February 27, 2024
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even the coaches agree

It's not often you come across a topic where coaches -- in any sport -- agree with one another.

There's always a rule or a game condition that benefits someone but hurts others. The Orioles, as a loose example, moved their left field wall back a couple of years ago in an effort to attract better pitching to their organization.

The prevailing thought was that pitchers would give up fewer runs in Baltimore which, of course, could increase their value on the open market down the road.

But what they did, at the same time, was potentially make right handed power hitters say, "I'm not so sure I want to play in Baltimore."

There are almost always two sides to every story, as the saying goes.

But in the case of court storming, apparently almost every top NCAA basketball coach agrees: "It has to stop. Like, now."

Coaches across the country reacted favorably on Monday to banning court storming in the wake of two high profile incidents in the last three weeks; one involving Iowa women's star Caitlin Clark and the other involving Duke men's player, Kyle Filipowski, a projected NBA lottery pick in this summer's draft.

Bill Self of Kansas was one of several major college basketball coaches to call for penalties for court storming on Monday.

"Let's get rid of it, totally," Kansas head coach Bill Self told ESPN on Monday. "I don't see the positive impact from a visual standpoint. Our game has excitement and people are excited about college basketball so much. Storming the court isn't as big of a positive as a potential negative that exists with somebody getting hurt or lawsuits. Can you imagine a kid storms the court, runs into somebody, he gets sued and his life is changed forever? It works both ways. Or, somebody runs into one of our players, our player lifts their arms to protect themselves and catches somebody right in the Adam's apple or hits them in the temple and they get a concussion or something? That's a lawsuit against them."

Whether Self's examples were overblown or legitimate is neither here nor there, really.

Here's why court storming should be banned: Because nothing good comes from it. The only thing that evolves from court storming is something like we've seen with Clark and Filipowski recently. Someone gets hurt.

If there's a reason why court storming is good, let's hear it. If there's a positive from it, let's hear it. If there's something about court storming that enhances the entertainment value of the game, let's hear it.

The silence, of course, is deafening.

There's nothing good that comes from it, unless you think running around on the court for 45 seconds and "whoopin' it up" is one of those can't miss moments in your life.

I've never stormed the court at a game in my entire life.

I'm no Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos but things have turned out just fine for me without a court storming merit badge.

It's silly.

Sure, it used to be a thing. People stormed the court once upon a time and enjoyed themselves.

People also used to think All In The Family was a great show. Now? Not so much.

Things change. Times change.

It's no longer the right thing to do to storm the court and act like a complete lunatic while the two teams are still trying to navigate their way off the court.

Why is it no longer "the right thing to do"? Easy answer: Because people don't know when enough is enough.

People can't just make their way onto the court to celebrate with the victorious home team, being careful not to smash into anyone or otherwise injure someone with their negligence.

Instead, it's the exact opposite. People race onto the court without one ounce of concern for what they're doing or who they might be interfering with. I wouldn't call it an outrage. I'd just call it "stupid".

This isn't all that different than the popular term these days: peaceful protest.

It's within our rights to gather and protest in a civil manner. Some would go as far as saying it's one of the more important benefits our forefathers handed down to us.

But all that goes out the window when people gather and aren't "peaceful" with their protest. And, these days, you're finding far more people who don't actually know how to protest, just like you're seeing over and over and over that people don't know how to celebrate on the court or field with their team after a big win.

We just can't have good things, basically.

The coaches have it right.

You have to get rid of court storming, particulary now that these -- ahem -- "student-athletes" are going to start getting paid real money for playing amateur (insert giggle here) sports.

There's a reason why fans of football and baseball teams aren't allowed to "storm the field" after championship victories. The hired help is just valuable. Can you imagine, had the Ravens won on January 28, 20,000 storming the field and Lamar Jackson tearing his shoulder up when he was knocked to the ground and being unavailable for the Super Bowl?

So if field storming isn't allowed in professional sports, why is permissible in college sports?

It shouldn't be. Put an end to it, now, per the wishes of the coaches on Monday's national conference call.

Invoke some kind of serious penalty for court storming and see how quickly it gets resolved.

I've seen three options bandied about:

1. Play the next home game in front of no fans.

OK, that works, sorta-kinda, but the tickets are already paid for in most cases. So no one's in the stadium...big deal. The athletic department has the money for the game in their account already. They don't really care if no one's in the building to watch the game.

Sure, having no fans in the stands could impact the environment for the home team and that could send the appopriate message, but it's not the basketball players who are fault for court storming. It's the failure of the athletic department to control their patrons.

2. Fine the school the equivalent of an average home game gate receipt.

This one makes a lot of sense. If you sell 17,000 tickets an at average price of $40, you're forking over $680,000 in fine money. That's real money, even for some of the Power 5 schools who are making gazillions of dollars from their various sports programs.

3. Suspend the head coach for the next 3 games.

I probably like this one the least of the three, particularly because the coaches are generally the ones who want to stop court storming from happening. But that one will certainly get the coach's attention and, you assume, the attention of everyone within the athletic department as well.

In the end, the bottom line is court storming is dumb, there's nothing of real, tangible benefit being gained from it and, everything's funny-ha-ha until it's your star player's MCL that gets sprained because of some nitwit college kid who can't handle his Mad Dog 20/20.

Just end it now.

As the banterings continue about the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, it's becoming more and more apparent, just as I predicted here last June, that no sort of "formal" working agreement can be developed and carried out by the two parties.

It was silly to ever buy what was being sold by both entities.

LIV Golf never really wanted to "run" golf. They just wanted to own people. In this case, it's golfers. They wanted to own whatever golfers they decided were the best investment for them. And so that's what they did.

The PGA Tour never really wanted to be friends with them, either. But at some point, Jay Monahan figured "better the devil you know than the devil you don't", although in this case, specifically, the "devil" is far, far more evil than your run of the mill, every day devil.

LIV Golf went to the bargaining table when they spent a billion dollars on golfers and then discovered no one in the world was paying attention to LIV or their golfers.

Brooks Koepka and the rest of LIV still don't have a "working agreement" with the PGA Tour that was promised last June.

Why spend billions to "re-shape" the world of golf when you then discover no one cares if you're re-shaping it?

The PGA Tour went to the bargaining table once that first invoice showed up for legal fees and it was in the millions.

That was their "cleat of reality", if you will. The PGA Tour never once lost a court fight with LIV, that much was true. But in compiling that 4-0 record, they spent millions and millions of dollars that they really didn't want to part with.

So they made that "agreement" last June, you know, the one that said LIV would fall under the PGA Tour's umbrella and that Jay Monahan would now run both entities.

That was never going to happen.

LIV continues to roll on, playing their music and celebrating 54 hole golf tournaments like they're something that matters. They continue to steal players from the PGA Tour and, almost without question, they'll snag another big fish at some point fairly soon.

If the PGA Tour/LIV saga was a wrestling skit, Rory McIlroy would definitely be the next one to go. My best guess? Viktor Hovland signs on after the Masters.

Anyway, the PGA Tour recently got funded to the tune of billions -- with a "b" -- by a group of wealthy sports owners including Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons.

The TOUR, quite clearly, is pretty much doing exactly what LIV did without the up front gazillion payments. They're paying exorbitant amounts of money for winning and huge sums for finishing T45. In other words, everyone winds up getting rich in the end if you just play decently good golf for about 12 weeks a year.

What the PGA Tour has going for it, though, is the obvious: They aren't funded by a group that has practiced significant acts of terrorism and murder.

LIV has that on their plate.

They have a lot of money, yes. But they also have a lot of blood on their fork, too.

The PGA Tour still has the most complete "golf tour" in the world. They have the best TV deal, the most sponsors and, overall, the best players.

But how long can the two entities stand apart from one another and still prosper?

I've suggested here and elsewhere that the obvious, easy solution is for the PGA Tour to play their schedule from the week after the Super Bowl until the week before the start of the NFL season. Call it February through August.

LIV can then play September through January in the various parts of the world they like to occupy.

The PGA Tour can play primarily in North America and LIV can play primarily in Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

It's just not that hard to figure out.

But it's far from happening.

These are two boys vying for the same high school prom date and neither of them wants to give in and lose all of that sweat equity they've invested.

Buckle up for more fighting between the two parties.

Greg Norman is no longer hiding it. He came out this week and publicly said, "Hideki Matsyuama is the guy we've targeted recently. We'd love to get him."

Matsuyama is interesting to Norman and his Saudi buddies because he helps them tap into the lucrative Asian market. If people in the U.S. aren't interested in Matsuyama -- which, for sure, they aren't -- there's no doub the folks in Japan certainly would be.

The PGA Tour also knows the dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about at parties: At some point in the future, LIV might have most of the world's top players, but if no one's paying attention to them or watching the golf on TV, who cares?

It would be akin to the L.A. Dodgers taking their entire team and moving into the Japanese baseball league. We wouldn't watch any additional Japanese baseball just because the Dodgers packed up and moved to Japan.

If Hideki Matsuyama, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay jump ship and start playing LIV Golf in places like Morrocco, Cape Town, Queensland and Tokyo, I just don't see "golf people" (and I'm one of them) getting up at all hours of the morning (or night) to watch them play on Oprah's TV network or wherever the LIV TV deal takes me.

I haven't watched one second of LIV Golf but that's more a personal choice and not at all about "golf". I have great respect for the former Anerican TOUR players (except Patrick Reed) who play on LIV -- as golfers -- but zero respect for them as citizens of the country that was harmed by events funded in part by the very government that now pages their wages.

Koepka, D.J., Bryson, Niemann, Hatton, Rahm -- all incredibly talented players. It's a shame they're playing their golf in silence.

The ring of the cash register, though, is loud. And that, ultimately, is the only reason any of those guys are playing for Greg Norman.

How long will that last?

That's the fun part.

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#dmd comments

KJ     February 27
How many times a day does "Larry" come to DMD to see if he's being mentioned? Over/under is 8.5. I will take "over".

cj     February 27
“You listen to Duke come out now and they say they’re against it and there shouldn’t be court storming. I did not hear that on September 4th 2023 when their football team knocked off Clemson and their entire student section ran out onto the football field. I heard their coach actually sit there and say, ‘This is what college athletics is all about. This is a moment for our program to be seen,'"

Steve of Pimlico     February 27
How about announcing that large scale count storming would result in forfeiture.Once the rules are established and enforced this nonsense would end

larry     February 27
Man, I was ready to move on, but according to Dean, I owe the world an answer to one of the many questions posed today.

Bow about these "good" things:

Builds camaraderie btwn regular students and student athletes

Brings emotional excitement to the games.

It's harmless fun (when done right of course).

Keep in mind, I never said anyone "has" to do it, merely questioned the necessity of the practice being "banned". Truly it should only happen every now and again. Last night, Campbell beat UNCW for first time in 5 years, and about 25 students "stormed" the court and mobbed about half the home team players. The other half calmy shook hands with their opponents. To my knowledge, no one was injured lol.

CIK     February 27

I have yet to meet somebody who agrees with me 100% of the time. It happens.

And I was curious as to why the field storming at MLB games ended. I remember the video of about 100 Pirates fans hopping the rail and celebrating at Memorial Stadium in 1979. Kind of crazy that the visiting fans hopped on the field. But in 1980, at the Vet in Philly, they started using cops on horses, with German Shepherds, placed along the fences. I remember Boggs hopping on a horse after winning in 1996.

Hal     February 27
I am a Cash Is King fan from way back when but this time is a whiff. You're on the wrong side of this one. Wake at fault, not Duke. It's OK to admit you got this one wrong. Everybody does it but Trump.

dan from virginia     February 27
Looking at the options presented by Drew in regards of how to stop court storming only one is remotely logical. No fans for next home game? No thanks, hey guys give it your all so we can beat the #1 team and if the fans rush the court our next home game will be in an empty gym. Lets not punish the players for doing what they are asked to do. Suspend the coach? HA! Fans call for coaches to be fired all the time. Imagine a disgruntled fan base storming the court after a loss so their vilified coach gets suspended. Sounds dumb but get that idea in enough wacko fans heads and its not so out of this world. But, as with all things in life money rules. Fine the home athletic department. I have seen some conferences fines starting at $5,000, that's nothing. Make it start at $100,000 and escalate each time after, that will make the schools care and put an end to it.

CIK     February 27

I don’t care if kids storm the court or don’t storm the court. Makes no difference to me whatsoever. I am not defending anyone. I am looking at a video, and describing how I see it. And comparing this situation to someone breaking into my home? Lol. If someone breaks into my home, I hope I am close enough to my firearm and can get off a couple good shots. But maybe arming the basketball players is a solution? I hadn’t considered that option. Lol. Not the greatest analogy btw.

Dean     February 27
@Larry, it might be good for you to answer the question posed in the main article.

What good comes from court storming after a game? We already know the bad, so tell us what is the good that stems from it?

Mike Reese     February 27
I never comment here (but ready every day, love the site) but people like CLK are the problem. You're defending the Wake kids who ran onto the court when they weren't allowed to run onto the court in the first place? Why? The Duke player had every right to defend himself when the Wake students were running out there and perhaps causing him to be injured or harmed. Is the Duke player supposed to just let the kids trample him or does he have the right to protect himself. If someone walks into your house tonight, do you protect your family or do you let them run through your house and do as they please? I don't know what point CLK was making but defending the Wake students is a crazy point to make.

larry     February 27
"GM" clearly needs MFC's RC 101. Site owner said:

"Here's why court storming should be banned: Because nothing good comes from it".

While site owner and I agree on people being stupid and not knowing how to have an "on court celebration" safely, we disagreed on whether it needed to be banned. But as CIK found out, some people just don't want to ever allow differing opinions on....anything.

CIK     February 27
2 different people can look at the same exact video and come to different conclusions of what they just watched. It happens all the time. Only narrow minded people look at things with blinders on. And I can’t see anything in this clip but the Duke big extending the leg & throwing the forearm. Coincidentally at the kid who looks like he is trash talking.


J.J.     February 27
I'm with @Sean on this one. Anybody blaming the Duke player is nuts. The Wake students were out there in a flash. It's totally on the Wake administration and arena security, not on the Duke player.

Sean     February 27
I saw the overhead angle 20 times, CIK.

I just watched it 10 more times.

You're wrong. There's no tripping at all.

There's not even any time to trip. There are people on top of that Duke player before he can even move. It's OK to admit you're just trying to be a contrarian for the sake of it.

