remaining free agents.

If you believe those pesky "industry reports", the Orioles are interested in everyone, but not interested in investing in anyone.

Those same reports suggest owner Peter Angelos is unwilling to obligate himself to giving a pitcher a four year deal after the club was burned so badly by Ubaldo Jimenez.

Cobb, Lynn or Vargas would be an upgrade over what the Orioles have right now, but there's a fair chance your Uncle Steve who pitched in the Twins minor league organization back in 2008 might be an upgrade over the cast of characters the Orioles could potentially give the ball to in Sarasota.

I didn't list Arrieta as a potential upgrade because, we know, he's not returning to the Orioles.

The sticking point of not wanting to cough up four years for a pitcher is silly, of course. And using the crutch of Ubaldo Jimenez is even more silly.

Jimenez would have been a bad signing had the Orioles inked him to a one year deal. Or a two year deal. Or a three year deal.

The length of the contract wouldn't have been an issue if Jimenez would have been any good.

Sure, they would have "only" forked over $12.5 million for one year of "bad Ubaldo" instead of $50 million for four years of lousy production, but signing him to just a one year meant they would have been out pitcher shopping again (and spending at least that, one would assume) in an effort to sign a quality arm.

Jimenez stunk. No doubt about that. But the length of his contract and the money they gave him have been overamplified by how bad he was on the mound.

This is a lot like the Ravens and their pursuit of wide receivers.

Is the issue the receivers are really good and then once they get to Baltimore the system fails them and their skills diminish?

Or are the players the Ravens bring in not nearly as good as their scouting eye tells them?

Over the last two years, the Orioles brought in two mid-season arms to help them: Wade Miley ('16) and Jeremy Hellickson ('17). I don't care what you have to pay those guys...I'm more worried about whether or not they can get people out.

Neither of them could.

Miley was a nibbling, paint-the-corners journeyman who put so many guys on base there weren't any ducks left on the pond for the kids to feed.

Hellickson was a fly ball pitcher that Dan Duquette somehow thought wouldn't get exposed in Baltimore's bandbox of a stadium. He made 10 total starts with the Birds in August and September. At home, he posted a 7.30 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in 5 starts.

You could have paid those two $2 million or $20 million. They still weren't any good.

R.A. Dickey has missed just six starts in the last five years and has averaged 200 innings pitched per-season in that time. Could the Orioles use someone like that in 2018?

There is good news, though.

I'll do the Orioles work here today and give them the name (again) of a pitcher they should be trying to sign.

I wrote this back in December -- in Fact and Opinion, I think -- and he's still a free agent, looking for a team.

I bet he'd come cheap, which is music to the ears of Angelos and his bookkepers.

And I think he'd take some sort of short deal, perhaps one-year or one-year with some sort of option for 2019.

I'd love to see the Orioles bring in R.A. Dickey.

Let's get the most important thing out of the way first -- money. Dickey would likely come in somewhere around $7 or $8 million for 2018. That's about what Wade Miley cost, except Miley wasn't any good.

You'd get your $8 million worth out of Dickey.

Why him, you ask?

Easy. He'll give the Orioles innings, which they desperately need, and his track record, while not Hall of Fame worthy, suggests he's going to post an ERA in the low to mid 4's.

Before you go telling me the Orioles shouldn't sign a 43-year old pitcher, look carefully at what he's done of late. Last year he made 31 starts in Atlanta and gave them 190 innings. Before that, he missed three starts in four years in Toronto and gave them inning totals of 224, 215, 214 and 170.

Dickey is reliable to make his start every 5th day, if nothing else. And he doesn't stink while he's doing it, either.

Yes, he'll cough up a lot of home runs. You know the story with knuckleball pitchers. When they're on, they're going 6.2 innings and giving up one run on six hits. When they're off, they're getting tagged for three home runs in 4.1 innings of work and allowing six runs to cross the plate.

Dickey can still pitch. And with the Orioles constantly in search of a bargain-basement purchase, he fits in perfectly with their philosophy.

Ozzie Newsome is famous for his player-signing phrase: "Right player, right price".

The Orioles have one as well: "Just make sure he comes at a low cost..."

Dickey fits that criteria.

You could go Gausman-Dickey-Bundy and have three capable starters and a guy in the middle who would look nothing at all like the two sandwiched around him. And, if these things matter to you, Dickey is familiar with the American East, so going up against the Yankees, Red Sox, Jays and Rays won't require a learning curve.

Would Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb be a better signing for the Orioles? For sure...

But they're not getting those guys unless somehow, miraculously, they decide to sign for two or three years.

Dickey is the next best option in my opinion.

I'm guessing he's better than your Uncle Steve, but if you see your Uncle at a family gathering today, tell him to keep his arm loose. Even with Dickey in the fold, the O's still need more pitching help.

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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 2017-18 season.


solid effort gives terps much needed win over northwestern


The Maryland Terrapins dismantled the Northwestern match-up zone and cruised to a 73-57 win at the XFINITY Center in College Park yesterday.

The Terps used a barrage of three-point shots to build an early lead that they never relinquished. Seven of the first ten Maryland threes found the bottom of the net as the hosts continually used great ball movement to get Northwestern defenders out of position.

Kevin Huerter hit three triples in the first half and led all scorers with 22 points.

The team defense that Maryland displayed yesterday was easily one of their top efforts of the year.

While I could expound on the accomplishments, defensively, of every Terp, I’ll just focus on two that stood out.

First, Anthony Cowan’s “lockdown” job on Bryant McIntosh was simply brilliant. Going into the game, I said that keeping the Northwestern point guard in front of you and out of the lane was paramount to any success the Terps might have on the defensive end.

Cowan couldn’t have done much more than he did yesterday. Not only did McIntosh fail to score on any of his 5 shot attempts, but he dished out just one lonely assist. Mission accomplished.

Sophomore Kevin Huerter produced his best overall game of the season on Saturday as he led Maryland with 22 points in a 73-57 triumph over Northwestern.

Also requiring special notation is the job that Kevin Huerter did on Northwestern’s Scottie Lindsey in the second half. Lindsey torched Maryland for 15 first half points including 11 in the last five plus minutes. He was directly responsible for chopping a Maryland 16-point lead down to just five shortly before the half ended with a Huerter turnaround jumper.

Contrast that to the five points Lindsey was able to get in the second half as he was continually harassed by Huerter. Occasionally other Terps helped when Maryland was forced to switch, but it was Huerter who did most of the tough work.

With Lindsey being harassed and McIntosh getting blanked, Northwestern only managed to hit eight of their 26 shots in the second half.

Maryland came out shooting lasers right from the opening jump. They hit their first three three-point shots and held an 8-point lead, 14-8 at the 15:34 media timeout.

From there the Terp shooters cooled off a bit as they missed their next four three-point attempts but still held a 9-point lead at the under-12 media timeout. The 19-10 advantage helped mask the fact that Maryland was accumulating turnovers at a rapid rate. They had four by the 11:30 mark.

Maryland was also heavily reliant on their long-range offense in the early going. Seven of Maryland’s first eleven shots were 3’s. A Huerter tough turnaround from the right side was the only field goal that Maryland had in the final 5:22 of the first half. That bucket gave the Terps a 36-29 lead at halftime.

With Maryland having lost several halftime leads this year, it was reasonable to wonder at what point would Turgeon’s team run out of gas and start to struggle. What has been their M.O. for much of the year was not the case yesterday.

The Wildcats, who started the second half by turning the ball over three times in the first minute and missing their first three shots, were complicit in helping Maryland reverse their season long trend of losing games after building big leads in the opening 20 minutes.

The seven-point Maryland halftime advantage quickly grew to 14 points.

Northwestern did manage to get the lead down to seven after a Lindsey three (his only three of the second half), but Cowan quickly answered with a three of his own and the lead was back to ten with 11:38 remaining in the game.

That was the beginning of a game-sealing 22-13 run that finished off Northwestern and provided the Terps with their 16-point margin of victory.

That the Terps were able to win the game really came as no surprise. The Maryland home court advantage and the preferable matchups were too much for Northwestern to overcome.

The biggest shocker of the day came in the post position. While I thoroughly expected Bruno Fernando to dominate his smaller counterpart, Dererk Pardon, statistically the opposite occurred.

Fernando had only two points and failed to hit a field goal while Pardon went from 4-9 the field while posting 12 points. Pardon also won the rebounding battle as he grabbed eight (5 offensive) compared to Fernando’s three.

Pardon used his stability and activity to stifle Fernando’s offensive attempts. When Pardon had the ball, he was able to bang Fernando, knocking the Terp center off of his position.

Fernando also seemed to have difficulty handling the ball, and when he did control it, his moves were well anticipated by Pardon. Obviously, Fernando has a lot to learn about post play.

In all, it was a good win for Maryland.

Northwestern was on a bit of a roll and had hopes of making a run towards their second tournament bid. They had a lot on the line yesterday, but the Terps were just better.

Maryland (6-8 in conference play) continues their Big Ten season when they take on Nebraska in Lincoln on Tuesday at 7:00 pm.

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how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Saturday
February 10
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so.....now what?


For the first time since last August, this weekend will come and go without a football game to watch.

Not that our lives completely revolve around football, mind you, but there's a lot of time and energy devoted to following it, be it college or professional.

And now, it's over.

I consider myself personally fortunate in that three of my favorite sports are really just heating up. Golf, hockey and baseball will occupy my time over the next six months.

But what about you?

How do you navigate the spring and summer months without football?

There's the Olympics, which started yesterday. That will get you through the next few weeks, at least. Quick, name three U.S. Olympic athletes.

C'mon...name three.

Don't feel bad, I couldn't name three, either. I was stymied after Lindsey Vonn and Shawn White. Whatever they do...

We have Maryland men's basketball on the docket. They have five regular season games left.

Hang in there sports fans. The greatest four days of the year are less than two months away.

Maybe they'll catch fire and stun everyone with a miraculous run through the Big Ten tournament and earn a spot in the Big Dance. That would be a lot of fun to watch.

Or perhaps they'll get eliminated by Indiana in the first round of the conference tournament up at Madison Square Garden. That's a more likely scenario.

The NCAA tournament will give us something to watch in mid-March, but it's always more fun when the Terps are in the event. Even without the Terps dancing, though, March Madness will get our attention.

That takes us all the way up to baseball season.

Can you believe it? It's almost here.

The Orioles start spring training this week, with a couple of pitchers and several catchers reporting to Sarasota to get things started.

Say what you will about the Birds and their lack of wings-flapping in the off-season, but 2018 will be well worth following.

Those crazy PECOTA rankings have the Orioles finishing at 69-93. I'm happy to report that PECOTA has under-predicted the team's win total in each of the last five years, so don't be too concerned with that 69-93 prediction.

I have the O's at 72-90, by the way. And that's assuming they get another major league starting pitcher between now and March 29.

If nothing else, though, the Orioles are going to be interesting this season.

Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter are both in the final year of their respective contracts? Do they GM and manage with their hair on fire or, like most lame-duck sports people, does the frustration and tension of not knowing where they'll be living and working next season lead them to go through the motions?

They're both only human, you know.

What's going to happen with Manny Machado? That's the "story of the year" as far as the Orioles are concerned. The team can be shockingly good or wildly awful and either way, but what the organization does with Machado between now and the end of July will be followed with far more intensity than the on-field performance.

I imagine we'll be writing about Manny here at #DMD a lot over the next few months.

The same for the likes of Zach Britton and Adam Jones. Both of those guys are going to be in the spotlight over the next few months.

I have no idea what lies ahead for the Orioles in 2018, but I do know it's going to be well worth following and opining on, if nothing else.

The Capitals and Wizards are both heading in the direction of the post-season. If you're a follower of either team, their playoff participation will get you through April, May and June.

Wait...

Let me re-write that. If you're a follower of either team, their playoff participation will get you through April.

There, that's better.

I don't follow the Wizards nearly as close as I follow the Capitals, so it's almost unfair for me to offer an opinion on John Wall and Company. I've seen enough this season, though, to just sort of assume Boston's going to win the Eastern Conference. I suppose LeBron and the Cavaliers might turn it around in time to have a say in the matter, but either way I don't see the Wizards having enough under the hood to be playing basketball in early June when the games really matter.

As for the Capitals.....I've been a diehard fan since 1976. I've seen it all. I know exactly what's going to happen in April or, if they're lucky to get through a round or two, May.

The Caps will fall short. Again.

Personally, it will be well worth watching. I love the NHL. There's no sport that matches the excitement of playoff hockey in my opinion. So, even when the Caps lose in the playoffs to whatever team they shouldn't lose to, I'll still watch the playoffs with great enthusiasm.

I'd love to think this might be the year the Caps get it all figured out, but I know that's not happening.

I marveled at the Eagles' fan who, ummmm, ingested horse poop last Sunday night after Nick Foles engineered his favorite football team to an improbable Super Bowl title.

I'm not sure what I'd do if the Caps won the Stanley Cup, but I know what I wouldn't do...

Alas, I won't have to worry about that in June. The Caps will be watching the Stanley Cup Finals from the same vantage point that I have: their couch.

There's also the build-up surrounding the NFL Draft in late April. Do you have your first mock completed yet?

As always, we'll pre-analyze, super-analyze and over-analyze the Draft. It's what we do. But there's no debate about it; the NFL Draft has become one of the year's biggest sports events to follow -- for those of us in one of the NFL's 32 markets, at least.

And if you're crazy about golf like I am, the next few months make up your personal sports oasis.

Spring officially starts for me, personally, on that first Thursday in April when they tee it up at the Masters. I can just hear Jim Nantz's voice now.

(Birds lightly chirping in the background...the TV screen showing a wide shot of the 12th hole at Augusta National) -- "Spring came early to Augusta, Georgia this year and the azalea's are in full bloom, and so, too, is the golf game of local hero Kevin Kisner, who once talked his way into the Masters by convincing a security guard he was the younger brother of 1987 champion Larry Mize. Here's Kisner for birdie and the outright lead at 18th hole. And he makes it! That putt would move him to five under par for the day and give him the early lead here at the 2018 Masters. Good afternoon friends, Jim Nantz here with you..."

The Masters is my favorite sporting event of the year. Period.

But I'm also fortunate to have the U.S. Open (June), British Open (July) and PGA Championship (August), all conveniently positioned in the calendar to get me from spring to fall.

You know, now that I think about it...

Maybe the next six months won't be so boring after all.

I hope it's the same for you.

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dale williams aims
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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 2017-18 season.


terps host northwestern today


The Northwestern team that Maryland faces today will largely be the same one that defeated the Terps in last year’s Big Ten Tournament.

Returning senior starters Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsay are joined by returning junior starters Vic Law and Dererk Pardon. Gavin Skelly, the remaining Wildcat starter, saw 14 minutes of action off of the bench for coach Chris Collins’ squad in Maryland’s 72-64 tournament loss last season. Skelly has been starting recently and should get the start this afternoon.

But the Maryland team they’ll face this time is vastly changed.

Of the Terps that saw significant action in that first round tourney loss, only Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan remain as starters.

Jared Nickens saw two minutes and Dion Wiley played just three. Justin Jackson started as well, but had his 2017-2018 season ended with a November shoulder injury. Michal Cekovsky missed the game last March with a foot injury.

The Terps desperately need Anthony Cowan to direct them to a win today over Northwestern. Maryland sits at 5-8 in the Big Ten.

In some ways this year's Terrapin team is better equipped to handle these Wildcats than was last season’s edition.

Damonte Dodd was just awful in that game last year. The 6’11” center had a mere two rebounds and four points. Combined, the Terp frontcourt scored just 12 points.

Those stats will be different today, I think.

A skilled back-to-the-basket guy can have a field day against the Northwestern center, Dererk Pardon. Pardon is only 6’8” and not real rangy or long. He’s fairly tough, but he’s not as physically gifted as, let’s say, Mike Watkins from Penn State. They are different types of players.

Bruno Fernando can score on Pardon, even in the zone that coach Collins has been using more frequently.

Northwestern hasn’t given up more than 58 points in their last three games. Their zone has slowed down the tempo and caused problems for opposing offenses. I watched all three of their most recent games, and shots are available against the Wildcats, but a large percentage were missed.

When Northwestern goes man-to-man, Fernando should feast.

With Cowan being a half step faster than McIntosh, he should be able to get to the basket where no real rim protector awaits. That spells trouble for Northwestern. With Huerter, Cowan, and Nickens all fairly reliable from the three-point line, Northwestern might be forced to abandon their zone.

Defensively for Maryland, I am a bit concerned by the size of Northwestern’s big guards. Vic Law plays the three and he’s 6'7", while Scottie Lindsey mans the two spot and he’s 6'5".