CIK     February 27

It’s the overhead angle. Barstool is the site that posted it. And it looks pretty obvious to me. And not a Duke hater…or a Duke fan. I like to wager…I care about final scores only. Not everyone is a “hater”. Sometimes people just have different opinions.

Jason M     February 27
How do you 'ban' court storming? Basketball is the most open of all of the games to the fans, it's either barriers or a legion of security guards like something out of the hunger games.

I have a huge problem with what I consider performative displays like this. The fans want the selfie on the court, the replays on ESPN or social media, they want to have been a part of something beyond being a fan at the game. The psychology of crowds, read The True Believer by Hoffer, you'll never look at footage of Jan 6, a court storming or a riot at Mandawmin the same way. People in crowds behave in ways they would never dream of as an individual. In many ways, once in a crowd, the individual freely gives up their will to that of crowd.

Sean     February 27
I've watched the replay of the Duke/Wake incident 20 times this morning and never once does it look like the Duke kid tried to trip someone.

I've seen it from two different angles. CIK must be a Duke hater.

GM     February 27
Are we 100% sure "Larry" and the site owner aren't one and the same? Larry basically posted exactly what Drew wrote today. "The problem is people don't know how to storm the court in a civil kind of way." Come on, fess up, Drew. Are you really "Larry" too????

David Rosenfeld     February 27
"Home court advantage" is more important in big-time college hoops than it is in any other sport in the U.S. Student fans are encouraged to act like idiots to make it hard on the other team, and they're told that they're an important part of "the team." After all, these guys are their peers and classmates. The court rushing is just the endgame.

I've never really agreed with all that. The court is the domain of the players and coaches. They've practiced and prepared so they can perform on game day. It's their place; your place is in the stands. It's great if you have pride in your team and even helped them win, but it doesn't mean you're on the team.

Of course, none of this qualifies as what's wrong with our country or even something important, just some good fodder for sports commentary.

CIK     February 27
Filipowski clearly extends his leg and trips the kid running. My guess is the kid was chirping while running and Filipowski decided to trip him. But it didn’t go as Kyle planned. He ended up getting trampled. Karma is a….

LIV vs PGA…who cares at this point? The PGA is just pissed that they don’t receive as much Saudi money as they did the past. But they always (and still do) take that blood money. And nobody, including DF, cared until the top golfers moved from the beloved PGA.

Unless you’re willing to stop supporting all the companies who take Saudi money, you’re part of the problem. And you’re also a hypocrite.

larry     February 27
The issue is not that fans run onto the court to celebrate, it's that it has become "storming". These "fans" race into the court like a bat out of hell, all with their phones in the air looking for something to post on social media, and not paying attention to what they are doing. How hard is it to avoid running into someone??

This is another "what's wrong with our country". Something "bad" happens, oh, well, then let's ban it. How about people learn to do it in a less dangerous manner?? Or at least get the vesting team out of the way. If these clowns hurt their own team's players, well, there's your punishment.

Clark was not hurt, at all, and the Duke kid did not even need an xray, he'll be fine. But in today's world, everything becomes the worst thing ever and needs to be banned. This is frankly, much ado about nothing.

Kenny G     February 27
There are already rules against court and field storming including fines (especially in the SEC). Still happens! Why? The school like it! When Creighton upset #1 UConn this month and the fans stormed the court, what an advertisement for the school. I did not hear the Creighton coach complain! An no one got hurt! Until the administrations decide its not right (new rules, upset coaches, etc), it won't change.

Boris     February 27
Good column from Drew about the problems in golf. Maybe the (ahem) non-profit PGA should consider replacing their $28 million per year incompetent CEO with someone with a little common sense?

Henry     February 27
Great columns today Drew. Keep up the good work my friend.

Vic     February 26
LMAO at Boris. Clown shoes stuff.

kj     February 26
Music example is spot on. "We" allow musicians to say anything they want, under the guise of "art". Comedy should be looked at the same. Comedians back in the day always pushed the envelope, go back to Richard Pryor as a prime example. The original SNL did same. Nothing was off limits, some made a thing out of being "outrageous".

That said, I did not find Gillis's bit funny. But I did feel good he was allowed to go where he went. Was hoping it meant we were starting to make sense as a society again. Then, the backlash began. Ala Jenn Royle "conflict", people cannot just let things be. People with no dog in the fight feel the need to give their two cents. But agree with Such, the best solution there is to never, ever involve yourself in social media. Ever.

Boris     February 26
Boris knows a little golf (Hatton isn't on tour - he jumped to LIV). The players left over either don't move the needle, (thus the embarrassing Tigermania), are past the sell by date (Day, JT etc.) or are practicing load management ala the NBA. The rookies are actually very seasoned from years of competitive golf in junior ranks, College mini tours, Korn Ferry etc. and they can all play. The big names get lazy and they fall behind over night.

TimD in Timonium     February 26
Looking back at the 70's and 80's as the Golden Age of Comedy, I can honestly say that the Shane Gillis opening monologue on SNL was pretty funny. But you can't please everybody. (Thanks for the heads up, @DF. I haven't tuned into NBC at 1130 on Saturday night in maybe 20 years.)

Chris K     February 26
I personally believe any written forms of art (comedy, books, music, etc) should push the boundaries of limitations. It’s what makes comedy funny, music great, and books unforgettable. I’m not a Gillis fan…just watched his Netflix special and thought it was meh. That being said, I used to love Lisa lampenelli back when she did standup, Chris Rock, Dave chapelle, bill burr, Martin Lawrence and a bunch more (was a HUGE fan of Def Comedy fan as a kid). They were all controversial I guess but also hilarious and unforgettable. They never toed the line, they went flying over it. And I’m thankful for it.

KC     February 26
I just watched the Shane Gillis clip from SNL.

Did he get paid for that?

It's probably the least funniest thing I've ever seen and that's saying something for SNL.

I agree with @DF. Nothing to see there other than it was awful.

Billy     February 26
I'll admit, this made me laugh:

(I make occasional funny remarks here about a certain old, washed up pop music group from England)

"Pop music group".

James     February 26
Looks like Boris just got owned. LOL

Kyle P.     February 26
Since Boris doesn't know golf, let me display the names of the best players in the world who aren't on LIV and who are playing on the PGA tour and who haven't won this year. You might have heard of them.



Xander S.








Sung Jae





Cam Young


Delray RICK     February 26
Why haven't I not watched golf more this year? By this time golf was hot with THE PLAYERS coming. But the better golfers went to LIV and then some. And the MASTERS might let these players in so we see the best. I hope.

David Rosenfeld     February 26
Chris, if MD wins 6 games in a row (last 3 of regular season, then 3 B1G tourney games) and loses to say, Purdue, in the tourney final, then it's a definite maybe. MD has 1 win of real consequence (at Illinois)...I think they'd need at least 2 more to have a chance.

Dale     February 26
...sweat box...

Tom J     February 26
Looks like a blast from the past name Jen Royle is in the news again for all of the wrong reasons...again!!!! Karma is a b*tch huh Jen.....

Dale     February 26
@Chris P - yes, run the table in the regular season, which gets them to 10-10. Win two conference tournament games.

@J.R. - traveled to the RAC for the game, feeling more than a little under the weather. They put me in a glassed in sweet box for media overflow. Drove home, took some cold meds, wrote as best as I could, and went to bed very early. Tried my best. Y'all deserve better.

Boris     February 26
The unknown golfers are winning because the top players from the last few years have either moved to LIV, are not playing or have aged out and the young players are that good.

such     February 26
Look, I'm old. So old that I honestly don't know who these people are. So old that I stopped watching SNL after Phil Hartman left. So old that 21 Savage (who?) was my teammate's last name and number in high school basketball. That was a long time ago. So old that I could care less what anyone on Twitter/X or any other form of social media thinks about anything. Why let that stuff bother you? Just don't engage. You'll be happier. I promise.

Ig Holliday proves he's ready during Spring Training then bring him north. I don't think the arbitration years factor into the calculations with Elias. Everyone knows that somewhere down the line they're going to have to pay these young guys. That will be the test for the new ownership group.

@ Chris P: Not to step on Dale's toes here, but there's no shot Maryland gets an at-large bid. None. You won't find them listed on anyone's bracket projections. They're not deserving.

Brian Preller     February 26
Agree with a lot of what Drew wrote about Gillis/SNL. It wasn't funny but it also was far from insensitive or "over the top" as someone wrote. He used those three words in a context that wasn't offensive in the least but some people took it that way unfortunately. We live in a society where everyone gets offended by something that doesn't even faze the person sitting next to them. That's where we are.

J.R.     February 26
Did Dale write that story or was it AI generated? Far from his usual solid work.

MFC     February 26
Found SNL to be boring and not funny at all. Turned it off after the third skit. Maybe the pressure is getting to them after 50 years, even Keenan Thompson couldn't save a sketch.

Chris P.     February 26
Question for Drew and Dale.

Is there any way the Terps can make March Madness (other than winning Big Ten tournament)???

Hank (The Fake One)     February 26
@DF and I are on the same page.

I watched the SNL opening skit and didn't laugh one time.

I agree that what he said on Saturday wasn't a big deal. People get worked up over nothing these days. But all in all I thought it was drab comedy. What has that Gillis guy done that's ever been funny?

Mitch     February 26
Drew, why are so many unknown players winning on the PGA Tour this year? Any thoughts or insights? As for Holiday, if he's as good as he's being touted, I'd leave him in the minor leagues to get that extra year down the road. Who knows what that might be worth in six years.

Lonnie Frisbee     February 26
[This comment has been removed due to a violation of posting protocols. The IP address has previously been flagged for protocol violations. The next flagged violation will result in a permanent suspension of the IP address.]

TimD in Timonium     February 26
Interesting year so far on the PGA tour circuit. Not a single high-profile, well-known winner, except maybe for Hideki, to date. Here's the recap:

Chris Kirk. Grayson Murray. Nick Dunlap. Matthieu Pavon. Wyndham Clark. Nick Taylor. Hideki Matsuyama (+6000 before the Genesis start!). Jake Knapp.

2024. The Year of the Longshot.

Steve of Sandtown     February 26
Drew calling Aunt Betty fat is funny.BTW don't looking your mirror today.

Mike     February 26
Comedians should always have cart blanche to say anything. Push the envelope and offend. As for Holliday if he starts from day 1 and wins ROY you get a 1st rd pick. With new billionaires there is no reason to skimp on service time.

February 26, 2024
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funny? not funny? but necessary?

It's clearly not a sports topic and we'll get to some sports in a jiffy, I promise. But Dane sent me an interesting e-mail on Sunday and asked what I thought of the Saturday Night Live monologue featuring once jettisoned Shane Gillis.

"I know you're a SNL guy," Dane wrote. "And like you, I thought the Bargatze feature a couple of months ago was comedy gold. But I'm wondering what you thought of what Shane Gillis did (Saturday) last night? Funny? Or way over the top?"

Full disclosure, unlike the show Nate Bargatze hosted, I did not see Shane Gillis live this past Saturday evening. In some ways, I do think that takes away a little bit from the impression a comedy skit leaves. Seeing it without any bias or information is important, I believe.

By the time Dane sent me that e-mail on Sunday, I already seen people opining about the episode on Twitter. I hadn't seen any of it, but I saw enough of the commentary to know it was, shall we say, "on the line".

But I did watch it late Sunday afternoon. Several times, in fact.

And, so, here's what I'll say in response to Dane's inquiry.

I've never found Shane Gillis particularly funny. That said, I find Bill Burr extremely funny. And Burr and Gillis, while perhaps not cut from exactly the same cloth, are certainly kindred spirits.

Comedy is similar to music. You like what you like. I always thought Steven Wright was really funny. My wife watches 10 minutes of old Steven Wright clips and looks at me like I'm from Saturn. "You think this guy's funny?" she says.

I thought the movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" was hilarious. My friends watched it with me once and wanted to have me tested for a mental imbalance.

I laughed non-stop. They didn't crack a smile.

So, I don't find Shane Gillis particularly funny. But a lot of people do.

Gillis, in case you don't know, was famously kicked off of SNL back in 2019 for some incredibly sensitive comedy skits he authored, mostly regarding Asians and homosexuals.

That he was brought back by SNL on Saturday night was big news in the comedy world.

I watched the entire 8 minute monologue from this Saturday's show. Predictably, three words he used in the opening segment -- "gay", "retarded" and "cracker" -- have created a firestorm. I didn't find much of what he said on Saturday night offensive or funny, honestly. Like I mentioned above, I just don't think he's all that funny.

He used the word "retarded" when describing a playground scene involving his niece, who has Down Syndrome. And he used the word "cracker" in reference to that playground scene and her three African American step brothers coming to her rescue.

He didn't use either word in a derogatory manner, yet there were folks on Twitter who were outraged nonetheless.

Glenn Clark and I have been doing a regular segment in his Wednesday show called "This is what's wrong with our country" and one of the things that's definitely wrong is we've lost our way when it comes to humor.

No one is allowed to be funny any longer. Or even attempt to be funny.

I make occasional funny remarks here about a certain old, washed up pop music group from England and people react as if I called their Aunt Betty "fat" at the family picnic in August.

That's a sliver of an example, obviously. But it's true. Somewhere along the way in this country, people stopped embracing humor and took everything personally.

I suppose what Dane was getting to in his e-mail was more about the content and less about the humor portion of it.

Nate Bargatze can do 90 minutes of stand-up and never utter one bad word. I saw him at the Lyric back in September and the worst thing he said all night was "sucks". And I think he said that once. Twice at the most.

Gillis pushes the envelope. "Gay", "retarded" and "cracker" are words we've pretty much removed from our daily vocabularly here in 2024. People still say them, I know. But we've tried hard over the last half decade or so to go easy on the use of those words.

That said, and this is the summary I wanted to provide, I'd like to see us get less worked up about things like that.

It was a comedy skit. In this case, all three of those words were reasonable fits for the points he was trying to make. I don't know that they were funny. But that's just me.

Interestingly enough, musical guest 21 Savage was performing on Saturday night with lyrics that detailed things like murder and cocaine use. I understand that music is considered "different" than comedy, but aren't interpretation and nuance part of the song writer's quest?

Shane Gillis can talk about being "gay" for his mother as a young boy (a joke I didn't get at all, honestly) and that's not cool but 21 Savage can sing about murder and that's....acceptable?

We spend a lot of time these days just dying to get offended about something someone says. It never ends. Every single word gets dissected. Everything is evaluated, over-evaluated and then super-evaluated.