Perhaps Mark Turgeon will elect to have Dion Wiley or Jared Nickens guard Skelly, who despite being 6'8" is the Wildcats' best three-point shooter at 45%. That would leave Huerter on Law and Morsell on Lindsey.

Lindsey gets 14 points per game, but only connects on 32% of his threes. Law averages 12.2 points, 6 rebounds, and hits about 37% of his three-point attempts. Skelly didn’t impress me with his low post game, so perhaps the weaker, and shorter, defender can be effective knowing that his main area of concern is the perimeter.

The defense that Anthony Cowan plays on McIntosh will be a key for Maryland today. McIntosh is slippery with the ball and hits a wide variety of little floaters in the lane. He’ll have about 4 inches on Cowan and that’s enough for him to consistently get off his shot. Cowan must stay in front of him and force him to score from the outside.

Both Law and Lindsey can create their own shot, but they don’t shoot it all that well. As a team, Northwestern hits at a pedestrian 43% from the field and 35% from behind the three-point line.

Unless Northwestern bucks their shooting trend, they should find the going pretty tough today. Their lack of size at the post position means the matchups will be favorable for Maryland for most of the game.

Maryland will get a bunch of looks from the outside, Fernando should dominate the interior, and Cowan will get to the hoop.

Maryland will win, and it could be by a big margin if Morsell plays a heady game when entry passes find him around the foul line on the interior of the Northwestern zone.

Fernando will lead all scorers with 20 points and Maryland gets 15 each from Cowan and Huerter. The early line came out with the Maryland Terrapins as a 6-point favorite. It’s not enough.

Solid defense and limited turnovers (Trimble had 6 and Cowan 5 in last year’s game) propel the Terps to a 74-64 win in College Park.

KELLY banner ad

how well do you know baltimore sports trivia?


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Friday
February 9
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 9
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fact and opinion thinks torrey smith is doing it wrong


FACT: -- Beau Hossler shares the first-round lead at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am after opening with a 7-under par 65 on Thursday. That he shot that score at the Pebble Beach GC bodes well for him, since he still has the other easier two courses in the rotation (Monterrey Penisula and Spyglass Hill) left to play before returning to Pebble Beach for Sunday's final round. Hossler was playing college golf this time last year at the University of Texas.

OPINION: -- Every year now, it seems one or two college hotshots burst onto the PGA Tour and start to make a name for themselves almost immediately. Over the last decade, those guys include the likes of Fowler, Spieth, Thomas, Reed, English, Kizzire and so on. Hossler is going to be a star on the TOUR. Watch and see. He's been groomed for this life since he started playing AJGA events as a 10-year old. His college career at Texas was spectacular. He's the real deal. Get used to hearing his name.

FACT: -- Erstwhile Raven and now two-time Super Bowl champion Torrey Smith made the news this week by informing everyone he's not going to the White House later this year when the Eagles are invited to meet President Trump in the annual symbolic gesture of championship teams going to the White House.

OPINION: -- Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Who cares? I mean, really. These guys and their high-horse-tours crack me up. Smith is apparently disappointed with President Trump's "stance on women". Fair enough. He's not the first person in the country to feel that way about the President. But has Smith looked around the locker room in Philadelphia? Between May of 2012 and May of 2017, guess which NFC East team led the division in arrests? No, not the Cowboys (good guess, though). It was -- ta daaaa -- the world champion Eagles. They had seven players arrested during that span: DUI (1), Assault/Battery (2), Gun (1), Resisting Arrest (1) and Other (2). I'm so bored with these football players chasing causes and issues but having their own filthy rooms left uncleaned.

FACT: -- Ryan Flaherty signed a minor league deal with the Phillies on Wednesday. If he's not on Philly's major league roster by March 22nd, he has the right to opt out and become a free agent.

OPINION: -- We haven't seen the last of Flaherty in orange and black. Just like the recent re-signing of utility outfielder and bonafide .200 hitter Craig Gentry, the Orioles always have room for someone who can play a bunch of positions -- albeit none of them at an All-Star level -- and do it on the cheap. Flaherty will someday return to Baltimore and play baseball. Bet on it.

Could this be the season the Caps finish in the middle of the pack of the regular season standings but then it on in April, May and June and win their first-ever Stanley Cup? (Psssst - don't count on it).

FACT: -- Don't look now, but eight teams in the NHL have more points than the Capitals (67) with about two months left in the regular season. It would appear there's no President's Trophy in the offing for the Caps in 2017-2018.

OPINION: -- Of the eight teams ahead of Washington, five of them are in the Western Conference. The three in the East (Tampa Bay, Boston and Toronto) will be there in May when the Caps try and work their way through three playoff rounds and into only their second ever Stanley Cup Finals. It's early, yet, but I wouldn't mind seeing the Caps play Toronto, I'd love to see them draw the Bruins, and I'd have no interest in a Caps-Lightning match-up. Oh, and, of course, let's hope the Penguins don't show up on the Caps' playoff schedule this spring. We know how that ends...

FACT: -- The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics was held at 6:00 am today, Friday, February 9th.

OPINION: -- I know zero about these Olympic Games, other than they're being held in South Korea. There was a time "back in the old days" when my family would sit around the TV and watch the Olympics with great enthusiasm. I think I'm going to try and do that with my children this time around, even though they don't ski, bobsled, ice skate or live near a frozen lake where they can be introduced to curling. The Olympics should be treasured. Alas, they no longer are.

FACT: -- Tom Brady's Facebook Watch documentary, "Tom vs. Time" has been extraordinarily interesting, at least to me (which makes it, for me, a "fact"). We see a Hall of Fame, greatest-of-all-time quarterback from the outside. What we don't see are the inner demons he's fighting, the strife with his wife (who wants him to retire) and the on-going battles he's having with Father Time. Late last week, people watching the documentary saw one scene in particular where Brady kissed his son on the lips. And from that, the outcry began. Brady got raked over the coals for the way he kisses his son.

OPINION: -- I kiss my son and daughter on the lips (I guess that's a fact, not an opinion). I have no problem at all with how Tom Brady chooses to kiss his children. I don't care how you decide to kiss your children, either. If you kiss your son and/or daughter on the lips, it most certainly doesn't make you "weird" in any way. Not in the least.

FACT: -- Justin Timberlake performed at halftime of last Sunday's Super Bowl, the second time he's been featured as a performer during the big game. Fortunately for him, this go-round was less controversial than his debut effort way back in 2004 when he was part of Janet Jackson's famous "wardrobe malfunction".

OPINION: -- So, who's next? Who will we see in 2019 when the Super Bowl is played in Atlanta. Little Feat is out, I assume, but it would have been cool to hear them belt out "Oh Atlanta!" at halftime of the game. My early prediction is........Pink. She delivered a glorious rendition of the National Anthem last Sunday night and the other two top female performers of her ilk, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, have both been halftime performers in the past.

FACT: -- It's February 9th and the Orioles still only have two bonafide starting pitchers.

OPINION: -- Reports have leaked out this week that the Birds have been in discussions with several of the more prominent free agent starters, including Lance Lynn and Andrew Cashner, but that the O's (predictably) are balking at coughing up a four-year deal for any of them. This, of course, is what always happens with the O's. Player wants three years, Orioles feel "more comfortable" at two. Player wants four years, Orioles are more comfortable offering three. And so on and so on. The Birds are likely feeling the self-produced heat of paying for Ubaldo Jimenez for four years when four months would have been better. And that Chris Davis albatross-contract probably isn't helping, either. They need to sign someone, though. Soon...

FACT: -- Nick Foles was the Super Bowl MVP, but he might get the Trent Dilfer treatment and not return to his championship-winning team for the 2018 season. Some of that probably depends on the progress Carson Wentz is making from his ACL surgery, but the simple fact is the Eagles might not be able to afford having both Foles and Wentz on the roster moving forward.

OPINION: -- Are you ready for an outside-the-box destination for Foles, via trade? I have one for you. There's a team out there with a quarterback who is in the November of his career. If possible, I'm sure Philadelphia -- if they had to trade him -- would like to keep Foles out of the NFC if they do deal him. So, here's a thought. It's a wild one. But don't rule it out. The Eagles ship Foles to the Patriots, where he gets paid well to serve as an understudy to Brady for a year or two. (You thought I was painting the Harbaugh-Philadelphia connection and having Foles traded to Baltimore, didn't you?).

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this is worth watching


I was honored to be the featured speaker yesterday morning at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' Thursday Morning Huddle at Calvert Hall.

You only have about 15-20 minutes to share a story and some thoughts with the student-athletes who are in attendance, so it's important to get their attention right away and give them something meaningful to ponder.

I chose the video you can see below. It features Tim Tebow and the famous "eye black" he wore with an inspirational bible verse back in his playing days at the University of Florida.

I thought you might enjoy it.




#DMD HD-TV

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this weekend in
english soccer


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

Make sure you set the alarm for bright and early Saturday morning as Matchday 27 of the English Premier League kicks off with a doozy from North London and, depending on lineups, the first investment of the weekend. After the Championship Sunday debacle I grabbed a winner in the Super Bowl and finished up the month of January with only one loss on my soccer plays, so be sure to keep an eye on the DMD twitter feed just after 6:30am when the investment will be posted and then catch the game, as well as the rest of the slate, live across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 10 (all times eastern)

An Arsenal loss to Tottenham on Saturday will keep the Gunners out of the Champions League next year for the second straight season.

7:30am – Arsenal @ Tottenham – Wembley Stadium, NBC Sports Network

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both in the starting eleven for the first time, Arsenal showed there is in fact life after Alexis Sanchez as the winter window additions chipped in a goal and three assists to help the Gunners roll past Everton 5-1. They will get the weekend action started when they make the short trip across the capitol to Wembley Stadium for a showdown with Tottenham in the North London Derby, with Spurs rescuing a point when they converted from the penalty spot with the last kick off the game to cap a frantic three goal final ten minutes in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool.

While local bragging rights are always on the line when these two get together, the second matchup this season will have much more at stake as fifth place Tottenham will need all three points, which they have managed to find only twice in their last eleven meetings with Arsenal (L5 D4), to continue their chase for a spot in the top four while Arsenal, one place below Spurs and five points off the pace, will at the very least have to avoid walking away empty handed, which they have done in all but two of their last eight trips across town (L4 D2), or it is likely to be two years in a row without Champions League football.

Sunday, February 11 (all times eastern)

9:15am – Manchester United @ Newcastle United – St. James’ Park, NBC Sports Network

Manchester United bounced back from the one off performance they put forth in the mid-week defeat to Tottenham and, after a somewhat nervy first half, got two second half goals, including Alexis Sanchez’ first wearing the iconic number seven shirt for the Red Devils, to cap a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town. With their stranglehold on the second spot in the table once again restored, they will travel to St. James’ Park for a meeting with relegation candidates Newcastle United, who stayed just above the drop zone when they survived a late onslaught from Crystal Palace to earn a point in a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park.

Newcastle United now have only one loss from their last six however, four of those results were draws which has kept them firmly entrenched in the logjam that is the bottom third of the table, one point clear of relegation. They will have to start stringing together some wins if they have any hopes of avoiding the drop but that is unlikely to begin Sunday morning, with United dropping only two of the last thirty meetings with the Magpies across all competitions (W21 D7), only one of their last seven trips away from Old Trafford (W5 D1), and just one of their last thirteen trips to St. James’ Park (W9 D3).

Monday, February 12 (all times eastern)

3:00 pm – West Bromwich Albion @ Chelsea – Stamford Bridge, NBC Sports Network

The misery only grew for West Bromwich Albion as they remained bottom of the table and moved now four points from safety when they were unable to climb out of a two-goal hole and fell to Southampton in their relegation showdown 3-2. Running out of time to save their season, they will wrap up the weekend when they travel to Stamford Bridge for a date with Chelsea, who lost for the second time in less than a week when, down to ten men shortly before the break, they were runover by Watford 4-1 to slide down to fourth place in the table, only a point ahead of Tottenham.

Although West Brom are yet to win in their eleven top flight visits to Stamford Bridge (L9 D2) and have only one win from their last ten meetings with Chelsea overall (L6 D3), the Baggies could be catching the defending champs at just the right time as they appear to be in a state of disarray with only two wins from their ten matches across all competitions since the New Year and rumors continuing to swirl about the future of manager Antonio Conte less than a year after he lifted the title, with his job only safe if he can guide the Blues to a top four finish, which right now is far from certain.

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Thursday
February 8
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issue 8
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angry mom ruins son's big day


This is one of those stories that you almost have to see to believe.

And I'd show it to you if not for the fact that I don't feel like giving the mother even more of a starring role than she's already earned.

You'll just have to take my word for it. Or go to the Deadspin story here.

Jacob Copeland is a high school football player in Pensacola, California who yesterday was all set to enjoy perhaps the biggest day of his young life.

He was going to tell the country -- and an appreciative college coach -- where he has decided to play football next September.

Copeland had narrowed his choices to three outstanding football programs; Tennessee, Florida and, everyone's favorite, Alabama.

In case you've been in a cave for the last decade or so, these "signing days" have become a big deal for the nation's top high school athletes. If we're calling it like it is, they've become too much really.

But in this day and age, it's all about entertainment, right? Put up a few TV cameras, fill the high school gymnasium with adoring teen age classmates, and let the boy or girl have his/her day in the sun.

We can talk about why this new trend isn't really all that beneficial for the high schooler some other time. For now, let's talk about the mother.

Copeland had the three hats on a table in front of him.

Nick Saban doesn't often lose a star recruit these days. But when Jacob Copeland opted for Florida on Wednesday, the young man's mom took up for Coach Saban and left the gym.

For reasons no one really knows, the young man's mom was wearing an Alabama sweatshirt and a Tennessee winter hat.Unless she was sporting some Florida gear that the TV cameras didn't pick up, it appeared as if the Gators weren't represented in her attire.

Copeland reached down and grabbed the Florida hat and put it on.

He's headed to Gainesville.

Mom apparently didn't like that choice.

She promptly picked up her purse and marched off the set.

Now...there very well might be backwash to this that none of us know. Perhaps when they left the house earlier in the day, Copeland told his mom he was going to Alabama.

Perhaps -- hold on to your seat, now -- there were certain "arrangements" promised to the young man from the fine, upstanding folks in Knoxville.

Maybe Mom was the go-between. Who knows, she might have suddenly earned a position in a Tuscaloosa law office making $68,000 a year and, wow, what a coincidence, her son was also going to be playing college football for Alabama at the same time.

This is all to say and suggest, simply, that there might have been a lot more to the story than meets the eye.

From my vantage point, it appears as if Mom didn't want Jacob to go to Florida and he wound up going anyway.

To me -- and it's pretty easy to make this guess based on her attire -- Mom fancied herself on camera next January when her son's on the field playing for another national title at Alabama.

She never pictured herself at Florida.

The only problem? She's not the one playing football.

Her son is.

But Mom became the story yesterday.

As she should have been...

Because on the day her son was putting four years of hard high school athletic work to bed and beaming his way to one of the country's top football programs, she did the most un-motherly thing she could do and left him alone.

Parents take note: It's not about you.

It's hard to accept that and absorb it, I know. I have a son who plays sports and daughter who will start soon.

I get it.

Or I try hard to get it.

But parents need to constantly remember this throughout the athletic career of their son or daughter: It's about the children. Not you.

Sure, you put up the money for the travel and club teams. And you pay for the extra instruction along the way. You fork over cash for gas, food and hotels.

In most cases, parents do that without realizing the two biggest issues at hand. First, you wind up shelling out twenty, thirty or forty grand over a decade, only to find out your son or daughter gets a partial scholarship offer of $10,000 over four years from a middle-of-the-road school.

Or, even worse, your child develops such disdain for sports before he or she reaches sixteen that they don't even want to pursue a college athletic career.

Either way, the money you lay out rarely equals what you're going to get in return.

In the case of Jacob Copeland, though, we can all safely assume, as the nation's 5th rated high school wide receiver, his scholarship at Florida is of the "paid in full" kind.

Copeland is on full scholarship at Florida, you can bet on that.

I don't know if his Mom could have afforded the $200,000 it would have cost to send him there on her own dime. Maybe she won the lottery in 2015 and has money to burn.

I'm guessing that's not the case, though.

I'll assume for kicks and giggles that she's like me, you and virtually everyone else reading this. A full-ride is a Godsend for her. And for her son, too, as he doesn't have anything to worry about now except going to class and playing football -- and maybe not even in that order.

So why march out like that?