Sometimes, it's just an attempt at humor. Or music.

Steven Wright once said: "Why is it called a penny for your thoughts...but you have to put your two cents in?"

And, "What cruel person put an "s" in the word, "lisp"?

I thought those things were funny.

Shane Gillis wasn't funny on Saturday night, but not because he was offensive. He just wasn't funny.

But I don't think those three words he said were awful. He was trying to be funny. It might not have worked for me, but it might have worked for you.

My answer to Dane: Let's stop getting offended so easily about stuff that doesn't really matter. A comedian using those three words didn't change anything in the world on Sunday morning. He tried to be funny. Some people in the audience laughed. Others were stoic.

And while I didn't find it funny, I certainly wasn't offended by the monologue.

Now...murder and cocaine. Maybe we should be worried about those things.

That was a remarkable scene at the Mexico Open yesterday, where PGA Tour rookie Jake Knapp, who started the day with a 4-shot lead, held on to win the golf tournament and changed his career at the same time.

Knapp couldn't find a fairway, a green, or a par early on. It looked like he was going to throw away the event in the first nine holes.

But then, something awesome happened.

TOUR rookie Jake Knapp relaxed after a shaky start to win the Mexico Open yesterday at 19-under par.

Knapp settled down.

And he started to hit the kind of shots he had hit in the first 54 holes. The putter wasn't great throughout the round, but his short game and wedge work around the greens was spectacular over the final six holes.

He finished the day with a routine par at the 18th hole to finish at 19-under and earn a trip to the Masters in April, plus invites to The Players and the remaining signature events in 2024, and a TOUR card through 2026.

It's a great story for anyone who thinks "I can't do it."

In my role as Calvert Hall's golf coach, I'm constantly searching for examples to share with my players. I'm looking for things they can watch or experience that will guide them long after they've finished playing for me.

Jake Knapp is one of those stories.

He was a very good college player who toiled on the mini-tours but couldn't sustain a living just from playing golf. He was a bartender and a bouncer while he was trying to play his way onto the various professional circuits.

"There's a difference between a dream and a wish," I tell my players. "A wish is usually just a hope. A dream actually takes shape. It's there, in front of you. It lives."

Jake Knapp getting into the winner's circle yesterday is a story that will be hard to top in 2024.

It reinforces what I always say: "You never know."

Of all the sports axioms I subscribe to, that's the best one of them all. If I would have said to you on January 1st, "Jake Knapp is going to win a PGA Tour event before March 1st," you would have said, "Who? How? Never heard of the dude."

You never know.

The talk is going to start to heat up this week about the Orioles and phenom Jackson Holliday. Start the season in the minors? Or come north right away with the big league club?

A few weeks ago on Glenn Clark Radio, I asked a national baseball analyst for his closest big league comparison to Holliday and he came up with Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor.

That, of course, was a career comparison and not a comparison of his current skill set, but it certainly moved me in a different direction with Holliday.

Wouldn't you like to have a young Francisco Lindor on the field this April?

At the center of the debate, of course, is "service time" and whether seven weeks of Holliday now is worth a full year of additional contractual obligation down the road.

The Orioles are in a great spot.

They are already jam packed with talent, for starters. If they leave Holliday in the minors to start the '24 campaign, it's not a huge issue.

That they won 101 games a season ago is also good in that the fan base isn't screaming from the rooftops about trying to get better after another one of those 65 win seasons.

It might be different if the O's were lousy for the last five years and weren't stocked with Major League talent. The pressure might be too much to take in terms of Holliday coming north with the team later this spring.

But now? The O's can take their time and make the right decision.

That said, the A.L. East is once again going to be a dogfight.

The Rays are always hanging around, no matter how many of their good players they cast away.

The Blue Jays have the offense. If they ever get quality pitching and bullpen work, they're a threat to win the division.

And the Yankees figure to rebound after a really disappointing 2023 campaign.

Five or six wins might be the difference in winning the division and/or making the playoffs. Who knows?

If Holliday helps the Birds win two or three extra games in April and May, those wins could be the difference in the division title or a wild card spot.

If Holliday isn't around for April and May (and a little bit of March) and those "extra wins" aren't there, the playoffs might also not be there in October.

There's one thing still up in the air, too. Where will Holliday play when he gets here? Mike Elias has dropped some hints about second base. OK then, what happens to Jordan Westburg?

And then, we have the issue that always plagues the Orioles: being cheap.

Keeping Holliday around now will simply quicken the pace when it comes to having to pay him real money.

If he's ready -- in baseball terms -- and you bring him to Baltimore to start the season, you're starting his "clock" in 2024.

It's different if he's not ready, baseball wise. Leave him down in the minors for a couple of months to fine tune everything and then bring him up sometime after Memorial Day. That's an easy one.

But if Holliday is truly ready to be a big league baseball player, what should the Orioles do?

Those of you who have been ardent #DMD readers over the years know what my position is on this topic. I say "bring him up right now and start winning baseball games."

Start his service clock and let's win some games.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps roll past rutgers, 63-46

The Terps were locked in a tight a highly contest battle with Rutgers yesterday. But over a span of 7:21 ending the first half, and 3:54 starting the second, they broke off a 22-4 run, eliminating any hopes Rutgers had for a home win.

After playing the last 6 minutes of the game only with the intention to run out the clock, Maryland cruised to a 63-46 win over Rutgers in the RAC.

The Terps held a 6-2 advantage in three pointers made, a 15 to 10 superiority in foul shots made, and dominated the offensive glass 15-7. Of those three areas, it was the three ball that did in the Scarlet Knights. I’d place that above even the Terrapins stingy defense.

At 5:11 of half one and the Terps ahead by 2, Jordan Geronimo hit a three from the right corner as the shot clock expired. Jahmir Young followed that with a trey off the dribble while heading to his left. Next, Donta Scott drained one from the right side.

The 2-point lead was now 11, quickly. Rutgers would never again bring that bulge down into single digits.

The Terp lead would grow to as many as 20, but never fall below 10.

Julian Reese flexed his muscle while on the way to a 20-point afternoon.

Geronimo had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Young was again tested by the Rutgers defense, going 2 for 9 from the floor. But the sell out to stop the Terp point guard left other options open. Young made the Scarlet Knight pay by handing out a career best 9 assists.

No Rutgers player made more than 3 field goals against the swarming Terrapins, but buoyed by his 6 foul shots, Aundre Hyatt led his team in scoring with 13 points.

It took four tries from long range, but the Terps finally got on the board with a Scott three. Reese followed that with a dunk assisted by Young, and Maryland had a 5-2 lead very early into the game. That became a 7-3 lead after Young bested Omoruyi at the foul line. The Terp point made a pair while Omoruyi hit 1 of 2.

The Terp advantage grew to 6 when Harris-Smith got to the rim twice. Rutgers countered with dunks by Hyatt and Omoruyi. The second one was a follow up dunk off a missed shot.

At the second TV timeout, the Terps were clinging to a 1-point lead, 13-12. They were 4-13 shooting and 1-6 from the three-point line. Rutgers was doing a great job of contesting every close-range shot, and had already blocked a pair of Maryland attempts.

By the next media break, The Scarlet Knights has amassed 5 turnovers, allowing the Terps to overcome a 4-minute span in between field goals. Maryland held a slight 17-14 lead and Reese was heading to the line to shoot a pair. He connected on 1 of those tries.

There was little happening on the perimeter, as each team was effectively guarding outside. All scoring was either at the rim or on the foul line. Both teams pressed when they could, but the only effect was to run time off of the shot clock.

Back-to-back threes, one by Jordan Geronimo and another by Young, propelled the Terps to their biggest lead, 26-18.

That was the score at the sub-4-minute TV timeout. The Geronimo triple was a buzzer beater from the right corner. Young’s was a tough one moving to his left. This all happened with Reese on the bench after being saddled with his second foul of the game.

Another pair of missed Rutgers free throws (they were now 5 for 11 from the line) was met by a swished three from Scott. The Terps were up by 11, 29-18.

Maryland couldn’t capitalize on consecutive offensive rebounds by Jamie Kaiser, misfiring three times in a row. But Rutgers was more than willing to lend a hand to a Terp run that reached 11 points and spanned almost 6 minutes. The Scarlet Knights missed the front end of a one-and-one.

The half ended with Maryland up by 12, 30-18. Key first half stats were the 3 extra turnovers that Rutgers committed, the 5-12 foul shooting by the Scarlet Knights and the 9-point advantage that Maryland held in points from behind the 3-point line.

Scott opened the second half scoring with his 3rd three pointer, inflating the terp lead to 15, 33-18. That ballooned to 17 when Harris-Smith made a layup. However, his taunting technical foul gave those points right back to Rutgers who finally hit a few foul shots. Geronimo got one of those back with a free throw of his own.

Play stopped with 16:37 left to allow the refs to check for a flagrant Rutgers foul. They awarded a free throw to the Terps. The Young connection gave Maryland a 38-20 lead. A tough Resse put back had the Terps doubling up Rutgers, 40-20.

Omoruyi ended an almost 12-minute drought in Scarlet Knight field goals when he made a 2-foot jumper in the paint.

With 13:12 left to play, the Terps were up by 18, and only their 4 turnovers had kept the game from being a blowout.

After Reese left the game courtesy of his 3rd personal foul, Rutgers went on a bit of a run. They outscored UMD 13-5 in a matter of 3 minutes. The lead shrunk to 12, 47-35.

The Scarlet Knights had hit 6 of 7 field goals. Let’s make that 7 of 8 after a quick Rutgers steal and layup.

Rutgers had a ton of momentum and the crowd was engaged. Most of that juice was washed away by that technical foul mentioned above. It started a 7-0 run for the Terps.

The Scarlet Knights had busted their collective tails, only to see Maryland’s 12-point halftime lead extended by 5 points with just under 8 minute to play. The score was 54-37.

From there, ball control offense ran down the shot clock and sealed the game.

I was impressed with the Rutgers game plan designed to stop Young. His shooting numbers against Rutgers this year read 5 for 26. His poor 2 for 9 performances from the floor yesterday carried itself to the free throw line. Young missed 4 times in 10 tries. Very unYoung-like for the normally reliable guard.

Rutgers tried to come back, making 4 layups in a row at one point. However, a technical foul by Autin Williams broke their momentum. Despite Young missing the foul shot, the Terps would go on to score those 7 points in a row that I mentioned, effectively putting the game out of reach with 7:14 left to play.

Maryland will next play Northwestern at home on Wednesday. It’s a 7 pm game televised by BTN.

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February 25, 2024
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easy pickins

Not because we want to, but just because it's so daggone easy.

We'll go after the low hanging fruit here today at #DMD.

Court storming - idiotic

Leaving announcers in Baltimore - embarrassing

Anthony Kim - publicity stunt

If you have any other low hanging fruit, you think we should address, throw it in the comments and we'll tear into it this week here at #DMD.

I suppose there are still a handful of goofs who think storming the court (or the field, for that matter, since it's also done in football) is a solid idea, even in the wake of yesterday's incident in Winston Salem, NC where the stands emptied onto the court after Wake Forest's surprising win over Duke.

In the midst of that surge, a Duke player was injured.

I know, particularly in these parts, we tend to overlook any story involving Duke. So it's probably wise to not even consider the teams that were involved yesterday and just consider the act and the injury without any bias at all.

These idiotic court storming episodes have to stop. Like, now.

And they will, of course. Yesterday was the final straw. That's why this entry is essentially going after the low hanging fruit, as it were.

The episode on Saturday will be the final piece of evidence needed for the NCAA to put an end to it all.

This wild scene yesterday at Wake Forest led to an injured Duke player and talk of ending "court storming" once and for all.

Mind you, there are already rules about court storming. It's not supposed to happen in the first place. Schools and athletic departments are supposed to "ensure the safety of all student-athletes at all times, upon their entry into the building and until they exit after the athletic contest."

And 90% of the time, everything's fine.

It's that other pesky 10% that creates problems. Like we saw yesterday in Winston Salem. The security around the perimeter failed and thousands of people made their way onto the court.

It has to come an end, pronto.

Whether the NCAA has time to end it now is unknown. What's the penalty for court storming? That's probably the first question they'll have to answer once they've decided to punish schools who allow it to take place.

And will the people even listen?

I mean, if 10,000 people want to run onto the football field at Alabama next fall, they're running onto the field.

We saw first-hand in our country upon a time on a wintry January afternoon that when people decide en masse they're doing something, they pretty much just go ahead and do it.

So how will the NCAA and the schools and the facilities make it so that no one jumps onto the court or the field after a game?

Should court storming be allowed only after the visiting team has left the playing surface and is safely in their locker room?

That was one idea bandied about yesterday in the aftermath of the Duke playing getting injured.

Is that the solution?

I don't know about you, but I just don't see that being an effective method of curbing court storming.

"OK, now, we know you're dying to run out onto the court and celebrate with the team. Just hang tight for a minute while they do the post-game handshake and then when we flash the overhead lights three times, you can storm the court. But not until then."

That's how it's going to work?

Yeah, good luck with that.

The way to make it work is to put an end to it. How? That's above my pay grade. But it needs to stop. Today.

They're playing "real" spring training games now down in Florida and the O's got off to a wonderful start yesterday with a stirring 4-3 walk-off win over Boston.

OK, so maybe it wasn't "wonderful" or "stirring".

But it was cool to see Colton Cowser hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to give the Birds the win, no matter if it was February or July.

I stopped counting how many times Jim Palmer made either direct or indirect reference to the broadcast team being in Baltimore instead of Sarasota. I heard it at least five times. It was funny on each occasion, because you just know Palmer was looking to throw in a barb whenever possible about the club's decision to "go cheap" in spring training with the broadcasting team.

Jim Palmer and the rest of the O's broadcast professionals are calling spring training games in Baltimore instead of Florida.

They interviewed Brian Roberts early in the game, who is serving as a "special advisor" with the club during spring training.

"How's the weather down there?" Palmer quipped.

Roberts might not have been in on the joke, so he answered honestly and directly.

"Oh, it's perfect," he said. "Just beautiful."

"That's great," Palmer deadpanned.

Later on Palmer said, "It's hard to tell from where we are, a thousand miles away."

Given last summer's turn of events when TV man Kevin Brown was suspended for two weeks for a completely benign moment of commentary about the Tampa Bay Rays, it will be interesting to see if Palmer is silenced by the powers-that-be the next time he does a spring training broadcast from Baltimore.