Now, for the record, she did come back into the room a little while later and give her son a hug. But that was probably only after someone got control of her and said, "You're doing it wrong, Mom..."

And by the looks of the hug, it wasn't a Hall of Fame embrace.

But that's neither here nor there, now.

What's important is for parents to take note of what happened and pledge not to put themselves in that situation someday.

Sure, parental guidance is important. No one's doubting that or suggesting otherwise. Decisions like where your child is going to college or what coach they're going to play for are critical.

It's a team effort in a lot of ways.

But always remember this, parents...it's not about you. It's about your son or daughter.

Like a lot of coaches, I have a set of "parent rules" that I distribute prior to the season so all parents have a clear idea of the guidelines I ask them to follow.

Number one on the list is "Playing Time".

The rule is simple: I will not talk with you about playing time for your son after a golf match.

Any discussion you want to have must be initiated the next day.

Why? That's easy. If the team wins and your son didn't get to play that day and you're going to address it with me right after the match concludes, you're missing the point of "what matters most is that the team wins".

If the team loses, it's probably not a good idea to approach me about anything in the immediate aftermath. I'm disappointed. I'm frustrated. Losses hurt me.

Win or lose...let's just wait until tomorrow to talk about it.

It's about the athlete. Not about the parents.

The kids are the focal point.

Your job as a parent is to stay out of the way as much as you possibly can so that you can fully enjoy their athletic experience and share the good and bad moments with them.

Mother Copeland couldn't stay out of the way on Wednesday and she became a national story.

Her son didn't need it or deserve it.


paladino financial group joins #dmd


We're excited to bring a new corporate partner on board at #DMD. Please join me in welcoming Andy Paladino and the Paladino Financial Group to our little (but growing) world here.

For those who listen to the FM sports station in town, you might recognize Andy's name (and voice in the future) as part of the weekend lineup on The Fan. He hosts a one-hour financial show on the station every Saturday at 9:00 am.

And now he's joining us here at #DMD as our official "Financial Advisor".

I'll be talking more with Andy on a full scale #DMD podcast later next week, but here are the primary bullet points of his role with your money and/or your family's money.

One of his main priorities is to help people plan out their retirement before they invest.

"We want to grow, protect, and eventually take income from our accounts," Paladino says.

"And we want to look at the 'Accumulation Phase', as you look to save and grow money," he continues. "Saving in a tax efficient manner, taking advantage of any employer retirement plans, looking to grow your money...that's what we focus on in this second phase."

"We then need to start positioning for the 'Distribution Phase'," Andy concludes. "This is the income in retirement phase; planning for your income. It is a whole different ballgame. We need to look at not just asset allocation, but also asset positioning. We want to have a 'paycheck for life'."

You can reach Andy directly at his Timonium office: 410-252-7630.

His impressive and informative website can be found at www.paladinofinancialgroup.com or by clicking the ad you see on the right side of #DMD.

We're very excited to have Andy join forces with #DMD.

We'll be checking in with him via podcast on several occasions throughout 2018 to bring you full information on how he can help you with your investment and retirement plans.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


super bowl thoughts


On the Game

There were more yards gained from scrimmage in Super Bowl LII than in any other game in NFL history.

Not in the history of the Super Bowl. Not in the history of the playoffs. Not since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

The most yards, 1,151 — 613 by New England and 538 by Philadelphia — in any game in the 97-year history of the league. By that measure, it was the greatest offensive game ever played.

There was only one defensive play of note, though it was a big one — the strip sack of Tom Brady by Brandon Graham that essentially won the game for the Eagles. The only other turnover, a second-quarter interception by the Patriots’ Duron Harmon, was a case of good fortune. 99 percent of the time, a pass like that falls harmlessly incomplete.

There wasn't a 6th celebration like this one for Tom and Bill on Sunday night, but they did produce an offensive explosion that saw the Patriots reel off 613 yards in the 41-33 loss to the Eagles.

The teams ran 143 combined plays and averaged more than eight yards per play; for comparison, the Saints led the NFL this season at 6.3 yards per play. Tom Brady’s 28 completions went for an average of 18 yards per catch; for comparison, Philip Rivers and the Chargers led the NFL this season at 12.1 yards per pass completion.

These were the best teams in their respective conferences all season, the No. 1 seeds in the AFC and NFC. And this is the kind of game they played, in the most important game they played all season.

Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that our hometown team had, by far, the fewest yards per completion in the NFL this year, 8.3, almost a full yard less than 31st-ranked Green Bay, which played much of the season with backup quarterback Brett Hundley.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens also ranked last in the league in yards per pass attempt and overall yards gained per play.

Watching the game on Sunday, you’d think the Eagles and Patriots were playing an entirely different sport.

New England actually had to honor the run/pass option nature of Philadelphia’s offense, more than just the typical play action. Meanwhile, Jim Schwartz is a renowned defensive coordinator for the Eagles and a former head coach, yet the Patriots had guys running free in the secondary like never before, even for them.

As for the Ravens, and I’ll grudgingly agree with a few other commentators, they played one really good team the last nine weeks of the season. That would be the Steelers, and remember for a moment what happened.

The teams played a mini version of the Super Bowl that night. They combined for nearly 1,000 yards and 57 first downs, 36 of them by passing. The Ravens lost, but only because the Steelers had the ball in the final minute.

For one game out of 16, the Ravens actually looked like a team that could compete with the best teams in the NFL. And look what kind of game it was.


On the TV Broadcast

Al Michaels said during the broadcast that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia would be leaving the Patriots at the end of the season to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He quickly corrected himself, but it was too late for Twitter.

Michaels twice said that rabid Eagles fan and Millville, N.J., native Mike Trout plays for the California Angels, though the second time he immediately corrected that to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which unfortunately is also no longer correct.

The team is now called simply the Los Angeles Angels. It’s a lot of changes, but someone should have made Michaels aware of it so he got it right the second time.

In the 1988 movie classic The Naked Gun, a zombied-out Reggie Jackson tries to assassinate Queen Elizabeth at a California Angels game. Anyone remember the six baseball announcers from that scene? Michaels wasn’t one of them.

The halftime performance was excellent but, ummm, J.T., what on earth was that outfit about on Sunday night?

The high camera at the goal line for plays inside the 10-yard-line or so is a great addition to an NFL broadcast. From what I can tell, the networks only make the camera available during the Super Bowl. It makes you realize how few cameras, in comparison, are in the stadium for a Ravens-Browns game that’s being televised to three percent of the country.

The tight views of the low and mishandled snap, leading to the late hold and the laces being turned the wrong way for a Stephen Gostkowski field goal attempt? That is great television.

If NBC is going to spend the money to have Michele Tafoya on the sidelines at the Super Bowl, they ought to use her more. She spoke briefly before the game, grabbed Doug Pederson at halftime and talked to Bill Belichick off camera before the third quarter. Otherwise, where was she?

I think Justin Timberlake is great, though it will be interesting to see where his career heads in the next few years as he gets close to 40. That being said, the suit (?) he was wearing during the halftime performance was the ugliest outfit I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t imagine Jessica Biel actually approving of it.

I thought the Dirty Dancing-themed commercial with Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and others was a nod to the fact that there are many people, including lots of women, watching the Super Bowl that never watch a football game during the season.

Those two were an interesting choice, though, which makes me think that commercial was filmed a long time ago. It wasn’t the Giants’ year, to state the obvious. But the people who liked the commercial probably wouldn’t have known that anyway.


On the Players

The only person who didn’t think Nick Foles was a star quarterback in the NFL was Chip Kelly, who traded him after the 2014 season. In 21 games the previous two seasons in Philadelphia, Foles threw 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and won 14 of his 18 starts.

The fact that Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler didn’t play on Sunday after playing on 98 percent of defensive snaps during the season was strange. But the only reason people care so much about Butler is because of one famous play he made in the Super Bowl three years ago. If nobody mentioned that he wasn’t playing, I don’t think I would have noticed.

LeGarrette Blount ran for 90 yards on 14 carries for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII after running for only 31 yards on 11 carries for the Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Chris Long has a grand total of one tackle in the last two Super Bowls but now has ring from winning each of them.

In the last two Super Bowls, Brady has thrown for 971 yards. The Patriots passed the ball 112 times and ran the ball 47 times in those two games.

The Patriots committed pass interference, which wasn’t called, on Philadelphia’s two-point conversion attempt with 2:25 remaining; a successful try would have given the Eagles a 40-33 lead. The Eagles committed pass interference on the Hail Mary play at the end of the game, but officials (correctly, I think) never call that penalty in those jump-ball situations.

Torrey Smith earned his second Super Bowl ring by helping the Eagles to a victory. Smith is the fourth former Terp to win two Super Bowl rings. The first was Tom Brown, a safety for the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowls I and II.

Linebacker Neal Olkewicz won the Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins following the 1982 and 1987 seasons. More recently, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo earned rings with the Broncos at Super Bowl 50 and with the Patriots the following year, though Kilgo was on New England’s practice squad and not the active roster.

Smith was one of four former Ravens who played for the Eagles on Sunday; the others were defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan and safety Corey Graham, both starters, and reserve linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

Another former Terp, Frank Reich, won this Super Bowl as a coach; he is the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. As a member of the Bills in the early 1990s, Reich went to four Super Bowls without a win.

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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 2017-18 season.


Maryland’s lack of size due to injuries caught up with them last night, and unlike the first time they played Penn State this year, they didn’t have a 34-4 foul shot advantage to bail them out.

In last night’s 74-70 loss to Penn State at snowy State College PA, the Terps got outrebounded on the offensive glass, had nobody big enough to handle Lamar Stevens (25 points on 10-12 shooting), and committed 14 turnovers. They played with heart, but didn’t have the horses or the energy to come away victorious.

Penn State’s ability to cut off Anthony Cowan’s driving lanes was also a key component to the Nittany Lion win.

For Maryland, Bruno Fernando had 13 points and 9 rebounds, but his 6 turnovers were costly.

Cowan had 15 points, but only scored once driving to the basket. He only got off three shots in second half, hitting one. By the end of the game he looked out of gas.

Bruno Fernando gave Maryland a lift in last night's loss to Penn State, but his six turnovers were costly in a 74-70 defeat that dropped the Terps to 5-8 in the Big Ten.

The Terps got decent offensive production off the bench from Jared Nickens (13 points, 5-10), but they are really handicapped on the defensive end when he’s in the game. None of the three Terp reserves, Nickens, Sean Obi, or Joshua Tomaic, played much defense last night.

The trio was so bad defensively that head coach Mark Turgeon said in his post-game interview that they were playing with five and a half players. I guess that meant Obi and Tomaic did next to nothing and Nickens played decently on half of the court.

Ouch.

Whenever Kevin Huerter or Bruno Fernando went to the bench, Maryland looked weak and Penn State took advantage of it. Maryland also looked like they had lost a little steam, as a team, when there were about five minutes remaining in the first half.

In that first first half, Penn State used a 9-2 run during the last 5 minutes to take a 41-35 lead into the break. The Terps had a 20-14 advantage with 10:56 left in the half, but that disappeared in a blink of an eye when Penn State hit three three-point shots to claim a three-point advantage of their own.

That scoring flurry from Penn State happened with Huerter on the bench.

Maryland would fight back to retake a slim one-point margin, 33-32, but they turned the ball over on three of their next four possessions and only scored two points in the final five minutes of the half.

Penn State got 11 first half points from Lamar Stevens. Joshua Tomaic tried twice to guard Stevens and got abused both times. Maryland shot a torrid 59% in the half while the Nittany Lions connected on 53% of their shots.

The issue for the Terps was that Penn State took 8 more shots. They grabbed 4 more offensive rebounds than Maryland (5-1), and turned it over less (7-4).

Penn State maintained a steady 2nd half lead of anywhere from eight to four points until a Cowan three cut the Terp deficit to just one point with 13:55 left. The lead would again be only one point after Josh Reaves and Darryl Morsell traded baskets. But Stevens hit a three that Darryl Morsell dared him to take, and then Stevens scored after getting his own rebound off a missed dunk when he blew by Morsell on the right baseline.

Maryland would go 5:20 without another field goal before a short Fernando jumper would get Maryland to within 8 points with 7:43 left. Maryland mad a late push to get back into the game, and actually had the ball, down three, with 40 seconds remaining.

I’m not sure what Cowan was thinking here, but while Turgeon was imploring his team to run a play, and a double screen was set on the left side to free Nickens for a potential game-tying three pointer, a dribbling Cowan decided to ignore all that and drive down the opposite side. His runner from 5 feet missed woefully, and that ended any last gasp hope that Maryland had.

It was another road game that COULD have been won by Maryland, but not SHOULD have been won by them. They got beat by a home team with a better starting five, that shot the ball well, and had fresher legs.

In the post-game interview, the Terp coach sounded as down as I’ve ever heard him. I’m not sure if it’s the way they lost, or if it’s just losing in general, but this game got to him.

He referenced the rebounding, and perhaps he expected a bit more concentrated effort on putting a body on someone. If they want to compete in their remaining games, they’ll have to keep their opponents off of the offensive boards.

But that can be hard to do when you only have “five and a half” guys, and four and a half of them are guards.

I thought both of Maryland’s workhorses, Cowan and Huerter played with dead legs, particularly in the second half. Combined in the 2nd half, they scored 10 points on 3-9 shooting and grabbed 3 rebounds. Huerter also turned the ball over 4 times in the final 20 minutes. Both players played the entire second half.

Next up is a home game against Northwestern this Saturday at noon.

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Wednesday
February 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 7
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why do you love sports?


I'll make a general assumption that if you're here, now, reading these words at #DMD, you very likely love sports.

You probably played organized sports as a youth. Might have even played in high school or college.

And you've never stopped following, supporting and loving sports into your adult years.

But why?

What is it about sports that you love?

Prior to the start of the golf season at Calvert Hall, which for us kicked off just after the guys got back from Christmas break, we spent three days in a classroom setting talking about this very subject.

Among the many questions I challenged them with this one: "Why do you love golf?"

I thought it was important to not only make them understand the necessity for "loving" it, but to dig more deeply into what is it about the sport that compels them to turn themselves over to me for nearly five months.

In every exercise we did over those three days, I not only led the discussion but participated in it as well.

I wrote down my answer as they were writing down their response.

Not surprisingly, mine was different than everyone else's in the room.

I love golf because it's hard.

There are plenty of other virtues about golf that I enjoy, including spending time with friends, competing, winning, losing and so on, but the primary reason why I've loved golf for the better part of the last thirty years of my life is because it's hard.

I thought about that a lot on Sunday night as I watched the Super Bowl.

And it made me wonder about that question I asked the golf team.

Why do people love sports so much?

You didn't have a dog in the hunt on Sunday night (most likely) but you stayed up for four hours and watched anyway. I don't love "This Is Us" so I didn't stay up to watch it once the Super Bowl was concluded.

Who saw this picture in the future back in early September when the 2017 NFL season kicked off?

But I love sports. So I watched the Eagles and Patriots.

Why?

Why did I watch all seven games of the World Series last October? Lord knows I didn't have a rooting interest. My team hasn't sniffed the World Series since Lincoln was President. Or was it Truman? I'm not very good with my Presidential order, but I know it's been a long time.

I know why I watch the Masters and the U.S. Open. I know why I get up at 4:00 am in mid-July to watch the British Open. I watch every major golf tournament and probably 10 or 15 others over the course of 10 months because I love golf.

But what about the other sports? Why do I watch them? I go to Orioles games, mostly with my son. I go to Ravens games occasionally. I'm a lifelong fan of the Washington Capitals. I probably watch hockey more than anything except for baseball.

Why?

I was reminded of the answer on Sunday night when Zach Ertz was standing on the stage talking about winning the Super Bowl with Dan Patrick.

I love sports because you never know what's going to happen.

Whether you're playing in the game or watching it live or on television, what captivates me more than anything is that you have no idea what's going to happen next.

Case in point: Nick Foles -- as we now know -- took it upon himself to call the "Philly Special" trick play that resulted in his touchdown catch on Sunday night. Sure, Doug Pederson approved it, but you can tell when you watch the video that it was Foles who authored the whole thing.

"You wanna go with Philly Special?" he says to Pederson on the sideline.

The coach pauses for two seconds, probably stunned at his quarterback's penchant for risk at that very moment. Then says, "Yeah...let's do it."

There was a report on Tuesday that said the Eagles started giggling in the huddle when Foles called the play. Someone in the huddle had to quiet them down, afraid the Patriots might see their smiles and sniff out a trick play.

The art of the unknown.

No one in the stadium saw that play coming. The Patriots most certainly didn't, that's for darn sure.

I love sports because I sat on my couch with my ten year old son and watched Stefon Diggs catch a pass on the last play of the game and turn upfield to send the Vikings to an improbable spot in the NFC title game.

It hurt to watch Andy Dalton and Tyler Boyd connect on a 4th and 12 pass play that essentially ended the Ravens' season, but I have to admit, I loved the fact that it could happen, albeit against my hometown football team.

I was able to say to my son..."You see that? You never quit until the final whistle blows. Even on 4th and 12. You keep grinding. You never know..."

I give my golfers at Calvert Hall this story every season.

Picture yourself on the first tee of a golf tournament. There are 50 people gathered around to watch you tee off.

You badly mishit your opening tee shot. It's the classic "top" in golf. The ball and clubface barely meet. You only move the ball about 25 yards as it skids across the ground and suddenly stops.

You're mortified, right?

Forget about the fact that you're probably going to start the day with a double bogey now. The fact that you topped the ball in front of all of those people is really embarrassing.

Then picture this happening: As you go back to your bag to put your driver away, "the golf fairy" lands on your shoulder. You're the only person who can see him/her.

"Hey, listen," he/she says. "I know you're embarrassed about that opening tee shot, but I have good news. I've seen the script for how your round plays out from this point forward. You're going to shoot 68 today! Your best round ever!!"

And with that, the golf fairy vanishes.

How would your attitude change at that very moment?

If you believed the golf fairy, you wouldn't worry about the next shot or the one after that, even. You'd be excited to see what lies ahead. You'd be excited to see just how it's going to come to pass that you're going to shoot 68 after badly topping your first tee shot.

Imagine one of your playing competitors striding up next to you as you walk down the first fairway.

"Wow, bro...I've never seen you top a shot like that before. What's going on with your swing?" he asks.

Typically, that kind of interaction after a poor shot might lead to great worry. But not today.

"That opening tee shot? Oh, I don't know what happened, actually. But that's done and over with now. I have lots of great golf left to play today. Watch and see..." you'd say.

You'd proceed through that opening hole and the others with a different attitude. Even though you don't know what's coming next, you'd treat the rest of the round with a weird sort of curious optimism -- all because you don't know what's coming next.

A hole in one? An eagle or two on a par 5? Four straight birdies late in the round?

Well -- here's the thing. Sports fairy or not, you really don't know what's coming next.

In real life, the possibility exists that you're still going to shoot 68 even after you top your opening tee shot. As Jim Carey said in Dumb and Dumber -- "So you're saying there's a chance."

Indeed there is.

I once hit my opening tee shot in the final round of the stroke play championship at Mountain Branch so far right into the woods that Paul Bunyan couldn't have chopped down enough trees to find it.

I went on to shoot 70 (two under) that day after an opening double bogey and won by four shots.

The Philadelphia kicker missed his first extra point try on Sunday night.

He then made a field goal in the game's final three minutes from almost 50 yards out that basically sealed the deal for the Eagles.

That's why I love sports.

You never know what's going to happen.

So, gather around in the classroom here and fill out the paper I've given you: Why do you love sports?

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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 the 2017-18 season.


terps square off with gritty penn state tonight


Maryland travels to State College, PA to take on the Nittany Lions of Penn State tonight in a rematch of their game on January 2nd.

The Terps prevailed that day, but can we expect that again this evening?

Penn State still has NCAA tournament hopes. They have wins over potential "Big Dance" teams Ohio State and Nebraska but also have a handful of bad losses.

Much like the Terps, for Penn State to get a nod from the selection committee, they need to roll off a few more victories and maybe add another signature win or two in the regular season or the Big Ten conference tournament.

They’ll get their chances for a big win when their season finishes with Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan, and Nebraska. The down side is that they could also finish with four consecutive losses.

Nothing much has changed for Penn State since they lost to the Terps at the XFINITY Center in College Park.

Tony Carr still takes a bunch of shots and scores a bunch of points (he’s the second leading scorer in the Big Ten).

Shep Garner and Josh Reaves still man the other two guard spots, while Lamar Stevens and Mike Wallace provide the inside game and rebounding.

All five Penn State starters average over 10 points per game.

Anthony Cowan needs a solid offensive and defensive game tonight at Penn State if the Terps hope to escape State College with a win.

The Terps won the first game by getting to the foul line. There were many Terps that played a decent game that night, but the fact remains that Maryland shot 34 foul shots while Penn State attempted just four of their own.

That won’t happen again tonight, and maybe ever, especially on the road.

Michal Cekovsky played a big roll in the Terp victory over Penn State. He gave Maryland 29 effective minutes that night while getting 6 rebounds and 10 points. He’s not available tonight and his absence changes the matchups dramatically.

We’ll see Bruno Fernando and Wallace go head to head. Wallace is an NBA-bound beast that torched Maryland for 17 points and 17 rebounds in their first meeting. Wallace went 9-10 from the field on Saturday against Iowa, and is strong force down low.

Darryl Morsell and Tony Carr faced off in the first game, with Morsell doing a great job on Penn State’s “go to” guy. We may not see so much of that tonight. Morsell might get the 6’8”, 225-pound Lamar Stevens assignment which frees up Kevin Huerter to guard Carr.

Morsell offers a bit more muscle to defend against Stevens while Huerter’s length might be better used on the smaller Carr.

Point guards Anthony Cowan and Shep Garner will lock horns for much of the game, and I expect Dion Wiley to get the start and cover Reaves.

The Fernando/Watkins matchup favors Penn State as does the Morsell/Stevens matchup.

Cowan gets the nod over Garner and I see the Huerter/Carr duel as even. That leaves us with Wiley and Reaves. They both shoot 38.6% from the three-point line, but Reaves is tougher inside and a more intense defender. I’ll also say this matchup slightly favors Penn State.

I know what you're thinking: With Penn State having the stronger starting five, how does Maryland pull out the road win?

For one, Penn State gets less from their bench than Maryland does. When head coach, Pat Chambers, uses his reserves he can’t expect much productivity. Maryland has a significant drop off too, but their bench can occasionally give Mark Turgeon some good minutes.

And that brings me to coaches. Turgeon haters might not agree with this, but his teams play with much more discipline than do teams coached by Chambers.

I expect Maryland to be the more poised team tonight, and that could be the difference. A Pat Chambers coached team will always fight and scrap, but they can get “playgroundish” if you will. If they do that tonight they’ll lose this home game for sure.

Watkins will have a big night and Carr will score points. The question with Carr is always how many shots will it take to put up his numbers?

Stevens is too big for this Terp team, and he’ll get good numbers too. If Maryland can limit Reaves, and to a certain extent Garner, then the Terps have a good shot at winning. If either team shoots exceedingly well from the outside, then that team wins.

Penn State is a 3.5 favorite in a game that I see as a toss-up.

Penn State has the better line-up, but Maryland plays better basketball.

Penn State has a few good wins on their resume, but they won’t be able to add this game to it as Maryland pulls out the win.

Last year at State College, Anthony Cowan had only 2 points in a 70-64 Penn State win. This year, those numbers will be improved upon.

Cowan gets to the rim frequently, and Maryland plays enough defense to capture a come-from-behind 75-71 victory.

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if you think you know baltimore sports trivia


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Tuesday
February 6
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what can the ravens (and others) learn from philly's super bowl win?


You can feel it coming, right? The tide of the NFL is shifting thanks to what the Eagles did on Sunday night.

More risk taking.

Throw in a trick play or two every game, at least.

Don't worry about defense. Just score more points than the other team.

You know what?

Some of that stuff is true, actually.

But there's even more to the way the Eagles won on Sunday night that should be followed by the Ravens and the other 30 teams in the league.

That was quite the blueprint Doug Pederson's team used in Super Bowl LII. And it wasn't necessarily the formula on how to beat the Patriots, but more about how to structure your team for just the kind of chance Philadelphia gave themselves in the playoffs and in the title game.

Now, who around the league was paying attention?

This man would really be smiling in 2018 if the Ravens gave him Jarvis Landry and a couple of other competent, veteran NFL wide receivers.

And who among the rest of the NFL is willing to take a chance in re-shaping the way they think about the game of football?

The Ravens could certainly take a page or four out of the Eagles' book on how to win in today's NFL.

It all starts with this admission from the organization: The NFL is no longer about defense.

In reality, the league hasn't been about defense for a long time, but the Ravens are apparently the last of the Mahicans.

Here's the truth. The 2000 Ravens won that Super Bowl with defense. But given the historical perspective we can all have now, nearly two decades later, it's fair to call that title a fluke. Because that's what it was. The 2000 Ravens won a championship in a way no other team has won one since.

That doesn't make it any less impressive or any less meaningful. I don't call it a fluke to downplay it in the least. I call it a fluke to simply acknowledge that winning like that just doesn't happen in the league on a regular or consistent basis.

The Ravens lived off of that title for the better part of 17 years. They figured if they won that way once, they could win that way again.

The only problem? They haven't. In fact, no one else has, either. (Yes, I'm well aware the Ravens won the Super Bowl in February of 2013 but they didn't do it with defense...that was my point.)

Getting the front office to come to terms with that scenario is difficult. As we've seen over the last few years, the organization has put forth most of their efforts -- both draft and free agency -- in the name of improving their defense.

That should stop, effective immediately.

Yes, I'm well aware the defense caved in -- again -- in losses to Chicago, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in 2017. I saw the games.

I also remember the defense playing even worse in 2016, losing in the waning moments to the Raiders, Redskins, Giants and Steelers.

If you can believe it, I think the defense was actually better in 2017 than in 2016. Not by leaps and bounds, mind you. But enough that I can say this as the team heads into 2018: Leave the defense alone. Go fix the offense.

Sunday night's Super Bowl should tell the Ravens the same thing.

Go get offensive football players. Good ones, if you can.

It's sort of unfair to mix the Patriots into this discussion because they have the greatest quarterback of this generation on their side. Heck, Breshad Perriman could go up there to Foxborough and Brady would figure out a way to turn him into an 80-catch, 800 yard performer.

But we can discuss the Eagles. And the Ravens should be looking at them as an example of how to move forward in today's NFL.

Philadelphia won the Super Bowl with a half-a-journeyman quarterback, a terrific offensive line, two retread running backs, a solid tight end, and three wide receivers of varying skill levels and talents.

Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor -- the three wide receivers of record for the Eagles. None of them will ever come close to Hall of Fame status. But they were certainly good enough in 2017 and in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

If the Ravens look at those three and take anything away from Sunday's game, it's that there's safety in numbers. Go out this off-season and bring in three wide receivers, maybe even four. Sure, I understand the salary cap might restrict the Ravens from going hog-wild via free agency, but make a big play for Jarvis Landry, draft a wide receiver early on, pick up someone's salary cap dump in June, and overload the position as much as possible.

Landry isn't going to be a Hall of Famer someday, either, but he's potentially an Anquan Boldin clone with great hands and good route running skills. The only issue? Is he an AFC North kind of receiver? That's a question the Ravens will have to dig for and answer themselves. Steve Smith Sr. was that kind of player. Jeremy Maclin? He wasn't.

The Ravens should also figure out a way to add a high-quality tight end as well.

They currnently don't have one on their roster.

As the Patriots have showed for years, a game-changing tight end can -- well -- change the game in your favor.

I realize there aren't many Gronk's out there, but the Ravens need a big tight end to go with their upgraded (hopefully) receiving corps.

Then there's the stuff we saw during the game itself on Sunday night.

Doug Pederson basically said, "We're not retreating."

If you remember, he was also the knucklehead who eschewed a tie game and overtime in December of 2016 when the Eagles could have put a serious dent in the Ravens' playoff hopes in Baltimore. Instead, they went for two points and the win and lost.

But they didn't have anything to play for that day. So it was easy to play riverboat-gambler then.

It wasn't easy to gamble on Sunday night in the biggest game of the year, but Pederson did it anyway.

And he did it because there aren't many ways to unsettle the Patriots and make them uncomfortable...and his team seemingly did just that to Bill Belichick and company.

Belichick was once the gambling type himself, but as I noted on Monday morning in #DMD, he lost his courage on Sunday night for some reason. It's definitely different when you're the hunter instead of the hunted. The Eagles played the hunter-role perfectly in Minneapolis on Sunday night.

John Harbaugh and the Ravens can learn from that, too.

Throw caution to the wind a little bit more.

Hell, go for it on 4th and 1 every single time next year.

Or even on 4th and 2.

As Rene Russo said to Kevin Costner when he was hitting his 4th ball into the water at the 18th hole in the movie Tin Cup -- "Just go for it, Harbs..."

Trick plays? Yep, put a half-dozen of those in the playbook and use 'em. Often.

Remember when the Jaguars were ahead 37-0 in London and pulled off a fake punt at midfield? They did it because, A) they had it in their arsenal and, B) the Ravens were ripe for it.

I love trick plays. They're probably looked at as "bush league" in the NFL. "Play us straight up! Play football!" you can almost hear the Patriots screaming at the Eagles after that Nick Foles touchdown catch.

Championship teams do what they need to do to win. The Patriots have used an occasional trick play in their years of dominance, as John Harbaugh and the Ravens remember quite well.

In summary, the Ravens need to think both inside the box (reasonable, smart thoughts -- like adding several quality wide receivers) and outside the box, like, perhaps, forget about trying to improve the defense for one or two seasons and just try to score more points than everyone else.

Stop looking at analytics and stats and "what does the book say here?" and, instead, coach the game with something akin to a gambler's mentality. Just go all in and see what that gets you.

Because here's what we know: The way the Ravens have been doing it for the last three years isn't a formula for success.

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one more note about last friday's bisciotti presser


I found it very interesting to hear to Steve Bisciotti say, essentially, that he feels a successful on-field product will get the seats filled again in the 2018 season.

It's interesting because I know for a fact that surveys and formal data-collection the team has done over the last three months have told the organization otherwise.

Perhaps Bisciotti didn't want to let on too much that the team has been polling fans and sponsors regularly since the issue in London back on September 24. I'm not sure why they'd be adverse to admitting that, but maybe they are for some reason.

How many football fans in Baltimore won't return in 2018 because of the incident in London? And can the Ravens replace them?

Maybe they'd rather not state for the record that they've encountered a massive opposition to the kneeling incident. I found it curiously interesting that the owner mentioned, specifically, "That was the only time it happened with our team -- just that once."

Then again, he openly admitted they know what happened in London cost them support. It's not like they completely naive to that fact.

The Ravens need to win again. That much is definitely true.

But what, "really", is winning? And were the empty seats in 2017 about "winning" or "lack of exciting football"?

Because, as the Saints have proved a lot over the years, you can play exciting, up-and-down-the-field football and yet, still not win.

Are Ravens fans that spoiled that they need both winning and excitement or they won't go to the games anymore? They need the Ravens to win 35-31 whenever they're playing at home?

In theory, the 2017 squad was a "winning" team. They finished 9-7. If not for a 4th and 12 conversion by Andy Dalton, they finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. And yet, the stadium was 30% empty at the start of that New Year's Eve game.

But they were, at least until November sometime, dreadfully boring on offense.

That wasn't the only reason folks stayed away, though. They were disenchanted with the organization just as much as they were ruffled by the pedestrian on-field product.

Their surveys told them as much.

I'm not sure why the owner didn't want to talk about that on Friday during his press conference, but perhaps the organization has internally decided to not spotlight the London kneeling issue any longer.

I suppose I can understand their sensitivity. There's nothing they can do now to change what happened.

But they can change the on-field product, as Bisciotti emphasized several times on Friday.

There is, though, still the issue of re-connecting with those who were turned off by what happened on September 24.

How are the Ravens going to get those people back? Winning and winning alone won't do it.

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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.



Last Friday, the Ravens opened Super Bowl weekend with the bombshell announcement that the Ozzie Newsome era would conclude at the end of the 2018 season.

It was fitting timing, because on Sunday night the Eagles and Patriots turned the page on the era of NFL football in which Newsome excelled in as a General Manager, and cemented the dominance of a new style that Ozzie has struggled mightily to adapt to in recent years.

The NFL is reminding me more and more of the NBA these days.

People often say that there's no defense in the NBA, which is laughable. There's actually very good defense in the NBA, especially in the late playoffs rounds.

Championships have hinged on phenomenal defensive plays, in fact. But the offense is just better. The shooters are phenomenal, the ball movement exquisite.

What's more, basketball is a game where perfect offense beats perfect defense. If your spacing and ball movement is on point, there's really no way even great defense can keep you from getting a good shot opportunity.

That's where the NFL is going thanks to the continuing evolution of the passing game, and particularly the continuing increase in passing at the high school and college level.