The guess here is Palmer just says whatever he wants. It's always been that way. And rightfully so, of course. If the owner or GM or Director of P.R. is going to tell the color analyst what to say or not to say, they might as well just do the broadcast themselves.

But let's get to the root of the issue. It's not Palmer making snide remarks about the broadcast team being in Baltimore.

The issue is the Orioles being cheap.

Like, really, really, really cheap.

They already short-change the fan base by not broadcasting all of the spring training games. Or, at the very least, all of the home spring training games from Ed Smith Stadium.

This year, a grand total of seven games will be aired on MASN.

It's beyond bizarre that here you have an entity whose sole purpose is to broadcast baseball games and when the games start, you don't broadcast them.

And then, it's even wildly more bizarre that when you do manage to regrettably have to air 7 of them, you leave the broadcast team in Baltimore to do their job.

It's embarrassing that you're that cheap.

This is really quick math, so please know that it's far from 100% accurate. But it's a good overview.

And let's just pretend it's the same two people doing all the games, even though the O's -- for some weird reason -- have about 10 people in and out of the broadcast booth doing radio, TV, pre-game and so on.

Kevin Brown and Jim Palmer -- $1,000 each per-game (even though both of these guys are on a salary that's "more" than $1,000 per-game, we'll just reduce it to $1,000 for this example)

Hotel room for each of them (this is listed as "cash" even though the club probably trades for the rooms) -- $300 each per-night

Daily per-diem -- $100 each (the in-season player figure is $108, I think.)

Rental car -- $100 each per day (I have no idea if they get a car or not)

If you do seven games, assuming the announcers are there the day before and leave the day after, you're talking $2,000 for their on-air work, $1,200 for the two rooms, $600 for per-diem and $600 for the rental car.

It's $4,400 to do one game, basically. And I think that might be high, but we'll go with $4,400.

Seven games of that is basically $30,000.

You can't sell four $7,500 spring training only advertising packages to cover that $30,000?

I mean, here's what I'd do: I'd sell the packages for MASN and offer to split everything 50/50 above $30,000 and I'd make a killing, especially after the team just went 101-61.

I understand selling spring training TV wasn't a walk in the park circa 2010 when the team was the laughingstock of baseball.

Now? You're selling one of the hottest properties in all of sports.

You're telling me they can't sell $30,000 of advertising to have the announcers on site?

And what if they did 14 games instead of 7, which seems like a more appropriate number for you, know, the MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM IN TOWN.

Now, it's $60,000 for spring training coverage.

In an organization that made a profit of $64 million just two years ago, you're telling me $60,000 is an expense not worth incurring?

And let's not forget, you still have to pay Jim Palmer to do the game in Baltimore. He doesn't live here so you still have to put him up in a hotel room for a few nights. He still has to eat while he's in town.

Why wouldn't you send the broadcast team to Sarasota?

The answer: You're too cheap.

And that, given where the franchise is on the field, is completely laughable.

You probably don't even know who Anthony Kim is, unless you're a complete golf enthusiast, but he's back.

Well, sort of.

It's been 12 years since Kim stopped playing on the PGA Tour. For reasons only he knows (mental health, gambling problems, bad achilles are the most discussed reasons), Kim stepped away from the game and cashed a huge insurance settlement check a dozen years ago.

He was a 3-time PGA Tour winner before he quit the game.

Anthony Kim hasn't played competitive golf in 12 years but he'll tee it up next week on the LIV golf circuit.

Now, he's returning to the world of professional golf, apparently agreeing to play in next week's LIV event in Saudi Araba as a "wildcard", which means he'll have no official designation as a team member or any "formal" alliance with the renegade circuit.

It's kind of like Michael Jordan playing in a PGA Tour event, if you will.

Yes, otherwise known as a publicity stunt.

There's no telling what Anthony Kim's golf game will look like next week. The prevailing thought in the golf world is there'd be no reason at all for him to step into the spotlight unless he was primed and ready to compete.

Why come back now, a dozen years later, unless you were capable of competing?

Sure, there's money involved, somewhere along the way. As we've seen over the last 24 months, the PIF and Saudi government will pay just about anyone who, A) wants to play professional golf under their umbrella and, B) will help LIV stick it to the PGA Tour in the process.

Kim was once a star in the making on the PGA Tour. He played good golf, wore his hat backwards, played with his shirt untucked and listened to loud music while he was playing. I know what you're thinking: It looks a lot like LIV...12 years early.

But Anthony Kim was a good player. He wasn't a young Tiger or young Phil. Heck, he wasn't even a young Rory or a young Brooks.

He was a guy with a nice golf swing who was particularly captivating to the youngsters.

And now he's back.

But it's all pretty much just a publicity stunt.

No one is paying attention to LIV on a tournament-by-tournament basis.

Quick: Who won the event in Las Vegas a few weeks ago? Right, no one knows.

Editor's note: I actually follow golf and I had to Google it.

Adding Anthony Kim to the field next week is an effort to get people to pay attention. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If he plays well, they have themselves a 7'9" softball player who comes to town every July as part of the community carnival.

If he doesn't play well, he gets tucked away like the rest of the guys who have played and then disappeared.

And, no, I don't mean "disappeared" like that Washington Post journalist. I just mean, "played and then no longer played."

Either way, LIV gets what they need. People to pay attention to them.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit rutgers today

Forget their records.

Rutgers, Maryland’s opponent today at noon, is always tough at Jersey Mike’s arena.

Better known as the “RAC”, this place offers as big a home court advantage as there is in the Big Ten. It’s a tiny venue, with seating for about 8,000 people, and it gets loud. Personally, I’m excited to make my first trip to the RAC, and as a representative of DMD.

This game is the second matchup of the season between these two teams. When analyzing this game, I see hope for the Terps tonight, despite the fact that they fell at home to Rutgers, 56-53.

That initial game was a mess. I recognize that Rutgers is the number 3 defensive team in the NCAA, according to kenpom.com (Maryland follows closely behind at number 6) but these two teams were woeful while trying to score the basketball.

Rutgers was 3-13 shooting threes, while the Terps said, “Hold my beer”, and put up an even more futile 2-18.

For the game, Maryland shot 32.5% (17-54). Rutgers was 8-27 in the first half before the Terps got lazy on “D” in the game’s final 20 minutes, allowing Rutgers to shoot 50%. With each side committing 15 turnovers, it wasn’t good basketball.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Jahmir Young is the man to watch in the waning moments of today's Maryland visit at Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights had an effective strategy to neutralize Maryland’s primary offensive weapon. They tried to hem in Jahmir Young, to keep him from penetrating. When he did get inside, Young was swarmed. He made just a single shot inside the three-point line while mIssing 12 times.

When the Terps fed the post, Reese was having his way against one of the nation’s premier shot blockers, the Scarlet Knight’s Cliff Omoruyi. Reese was 8 for 10 from the field. He also gathered in 12 rebounds, but Reese’s 5 turnovers and 3 for 9 foul shooting really hurt the Terps.

Young matched Reese’s 12 rebounds, but his 3-17 shooting combined with 5 turnovers of his own were too much for his team to overcome in that January loss.

The numbers posted above are what makes me lean towards the Terps today.

Yes, the Rutgers defense is really good. Kenpom uses points per 100 possessions and not point per game.

Therefore, both UMD and Rutgers have defensive efficiencies that aren’t swayed by the slower pace both teams employ. That being said, I don’t think Rutgers can duplicate that kind of success in stopping the Terp point guard.

We all know that Maryland can’t make threes, but 11% simply won’t happen again. Young was 2 for 4, the rest of the team got blanked, 0-14. Donta Scott was nil for 5, Jamie Kaiser Jr missed 4, Jahari Long 3, and Jordan Geronimo whiffed on a pair. Surely one of those guys has to be successful on a three today.

Reese has had a tough time at the free throw line this year, but 3 for 9? He’ll be better. In a bit of an oddity, both teams only had 1 player miss foul shots. Reese missed 6, the rest of his team was a perfect 14 for 14. For Rutgers, Aundre Hyatt had 2 not go in, the rest of his team was 9 for 9.

With the Terps at home in game 1, they enjoyed a 23 to 11 advantage in foul shots attempted. That’s a big number and I expect that to be somewhat reversed today. It’s rare for a home team to shoot fewer foul shots when the sides are evenly matched.

Rutgers has lost their last two games after reeling off 4 consecutive victories. One of those wins was a beat down of Wisconsin, 78-56. The Badgers were awful in that game and The Scarlet Knights had two guys come off the bench and nail 8 threes in 10 tries. That scoring burst seems to be an outlier.

These are two teams that are far on the outside of the tournament bubble and barely peeking in at an at large bid. It’s just not going to happen for either one. Rutgers will play hard at home and they always bring the defense. Likewise with the Terp “D”.

I just think too many things went Rutgers way in the first game and I don’t think those things are repeatable. This is a close game all the way to the end.

Willard has had plenty of time to rewatch the previous matchup, with a keen eye on how to get Young free for some good looks.

Omoruyi is a block party, but Reese can score on him like he did in game 1. The Terps need a decent game from Scott and perhaps 10 points from the bench to avoid getting swept by Rutgers. They’ll get all of that.

The line was posted as Rutgers (-2.5). That’s a full 11-point swing from the first contest. Only on rare occasions do you see that wide of a gap on a second meeting.

I have to believe Maryland is the better team, even on the road. They lead the Big Ten in close game losses, but it won’t happen to them today.

Jahmir Young breaks his recent trend of missing crucial last-minute shots and lifts the Terps late to a 61-59 win. He gets help from both Reese and also Scott who finally hits a few threes.

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February 24, 2024
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contracts are coming to college sports

Yesterday's ruling by a federal judge in Tennessee virtually smooths the path for college athletes hoping to get paid, outright, in exchange for playing for a particular school.

It's on the verge of happening.

I know some of you are giggling and rightfully so.

College athletes have been getting "paid" to play at the Division I level for a long, long time. Back around 2010 there was a certain local player from a Harford County high school who apparently received $60,000 to play his basketball at a college powerhouse.

How did we know it was $60,000? Because one of his "representatives" told anyone who would listen their best offer was $50,000 until his eventual landing spot threw $60,000 at him.

What would Maryland's Jahmir Young be worth "on the open market" within the NCAA?

That's one story out of hundreds, obviously. Schools and coaches have been doing "whatever it takes" to get kids to play for them for half a century, at least.

Jim Valvano is posthumously celebrated every year through his Jimmy V Foundation and was, and still is, one of college basketball's more beloved coaching characters.

But in his zenith, at N.C. State, it was widely known that Valvano wasn't, let's say, "the cleanest guy" when it came to following NCAA rules on recruiting and player eligibility.

Read through the list of college coaches who have been slapped on the wrist for NCAA violations and you'll see virtually every single top coach in any sport. They're all there.

So, no, it's not necessarily earth shattering news to hear that college athletes are thisclose to getting paid. But it is big news to know it's now all going to be legal and part of the recruiting process.

It's similar to the great scene in "A Bronx Tale" where Chazz Palminteri welcomes a group of bikers into his bar and warns them that if there's any trouble, they'll be asked to leave.

"No trouble here," the bike gang's leader says. "We just want a couple of brews and we'll be on our way."

Minutes later, they start squirting beer everywhere and causing havoc in prelude to tearing up the bar.

Palminteri calmly walks to the bar's front door and deadbolts it shut.

"Now yous can't leave," he says.

Well, colleges have long been skirting the rules by paying athletes under the table, sending money to their uncle in Costa Rica or "accidentally" leaving an envelope on the couch during a recruiting visit.

Now...they're going to have to pay them. Above board and all.

The ruling in Tennessee on Friday tells the NCAA that they can no longer punish a player or a booster for engaging in a deal designed to induce the player to sign at a particular school.

While it's only a preliminary injunction, most experts feel the decision in Tennessee will dramatically impact the case as it moves along in court.

Coming soon to a school near you: Athletes will negotiate and sign multi-year contracts just like they do in professional sports.

There's a lot of good with that, actually.

The playing field becomes somewhat more level, if you will, because everyone's now allowed to do the same thing.

We all know it's not exactly level. Towson University wouldn't have enough money to afford Derik Queen, for example. Maryland has that kind of money because of their Big Ten network deal and other funds made available to them by donors, boosters, etc.

But at least within the Power 5 schools and the top independent programs, everyone can chase after the same players and wave real, "legal" money at them in an effort to get them to play.

I don't like it, by the way.

I've always been against paying kids to play college sports and I'm still against it, in general.

But I'm resigned to the fact that the times have changed, winning is more important than anything else, and college athletes are going to get paid to play.

I don't like it. But it is what it is.

The other piece of good news, at least for the schools and coaches, is the contracts will likely bind the "student-athlete" (do we really need to keep using that term?) to a program for at least two full years, if not three.

Experts say the likely result of the contract stipulation will be a player has to stay at the school for at least three years unless he/she withdraws to either turn professional, transfers to a Division II or Division III school, or simply "retires from playing".

A player who signs a contract will not have the option of playing one year at Kansas, taking more money the next year at Kentucky, and then making another jump to UConn after a year at Kentucky.

So there's some good news. Players who sign deals will have to see them through, at least for three seasons.

That's probably next on the legal table. Can those contracts be binding if they restrict a player from movement?

They're binding in other sports, of course. Gunnar Henderson can't just up-and-leave the Orioles for another team next winter. He has a contract that keeps him in Baltimore.

But it remains to be seen what the college contract is going to look like and how binding and restricting it will be.

The bad news? Players will now have to file taxes. In a lot of cases, they're going to find themselves with money that will change their lives, completely. They're going to be "adults" at a young age, if you will.

As we've seen in the four major sports time and time again, some players handle their new wealth well and some don't handle it well at all.

You're going to give a kid at 18 years of age $250,000, $500,000 or $1,000,000 and expect him or her to handle that the right way? Good luck with that.

And the whole taxation issue is another thing entirely. $250,000 isn't "really" $250,000. It's more like $175,000. Kids will now have to enter the world of big business, investing and finance.

The ones with the big contracts will have to hire financial advisors and such. It's a luxury to make $500,000 or more, yes. But it does also come with some baggage, too.

It might take another two or three years for this all to come about, the contracts and such. We know, now, that players are receiving large sums of NIL money in exchange for doing commercials, promotions and other related activities.

The NIL money is, obviously, a direct payment in exchange for playing for whatever school they're playing for at the time.

We know what's going on. Players are being induced by NIL money to come and play. It's just been kept hush-hush. It's already part of the landscape of the NIL agreement.

What hasn't been part of the deal, until yesterday's ruling came down, is being able to legally induce a boy or girl to play at a certain school because of the NIL money they're being offered.

Now, if yesterday's ruling holds up over time, Maryland can say to someone like Derik Queen, "If you sign here, we have a national pizza chain ready to give you $500,000 a year for the next four years to play basketball in College Park."

It's pretty good work if you can get it.

I know what you're thinking: But they still have to go to school.


It won't be long before a judge somewhere rules that college athletes don't have to attend class in order to remain eligible.

Give that one five years or so.

It's coming to a courtroom near you.

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#dmd comments

KJ     February 27
How many times a day does "Larry" come to DMD to see if he's being mentioned? Over/under is 8.5. I will take "over".

cj     February 27
“You listen to Duke come out now and they say they’re against it and there shouldn’t be court storming. I did not hear that on September 4th 2023 when their football team knocked off Clemson and their entire student section ran out onto the football field. I heard their coach actually sit there and say, ‘This is what college athletics is all about. This is a moment for our program to be seen,'"

Steve of Pimlico     February 27
How about announcing that large scale count storming would result in forfeiture.Once the rules are established and enforced this nonsense would end

larry     February 27
Man, I was ready to move on, but according to Dean, I owe the world an answer to one of the many questions posed today.

Bow about these "good" things:

Builds camaraderie btwn regular students and student athletes

Brings emotional excitement to the games.

It's harmless fun (when done right of course).

Keep in mind, I never said anyone "has" to do it, merely questioned the necessity of the practice being "banned". Truly it should only happen every now and again. Last night, Campbell beat UNCW for first time in 5 years, and about 25 students "stormed" the court and mobbed about half the home team players. The other half calmy shook hands with their opponents. To my knowledge, no one was injured lol.

CIK     February 27

I have yet to meet somebody who agrees with me 100% of the time. It happens.

And I was curious as to why the field storming at MLB games ended. I remember the video of about 100 Pirates fans hopping the rail and celebrating at Memorial Stadium in 1979. Kind of crazy that the visiting fans hopped on the field. But in 1980, at the Vet in Philly, they started using cops on horses, with German Shepherds, placed along the fences. I remember Boggs hopping on a horse after winning in 1996.

Hal     February 27
I am a Cash Is King fan from way back when but this time is a whiff. You're on the wrong side of this one. Wake at fault, not Duke. It's OK to admit you got this one wrong. Everybody does it but Trump.

dan from virginia     February 27
Looking at the options presented by Drew in regards of how to stop court storming only one is remotely logical. No fans for next home game? No thanks, hey guys give it your all so we can beat the #1 team and if the fans rush the court our next home game will be in an empty gym. Lets not punish the players for doing what they are asked to do. Suspend the coach? HA! Fans call for coaches to be fired all the time. Imagine a disgruntled fan base storming the court after a loss so their vilified coach gets suspended. Sounds dumb but get that idea in enough wacko fans heads and its not so out of this world. But, as with all things in life money rules. Fine the home athletic department. I have seen some conferences fines starting at $5,000, that's nothing. Make it start at $100,000 and escalate each time after, that will make the schools care and put an end to it.

CIK     February 27

I don’t care if kids storm the court or don’t storm the court. Makes no difference to me whatsoever. I am not defending anyone. I am looking at a video, and describing how I see it. And comparing this situation to someone breaking into my home? Lol. If someone breaks into my home, I hope I am close enough to my firearm and can get off a couple good shots. But maybe arming the basketball players is a solution? I hadn’t considered that option. Lol. Not the greatest analogy btw.

Dean     February 27
@Larry, it might be good for you to answer the question posed in the main article.

What good comes from court storming after a game? We already know the bad, so tell us what is the good that stems from it?

Mike Reese     February 27
I never comment here (but ready every day, love the site) but people like CLK are the problem. You're defending the Wake kids who ran onto the court when they weren't allowed to run onto the court in the first place? Why? The Duke player had every right to defend himself when the Wake students were running out there and perhaps causing him to be injured or harmed. Is the Duke player supposed to just let the kids trample him or does he have the right to protect himself. If someone walks into your house tonight, do you protect your family or do you let them run through your house and do as they please? I don't know what point CLK was making but defending the Wake students is a crazy point to make.

larry     February 27
"GM" clearly needs MFC's RC 101. Site owner said:

"Here's why court storming should be banned: Because nothing good comes from it".

While site owner and I agree on people being stupid and not knowing how to have an "on court celebration" safely, we disagreed on whether it needed to be banned. But as CIK found out, some people just don't want to ever allow differing opinions on....anything.

CIK     February 27
2 different people can look at the same exact video and come to different conclusions of what they just watched. It happens all the time. Only narrow minded people look at things with blinders on. And I can’t see anything in this clip but the Duke big extending the leg & throwing the forearm. Coincidentally at the kid who looks like he is trash talking.


J.J.     February 27
I'm with @Sean on this one. Anybody blaming the Duke player is nuts. The Wake students were out there in a flash. It's totally on the Wake administration and arena security, not on the Duke player.

Sean     February 27
I saw the overhead angle 20 times, CIK.

I just watched it 10 more times.

You're wrong. There's no tripping at all.

There's not even any time to trip. There are people on top of that Duke player before he can even move. It's OK to admit you're just trying to be a contrarian for the sake of it.

CIK     February 27

It’s the overhead angle. Barstool is the site that posted it. And it looks pretty obvious to me. And not a Duke hater…or a Duke fan. I like to wager…I care about final scores only. Not everyone is a “hater”. Sometimes people just have different opinions.

Jason M     February 27
How do you 'ban' court storming? Basketball is the most open of all of the games to the fans, it's either barriers or a legion of security guards like something out of the hunger games.

I have a huge problem with what I consider performative displays like this. The fans want the selfie on the court, the replays on ESPN or social media, they want to have been a part of something beyond being a fan at the game. The psychology of crowds, read The True Believer by Hoffer, you'll never look at footage of Jan 6, a court storming or a riot at Mandawmin the same way. People in crowds behave in ways they would never dream of as an individual. In many ways, once in a crowd, the individual freely gives up their will to that of crowd.

Sean     February 27
I've watched the replay of the Duke/Wake incident 20 times this morning and never once does it look like the Duke kid tried to trip someone.

I've seen it from two different angles. CIK must be a Duke hater.

GM     February 27
Are we 100% sure "Larry" and the site owner aren't one and the same? Larry basically posted exactly what Drew wrote today. "The problem is people don't know how to storm the court in a civil kind of way." Come on, fess up, Drew. Are you really "Larry" too????

David Rosenfeld     February 27
"Home court advantage" is more important in big-time college hoops than it is in any other sport in the U.S. Student fans are encouraged to act like idiots to make it hard on the other team, and they're told that they're an important part of "the team." After all, these guys are their peers and classmates. The court rushing is just the endgame.

I've never really agreed with all that. The court is the domain of the players and coaches. They've practiced and prepared so they can perform on game day. It's their place; your place is in the stands. It's great if you have pride in your team and even helped them win, but it doesn't mean you're on the team.

Of course, none of this qualifies as what's wrong with our country or even something important, just some good fodder for sports commentary.

CIK     February 27
Filipowski clearly extends his leg and trips the kid running. My guess is the kid was chirping while running and Filipowski decided to trip him. But it didn’t go as Kyle planned. He ended up getting trampled. Karma is a….

LIV vs PGA…who cares at this point? The PGA is just pissed that they don’t receive as much Saudi money as they did the past. But they always (and still do) take that blood money. And nobody, including DF, cared until the top golfers moved from the beloved PGA.

Unless you’re willing to stop supporting all the companies who take Saudi money, you’re part of the problem. And you’re also a hypocrite.

larry     February 27
The issue is not that fans run onto the court to celebrate, it's that it has become "storming". These "fans" race into the court like a bat out of hell, all with their phones in the air looking for something to post on social media, and not paying attention to what they are doing. How hard is it to avoid running into someone??

This is another "what's wrong with our country". Something "bad" happens, oh, well, then let's ban it. How about people learn to do it in a less dangerous manner?? Or at least get the vesting team out of the way. If these clowns hurt their own team's players, well, there's your punishment.

Clark was not hurt, at all, and the Duke kid did not even need an xray, he'll be fine. But in today's world, everything becomes the worst thing ever and needs to be banned. This is frankly, much ado about nothing.

Kenny G     February 27
There are already rules against court and field storming including fines (especially in the SEC). Still happens! Why? The school like it! When Creighton upset #1 UConn this month and the fans stormed the court, what an advertisement for the school. I did not hear the Creighton coach complain! An no one got hurt! Until the administrations decide its not right (new rules, upset coaches, etc), it won't change.

Boris     February 27
Good column from Drew about the problems in golf. Maybe the (ahem) non-profit PGA should consider replacing their $28 million per year incompetent CEO with someone with a little common sense?

Henry     February 27
Great columns today Drew. Keep up the good work my friend.

Vic     February 26
LMAO at Boris. Clown shoes stuff.

kj     February 26
Music example is spot on. "We" allow musicians to say anything they want, under the guise of "art". Comedy should be looked at the same. Comedians back in the day always pushed the envelope, go back to Richard Pryor as a prime example. The original SNL did same. Nothing was off limits, some made a thing out of being "outrageous".

That said, I did not find Gillis's bit funny. But I did feel good he was allowed to go where he went. Was hoping it meant we were starting to make sense as a society again. Then, the backlash began. Ala Jenn Royle "conflict", people cannot just let things be. People with no dog in the fight feel the need to give their two cents. But agree with Such, the best solution there is to never, ever involve yourself in social media. Ever.

Boris     February 26
Boris knows a little golf (Hatton isn't on tour - he jumped to LIV). The players left over either don't move the needle, (thus the embarrassing Tigermania), are past the sell by date (Day, JT etc.) or are practicing load management ala the NBA. The rookies are actually very seasoned from years of competitive golf in junior ranks, College mini tours, Korn Ferry etc. and they can all play. The big names get lazy and they fall behind over night.

TimD in Timonium     February 26
Looking back at the 70's and 80's as the Golden Age of Comedy, I can honestly say that the Shane Gillis opening monologue on SNL was pretty funny. But you can't please everybody. (Thanks for the heads up, @DF. I haven't tuned into NBC at 1130 on Saturday night in maybe 20 years.)

Chris K     February 26
I personally believe any written forms of art (comedy, books, music, etc) should push the boundaries of limitations. It’s what makes comedy funny, music great, and books unforgettable. I’m not a Gillis fan…just watched his Netflix special and thought it was meh. That being said, I used to love Lisa lampenelli back when she did standup, Chris Rock, Dave chapelle, bill burr, Martin Lawrence and a bunch more (was a HUGE fan of Def Comedy fan as a kid). They were all controversial I guess but also hilarious and unforgettable. They never toed the line, they went flying over it. And I’m thankful for it.

KC     February 26
I just watched the Shane Gillis clip from SNL.

Did he get paid for that?

It's probably the least funniest thing I've ever seen and that's saying something for SNL.

I agree with @DF. Nothing to see there other than it was awful.

Billy     February 26
I'll admit, this made me laugh:

(I make occasional funny remarks here about a certain old, washed up pop music group from England)

"Pop music group".

James     February 26
Looks like Boris just got owned. LOL

Kyle P.     February 26
Since Boris doesn't know golf, let me display the names of the best players in the world who aren't on LIV and who are playing on the PGA tour and who haven't won this year. You might have heard of them.



Xander S.








Sung Jae





Cam Young


Delray RICK     February 26
Why haven't I not watched golf more this year? By this time golf was hot with THE PLAYERS coming. But the better golfers went to LIV and then some. And the MASTERS might let these players in so we see the best. I hope.

David Rosenfeld     February 26
Chris, if MD wins 6 games in a row (last 3 of regular season, then 3 B1G tourney games) and loses to say, Purdue, in the tourney final, then it's a definite maybe. MD has 1 win of real consequence (at Illinois)...I think they'd need at least 2 more to have a chance.

Dale     February 26
...sweat box...

Tom J     February 26
Looks like a blast from the past name Jen Royle is in the news again for all of the wrong reasons...again!!!! Karma is a b*tch huh Jen.....

Dale     February 26
@Chris P - yes, run the table in the regular season, which gets them to 10-10. Win two conference tournament games.

@J.R. - traveled to the RAC for the game, feeling more than a little under the weather. They put me in a glassed in sweet box for media overflow. Drove home, took some cold meds, wrote as best as I could, and went to bed very early. Tried my best. Y'all deserve better.

Boris     February 26
The unknown golfers are winning because the top players from the last few years have either moved to LIV, are not playing or have aged out and the young players are that good.

such     February 26
Look, I'm old. So old that I honestly don't know who these people are. So old that I stopped watching SNL after Phil Hartman left. So old that 21 Savage (who?) was my teammate's last name and number in high school basketball. That was a long time ago. So old that I could care less what anyone on Twitter/X or any other form of social media thinks about anything. Why let that stuff bother you? Just don't engage. You'll be happier. I promise.

Ig Holliday proves he's ready during Spring Training then bring him north. I don't think the arbitration years factor into the calculations with Elias. Everyone knows that somewhere down the line they're going to have to pay these young guys. That will be the test for the new ownership group.

@ Chris P: Not to step on Dale's toes here, but there's no shot Maryland gets an at-large bid. None. You won't find them listed on anyone's bracket projections. They're not deserving.

Brian Preller     February 26
Agree with a lot of what Drew wrote about Gillis/SNL. It wasn't funny but it also was far from insensitive or "over the top" as someone wrote. He used those three words in a context that wasn't offensive in the least but some people took it that way unfortunately. We live in a society where everyone gets offended by something that doesn't even faze the person sitting next to them. That's where we are.

J.R.     February 26
Did Dale write that story or was it AI generated? Far from his usual solid work.

MFC     February 26
Found SNL to be boring and not funny at all. Turned it off after the third skit. Maybe the pressure is getting to them after 50 years, even Keenan Thompson couldn't save a sketch.

Chris P.     February 26
Question for Drew and Dale.

Is there any way the Terps can make March Madness (other than winning Big Ten tournament)???

Hank (The Fake One)     February 26
@DF and I are on the same page.

I watched the SNL opening skit and didn't laugh one time.

I agree that what he said on Saturday wasn't a big deal. People get worked up over nothing these days. But all in all I thought it was drab comedy. What has that Gillis guy done that's ever been funny?