Offensive players come into the league with an accelerated learning curve when it comes to the passing game, and that raises the bar on what offensive coordinators can cook up.

And like an NBA offense, a perfectly executed passing game is theoretically unstoppable: Combine perfect reads, route running, and timing with accurate throws and minimally competent pass blocking and there's no way for a defense to prevent an open receiver.

How will the Ravens' philosophy on player personnel change with the promotion of Eric DeCosta to general manager after the 2018 season?

That was the story of this year's postseason. Despite having the league's best defenses well represented in the tournament, including having arguably the top three defenses all make the conference championship round, it was offense that ruled the day over and over again.

The "Sacksonville" Jaguars and their much balleyhooed pass defense? They couldn't close out a conference championship against Tom Brady, a week after allowing 40 points and 500 passing yards to the Steelers.

The Vikings and defensive wiz Mike Zimmer? Couldn't hold off Drew Brees and needed a miraculous offensive play to advance to the NFC Championship Game...where they were blown out by the Eagles.

Speaking of the Eagles, they almost bucked the trend with great defensive performances against the Falcons and Vikings at home, but then gave up 33 points and 500 passing yards while getting one sack, one turnover, and failing to force any punts in the Super Bowl.

Even the Patriots had a pretty good scoring defense for most of the season before getting humiliated by the Eagles on Sunday night.

And the kicker is that none of these defenses really played badly, per session, and even made some great plays in those games. But their offensive counterparts we're just too much to stop over the course of sixty minutes.

The Patriots have the best QB of all time, an unstoppable tight end, and great route runners. The Steelers have a Hall of Fame quarterback and a stable of excellent receivers, including the best in the world. The Eagles have a roster of skill possession players that is both deep and diverse, and a coaching staff that does an excellent job of utilizing that group.

There simply just isn't much any defense can do to stop teams like this when these players aren't making mistakes, no matter how good they are. Heck, even a team like the Jaguars were virtually unstoppable when Blake Bortles was playing well this year, thanks to a deep talent base at the skill positions.

Through this sea change in the game around him, Ozzie Newsome never gave up the belief that defense wins championships.

What's more, he's really never given up his belief that great defense starts with big run stuffing defensive tackles.

Ozzie hasn't lost his fastball as a talent evaluator, but he has lost his sense of what it takes to win championships in the modern NFL. The results have been a consistently bad offense, and a defense that's been good enough to carry the team to .500 but, much like the Jaguars in New England, unable to put games away against the best offenses.

The Ravens are long past due to figure this out, and there's no excuse for this shootout filled post-season to not serve as a final, undeniable marker of where the game is now. Passing offense is king, and on that front the Ravens could not be in a worse spot.

Simply put, the Ravens' group of pass catchers are a total mess right now. With Mike Wallace a looming free agent, Jeremy Maclin and Chris Moore are their top wide receivers. They lack any options at tight end who can control the middle of the field or make a game changing play to even the extent that Dennis Pitta could.

And with a much tougher schedule next season than the one they went 9-7 through this year, that's a recipe for a diaster of epic proportions.

There's just no getting around it: The Ravens MUST put a high priority on adding talent at the pass catching positions. And they can't wait for the draft either.

For one thing, there's no telling when a run on good receivers will start. Last year most mocks saw one of Corey Davis or Mike Williams being available when the Ravens picked, and John Ross going somewhere in the 20's. All three of those guys were gone when the 10th pick rolled around.

The Ravens can't afford to have something similar happen to them if they're counting on getting a player like Calvin Ridley at their spot, or be put in a position to choose between a late first round talent at receiver and a better prospect at a position like defensive back or pass rusher if a top 10 talent falls to them.

Picking the best player available works best when you don't have any gaping holes in your roster going into draft weekend.

That means Ozzie will have to break with another tendency of his that has not served the team all that well recently. He'll need to dip into the March free agency pool to add depth at receiver before the draft.

Ozzie has hated doing that, preferring to horde picks by not pursuing free agents who will cost a compensatory pick, but with receivers at a premium that means you're limiting yourself to the flotsam and jetsom that other teams don't want like the Orioles chasing starting pitching. With a need to make such a substantial improvement so quickly, that just won't cut it.

On the other hand, the big question for the Ravens over the next 5 months will be just how much control Ozzie maintains. With it being made clear that this is his swan song and that Eric DeCosta will take over going forward, it stands to reason that DeCosta is going to have a lot more say about the roster he will inherit.

Indeed, Ozzie might be a simple figurehead, holding the job in name only as a chance to get a respectful send-off for a legend who defined a nascent franchise for two decades. If that's the case, this off-season will give Ravens' fans a glimpse into the future, and the extent to which they can expect the new boss to move the team into the current era of professional football.

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Monday
February 5
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hot takes galore from philly's surprising super bowl win


Matt Patricia: Not Hot -- Not so easy without great players on your side of the ball, is it, Matt? The apparently-soon-to-be-head-coach of the Detroit Lions saw his defense shredded time and time again in last night's 41-33 Philadelphia Super Bowl win over the Patriots. Running, passing, trick plays...the Eagles never stopped throwing haymakers at New England's defense and Patricia didn't have many answers for them. Good luck in Detroit, pal.

Justin Timberlake: Hot -- First off, let's be clear on one thing: Far, far too much has been made about the halftime show over the years. It's almost impossible to find the perfect performer based on the vast variance in demographics who are watching the game on TV. But Timberlake was terrific last night. He made his meal ticket in music by combining singing, dancing and showmanship. He did his best last night to showcase all three of those talents in his 15 minute performance. I thought he was great.

Head Hunting on Brandin Cooks: Not Hot -- My guess is if Malcolm Jenkins makes that hit in a Temple-Boston College game, he's ejected for targeting. But because the NFL has so many squirrely, weird rules ("was he a runner?", "was it the crown of his helmet?", "did he survive the ground?"), the Jenkins hit on Cooks -- where he was most certainly trying to put him out of the game -- wasn't even worthy of a flag in the NFL. In a day and age where the league is trying to protect the players from head injuries, not being able to eject Jenkins for that hit on Cooks last night doesn't send the right message.

Tom Brady: Hot -- And no, I'm not talking about the full-length coat and sunglasses look he sported on his way into the stadium. I'm talking about his play. On the field. Despite playing from behind almost all night and being in a frenzied state throughout the game because of New England's sloppy offensive line play, the 5-time Super Bowl champion acquitted himself gloriously in defeat. It's "only" the MVP award, so who cares, really, but an easy case could have been made for TB12 to be named the game's MVP despite being on the losing end. The dude is all-world.

What happened to Bill Belichick's confidence and moxie on Sunday night in the Super Bowl?

Bill Belichick: Not Hot -- What happened to Belichick's courage and in-game smarts? On 4th and 1 from the Philadelphia 9 yard line early in the second quarter -- trailing 9-3 -- Belichick chickened out and went for the chip-shot field goal (which was missed). You have the best quarterback in the world and the best tight end in the world on your team. Either have Brady sneak it there to keep the drive going or go for the jugular and throw a jump ball for Gronk to haul in. Either way, show some courage, Bill.

Doug Pederson: Hot -- And speaking of courage, Pederson must have ate a bunch of it at breakfast on Sunday. The gutsy 4th and goal trick play where he had Foles catch the TD pass was not only a huge gamble, but a slippery-slope play call. If that fails, everyone says, "Come on man, it's the Super Bowl. Don't try things you haven't tried in a game before this." And then with roughly six minutes left, Pederson and the Eagles again went for it on 4th down inside their own territory, and Zach Ertz hauled in a short pass that kept the series alive. Going for two points earlier in the game might have been a gamble NOT worth taking, but courage was front and center for Pederson on Sunday night. He wanted to win, that's for sure.

Playing the game in Minneapolis: Not Hot -- It was two degrees at kick-off yesterday. Sure, the game was played indoors, but people still had to get to the stadium. From afar, it looked like the folks in Minnesota did a bang-up job hosting the big game, but hopefully that was a lesson to the folks who run the NFL. The Super Bowl and all that goes with it should be held in a warm climate. End of story. No more New York/New Jersey. No more Minnesota. Please don't consider putting one in Foxborough (you know that idea has been floated, righ?). Just be smart and keep putting the game in Florida, Atlanta, New Orleans, Phoenix and Southern California. It's so much better that way.

Post-Game Faith: Hot -- Speaking of courage, I loved hearing Pederson, Foles and Ertz start off their post-game remarks by offering praise to God and Jesus Christ. In potentially the most memorable moment of their lives, all three of those guys remembered that the real glory from winning a football game extends far beyond what they did on the field of play. The older I get, the happier I am to see athletes take a second after the game to spotlight their faith. I'm glad my 10-year old son got to hear those three last night.

Malcolm Butler: Not Hot -- The rumor floating around is that Butler missed the team flight from New England to Minneapolis last week, but Bill Belichick wouldn't confirm that juicy tidbit after the game. For reasons only the coach knows, Butler didn't play one defensive snap in last night's loss. Far be it from me to tell a 5-time Super Bowl winning coach how to manage his team, but that was a curious time to send a message, particularly if the mistake from Butler was, in fact, missing the flight.

Gene Steratore: Hot -- He got some heat earlier in the season for the "index card stunt" in a Monday night game, but Steratore and his crew had a really good game on Sunday night. The light shined brightest on the man in charge, Steratore, who might very well be the best referee in the league right now (hence, the decision to let him oversee last night's game). He's also a top-flight college basketball ref as well. The guy does a great job in both sports, but last night he was a star in Super Bowl LII.

The Commercials: Not Hot -- Like nearly everything else associated with the Super Bowl, the commercials have outgrown their perceived importance. To wit, I remember only three vividly. Toyota, Doritos and Eli Manning/ODB "Dirty Dancing". I honestly don't remember any others from last night's game. That doesn't mean the people who spent upwards of $5 million for a commercial wasted their money. It just means that only a few of them were memorable -- to me.

The Game: Hot -- If you're a fan of defensive football, there wasn't much to like about the Super Bowl. But if you like scoring and offense, last night's thriller was right up your alley. It almost got to arena-league status at one point in the second half. Heck, New England didn't punt the ball once in the entire sixty minutes. And somehow lost. But the game was one for the ages, with David slaying Goliath to prove, once again, "on any given Sunday..."

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You can’t get the whole story without asking the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?


Who?

Mike Preston

The most amusing incident at Steve Bisciotti’s Friday press conference came when the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston interjected while the owner was answering his one allotted question and said “but those were bad football teams!”

The Ravens owner bristled at the notion that his team "beat bad teams" during the 2017 season during last week's press conference.

At which point Bisciotti said, and I quote, “I didn’t know those were bad football teams, Mike. I guess I’ll have to take your word for it.”

I don’t spend too much time worrying about the local media who cover the team. Even if they have good access and great sources, they’re still like many of us most of the time. They have their narratives and they tend to stick with them.

Preston’s narrative isn’t very original, whether you’re with him or not. Bisciotti’s answer isn’t just snark, though. It’s the right answer.

The owner of an NFL team is worried about his team, not the other 31 teams. He’s worried about having the best collection of players and coaches possible, and he wants to win. He’s concentrating on things he might be able to control, not on the trials of the Green Bay Packers.

The game-by-game analysis is for the rest of us. Steve Bisciotti is worried about whether his team is a bad football team, and if it is how he might be able to improve it.


What?

Last Thursday’s Jeopardy! episode

If you haven’t seen this yet, take a minute and watch it by clicking here.

Sure, the returning champ is obviously a total nerdlinger, not that that there’s anything wrong with that. And the guy on the end is wearing a vest and a bowtie. Sara in the middle there? I’m not really surprised she was stumped.

Ok no more stereotypes. We should know better. But seriously, not even a single guess by any of them over five clues? Are these people American? I mean…the host making fun of them is Canadian, for god sakes, and I’m sure he knew those answers way before he knew they were questions on the show.

Three of the questions dealt with on-the-field topics, while the other two were historical questions. I can almost understand the lack of historical knowledge. The “Purple People Eaters” played in the late 60s through the mid 1970s, a long time ago now. Tom Landry last coached in 1988 and died in 2000.

I’m really stunned at the other ones, though. Basically, you must have never seen a football game, ever. You must never have had a partner, parent, sibling or friend talk about a football game, ever. You must never have gone to a football game in high school.

Of course, it’s possible that I’ve been wasting my life away, and they are the smart ones.


Where?

Minneapolis

U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis looks pretty amazing. The way the walls of the building are essentially huge windows onto the skyline is stunning. The old Metrodome hosted the Super Bowl once and the Final Four twice, but this new place is on another level.

That being said, the Super Bowl should never be played in Minneapolis. Or Indianapolis. Or Detroit.

The Super Bowl shouldn’t even be played in Dallas or Atlanta, domed stadiums or not, influential owners or not.

I’m with insufferable Patriots fan Bill Simmons on this one. The Super Bowl should be played on a rotating basis in three cities/areas: Miami, New Orleans and Southern California. Add the new Las Vegas stadium when that’s done.

The new Los Angeles area stadium replaces San Diego, no longer an NFL city. Perhaps Tampa can be an occasional fill-in.

The Super Bowl isn’t a football game. It’s a destination event. It’s a party. It should be held in a location people want to visit for other reasons besides the game.

Bourbon Street. South Beach. Hollywood. The Strip. Golf courses that won’t have frost delays. Easier packing without heavy sweaters. I could go on.

Next year in Atlanta, they’ll be playing at an equally stunning new dome. Hopefully the ice storm will wait until the following week.


When?

Super Bowl Sunday

Since the Super Bowl isn’t just a football game, I’m also on the train to play the game on Saturday instead of Sunday.

The game doesn’t end until after 10 p.m. on Sunday, and most of us have to go to work the next morning. Some of us spend the game at parties, doing things like — I don’t know — drinking, that we might not normally do on Sunday nights.

Playing the game on Saturday would solve the hangover problem, and help with Monday’s productivity problem. With the extra week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, none of the players or coaches would complain about it either.

Yes, the NFL plays games on Thursday nights, and Sunday nights, and Monday nights, games that end near midnight.

But those games are much more about local interest, and people tend to watch them at home.

Think about how much better Sunday would be with an entire day of full-blown Super Bowl analysis, as opposed to Monday when that stuff gets lost in the shuffle.

Ok, so not everything would be great about playing on Saturday. We’ll work on it…


Why?

Talking about scouts

I’m not sure how many people read the front office list located on the Ravens homepage, or that of any other team. Anyway, scroll down to “Player Personnel” and you’ll see all 28 (?) people who work in that department for the Ravens.

The Ravens have two national scouts, who will travel anywhere, and six area scouts, who spend the season in specific parts of the country. The Southeast Area Scout might be at Alabama on Monday, Troy on Tuesday and Southern Miss. on Wednesday, for instance. Those guys may not see the actual Ravens play for weeks, and if they do, it’s on television in a sports bar somewhere.

Steve Bisciotti felt the need to bring those scouts up on Friday, pretty much out of the blue. I’m sure there’s some truth to what he said about young scouts, and I’m sure that it was partially an attempt to move the conversation away from Ozzie Newsome, the person in charge of the other 27 people in the department.

Honestly, I’m sure all of the team’s scouts are doing a good job. I’ve known a few guys in these jobs, and they love football more than anyone. Scouts from all 32 teams are out there looking at the same guys; it’s up to the bosses to choose among them.


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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 2017-18 season.


terps survive happ, wisconsin


Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan combined for 42 points, including 17 of Maryland’s last 19, as the Terrapins held off the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday to claim a 68-63 win in front of an embarrassingly small crowd at the XFINITY Center.

Wisconsin had four players score in double figures, including Ethan Happ who predictably led his team in points (18), rebounds (9), and assists (3).

Most of the Terrapin scoring was done by Cowan, with 23, and Huerter who had 19. However, there were other Terps who also played significant roles in the victory.

After playing for less than three minutes earlier in the half, Sean Obi re-entered the game with 5:58 left in the opening 20 minutes and Maryland trailing by one, 21-20. Obi not only forced Happ to go 0 for 3 from the field, but he also grabbed four rebounds and scored three points as the Terps finished the half on a 17-2 run. He was scrapping, pushing, and diving on the floor for loose balls.

It was a great finish to a half that didn’t start so well for Maryland.

The Terps started the game missing by 6 of their first 7 shots and found themselves down 11-4 after 7:13 had passed in the first half. The Wisconsin lead was 21-16 after Aleem Ford drained a three at the 7:44 mark of the half.

Several big baskets from Kevin Huerter in the late stages of Sunday's game with Wisconsin were huge lifts for Maryland in their 68-63 home win.