Mitch     February 26
Drew, why are so many unknown players winning on the PGA Tour this year? Any thoughts or insights? As for Holiday, if he's as good as he's being touted, I'd leave him in the minor leagues to get that extra year down the road. Who knows what that might be worth in six years.

Lonnie Frisbee     February 26
[This comment has been removed due to a violation of posting protocols. The IP address has previously been flagged for protocol violations. The next flagged violation will result in a permanent suspension of the IP address.]

TimD in Timonium     February 26
Interesting year so far on the PGA tour circuit. Not a single high-profile, well-known winner, except maybe for Hideki, to date. Here's the recap:

Chris Kirk. Grayson Murray. Nick Dunlap. Matthieu Pavon. Wyndham Clark. Nick Taylor. Hideki Matsuyama (+6000 before the Genesis start!). Jake Knapp.

2024. The Year of the Longshot.

Steve of Sandtown     February 26
Drew calling Aunt Betty fat is funny.BTW don't looking your mirror today.

Mike     February 26
Comedians should always have cart blanche to say anything. Push the envelope and offend. As for Holliday if he starts from day 1 and wins ROY you get a 1st rd pick. With new billionaires there is no reason to skimp on service time.

February 23, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

other than that 12...how was it?

Thursday was quite a day at Lost Lake Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Charlie Woods, the son of golfing icon Tiger Woods, pulled into the parking lot at 6:25 am and was greeted by a PGA Tour photographer, two local TV camera operators/photographers, a writer from the Palm Beach newspaper, and 10 interested onlookers.

The kid is 15 years old.

They were there because his last name is Woods. That's easy to figure out.

Once he teed off, things got worse, if you can imagine that.

Spectators ignored tournament directions and moved off the cart path into the fairway, surrounding Woods as he attempted to play.

Charlie Woods had to deal with unruly spectators and a miserable score of "12" on his 7th hole yesterday in his attempt to qualify for next week's PGA Tour event in South Florida.

"Who are you, the fire marshal?" one woman asked a tournament official who was attempting to move spectactors back to the cart path.

A few holes later, a woman shoved a book written by Tiger in front of Charlie as he stood on the tee box. When he politely moved away from her to the other side of the box, she lashed out at him for failing to autograph the book for her.

"I live here!" she said to someone who admonished her for getting in Charlie's way as he tried to play the hole.

Oh, and Charlie also made a "12" on a par 4 hole that, obviously, ended any dreams he had of advancing out of the pre-qualifier and into the Monday qualifier for next week's PGA Tour stop at PGA National in West Palm Beach.

Such is the life of a 15-year old golfing prodigy.

Charlie rebounded from that disastrous 12 to par the next six holes. That in and of itself is quite an accomplishment for any player of any age or skill level. You make a 12 and then go par-par-par-par-par-par? That's impressive.

I'm sure Tiger -- who wasn't at the course with his son yesterday -- had a discussion with Charlie last night about how that 12 wound up on his scorecard.

Other than that, the round was pretty solid, particularly for a 15-year old. There were some bogeys and two double bogeys along the way, which is pretty standard for a 15-year old kid playing a 7,000 yard "big boy course". The 12 on the 7th hole was definitely an outlier, though.

You probably could have played the entire hole with a 7-iron and putted with a 7-iron and made a 6 or, at the worst, a 7.

So there's some learning to do for the young Woods, but that's why he was there in the first place. There are growing pains in every spot, including golf. You play "up" a level or two and see how your game stacks up so you can figure out how to improve.

Retief Goosen gave me "growing pains" in a practice round at the 2021 U.S. Senior Open when he routinely outdrove me by 50 or 60 yards on every hole. I quickly realized when I hit 7-iron into a 410 yard hole and he hits wedge, one of us has a clear advantage.

And it wasn't me with the advantage. The message I took from Omaha CC was "I do a lot of things well. Goosen, Andrade and Weir do everything well and much better than I do it."

So I saw firsthand what happens when you play "up" a level or two in golf. You find out quickly where you need to improve.

That's also what Charlie Woods discovered yesterday.

If you have any junior athletes in your household, yesterday's story is a good one to pass along to them. Remind your son or daughter that it's the person who actually enters the arena who matters most. The outcome is secondary to the effort you put in.

My friends created a text chain yesterday after word of Charlie's 12 made the rounds.

"What's your highest tournament score ever?" one of them asked.

In came the replies: 11, 9, 11, 10, 11.

"I made a 13 once at Four Streams in a Maryland Open qualifier," one of them wrote. "But I think I dropped out after 9 holes. Does that still count as a 13?"

Editor's note: We said, "Yes", it does count, even though the round became unofficial once he WD'd. "If you would have made a hole in one on #3 and then dropped out after nine, would you have counted the hole in one?" someone asked. When he said, "Yes, I would!", we all told him his 13 counted as well, then.

My contribution to the discussion was the "9" I made on the easy 12th hole at Mount Pleasant in the 3rd and final round of the Maryland Amateur Stroke Play circa 2000.

I almost never played well in that event, for some reason, with only a handful of top 10 finishes ever, despite playing the course basically every day for roughly 5 years or so in the late 1990's.

But on this occasion, I had strung together nice rounds of 71-70 and was hanging around the leaderboard after 36 holes. After making two birdies and a bogey on the front nine on the third and final day to trail the leader by a few shots, I then birdied #10 and #11. I was likely either one shot out or tied for the lead at that point, I figured.

What happened next was a total disaster.

I hit a solid tee shot on the 385 yard hole but it had too much right to left spin on it. In those days, over the July 4th weekend, Mount Pleasant was usually completely baked out on holes like #4, #7, #9 and, sadly, #12. When my tee shot on the 12th hit just in the left rough, there was no stopping it.

It careened left off the hardpan into the woods that border the left side of the 12th hole.

I made my way into the woods -- marked with red stakes as a then-called lateral hazard -- and found my ball about 10 yards in.

My first option was to take a penalty drop and hit my third shot from the left rough, some 140 yards from the green.

That was the easy thing to do. And the smart thing, too.

But I had a window in the trees and a fairly decent lie. All I had to do was punch the ball out and, if successful, I would have had 50 or 75 yards to the hole and would still have a reasonable chance to make par.

I surveyed the shot.

I thought very seriously about taking a drop.

But I decided to punch the ball out into the fairway.

I topped the ball about 2 feet. It stayed in the woods and, to my horror, landed right next to a plant or small bush of some kind.

My only option was to play the ball left handed.

I swung at the ball and missed it.

Now my head was spinning as if Jennifer Aniston had just asked me out on a date.

I should have walked out of the woods, collected myself, thought about my options, which weren't many, and gone back to the shot with a clear mind.

Instead, I just swatted at the ball left-handed again and this time it moved about 2 feet again.

I was now hitting my fifth shot and I was still in the woods getting Lyme disease.

Because this is what happens when you're not thinking clearly and the golf gods want to punish you for not taking a drop in the first place, my next shot essentially went about 10 yards, almost to the rough line, about where I would have been had I just taken the penalty in the first place.

My 6th shot, with overhanging trees to negotiate, came out scorching hot off the hardpan and bounded through the green and in the rough about 5 yards over the putting surface.

My 7th shot was a chip to about six feet.

I putted for eight and missed it.

And, so, when my friends saw me afterwards and said, "Dude, how'd you make a "9" on number 12?", I was able to calmly say to them, "Missed about a six footer for eight."

I tapped in and walked to the 13th tee.

When something like that happens, no one really wants to ask, "What did you make there?"

It's incumbent upon the guy who made the big number to bring it up. But only when he's ready.

I didn't say a word on #13 tee. I hit my tee shot and started walking.

It wasn't until the 14th tee that I was of sound mind enough to address what happened on #12.

"I made 9 on #12," I said to the guy keeping my score.

He pulled my card out of his pocket. "OK, I wasn't sure. I had you down for 6."

That's even worse. When you announce you made 9 and the guy in your group who wasn't really over there to see what was going on thought you made a standard double-bogey 6.

"Nah, I made 9," I said again.

And while I hung in there and made a few nice swings down the stretch, that blow-up ruined my chances of winning or, at the very least, it cost me a nice top 5 finish.

So, when I saw Charlie Woods' scorecard yesterday and saw the "12", all I could do was shake my head and say, "Been there, done that."

You hate to see it happen to anyone in tournament play.

But it's golf. Weird things take place. And they usually occur when they're least expected.

I have no doubt Charlie Woods will go on to be a terrific amateur golfer and, perhaps, a successful professional golfer someday down the road.

I also have no doubt he won't soon forget what happened yesterday.

He'll learn from it and be better for it.

As I tell my Calvert Hall players: "It's never a failure if a lesson was learned."

There's bubbling talk in the football world about Derrick Henry joining the Ravens for the 2024 campaign. John Harbaugh's team is thin at the running back spot with the probable free agent departures of both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Keaton Mitchell is recovering from a torn ACL as well.

Henry will be 30 in 2024. That hardly qualifies him for "washed up", but in running back terms, he's almost definitely in the November of his career.

Derrick Henry is likely going to be available this off-season. Should the Ravens add the former All-Pro running back?

The good news for the Ravens? He'd likely come to them on inexpensive terms.

The bad news? Running backs tend to lose their quality very quickly, almost overnight it often seems.

Henry was, at the zenith of his NFL career, one of the league's top between-the-tackles ball carriers. If the Ravens could get one more useful season out of him, why not take a chance?

That's probably my summary of his potential arrival in Baltimore: Why not?

Eric DeCosta is almost assuredly going to draft a running back sometime in the first three rounds this April. And that makes clear sense. Despite what we saw in the AFC Championship Game in January, the Ravens are, still, an offense that values running the football team.

And while Justice Hill isn't among the league's best running backs, he's competent enough to marry him with Henry and a college draft pick and get something out of the team's running game in '24. If Mitchell recovers from his knee injury and can return to the form he showed in 2023, Todd Monken will have plenty of ball carrying options at his disposal.

I'm not a salary cap. But the Ravens have plenty of cap experts in house to make sure Henry's deal -- if it happens -- doesn't whack their salary cap out of shape.

I say go ahead and give Derrick Henry a deal and bring him to town.

Draft a running back, or two, even, and let's get on with it.

Let's just make sure we actually run the ball next January when the Ravens are back in the AFC title game again.


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faith in sports

I continue to marvel at Steph Curry's greatness, even now, in the October of his Hall of Fame NBA career.

And on any occasion I hear him speak publicly, it always warms my hear to hear him intergrate his Christian beliefs into the discussion.

Athletes who serve God and aren't afraid to talk about it out in the open are few and far between. So when you find one, particularly a player like Curry who is constantly in the spotlight, it's important to showcase them.

Steph Curry's story is worth knowing. That's why he's in the spotlight here today at #DMD. You know him as a great shooter and a NBA icon.

But his rise from "good" high school player to dominant force in the NBA was fueled in part by his trust in God. And, as you'll see in the 10 minute video below, Curry had several life-altering moments that he still talks about even today.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here Friday.

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February 22, 2024
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15 year old charlie on the pga tour?

The golf world erupted on Wednesday with news that 15-year old Charlie Woods will participate in today's "pre-qualifier" for the qualifying event for next week's PGA Tour event near his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Yes, there's a qualifier just to get into the qualifier. That's how much "Monday qualifying" has grown on the PGA Tour.

There was a time when 100 or so players would gather on a Monday and the low 4 scores would get to play in that week's PGA Tour event, wherever that might be.

One of these two hopes to play in the PGA Tour stop in Palm Beach, Florida next week -- and it's not the one you think it is.

These days, those Monday qualifiers still exist. But there are now so many players interested in playing in the "Monday" -- as it's called -- that there are now qualifiers (usually 2 or 3) just to get into the Monday event.

That pre-qualifier is what Charlie Woods is going to play in today at Lost Lake Golf Club in Hobe Sound. He'll need to finish somewhere in the top 25 or so -- give or take a spot or three -- to earn a spot into next Monday's qualifier for what used to be called the Honda Classic, which is now known as the Cognizant Classic.

It's very possible Woods will play well enough today to get through the pre-qualifier.

It's very unlikely he'll play well enough next Monday -- should he get through today's round -- to qualify for the Cognizant Classic.

"Why is he taking up a spot someone else could use?" caller John said on Sirius/XM radio?

John misses the point entirely of the PGA Tour qualifying process.

It's open to anyone with a handicap index of 2.7 or less.

And you have to fork over $195 just to play in the pre-qualifier and then another $295 for the Monday qualifier.

So it's not like you can just stroll right in and say, "Hey, Billy-Bob here. I feel like playing some golf today in this qualifier. What's my tee time?"

Charlie Woods is a very competent golfer, albeit only 15 years old.

Do I think he'll make the PGA Tour event next week? I do not.

But I give his father credit. Because, for certain, all Tiger had to do was make one call to the powers-that-be at the Cognizant back in December and say to them, "How'd you like to have a ticket bonanza on your hands? Give Charlie a sponsor's exemption into your event in February. And, who knows, his old man might even decide to play the tournament, too."

Tiger could have made that call and, yes, Charlie would have received one of the tournament's valuable sponsor's exemptions.

But the elder Woods didn't do that. Credit to him.

And credit to Charlie, too, who is willing to put his game on public display later today knowing well in advance he's a longshot to make it through two qualifiers.

I say this to junior golfers all the time: One of the only ways to get better at tournament golf is to put yourself into uncomfortable situations.

Stress is always the great equalizer in golf.

Go to the driving range on any weekend and you'll see guys pounding drivers out there past the 250 yard marker with ease. They look like they have total command of their golf ball.

Then you watch them play golf, on the course, and they look like a totally different human being.

I remember, maybe in 2016 or 2017, warming up next to a guy at the U.S. Senior Open qualifier at the Homestead in Southern Virginia. He was striping every iron shot on the range. His club, at contact, made "that sound" that most golfers pursue but few can find.

I glanced over at the name on his bag, wondering if he we might be playing together. It turned out he was one group in front of me.

I think I saw him in the fairway two or three times, total, all afternoon. He was always chipping or pitching from around the greens. When the round ended, I snuck a quick peek at the scoreboard: 42-42 - 84.

Now, any tournament golfer is capable of shooting "84", don't get me wrong. It can unravel in a hurry. And once it starts going south, it usually keeps going south.

But if you would have watched this guy on the range and I would have said, "Over/under is 79.5. You take your pick for $500", I'm 95% sure you would have said, "I'll take the under 79.5 and let's make it a thousand instead of five hundred."

Once he got uncomfortable, when the stakes were high, he couldn't replicate that gorgeous swing I saw on the practice range.

So I applaud Charlie Woods for getting out there today and moving himself into what I'm sure will be an "uncomfortable" situation. That said, being the son of the greatest player the sport has seen, I'm assuming Charlie's used to the spotlight and being uncomfortable. Maybe 18 holes of golf won't be all that different to him after all.

I'd love to see him squeeze through the qualifier today, which will probably require a round of 74, maybe? I don't know the golf course all that well, but I'm guessing a couple over par will get you through today's event and into the Monday qualifier.

The "Monday", though, will probably require you to shoot 6-under or better to make into the Cognizant Classic. With all due respect, Charlie Woods isn't going to shoot 6-under or better next Monday, should he make it through today.

But kudos to him for teeing it up today and giving it a go.

No one who failed to enter the qualifier ever qualified, remember.

There was an interesting moment late in the Spalding/Calvert Hall playoff basketball game on Tuesday night and it didn't go as you might have thought it did.

It was 67-47 in favor of Spalding with 1:40 left in the game. A large crowd was on hand. My 16-year old son was with me. He had homework left on his plate. Faced with a 40-minute drive back home, I nudged him and said, "Let's head to the exit and get out to the parking lot and beat the traffic."

As walked to the doors in the back of the gym, the Spalding coach called timeout.

Two Spalding fans had the same idea we had. They were up and moving to the doors to get out before the crowd started to leave.

"Now why would he call timeout there?" the mid 40's male wearing a Spalding hoodie said.

"All that's doing is pissing off the other coach," his male companion said.

Seeing me walk alongside them in own Calvert Hall hoodie, and probably feeling bad about the clobbering the Cardinals were taking, they held the door open for me.

"Best way to not have a timeout called on you when you're down 20 with a minute left is not get down by 20 in the first place," I said to them.

They both laughed.

"Just didn't seem necessary, boss man," the older of the two said to me.

And that was that. They made a right at the next hallway and we made a left, having parked in the back of the school near the football fields.

What's interesting about that benign exchange is this: We have no idea at all why the coach called a timeout there. Maybe he wanted to play a certain style in the last 1:40 in the event he's up by 2 or down by 2 against their next opponent (Mt. Carmel) tonight.

Maybe he wanted to insert a player or two into the game who hardly ever sees playing time.

I have no idea. I'm not at his practices. I'm not on their bench. I have no clue why he called that timeout.

But the last thing I'm going to do is complain about it.

Would it irk me if I'm the coach and we're trailing by 20 and you call a timeout with a minute left in the game?


But I'd hopefully remember, very quickly, that I put myself in that predicament by trailing by 20 points in the first place. And I'd hopefully also remember that I have no idea at all what's going on within the framework of the opposing team.

I have a hard enough time coaching my own team, let alone have to worry about how you coach your team.

It was particularly interesting given that the two men who created the conversation were fans of the home team.

Even they were irked.

But they shouldn't have been.

If you don't like getting a time out called on you when you're losing by 20, there's one way to fix that.

College football is so enamored with their new 12-team playoff format that they're already talking about a 14-team playoff starting in 2026.

Weird, I know.

They haven't even seen if the 12-team playoff is a good fit and they're already into discussions about increasing the number of teams to 14.

A college football junkie I'm not. I'll readily admit that. And while I don't care all that much about "January football" in the college game, I understand the merit of a 12-team playoff.

At some point very soon, college athletes are going to sign contracts to play their respective sports, just as professional athletes do.

It's coming soon. And, so, the schools and the NCAA are getting a jump on the whole process by piling up even more money than they already have in order to pay the student-athletes (do we still call them "student-athletes" when they're making $1.1 million to play?).

College football teams generally play a 12-team regular season schedule. What's two or three more games, right? These are kids, after all. They have tons of energy. Let 'em play.

And working in the NCAA's favor is that most schools are off in January for the holiday break. So, for once, college sports actually doesn't interfere with an athlete's academic endeavors.

So, go ahead and make it 14 teams, I say. Heck, make it 16 for that matter. We know that's ultimately what the NCAA wants to do, anyway.

You just know they're itching to make the men's basketball tournament into an 84-team field or something outrageous like that. If they can make an extra $100 million by expanding March Madness by 20-some teams, that's what they're going to do.

College football was awesome back in the old days when they played the Sugar Bowl on New Year's night and the winner of that game won the national championship.

Yep, 1978 sure was great in this country.

But I realize I'm definitely in the minority with that kind of thinking and, for sure, howling at the moon about how college athletes shouldn't be paid is just that...a futile exercise.

Make the football playoff whatever you want. 12 teams, 14 teams, 24 teams. Whatever you want to make it is actually fine by me because I'm not the viewing football enthusiast you're chasing after anyway.

Keep the athletes safe and happy. If the NCAA accomplishes that, they're winning.

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February 21, 2024
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questions get answered

With yet another Maryland hoops loss to digest, I figured we'd get to the good stuff first and then Dale Williams can dive into last night's defeat in Madison, Wisconsin.

"The good stuff" constitutes a handful of questions sent in by #DMD readers.

I try to give them some sort of order of importance, which mostly hinges on their overall interest potential with you and the rest of the audience.

Bill Cress sent me a question about Terrell Suggs and Marshal Yanda being eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame in 2025.

Do you think either Suggs or Yanda are going to get in on the first ballot and do you think they deserve to get in on the first ballot?"

Will Terrell Suggs make the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot?

DF says -- "Some of their potential as first-year guys is connected to who didn't get in from the class of 2024. And some of their potential as first-year guys relates to the other first-year guys on the ballot in 2025. Luke Kuechly is on the ballot in '25, for example, and I have to assume he's getting in for sure.

I think Suggs is 100% going to be a Hall of Fame recipient.

I think Yanda is 75%.

I think they both deserve to be in. But offensive linemen are treated differently than nearly every other position.

If you made me bet it, I'd bet Suggs gets in on his second go-round (2026) and Yanda gets in later on down the road (2029)."

Kyle Plevyak asks -- "I have a question for your Q&A Mailbag feature. In your opinion, how much better would PGA Tour players be if they played tournaments while riding in golf carts instead of walking?"

DF says -- "That's hard to say. I've never seen a direct connection between riding and scoring better, personally. I get that you don't use as much energy when you ride, but I don't know that riding translates to making better swings and more putts.

If there was a benefit, it would be negligible. Maybe one shot per round on average? I just don't think you automatically play better golf when you ride."

J.R. asks -- "Is there any chance this Orioles season goes south? I just don't see how they aren't a 95-win team at least."

DF says -- "Of course there's a chance. It's baseball. Weird things happen, mostly revolving around injuries. Gunnar takes a fastball off the wrist in May and misses 3 months and, suddenly, things change. Corbin Burnes is 5-1 with a 2.77 ERA to start the season and then he "feels something pop" on May 28 and things change.

All things being equal, the O's are, I agree, a 90-some win team. Injuries could be the one thing to derail them. I don't see any way their full team, as we know it to be right now, doesn't win at least 90 games.

I do think not having Felix Bautista as their closer could hurt them a bit, but they're not going from 101 wins to 84 wins because of that. More like 101 wins to 94 wins, maybe."

Carter asks -- "What's your take on the Zay Flowers news from today (Tuesday)? Is that all done now or could Roger Goodell still hand down a punishment of some sort?"

DF says -- "I think it's dangerous to comment on the whole situation after reading what the police released to the Baltimore Banner. The young woman involved in the incident said it was just a "bad ten minutes" but didn't want to report the name of the person involved. "He has too much to lose" she reportedly told the police.

That said, while it looks "bad" based on the details the police released, commenting on the situation seems odd given that the police have suspended their investigation. But not commenting on the situation could be seen as a lack of support for the young woman, who was clearly in distress.

Sure, Roger Goodell could still hand down some sort of punishment, but I doubt that happens. The police have moved on so I think everyone else should at this point."

Mark Williams asks -- "Is there anything more dumb than NASCAR ending its biggest race of the year under a caution flag?"

DF says -- "I'll admit that's very dumb. No two ways about it. But the NFL does the same thing with "kneel downs" at the end of the game, basically.

And the NFL also totally ignores that a quarterback throwing the ball into the dirt in front of him to stop the clock is, in essence, "intentional grounding". The normal intentional grounding penalty is given when the quarterback throws the ball away in an attempt to avoid getting sacked.

"Dirting the ball" in front of you is an attempt to stop the clock without having to actually run a play. It's essentially the same thing as throwing the ball away to avoid a sack, in my opinion.

That's all a way of saying, "NFL games are almost always somehow only 59 minutes of "real" football or thereabouts. The final minute usually consists of the quarterback taking a knee or two and the teams shaking hands with 24 seconds left on the clock.

It's weird. And so, too, is ending a stock car race with the cars actually not racing."

This is a really slow week on the PGA Tour, as the players head to Mexico for the Mexico Open at the Vidanta GC. Only one top 25 player in the world (Tony Finau) is in the field.

We're coming off a pretty huge week here at #DMD, where we gave you the eventual winner (Hideki Matsuyama) and top 20 finisher Adam Scott as part of our six-player betting sheet last Wednesday. I hope you're enjoying the Silver Oak you bought with my advice.

Let's see if we can help you out again this week.

Finau is the whopping favorite at +650. I'm not even remotely interested in wagering on him. Could he win? Sure. But the trend on TOUR this year is for "back of the pack" guys to come out on top, which is where we're going with our picks.

We're following our usual format here this week; wagers to win, top 10 and top 20.

Taylor Pendrith (+2200) is someone we're keen on. Vidanta GC is a place where players with good ball striking metrics, tee-to-green, tend to prosper. Pendrith is a solid player who can occasionally get hot with the putter as we saw a couple of years ago during his run at the Presidents Cup.

Mackenzie Hughes, another Canadian, is also definitely worth an investment this week at the attractive number of +4500. Hughes comes into the event on the heels of a really nice four days at Riveria CC, another course where ball striking metrics are critically important.

We're going even further back for a couple of others in K.H. Lee at +8000 and Ryan Palmer at +11000. Palmer hasn't played well of late, but tends to surface somewhere during the season at an event where the weaker fields gather.

But our two favorites this week are Keith Mitchell and Patrick Rodgers, both at +3000. Mitchell is in great form, data wise, and Rodgers has quietly been working his way toward a win for a while now. If you press us for an outright winner, we'll go with Mitchell.

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Open Again

dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps fall by four at wisconsin

Despite a late rally where Maryland made a trio of three-pointers, they couldn’t overcome Wisconsin’s clutch late foul shooting, and lost a tough game to the Badgers on Tuesday night in Madison, 74-70.

With the Terps trailing late, they started putting Wisconsin on the line with under a minute left on the clock. The Badgers took care of business by making 11 of their last 12 foul shots. For the game, they made 28 of 31.

Maryland may have been robbed of a chance to win the game by a very questionable call.

Up by 2, with only 2 seconds left in the game, the Badgers were attempting to in-bound the ball under their own basket. While cutting to the ball, Max Klesmit ran over Jahari Long. Long was called for the block. The replay showed that Long had clearly established his position. The ref made the wrong call. Game over.

Jahmir Young led the Terps with 20 points last night in their 74-70 loss at Wisconsin.

Wisconsin took an early lead and led for nearly the entire game, including all of the second half. The Terrapins could never fully climb out of the hole, as their deficit vacillated between 4 and 7 points for most of the final 20 minutes.

It was Tyler Wahl leading the way for Wisconsin with 18 points. Klesmit had 16, including a backbreaking three with 56 seconds left. Jahmir Young had 20 for Maryland, although he struggled in the second half until it was desperation time.

The score at the first break was 9-4, with Wisconsin leading. Both teams started the game with a focus on the interior. Wisconsin had 3 layups and a three-pointer. The Terps had 2 layups, having taken 4 shots with only 1 being a three that missed. The touches by the big men down low were numerous.

Kaiser buried Maryland’s first 3 and that was followed by a Young “and one”. Meanwhile, the Badgers had turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions. Quickly, the Terps had grabbed a lead, 10-9.

Wisconsin kept giving the ball away, and Maryland converted those miscues into 8 points off of turnovers. The Badgers committed 5 early giveaways. The second break came at 11:53 with Maryland leading 14-11 and having possession of the ball. At this point, the Terps had made 6 of 10 shots. Attribute that 60% efficiency to taking shots that were close to the bucket.

A 10-0 Wisconsin run included a monster dunk by AJ Storr and a couple of nifty moves by Wahl. It took a Young step back, a nice take by Julian Reese, and a dunk by Jamie Kaiser off a steal, to break the Badger momentum and pull the Terps to within 1, 21-20.

It was 23-20 at the 6:24 TV timeout. A back-and-forth game had evolved, with the Badgers having reclaimed the points in the paint lead, 16-14. The Terps had now committed 5 turnovers and Wisconsin had 6.

Layups by each team told the story of the next few minutes. Wisconsin led 30-27 when Reese picked up his second foul of the game. A pair of Wisconsin foul shots and a Chucky Hepburn three later, and the Terps were down 8, 35-27.

The half ended in a rather bizarre fashion with Kevin Willard getting “T-ed up” after his team had just played great defense, stopping the Badgers and grabbing the defensive rebound. Wisconsin made both technical foul shots, ending the first half scoring at 37-29.

Despite the 8-point halftime deficit for Maryland, the first 20 minutes were played fairly even. Each team had made 12 shots from the field, but the Badgers had dropped 1 more 3-pointer than the Terps and Wisconsin also enjoyed an 11-4 advantage in foul shots made.

Wisconsin had balanced scoring with 4 players scoring at least 6 points, led by Wahl’s 10. The Terps only had 2 guys doing much damage offensively. Young had 11 and Reese had 9.

For some reason, both teams opened half number 2 by forgetting about the inside game and preferred to heave threes. Each squad was 1-4 from the three-point line in the opening 4:20 of the 2nd half. The teams each scored only 5 points during that time, with Wisconsin retaining their 8-point lead. The Terps were now mainly employing a zone defense.

The second TV timeout came at 11:46 with the Badgers hanging onto a 44-38 lead. They hadn’t made a shot in over 3 minutes and had connected on just 1 of their last 8 attempts. The Terps were 3 for 8 with 2 of those baskets coming on fast breaks.