The Terps then started to attack the basket and it paid off with the aforementioned 17-2 run. Cowan, Huerter, Obi, Bruno Fernando, and Dion Wiley all contributed to the late run that allowed Maryland to go into the locker room with a 33-23 lead.

The difference for Maryland, offensively, was their ability to get into the paint and to the rim. They scored 24 points in the paint, but connected on only 2 of 10 three-point shots in the opening twenty minutes.

The half time box score foreshadowed the game for Maryland as Cowan had 10 points in the half and Huerter had 9. Obi’s 5 rebounds were tops for Maryland.

Wisconsin, with Happ only going 2 of 8 from the floor, really struggled to find points. They shot just 31% as a team for the half.

The second half started like many Terp second halves do. They missed 5 of their first 7 shots, gave up some easy buckets, and accumulated a ton of fouls. Before the first TV timeout, Maryland had picked up 6 team fouls and three of those were on Darryl Morsell.

But somehow the Terps still held a seven-point lead after a Bruno Fernando dunk with 14:27 left in the game.

The Badgers would run off 6 points in a row to cut the lead to one, and from that point on, the game remained tight.

Wisconsin took their last lead with 6:07 left on a jumper by Khalil Iverson, but Maryland quickly reclaimed the advantage when Cowan hit a three with four seconds left on the shot clock. Another Cowan layup would make the lead five and cause Wisconsin head coach, Greg Gard, to call a timeout in an effort to keep the game from getting away from his team.

The Badgers came out of the timeout by getting a short jumper form Nate Reuvers and, after Fernando made a bad pass and turnover on the throw in, Aleem Ford connected on a three. In less than a minute the five-point lead was gone and the game was tied at 60 with 2:39 remaining.

In what was one of the biggest baskets of the night, Huerter got the ball at the top of the key. Fernando set up a screen for him and then rolled into the paint. Huerter, who was left isolated on Iverson, got past him and then stepped back, picking up his dribble.

With his left foot behind the foul line and his right foot in front of it, Huerter jumped towards the basket and finger rolled a scoop shot that went off the glass and right into the hoop. It was a very athletic and smooth move for the young sophomore and it gave Maryland a lead they would never relinquish.

On Maryland’s next possession, after a Morsell block of a shot attempt by Iverson, Huerter again was isolated on Iverson. This time Huerter got to the low blocks on the right side and hit a pump fake jumper over Iverson and Nate Reuvers. The Terps had a four-point lead.

The game wasn’t over however. Wisconsin’s Brad Davison knocked down a three, cutting the lead to one 64-63. Cowan was then immediately fouled. He hit both shots, which left the Badgers down three, with the ball, and only 9 seconds remained.

Needing a three to tie, Davison surprisingly took the ball to the rim but was rejected by Wiley. The went to Cowan and he was fouled with one second to go. He made both foul shots and provided Maryland with their final margin of victory, 68-63.

With the 7-foot Michal Cekovsky in a walking boot (rumors are he might not play again), Sean Obi got some minutes and made the most of them. His fist half defense and 6 rebounds for the game gave the Terps a lift when Fernando was getting a breather. As a group, the Terp bench went 4 for 4 from the floor and scored 11 points.

The Wisconsin bench failed to score even one point in Sunday's game.

Besides the obvious big plays by Huerter, and the defense by Obi, the Terps won because they played great defense during key stretches of the game and they hit their foul shots.

That work from the charity stripe can't be emphasized enough. From the free throw line, the Terps knocked down 3 of 3 in the first half, and then in the second half hit 15 in row after missing their first try. For the game, Maryland was 18 for 19 while Wisconsin was 8 of 11.

It was a nice win for Maryland against a team they should beat.

Happ is really good, Iverson is athletic, and Aleem Ford is an emerging player, as is Brad Davison. That being said, Wisconsin has deficiencies that are easily attached. Maryland did attack them, and that’s why they beat the Badgers despite hitting only 4 of 14 three point tries.

It’s a shame not many people were there to enjoy the game. The weather may have played a role, and maybe Super Bowl Sunday also had something to do with the turnout. But, I was shocked that while the general public seemed to hold up their end, the usually packed student section barely had enough seats filled to conduct the traditional second half unfurling of the Maryland flag.

Perhaps we’ll see better support when Maryland returns home to play Northwestern next Saturday at noon after their trip to Penn State this Wednesday night.

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From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

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In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

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What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

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fowler's greatness doesn't change today


No matter what my good friend George McDowell or Golf Channel's Arron Oberholser says, today's final round of the Phoenix Open isn't a defining moment for Rickie Fowler.

It would a nice win for him, most definitely.

On that note, any win on the TOUR is "nice", and while the field in Phoenix this week won't confuse anyone with The PLAYERS or British Open, the very fact that you're winning in front of 200,000 live lunatic-golf-fans separates this event from a "normal" PGA Tour stop.

But if Fowler doesn't pull this off today and someone else is standing in the winner's circle, it doesn't change the course of Fowler's golf career.

Fowler is one shot ahead going into the final round.

Listening to Oberholser yesterday, you would have thought this tournament was being held in Augusta, Georgia, not Phoenix, Arizona.

"Rickie really needs a statement win," the former TOUR player-turned-announcer said as Fowler strolled up to the 17th green.

Ummmm, no, actually, he doesn't.

Three straight birdies on Saturday at the Phoenix Open gives Rickie Fowler the 6th 54-hole lead (or co-lead) of his career heading into today's final round.

He made a statement when he won The PLAYERS a few years ago. He also made a statement when he won at Abu Dhabi in 2016, a European Tour event that features a remarkably high-ranking field because of the silly money they dole out both in tournament prize money and (not really legal) appearance fees.

Let's get this out of the way right up front: Rickie Fowler is a GREAT player.

Then again, so too is J.J. Spaun. And Beau Hossler. And Bryson DeChambeau.

In fact, if you really want to chisel away at it, virtually everyone with a TOUR card is a "great" player. If they weren't great, they wouldn't be making a living playing professional golf.

There are varying levels of greatness once it comes to the PGA Tour and defining one's career.

Tiger Woods "made a living" playing golf, too.

He's won 79 TOUR events and 14 major championships.

Was he (or is he) "greater" than Rickie Fowler? No doubt.

But Fowler, in today's golfing world, is as talented as anyone out there. The margin is so narrow, week to week, that it's almost impossible to dissect who wins and why. Anyone within five shots could win today's event. All it takes is a hot putter and a final round 64 while those at the top "struggle" to a final round under-par-score of 70 and, voila!, we have a come-from-behind winner.

Whether or not Rickie Fowler wins today, the most important part of his career will not change.

He needs to win a major championship.

And that won't change today, win or lose.

He has four career wins on the PGA Tour and two career victories on the European Tour. He's made nearly $31 million in career earnings on the golf course and Lord knows how much money in endorsements and marketing deals off the course.

But if he can't win a major championship at some point, his status on the TOUR will never elevate.

Oh, and here's the other thing. If Fowler only winds up winning ONE major championship in his career, his career won't really elevate all that much, either.

Weird, right?

Yes it is.

Anyone can win one and only one. Steve Elkington, Justin Leonard, Fred Couples, Davis Love III, Corey Pavin, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia.

Nine GREAT players with historic golfing resumes to their credit and, yet, each only managed to win ONE major championship (thus far -- for some).

And we're not even talking about the likes of Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Trevor Immelman and Y.E. Yang, non-descript "great players" who also won a major title but were never really heard from again.

My hunch is that Rickie Fowler's career will resemble that of Couples, Love III and Rose far more than it will remind anyone of Beem or Micheel.

But win or lose today, he still has to make something happen at Augusta in April or Shinnecock Hills in June. A British Open or PGA Championship would help, too.

And, to really become an all-time "great", Fowler will need to win more than one major title in his career. Anyone can win one...

Fowler can win by eight shots this afternoon with a virtuoso performance that Tom Brady would be proud of and he'll still have zero major championships tomorrow morning.

The other thing that seems to rile people -- particularly my pal George -- is Fowler's "marketability" juxtaposed against his performance on the golf course.

George seems to think Fowler is over-sensationalized for a guy who doesn't win much. He's not the only person who thinks that way. There are plenty of Rickie-detractors out there who think the bright colors and goofy hat get him more attention than he deserves.

There are two types of "publicity" Fowler receives. One is the amount of time you see him playing golf on television. The other is the amount of time you see him peddling insurance or mortgages during a TV broadcast of golf.

One of those he controls. The other he doesn't.

Fowler shows up a lot on your TV screen while golf is being played because he's really good and he gets himself into that position. TV broadcasts don't typically show guys at 2-under par when the leaders are 12-under par.

Note: They might have done that last week for Tiger at Torrey Pines, but those were different circumstances. He was playing in his first event in a year. He's the greatest player of his generation. Ticket sales at Torrey were up 17%. Viewership on Thursday alone was up 29%. He moves the needle in a way no one else in golf does, even with a limp and a driver he can't hit straight.

Fowler is around the lead a lot these days. When you're around the lead, you get on TV.

The fact that he also sells insurance and mortgages during those TV broadcasts shouldn't be held against Fowler himself.

What's he supposed to say when the mortgage company offers him a check for $5 million and says, "Let's cut a bunch of TV commercials with you and we'll air them when you're playing golf on TV"? Is he supposed to turn that down?

And the mortgage company wouldn't be paying him that kind of money if -- wait for it -- he wasn't appearing on TV a lot while he's playing golf.

You don't see the insurance or mortgage folks giving J.J. Henry or Robert Garrigus $5 million do you?

Those ads get run (and yes, they get run "a lot") because the guy in the ad is one of the most recognizable faces in sports today.

And he's great at golf, too.

If George wants to see less of Fowler on TV, the only way that's going to happen is if Rickie starts finishing T56th every time he tees it up.

The mortgage company will go away. The insurance company will go away. And the TV cameras won't be there to watch him go birdie-birdie-birdie on the final three holes of Saturday's Phoenix Open telecast.

Oh, and I haven't even brought up Fowler's reputation on TOUR for being one of the game's truly genuine, sincere, easy-to-like guys.

This isn't Bubba Watson we're talking about here. He's not a mercurial, brooding jerk. Fowler's a remarkably poised, friendly professional athlete who seems to earn all the good things folks say about him.

But whether or not he's nice doesn't say much for Fowler as a player. Watson isn't very nice and he has two Masters green jackets.

Fowler is a great player who also happens to be a nice guy. That's a good combination. And it's probably why he's selling insurance and mortgages and Watson isn't.

No matter what happens today in Phoenix, Fowler's life won't really change.

He'll still have the hot girl, the stylish clothes and the solid golf swing.

And $50 million or so in the bank.

His life won't change until he wins a major championship.

Once he does that -- and he WILL do it -- you'll see more of him than ever before.

I'm sure George is thrilled to see those words...

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can the eagles stop b & b?


The big day has finally arrived.

There's not much to write about today's Super Bowl that hasn't already been covered.

It's kind of like writing about Ray Lewis getting into the Hall of Fame yesterday. What can I write about him that hasn't already been written, right?

If the Patriots win today, that's six titles for them in the Brady/Belichick era. Or the Belichick/Brady era. Whichever you prefer.

If the Eagles can somehow win, that would mark the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl championship.

Tom Brady goes for a record 6th Super Bowl win as a QB today in Minneapolis.

Personally, I don't care who wins today.

As I said on Friday's edition of The Juice, I can be happy for either team. If New England wins, that means the folks in Philadelphia -- many of whom are Flyers fans -- are sad, which warms my heart a little bit. It feels bad to say that. Really, it does. Right up until I remember that lots of Flyers fans are doubling as Eagles fans today.

But if the Eagles do manage to win, I'm happy for their players and those in the organization who worked so hard this season to get to this point. Nick Foles seems like a really good guy. I'd be thrilled for him if Philadelphia wins today.

Alas, I don't think the Eagles are going to experience that joy this evening in Minneapolis.

As they always do, New England will figure out a way to win.

The game might resemble the Jaguars-Patriots AFC title tilt in that Philly could lead throughout and even carry an advantage into the 4th quarter. But the Patriots are the Patriots. They'll make the plays when they have to make the plays.

I'll say the Eagles lead 13-10 at the half and then own a 19-17 advantage heading into 4th quarter.

New England scores with eight minutes left to lead 24-19.

And that's how it finishes. The Patriots win Super Bowl 52, 24-19.

Those of you with the Eagles plus 4.5 points are once again reminded that you shouldn't bet on NFL football.

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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 2017-18 season.


One player in today’s Maryland vs. Wisconsin basketball game (1pm at the XFINITY Center) is likely to be the game’s leading scorer, leading rebounder, and top assist man. His team will probably still lose.

Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ is that player and after him the Badgers don’t have much.

Happ leads his team in points (17.4), rebounds (8.5), and assists (3.9). He plays the low post with a slow methodical tempo, which he accentuates with really quick spin moves to the basket that are tough to defend. Most Wisconsin possessions go through him.

The Badgers become a much more efficient offensive team when they can get the ball to Happ in the middle of the paint as opposed to the right or left blocks. Not doubling down on Happ is a mistake, and getting the ball to him in the middle makes it harder for his defender to get help.

Happ's size (6’10”, 235 lbs.) and stability give him a tough presence in the paint on offense and on defense. The rebound numbers he puts up are largely a result of his continuous hustle. Like the Big Ten Network’s color commentator, Dan Dakich, said, “Ethan Happ will out-hustle everyone, every night”.

Happ brings a phenomenal motor to every game to go along with good length, and great hands.

A healthy Anthony Cowan would go a long way in helping the Terps fend off Wisconsin today in College Park.

Happ may also be the best passing big man in the country. He sees the court well and has just enough ball handling skills to set up passing lanes for open, or cutting, teammates. His passing skills and ability to hit the open man when being double teamed is why he has been averaging almost 4 assists per game.

The problem with Wisconsin is that after Happ, the drop-off in talent is dramatic.

Gone from last year’s team are Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig, Zak Showalter, and Vito Brown.

One of the players being relied upon to produce points is freshman guard, Brad Davison. Davison is averaging 11 points per game while getting 30 minutes, second on the team to Happ. He’s a heady guard, but at this point in his young career he’s only an average shooter. Defensively, he’s going to struggle regardless of his assignment.

He’s not quick enough to guard Anthony Cowan (Cowan has a thumb injury but is expected to play) and not nearly physical enough to handle Darryl Morsell or even Dion Wiley.

Of Wisconsin’s five starters, the best athlete is, without question, Khalil Iverson. Iverson is a 6’5” junior who uses his ability to get off the floor to score around the basket. He has limited range with his shot (0-20 from the three-point line) but can score from close in and also gets points off of offensive rebounds. Defensively, he has decent quickness but is not an exceptional defender, especially against smaller guards.

Forward Nate Reuvers and guard Brevin Britzel round out the Badger starters. Reuvers, who is 6’10” and another freshman, might develop into a good Big Ten player, but right now he is real raw and not physically ready to bang heads down low in the Big Ten.

Britzel averages 8.7 points per game and, like Davison, plays a smart game, but will struggle today on the defensive end. His playing time increased when D’Mitrik Trice went down with an injury back in early December.

Wisconsin has only one contributor off the bench. 6’8” Aleem Ford logged 31 minutes as a non-starter in Wisconsin’s last game, a 60-52 loss to Northwestern, and is the Badgers most accurate three-point shooter at 45%. Ford getting a start today would not be too surprising. He offers some height and length that Wisconsin, outside of Happ, lacks.

Which Terp players are available for action today is still somewhat of a mystery. In addition to Cowan’s thumb injury, (he’s listed as probable), Maryland has Dion Wiley listed as questionable with an ankle injury and Michal Cekovsky is doubtful with a heel injury.

The injuries, and the Badgers' lack of guard speed, could mean a big day for Jared Nickens and more playing time for Joshua Tomaic.

Nickens should get plenty of chances to hit the threes that he almost exclusively takes because the Terps will frequently get into the paint and Wisconsin will sag in to prevent the easy bucket. This leaves kick outs available for the Terp long range shooters.

Nickens, assuming that his defense (or lack of it) doesn’t force him to the bench, could score a bunch of points today. Huerter will also benefit, as will Tomaic.

Happ will get his points, but I can’t see the rest of his teammates scoring enough to put Wisconsin in a position to win.

I expect the Badgers to play a half-court game, trying to slow the tempo and limit Terp possessions. Maryland won’t change much and they won’t need to. They’ll look to penetrate and hit threes when available. Bruno Fernando will get touches just to make Happ work.

Maryland has the talent to beat Wisconsin, even with the injury bug that has besieged the team. Assuming that Cowan is not restricted, Maryland will send Wisconsin home with a 3-9 conference record after a 77–70 loss.

That’s pretty close to the 8.5 points that the lines-makers are giving the Badgers. Huerter, Nickens, and a bunch of Maryland 3 pointers lead the way.

Hughes Mechanical
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if you think you know baltimore sports trivia


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.



Saturday
February 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 3
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bisciotti's message was clear: we all know what we're doing


Prior to yesterday's Steve Bisciotti press conference in Owings Mills, my intent was to take each answer the owner gave and "break it down" today, to borrow a sports film-watching cliche.

But halfway through the 45-minute event, I realized there wouldn't be a need to do that.

There wasn't much to break down, truthfully.

Bisciotti's message was very clear with nearly every answer he gave: "I know what I'm doing. And the people I employ know what they're doing, too."

Sure, there were a few admissions of mistakes, like the owner saying he feels that the organization let too many experienced scouts leave for other positions in the NFL and then replaced them with folks who were younger and less experienced.

"We think winning games again will fill a lot of those empty seats," said Steve Bisciotti on Friday during his annual visit with the Baltimore media.

But that mistake came with a solution. The Ravens will start hiring and putting experienced scouts back into the organization. Just a hunch here, but expect former Ravens Director of Scouting Phil Savage to resurface in Owings Mills sometime in late February as one of the team's "new, experienced hires".

Bisciotti also touched briefly on the kneeling incident in London and admitted that he would have preferred meeting with the players on Saturday night in an effort to come up with a different plan for Sunday's pre-game moment at Wembley Stadium.

He was also quick to point out that the September 24th knee-in-London was the only time his team did such a thing in the 2017 season. One and done. While he didn't elaborate on how the organization was able to corral the players into that sort of strategy, it's safe to say Bisciotti played some kind of role in making sure it only happened once.

As has always been the case when he participates in that once-a-year press conference, Bisciotti was the clear winner on Friday.

He was poised just enough to remind you that he didn't make his first billion dollars by accident.

He was on-point just enough to remind you that he's still very much paying attention to just about every little detail within the organization.

And he got snarky just enough to remind you that he reads and hears a lot of what the media and the fans are saying about him and the team.

When someone asked a question that included this phrase, "I'm just wondering if you're concerned that other teams in the league are no longer afraid of the Ravens", Bisciotti quickly shot back and said, "I guess I'll have to call the other owners and ask them if they're afraid of me...that's silly." End of question. And answer.

The big news of the day didn't even involve Bisciotti, directly. Ozzie Newsome will relinguish the GM title to Eric DeCosta at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign, but remain with the organization in a scouting and personnel capacity.

Bisciotti was quick to point out that the takeover-plan had been in place for the last four years and that this was Ozzie's idea way back in 2014 when he signed his most recent contract.

I might believe that.

And I might not.

My gut tells me that "secret" would have leaked out long before February 2, 2018.

It's neither here nor there, really, since the organization would never, ever, ever fire Ozzie Newsome, but it will make for an interesting situation in Owings Mills when the guy who used to call the shots is still in the room, talking, guiding and informing the new guy in the room.

Joe Flacco's job is safe, too, as Bisciotti clearly outlined. Unless that was a huge smoke-blowing session to throw off the other teams thinking about drafting a first-round quarterback in April, don't expect the Ravens to be in the hunt for Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield or any other QB in the first round of the draft.

And the owner was quick to point out that he feels "winning games" will fill a lot of the seats that went empty last November and December in Baltimore.

That might be right.

But one look at the PSLs that are for sale on local social media forums should tell Bisciotti his organization could be facing a rare situation in its recent history. The Ravens might actually have to go back into the "ticket selling business", particularly if a lot of folks try to sell their PSLs, can't do it, and then opt to just give them back to the organization.

Winning games will fill lots of those seats. I agree with that.

But some of those seats are going to need to be filled before the games even start next September.

And finally, on the subject of John Harbaugh and his future in Baltimore, Bisciotti was very clear. He's staying because Steve believes in him.

He went as far as to say he "considered" firing Harbaugh after the loss to the Bengals and a third straight January with no playoff football. Of course he did. I assume every owner thinks about firing his coach after they've missed the playoffs two straight years, let alone three.

But Bisciotti was quick to remind everyone that he doesn't run his business -- whether that's football or staffing/personnel -- by just firing folks when things don't go well. It's just not the way he operates.

What I took from that 45 minutes yesterday was the same thing I absorb on nearly every occasion I hear Steve Bisciotti speak.

"I know what I'm doing, trust me," is what I hear him say. He might not be saying those words, exactly, but that's my interpretation.

And, at the end of the day, I do trust him.

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this, that and the other


The Washington Capitals fell in Pittsburgh last night, 7-4, and as is nearly always the case when the Caps meet the Penguins, Washington's inability to win the battle of the special teams was the game's biggest factor.

Pittsburgh scored three times on the power play, going 3-for-4 overall, while the Caps went 0-for-3 with the extra man. Game. Set. Match.

The Penguins, of course, are the Capitals' kryptonite. They have a hard time beating Pittsburgh, particularly in April when the playoffs roll around.

After allowing six goals in 48 minutes last night in Pittsburgh, Braden Holtby was yanked.

Last night, a 4-4 third period contest -- which felt a lot like a post-season game, frankly -- turned into a 7-4 blowout when Pittsburgh's speed reared its ugly head again. The Caps just don't have the same motor as Pittsburgh, particularly in the defensive end of the ice.

The only guy in white last night that had the legs to keep pace with the Penguins' fastest players was Dmitry Orlov, and he can't be on the ice for sixty minutes.

This has become an interesting but potentially distressing season for the Caps...at least from my view at 35,000 feet.

Alex Ovechkin is having a superb season. Lars Eller has been a surprising contributor. And Brett Connolly (13 goals) has enjoyed a solid offensive campaign, too.

But when Connolly has one more goal than T.J. Oshie (12) -- in three fewer games -- and one fewer goal than Evgeny Kuznetsov (14) -- in nine less games -- that tells you where the Caps' biggest offensive problems lie. They're getting poor output from big-money Oshie and Kuznetsov.

And it seems to me the Caps aren't getting the same level of goaltending from Braden Holtby as they have in previous campaigns. He's not stinking up the joint, or anything quite like that, but I'm seeing a lot more three and four goal games allowed by Holtby. Last night in Pittsburgh, he was pulled after giving up three goals in the first eight minutes of the final period.

This is a good Caps team, for sure. But I'm wondering how long they'll be alive in April. Again...


Spring training begins in nine days for the Orioles. Pitchers and catchers report on February 12.

For the fourth consecutive week, I'll write these words: The Orioles currently have two starting pitchers.

Miguel Castro is also going to start, apparently, although he's not actually a starting pitcher. So, if you count him (I don't), the Orioles have three starters.

A week ago at FanFest, Dan Duquette pledged that he'd find more starting pitching ("but don't ask me how" he said) before the season kicks off in late March.

And he might just do that.

There are still lots of decent, quality arms available. But they're all expected to be expensive, or, better put, "too costly for the Orioles".

True, no one else is signing any pitchers, either. But this isn't a situation where the Orioles are one starter away from maybe making some noise in the A.L. East.

They have two starting pitchers. You need five. Or six. Actually, you really need at least seven at your disposal, since someone's going to get hurt in May and July.

Alec Asher is probably going to be starting games in April, just so you know.

Gabriel Ynoa probably will as well.

Go ahead and cringe. You have every right.


Jordan Spieth missed his first cut since last May yesterday at the PGA Tour stop in Phoenix.

That's one heckuva run for Spieth. He's emerged as one of the game's brightest stars since winning the Masters in 2015.

But for the second time in five tournaments yesterday, he blew off the media after the round.

For the second time in a month yesterday, Jordan Spieth refused to speak to the media after a poor round of golf.

That's not cool.

Spieth ducked out the back door after the first round of the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii back in early January. And he did it again yesterday, refusing to speak to the press after his second round score of 70 left him one shot outside the cut line.

By every account, Spieth's a good guy. A solid citizen, if you will. I know folks locally at Under Armour who obviously know him very, very well and they all speak about Jordan with great reverence and respect.

But not talking to the media after a bad round of golf is bush league.

Everyone's done it, obviously.

Tiger, Phil, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day -- at some point in their respective careers, they've given "the Heisman" to a reporter wanting a word with them after a bad round.

But for Spieth, this is now twice in a month that he stiff-armed the media after a bad round.

Poor form...

When you're willing to face the cameras and microphones after a 65, you have to be willing to face them after a 75, too.

It's part of the game. And one of the reasons why people like Under Armour cough up $45 million to Spieth is to get their logo on television. It's not only his obligation to face the press whether he played well or poorly, it's also part of his obligation to Under Armour and his other sponsors.

They like seeing that "UA" on television. They don't care if it comes after a 65 or a 75. They just want to see the logo on television for two minutes.

I assume someone from the sports apparel company will remind him of that today. If they haven't already.

But more than anything else, Spieth needs to keep in mind that he has the chance to be different.

He has the chance, because of his golf and his youth and his charm, to rise to the top of golf's popularity ladder.

Dodging the media after a bad round of golf isn't very charming.

It's amateur-hour stuff, honestly.

KELLY banner ad

if you think you know baltimore sports trivia


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

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Friday
February 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 2
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today's the day we're reminded...


This one has taken a little longer than expected and there are a lot of unanswered (thus far) questions for Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, but today at 1:30 pm in Owings Mills, we'll once again see in high-definition one of the biggest differences between Baltimore's football organization and baseball organization.

In short, it's called accountability.

Bisciotti will face the media for what we expect to be sixty minutes this afternoon. It's something he's done, by my unofficial count, for at least the last dozen years, if not longer.

I don't like the idea of having it on a Friday at 1:30 pm. Nor do I feel like the Friday before the Super Bowl is the most opportune occasion to hold the event. I wrote about that last week here at #DMD. It feels like the Ravens are running scared a bit.

And this is the first time I can remember the owner doing it solo at season's end. He did meet with the media after the Ray Rice issue bubbled over in September of 2014, but in all of the previous season-ending "State of the Ravens" press conferences, Bisciotti has been joined by other team officials at the head table.

Today, he'll go it alone.

We haven't seen this sort of open "have at it" media session from the Orioles and their current ownership group in how many years? Two decades at least. Maybe longer.

Today's the day Steve Bisciotti will face the media and answer questions about the 2017 season and his plans for the future of the Ravens organization.

And even though they've hit rocky ground of late, what you'll see today from Bisciotti and the Ravens is still one of the reasons why one franchise in town is far more respected than the other.

The football owner will face the media and answer questions.

Oh, and it's not orchestrated, contrived or configured to allow only the "good guys" (or girls) to ask questions, either.

Yes, there's a protocol attached to the proceedings. I've been in the room, six or seven times I think, and you know the guidelines before you get in there. Everyone gets a question, but usually only one. I don't know that I generally agree with that, by the way, but one question is certainly better than what you get with the Orioles -- no questions.

You can ask anything you want. No one from the Ravens previews your questions or has any idea at all what you're going to ask today.

"Have at it" as Brian Billick used to say all the time.

There are questions within the questions, though. If you're going to ask Bisciotti a question today about, for example, Joe Flacco and the team's opinion on not only his play but the future of the position in Baltimore, wouldn't that question be better served for Ozzie Newsome?

So, why isn't Ozzie at the table with Steve today? That's a question. An important one, if you ask me. But if you ask that one, you've used up your question.

It would actually be cool of Bisciotti to address that topic himself today and not make anyone waste a question on the reason for Newsome's vacant chair at the table. But that's just me looking out for the guys and gals in the room who only get one question to ask.

You'll always find a contrarian who will say something dumb like, "It doesn't matter that Bisciotti is sitting up there today fielding questions...he's not going to say anything anyway."

Wrong.

As I wrote here earlier in the week, he'll say something if you ask a smart, intelligent question. If you ask him something stupid and simple that he can either easily dodge or give you a cookie-cutter answer, that's exactly what you'll get.

You have to up your game a bit today if you're in that room and you get the chance to ask the owner a question.

But no matter what comes out of today's session with the football owner, it's important to keep this in mind: The Orioles never do this sort of thing with the media at the end of their season.

The owner never speaks to the media. Never.

The GM only speaks to the baseball team's "broadcast partners".

It's important -- and fair -- to note that the baseball manager faces the media in a pre-game and post-game setting every day during the season, a noble if almost overamplified effort on his part. That's one thing about baseball that's enjoyable if you're a fan, even if the sessions are only 5-10 minutes in length.

Maybe that's one of the reasons we like Buck Showalter in this city. We've come to know him fairly well because we hear him speak and we trust what he says.

But as for the baseball owner in town sitting in front of the media and answering questions about the decisions he or his employees make? It doesn't happen in Baltimore.

And the trickle down impact from his reluctance to face the media is that nearly everyone else in the organization adopts the same stance.

I'm not sure what they're afraid of in the Warehouse, but they're afraid.

The Ravens aren't afraid.

They're careful. And well organized. And, perhaps, even a little bit gun-shy these days after a third straight non-playoff season and an ugly incident in London that led to thousands of people leaving their seat empty at the stadium last season.

But the Ravens aren't afraid.

And their owner, today, will do something the baseball owner hasn't done since the late 1990's.

Today's the day Steve Bisciotti will face the music.

He and the Ravens do it every year.

The Orioles never do it.

Just remember that...

BARCS banner ad

if you think you know baltimore sports trivia


50 years of Baltimore sports.

From 1968 through 2018.

How well do you know it?

Where did Justin Tucker play college football? If you know that sort of "trivial stuff", you and your two friends could win big money or prizes in #DMD's Sports Trivia Contest.

Our Baltimore Sports Trivia Contest is officially open for business, brought to you by our friends at Glory Days Grill. And if you and two friends win the contest on April 9, you'll walk away with $2,000.

Not a bad return for a $75 entry fee.

The details can be found by clicking "Trivia Contest" at the top of the page. All of the qualifying dates and rules and regulations are listed there.

In summary, though, it's pretty easy. You and two friends form a team. Without the aid of your cell phone or the internet, you'll register for one of four qualifying rounds and then answer 25 questions over a one-hour period.

The top four teams from each qualifier advance to the Finals on April 9.

Here are three sample questions you might find, just to give you an idea of the depth of knowlege you'll need for the contest:

What was the final score of the Ravens' AFC championship game win at New England in 2013?

Name the colleges these Ravens played for: Dennis Pitta, Todd Heap, Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason and Justin Tucker.

In no specific order, name every Orioles manager (official managers, not someone filling in for one day while a manager was out sick, etc.) from 1968 through 2018.

If you knew those answers, or at least some of the answers, you're on your way. Get your team together and enter the contest. There will be questions harder and more detailed than those and questions that are a tad easier, too.

We'll throw in a couple of Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks questions, but not many. And we'll also add some local flavor by asking a question or two about local college players or high school athletes from Charm City.

At least 80% of the questions will center on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts.

Anything from 1968 through 2018 is game.

We have some awesome prizes for the top six finishers. And you and your team will be featured on a #DMD podcast if you're the champions!

Entries are open. Get your team 3-person team together and register today.

KELLY banner ad

this weekend in
english soccer


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


With the wildest January transfer window in the history of the league, which saw over $600 million change hands to almost double the previous spending record, now officially in the books, Matchday 26 of the English Premier League kicks off tomorrow morning with only a third of the season left to play and every team, save for a few, fighting near the top for a spot in the top four or at the bottom to avoid relegation down to the Championship.

Be sure to tune in all weekend long and maybe even start your Super Bowl party a little early with a cracker on Sunday afternoon highlighting the slate and, as usual, every game available live across the NBC family of networks or online at NBC Live Extra.

Saturday, February 3 (all times eastern)

10am – Southampton @ West Bromwich Albion – The Hawthorns, NBC Live Extra

Southampton were unable to snap their now twelve game duck but did manage to pick up a point for the seventh time during their unflattering league leading winless run when they shared the points with Brighton and Hove Albion in their relegation showdown 1-1. Still occupying the final spot in the drop zone but only a point behind the four clubs just above them in the table, they will face yet another relegation crunch match, this time with West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, who put up little resistance against Manchester City as the runaway league leaders cruised to a 3-0 win.

After opening the campaign with back to back victories, West Brom have managed only one from their twenty-three games since, as the Baggies, firmly rooted at the bottom of the table, have barely stayed relevant thanks to at least a share of the spoils from ten of those occasions. If they have any hopes of survival they will need to start stringing together wins but could find it difficult to do so against Southampton, who share their desperation and who have won the last two and three of the last four with their hosts (L1), including dropping just one of their last five visits to The Hawthorns (W2 D1).

12:30pm – Everton @ Arsenal – Emirates Stadium, NBC

For the first time since his departure two weeks ago, Arsenal showed how much they were missing Alexis Sanchez in the final third as they lacked a clear way through a packed in Swansea City defense without the Chilean pulling the strings and fell to a 3-1 defeat. Sitting now eight points adrift of the top four and with their hopes of Champions League football next season hanging by a thread, they will welcome Everton to the Emirates Stadium for Saturday’s primetime fixture, with the Toffees getting two goals from former Gunner and January transfer Theo Walcott to get past Leicester City 2-1.

Arsenal clearly needed reinforcements to replace Sanchez and they went all in when they brought in Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on deadline day. The Gabon international will link up with his former teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the makeweight in the Sanchez deal, to spearhead an attack that combined for sixty-two goals in the last season they played together, which should help Arsenal fans forget all about Sanchez’ departure and be more than enough to get past an Everton side that have only one win in their twenty-five all time top flight trips to the Emirates (L19 D5).

Sunday, February 4 (all times eastern)

11:30am – Tottenham @ Liverpool – Anfield, NBC Sports Network

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose sides will square off in a top four Super Bowl Sunday showdown at Anfield, are probably asking each other how to stop Man City.

Liverpool shook off the shock defeat at Swansea a few days before to cruise past Huddersfield Town 3-0 and, thanks to Bournemouth’s surprising dismantling of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, moved ahead of the Blues and up to third place while the Terriers slipped in to the logjam just above the drop zone. They will welcome Tottenham to Anfield for a Super Bowl Sunday showdown, with Spurs going ahead after only eleven seconds and then adding another shortly before the break to move comfortably past a lackluster Manchester United and only two points behind their hosts.

It was a surprising performance from United and not only brought their eight-game unbeaten run to an end, but them also back to the pack and in to the thick of the five-team fight for the last three Champions League spots. For Spurs, however, it was the ideal way to kick off a season defining three game stretch against teams they will have to jump if they hope to make the top four. Liverpool is one of those teams and it won’t be easy in the visit to Anfield, where they have not won in their last seven trips (L5 D2) and have taken all three points only once in their last ten meetings with the Reds overall (L6 D3).

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Thursday
February 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logovolume xxxxiii
issue 1
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so much for the nfl getting less tv money


Kneeling during the national anthem, empty seats all over the league, TV ratings down, widespread fan discontent for the NFL product in general.

It was all going to lead to the NFL getting the cleat-of-reality once those TV deals came up for renewal.

That's what a lot of folks thought.

They were wrong.

For reasons only they -- and their accountants and sales people -- know, FOX Sports snagged Thursday Night Football away from CBS and NBC on Wednesday, agreeing to a 5-year deal that averages out at $660 million per-season.

That's nearly a $15 million per-game increase over the $45 million per-game CBS and NBC were bilked out of in 2017 to show 16 Thursday night tilts.

I don't understand it, personally.

But I'm not in the TV business.

For those wondering what Roger Goodell does to justify his $44 million salary -- he just made the NFL $15 million more per-game on Thursday night broadcasts for the next five years.

FOX apparently either believes the fan cycle is down-now-but-turning-up-again-soon or they simply make those kinds of decisions based on numbers and their bean counters are telling them the math works in their favor.

And really, that's all it is. It's just math.

$60 million a game for the right to air it. There's another $75,000 per-game for the staff, equipment, on-air talent, travel, etc. but that's throw-away money when you're talking about $60 million.

Now, take that $60 million per-game and figure out how many commercial breaks are in a typical game. Without even going to the film to verify this, I'd say there are 100 from the time the program begins until they sign off.

Where's a Flyers fan (sorry about getting your tails kicked last night...get 'em next time) to do that math? That's $600,000 per-commercial. Just to break even, by the way.

Maybe it's me that's naive, but I don't see how on earth there are businesses alive -- and thriving -- in America who will shell out $600,000 to run a 30-second ad on a Thursday night football game.

Apparently, though, FOX believes those clients exist for the next five years.

They better hope they do.

Everyone wonders why Roger Goodell gets $44 million a year. The FOX deal is exhibit A. Goodell is, if nothing else, a master negotiator.

FOX just coughed up $15 million more PER-GAME to get the rights to Thursday Night Football for the next five years. Thursday football, by far, is the league's weakest on-air product. They make the teams wear goofy uniforms just to give the whole thing some kind of different look and appeal. It's awful football, for the most part.

And the NFL, in a downward cycle in their history, just made $15 million more per-game in the blink of an eye.

Maybe President Trump's right. Maybe his impact is greater than we realize. (I figured I'd beat him to the punch...)

I don't see how the numbers work but I'm sure the FOX people do.

They probably have a few tricks up their sleeve as well. They didn't do that kind of deal without having some way of making their money back, and lots of it. FOX isn't in the business of breaking even.

The toughest part of their job comes now, when they hit the streets to try and sell the broadcast package to beer, pizza, car and airline companies.

But before you say, "That's when they're going to get the cleat of reality", stop and take a breath. FOX wouldn't have done the deal without some kind of prior knowledge that the numbers are going to work. They already have $200 million on the table from the beer company and the pizza company and the airline.

Now, you still have one step left if you're trying to send a message that you don't like the product the NFL is presenting these days.

Just don't watch the games. And don't buy the pizza. Or the beer. Or the soft drinks. And don't fly on the airline.

That's your only recourse at this point.

The games are going to be played on Thursday.

The NFL is going to make their money.

Those two issues are non-negotiable.

And FOX will, as long as you watch and buy the products they're peddling, make their money, too.

Everyone wins.

But they only win as long as you still turn on the TV set every Thursday night and open up your wallets from September through December.

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"The Keen Eye" of David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


Head to the 2017 Baltimore Orioles page on the Baseball Reference website and scroll down below the virtual fold. There you’ll find the headshots of the team’s “Top 12 Players,” shown in order from left to right.

Baseball Reference ranks those players by WAR, Wins Above Replacement, which is the sabermetric way to do it. I won’t argue with that, though in this case I don’t need to see the numbers, or even the pictures.

Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado were the two best players on the 2017 Orioles.

They are the two best players on the 2018 Orioles, since each of them is certain to be in the Opening Day lineup barring injury.

They are two All-Stars, the best position players from the Orioles farm system in a generation or more.

Close friends during the season, but apparently not close enough to hang out together for one day in Baltimore in January...to appease the very people who help pay their salaries.

And neither of them showed up in downtown Baltimore last Saturday, when 11,000 people came by the Convention Center for the annual FanFest.

Between the final game of the season and the first day of spring training, a span of at least four months, there is one mandatory event for the 40-man roster. There are no meetings or workouts or seminars involved with the trip. Fly in on the team’s dime, sign some autographs, maybe answer a few questions and be on your way back to someplace warmer, or colder if you’re into ice fishing.

Still, no Manny or Jon. That’s what All-Stars do I guess.

Machado wants to play shortstop instead of third base, and he’s getting his wish according to manager Buck Showalter. Apparently, the move required Manny to be taking ground balls in Miami at exactly the same time as FanFest.

If he really didn’t want to take a day off, someone might have told him it was gonna hit 60 degrees in Baltimore on Saturday after a cold morning. He could have hopped across the street after the event and grabbed some fungoes. Maybe the team would have taken the tarp off for him.

Or, he could have awoken in South Florida on Sunday morning, had a protein shake and headed to a workout, knowing that he made a few people’s day by hanging out near them for a few hours the day before. And that, according to Showalter, was a legitimate excuse.

Schoop, on the other hand, didn’t show up because his agent suggested it. With his arbitration hearing pending, the 26-year-old isn’t actually “under contract” with the team yet.

Apparently, he’s been working out hard back home in Curacao; there are videos to prove it. No doubt, Schoop wants to show that his breakout 2017 season wasn’t just a one-year jump. And it’s a long trip from Willemstad. He could tweak his back or something.

After talking to the agent, which I’ve hardly ever heard a manager do, Showalter suggested that Schoop’s absence came with an illegitimate excuse.

Either way, both Machado and Schoop should have been there.

Chris Davis had twins and Zach Britton had serious surgery, but Jon and Manny had nothing. They were on the team last year and showed up for FanFest, and they are on the team this year and didn’t show up for FanFest.

Neither of them had a legitimate excuse, unless you consider just not wanting to be there a legitimate excuse.

Baseball is an especially odd sport in its demands. You play 162 games in about 185 days, which is tough, but half of them are away from home, which is tougher.

A long road trip may happen a couple times of year in the NBA, but in MLB most road trips are long ones. The only trip shorter than six games for the Orioles in 2018 is a three-game set in Toronto immediately after the All-Star break.

As soon as you get used to home, maybe for eight or nine days, it’s time to go back on the road for the same amount of time.

The players rarely consider their home city “home,” at least until after their careers are over in a few cases. They spend so much time on the road that, the second the season ends, they’re ready for one final road trip to a place they can stay for more than a few days.

For a few months, baseball players are almost like PGA tour players; for guys like Machado and Schoop, exempt PGA tour players. They’re wealthy independent contractors, free to work on their games however, wherever and whenever they’d like.

Nobody begrudges them for that, because they’ve earned it. When the season starts, they’ll be ready.

The key word there is “almost.” Unless they’re free agents, they’re still on a team.

Being on that team in the winter doesn’t require them to see or talk to any of their teammates, to be in any particular location, or to be a perfect person.

I assume there’s a 21st century phone chain (agents involved no doubt) to make sure the club can get in touch with a player, and vice versa, when needed. I also assume several players have clauses in contracts forbidding them from certain off-season physical activities; I assume golf is not one of those.

Otherwise, we’ll see you at spring training, where we’ll expect you to be ready to go. And the fans in Baltimore will be particularly excited to see you, especially if winter lasts a little longer into March than usual.

That is, except for one day, still a couple weeks before your job begins in earnest for the year, when you’re asked to fly into an easy-to-get-to airport, grab a 15-minute ride into downtown and make a few people happy.

One day when you’re asked to consider, even if you have to pretend, how fortunate you are to be in that situation.

One day to think about for whom you play, the Orioles, and for whom you perform, several million fans per year in the park and many more millions per year on television.

One day to forget about your agent, your contract and where you’re going to be playing two years from now. Actually, you don’t need to forget about those things, because they’re all important.

You just need to compartmentalize them, if only for a few hours.

Neither Manny Machado nor Jonathan Schoop were willing to do that, which stinks. Or maybe they just didn’t feel like coming, which is really immature. Or maybe they’re just All-Stars acting like All-Stars.

The Orioles play the Twins at Camden Yards at 3:05 on March 29, a Thursday afternoon. Even with low expectations, hope will spring eternal that day.

As for the Orioles’ first foray in Baltimore in 2018, it wasn’t much of a win.

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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 the 2017-18 season.


terps hang tough but lose at purdue


Last night’s Maryland men’s basketball outcome was essentially decided when it was announced that Michal Cekovsky, Maryland’s only 7-footer and also their only 4-year senior, didn’t travel with the team to Purdue because of a foot injury.

It didn’t help that Dion Wiley was hobbled in the first half and missed most of the second half with an ankle injury, or that Sean Obi fouled out after just 8 minutes of playing time.

Add to that mix continual foul trouble for several Terps, plus 11 first half Maryland turnovers, and it’s amazing that the final margin of Purdue’s victory was a mere 7 points, 75-68.

The Boilermakers raced out to a 9-0 lead behind their massive center, Isaac Hass, who was too big and too good for Maryland’s interior defenders. His 20 points, on 8-14 shooting, tied Maryland’s Bruno Fernando for game high.

Bruno Fernando poured in 20 points last night to keep it close for the Terps, but Purdue dropped Maryland to 4-7 in the conference with a 75-68 win.

The early 9-point Purdue lead would grow to 15, but Maryland continually fought back despite their thin roster and the foul trouble that plagued most of their front court.

It was a minor miracle that the Terps were only down by 11, 35-24, at the end of the first half. Maryland had those 11 first half turnovers while Purdue committed just one.

Both teams shot poorly, but Purdue had 12 more shots than Maryland did. Sean Obi had 3 fouls (2 of them were pretty phantom) and 2 turnovers in just 4 minutes of first half playing time. The Purdue lead stayed in double digits for most of the opening half.

Maryland had much more offensive success in the second half, but Purdue always had an answer. Posting Kevin Huerter low proved to be an effective strategy. He was able to convert on a few possessions, and when double teamed, hit Fernando for easy looks.

Anthony Cowan dished out 7 second half assists to help Maryland put up 43 second half points. However, it wasn’t enough.

Purdue thwarted most of Maryland’s attempts to put together a significant run by getting the ball inside to Hass or Matt Haarms for easy buckets. With Fernando having to play soft because of his foul trouble and Joshua Tomaic woefully overmatched, the Terps just couldn’t get enough stops to get any closer than the three-point lead Purdue had at the 9:09 mark of the second half.

Much of the scoring that reduced the Purdue lead to just one possession was accomplished via Huerter three point-shots.

Maryland showed some heart last night.

There aren't any moral victories for a team facing an inevitable NIT invitation, but Mark Turgeon’s team has no reason to hang their heads after last night’s game.

No Jackson, no Bender, no Cekovsky, Wiley hurt, foul trouble to Obi and Huerter and Fernando, yet Maryland still had a chance to win with 9:09 remaining against the nation’s number 3 ranked team in their own gym. It’s not a win, but those kids didn’t quit on their coach. They gave everything they had, they just didn’t have enough.

The Terps now have a 4-7 record in the Big Ten with 7 games remaining. A 5-2 finish is conceivable, but without a marque win on their resume, it would take a spectacular run in the Big Ten Tournament for them to avoid the NIT. The goal now is simply to continue to get better.

Darryl Morsell showed tremendous growth last night.

He flashed a mid-range game that had yet to be unveiled. His 13 points on 6 for 10 shooting reflected an upgrade in his offensive decision making. Choosing to knock down short jumpers instead of going to the rim and getting your shot thrown into the stands is always a good idea. He also added 9 rebounds.

Fernando showed a bit of his mid-range game also. He stretched the floor on several occasions by hitting a few 15-foot jumpers. He also attempted a three-point shot. You will see him shoot from the outside far more frequently in the remaining games.

The Terps return home on Sunday for a 1 pm game against the Wisconsin Badgers (3-7, 10-13).

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coming soon: baltimore's biggest sports trivia contest -- ever


How well do you know your Baltimore sports trivia?

Do you have two friends who know it as well as you do?

Get your team of three together and compete for cash and prizes in #DMD's sports trivia contest, coming up in late March.

And can you answer 25 questions without the use of the internet or your cell phone?

We're talking from 1968 through 2018 -- 50 years worth of Baltimore sports trivia.

Can you and two friends ace the test?

If so, you'll want to sign up for #DMD's sports trivia contest, with a $2,000 first prize to the winning three-person team.

Sign-up details are coming later this week. For now, start chatting with your friends and see who wants to get in. The per-team entry fee is $75 and that includes food and drinks at the qualifying round your team will participate in (late March). The qualifying round will be on a Monday or Tuesday evening starting at 6:30 pm.

In the qualifying round, 16 teams of three will compete for six spots in the Finals. There will be four qualifying rounds. Your team can only compete in one qualifying round. A total of 24 teams of three will advance to the Finals.

First prize is $2,000 to the winning team and the teams finishing in 2nd through 6th place will also receive prizes.

Details and sign-up will begin later this week here at #DMD.

In the meantime, start assembling your team of three and brush up on that 50-year window of Baltimore sports trivia.

80% of the questions will be on the Ravens, Orioles and Colts. 20% of the questions will be on the Blast, Clippers, Skipjacks and local high school and college athletes and coaches.





"SHOW ME THE MONEY!" for October 21. Drew makes his week 7 NFL picks right here.





breakfast bytes

NLCS: Puig's 3-run homer lifts Dodgers to Game 7 win at Milwaukee, 5-1; Bellinger named series MVP.

College football: #2 Ohio State (7-1) gets crushed at Purdue, 49-20; #1 Alabama rolls on with 58-21 win at Tennessee.

Maryland (4-3) falls at #19 Iowa, 23-0; Towson (6-1) stays atop the CAA with 56-28 win at Albany.

PGA Tour: Koepka (-21) pulls away on the back nine to win C.J. Cup in South Korea, earns his 5th PGA Tour victory.


Adam Hadwin