With 9:28 left in the game, Wisconsin led by 7, 51-44. Maryland’s offense was relegated to one-on-one backdowns by whoever had the ball. That style was fairly effective though, as Maryland had gone a respectable 5-11 from the field.

Wisconsin started having success in their half court sets, with several possessions ending with easy chip shots. Their 3-ball was disastrous, going in just once in 8 tries. Their offensive play was helped by rebounding 5 of their second half missed shots.

With 4:51 remaining, the Terps managed to chip away at the lead. Reese hit 2 foul shots and the lead now stood at 56-51.

AJ Storr got a bucket with a power drive down the lane, and Young answered with a couple of foul shots. Maryland hadn’t made a shot from the floor in several minutes, but their 9-4 advantage in foul shots made at that time was keeping them in the game.

A very questionable charging call on Harris-Smith wrapped up play before the final media timeout. That call may have been a makeup call for when Harris-Smith was sent to the line after ramming his shoulder into a Badger defender.

It was 58-53 with a little over three minutes to play. Young was 0-6 at this point in the second half, and his Terps found themselves down by 7 after the Badgers hit 2 foul shots courtesy of the Harris-Smith foul.

Reese was hacked and made 1 of 2 from the line. Wisconsin followed that by running clock before missing a desperation 3. It was a strong drive by Young that gave him his first bucket of the half, cutting the lead 4, 60-56.

In what turned out to be the shot of the game, Klesbit drained a three off the dribble. It was a massive made bucket and provided Wisconsin a 7-point lead with under 50 seconds left.

Maryland was now forced to play the intentional foul game. Wahl was the first to go to the line and he banged home a pair making the score 65-58.

The game got much tighter when Scott followed the Wahl foul shots with a deep three. The Terps now trailed 65-61.

This time it was Klesbit who was fouled, and like Wahl before him, he drained both shots to extend the gap to 6, 67-61. Harris-Smith was fouled and made 1 of 2.

The Terrapins put freshman John Blackwell on the line this time, and he also made 1 of 2.

Maryland wouldn’t go away though. They shrunk the lead to just 3 points on a Young triple. Again, they put Klesbit on the line, and he made another pair.

It was 70-65 with Jahari Long going to the line for Maryland. He calmly sank both.

The score now stood at 70-67 with 11.2 seconds left in the game. Each team had made 13 second half foul shots. Donta Scott had fouled out for Maryland and Blackwell was out for Wisconsin.

With Maryland forced to foul, they sent Hepburn to the line. He did his job, nailing a pair. But again, the Terps clawed back with a Kaiser three. Maryland trailed by just 2 now, 72-70. Only 2 seconds remained.

Wisconsin, while trying to inbound the ball got bailed out. Klesbit ran over Long, but Long was whistled for the foul. It could have been Maryland’s ball with a chance to tie or win. Instead, after 2 more points from the line, Wisconsin had secured the win, 74-70.

Certainly, Wisconsin’s proficiency from the foul line was a key factor in their victory, but they also bested Maryland on the boards, 33-24. Wisconsin also made the Terps work very hard for their field goals, while the Badger buckets seemed to come a little easier.

Kudos to Williard for extending the game at a fairly early stage, something he failed to do against Iowa on Saturday.

I also thought his zone defense, which morphed into man to man, was very effective. I do think he waited far too long to put an all-out full court blitz on the Badgers. That should have been employed much earlier and much more frequently.

Wisconsin improved to 10-6 in the Big Ten, temporarily holding solo third in the conference. The Terps are three spots from the bottom of the league at 6-10.

On Sunday, the Terps will have to contend with Rutgers in the RAC. It’s a noon start with television handled by BTN.

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February 20, 2024
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baseball contenders and pretenders

Shohei Ohtani homered yesterday for the Dodgers in live batting practice.

I guess that means spring is really here and baseball is right around the corner.

I'm all for it.

Randy Morgan takes you through an extensive Orioles spring training preview below. As you'll see, I buzz through the rest of Major League Baseball today with a look at who we should watch and who we can dismiss in 2024.

I remain bullish on the Orioles despite the recent injury concerns of both Kyle Bradish and John Means. With no disrespect to Means, the O's can survive and thrive without him, as they did in 2023. But losing Bradish would leave a mark. They'd need te replace him, somehow, either with an arm of their own or a new arrival acquired by trade.

There's also the loss of Felix Bautista to deal with as the season goes on. I think it's safe to say the O's bullpen won't be as good as it was a year ago with Bautista scheduled to miss the entire 2024 campaign. But I don't think the bullpen will be a disaster.

This is still a 90-something win team even with Bradish, Means and Bautista not available for all or part of the '24 season.

But where do the O's fit in with the rest of the league? I'm here to tell you.

Contenders --

It goes without saying the Dodgers are the pre-season favorites, again. How good will they be? Who knows? They might scuffle along and "only" win 95 games or they might lose a game or two every week and finish at 115-47.

Can the Texas Rangers use their high powered offense to once again rise to the top of the American League in 2024?

The Braves are probably the second best team in either league heading into the regular season. They should roll to another N.L. East title.

Even with the questions we referenced above, the Orioles are most certainly an A.L. contender. Can Jackson Holliday do in '24 what Gunnar was able to do in '23? The wager here says "yes".

You can't count out the Astros even though they're getting a year old with each passing campaign. They just know how to win.

The Phillies made it to another NLCS a season ago before falling to the surprising Diamondbacks, but there's still plenty of gas left in their tank for a run in 2024.

And even though a repeat is highly unlikely, you have to at least give the Rangers their due. That lineup is just too good to ignore. If they get any kind of decent starting pitching, they're a 90-win team at the worst.

Don't Dismiss Them --

This is exactly where you list the Tampa Bay Rays every year in February. You assume this will be the year they nose dive into a 75-win season, only to watch them win 93 games instead and roll into the playoffs despite only having one or two players you've ever heard of.

The Reds are going to threaten to win the NL Central. Yes, you read that right. That might say more about the quality of the NL Central than it does about the Reds, but don't be surprised if they're playing football and baseball in Cincinnati next October.

It feels like the Mariners could be the '24 version of the '23 Rangers. In other words, a team that can put runs on the board and pitch decently enough to make some noise.

I know we're keen on laughing at the Yankees around here and with good reason. They're a shell of the team that ruled the roost in the A.L. East throughout the last decade and a half. But something feels different about them in '24. Maybe it's just that they've had their wings clipped and they're going to take things more seriously. Perhaps it's Juan Soto's arrival. Whatever the case, it feels like they're lurking.

It's hard to not at least give the Diamondbacks a nod here after what they did a season ago. That run to the World Series might have been a bit of a fluke, but they do have one of the best young players in either league (Carroll) and other than the Dodgers, their division isn't all that difficult.

Speaking of being able to hit the ball, the Blue Jays have to put it all together one of these seasons, don't they? If they get any kind of pitching (and that's a BIG "if") they could be a 95 win team. But they're probably going to lose a lot of 7-5 games. The playoffs seem within their grasp, but anything past a wild card series win would be a surprise.

The Pretenders --

Someone has to win the AL Central. We assume it will be the Guardians or the Twins. The Tigers are probably a year away from being taken seriously, but expect them to win somewhere around 72 games. I don't see much hope for the White Sox or Royals.

The Red Sox will be among the worst teams in the American League, I'm pleased to report. Whether they lose more games than the other two awful teams -- the A's and Angels -- remains to be seen. Oakland/Sacramento/Las Vegas will be hard pressed to win 60 games. The Angels weren't very good with Ohtani. Imagine what they're going to be without him.

The Mets have a few pieces for sure, but not nearly enough to go toe-to-toe with Atlanta and Philadelphia. 81 wins would be good for them.

Same goes for the Marlins, who always seem to be better than we think they're going to be. I actually think the Marlins could sneak into the post-season party again with something around 86 or 87 wins. But they need a lot of things to go right in order for that to happen.

The Nationals will rival the A's for the worst record in baseball. Useless called and said, "You guys are terrible."

The Cubs will be the biggest challenger to the Reds in the NL Central. It wouldn't be a shock at all to see Chicago win the division with 86 wins.

The Brewers aren't in full rebuild mode or anything like that, but they're certainly starting to piece together a new nucleus, as evidenced by the deal to Baltimore for Joey Ortiz and D.L. Hall. They will be very lucky to win 80 games.

The same goes for the Cardinals, except they're holding on to some of their older guys (Goldschmidt, Arenado) for one final run at glory, it would seem. 82 wins would be a nice campaign for them.

There's no telling what the Pirates might do. Because they're the Pirates, they're probably going to start off 19-6 and then be 24-26 on Memorial Day. A .500 record seems ambitious, but they'll probably be somewhere around that mark into September.

In the NL West, the Padres still have some pieces, but it feels like their window has officially closed. A playoff berth would be a mini-miracle.

The Giants and the Rockies are just hanging around for the sake of hanging around. Nothing to see with either of those teams.

We'll wait another month or so to throw out our official 2024 predictions. There are still several free agents hanging around that could help teams. But we already have a good idea of where we'll be going with our predicted AL and NL winners.

I'm sure you can figure it out.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit wisconsin tonight

Badger fans must be scratching their heads and wondering what the heck is going on with the men’s B-Ball team in Madison.

Less than 3 weeks ago, Wisconsin was climbing up the national rankings while sitting atop of the Big Ten. Now, their former 8-1 record has been reduced to 9-6 and their 1st place standing in the conference has fallen to a 3-way tie for 3rd.

The Badgers come into tonight’s game with Maryland off an overtime loss at Iowa on Saturday, 88-86..

Wisconsin had lost 4 games in a row before beating Ohio State at home a week ago. The Iowa loss came next. They’ve suffered no devastating injuries, and the starting lineup hasn’t been altered.

Jahmir Young and the Terps visit Wisconsin tonight looking to shake off the home loss to Illinois last Saturday.

Pinpointing what has changed is difficult. The biggest difference that I see is the lack of consistent offense from anyone other than their leading scorer, AJ Storr.

Last season, Storr was seeing 21 minutes of playing time and scoring 8.8 points a game as a freshman at St. John’s. This season, he’s the focal point of the Badger offense, getting 16.5 points and taking far more shots than any other Wisconsin player.

Storr is muscular, bouncy, and aggressive. What he is not, is a great shooter.

At just 43% from the floor, and 31% from 3, Storr is far more dangerous on the break or when attacking the offensive glass than he is off the dribble or spotting up. I would think that Deshawn Harris-Smith will initially get this assignment. Jordan Geronimo is similar in stature, but he’s still questionable with a knee injury. Storr is 6’7”.

Wisconsin starts a big front court. Steven Crowl is a 7-footer and Tyler Wahl goes 6’9”. Crowl is efficient on the offensive side, and it’s my opinion that he’s under-utilized as a scoring weapon. He’s 55% from the floor and 46% from the three-point line. He doesn’t take a ton of threes, less than 2 a game, but a defender always has to respect that shot.

Crowl’s moves down low are more plodding than quick, but he uses his big body to create some space, and he hits most of his inside shots. He averages 11.3 points and a team leading 7.7 rebounds each game.

Also scoring 11.3 points per contest is Wahl.

Wahl’s outside game is so bad (22%) he could be a Terp. However, when operating closer to the bucket, Wahl connects 56.5% of the time.

Playing the “4” spot, he’s going to be trouble tonight for Maryland. He offers constant movement and a knack for knowing when, and where, to cut. Once inside, Wahl is crafty enough to score in a variety of ways or make a smart pass. He’s the guy I see as most likely to exceed his average points scored.

Triggering the Badger offense is Chucky Hepburn. I can’t understand how Hepburn shot 40% from the three-point line last year, and this year he’s under 30%. His mix of 3’s and 2’s hasn’t changed much, and the attempts per game are about the same. Whatever the reason, Hepburn’s shot isn’t falling. He can penetrate, but is much more likely to dish in the paint, than shoot.

Hepburn is a shorter (listed at 6’2”, but that’s optimistic) guard who is a solid defender. He’ll try to check Maryland’s Jahmir Young.

The last starter for Wisconsin is the 6’4” Max Klesmit. He’s the Badger’s leader in three-pointers made, but he only gets 9.4 points per game. At 38%, I’d be inclined to get him more than 4 long range looks each night. About 60% of Klesmit’s shots are from behind the arc, but he’s a respectable 51% around the rim. He’ll be pushed defensively tonight by Kevin Willard’s team.

In most cases, slowing down the game and limiting possessions is a good strategy for the Terps. But tonight, they are playing a team that also prefers the slower pace. Wisconsin’s half court offense is better than Maryland’s, but the difference is not monumental.

That being said, tonight is the night for Maryland to pick up the pace at every opportunity. The Badgers can’t run with them.

Wisconsin doesn’t like ball pressure and they really don’t have a guy who can break down a defense. They, collectively, lack quickness and pressure defense really exposes that flaw. Slowing down the game plays right into the Badger’s hands.

When possible, the Terps should push the pace and the pressure should continue for all 40 minutes.

Wisconsin will push, check, and play physical basketball, but outside of Storr, they aren’t an imposing presence on the court. Maryland just needs to be ready to push back.

Offensively, the Terp options are limited. You’ll always see a mass of isolations for Young, but I want more Julian Reese tonight. I’m going right at Crowl until he proves he can handle business in the paint.

The talent difference between these two teams is negligible. The best player on the court is Young, but the problem is that THIS court, tonight, belongs to Wisconsin.

Playing in your own building is a major advantage in the Big Ten. With Wisconsin being home, and desperately needing a win against one of the lesser teams in the conference, I expect an all-out effort from them.

The Terps can keep this game much closer than the 7.5 points that the books are giving them.

Only a full out Maryland disaster when shooting the ball will allow Wisconsin to salt away this game early. Conversely, if Maryland shoots above their norm, they could leave Madison with a “W”.

I don’t trust the Terps to shoot well, and I don’t trust Kevin Willard to speed up the game or pound the ball to Reese.

This is a must win situation for Wisconsin and they have just enough talent to pull it off, beating Maryland by something close to 68-62. If you have access to Peacock, tune in at 9:00 pm.

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Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.

3 big spring training questions

It’s almost that time of year. Pitchers and catchers have reported to Sarasota and we are under a week from the first Spring Training game for the Orioles.

It has been an eventful few weeks leading up to the first games of Spring.

After the Ravens devastating playoff exit, the Orioles were the ones lifting spirits, with the announcement of a potential sale to hometown billionaire David Rubenstein and the acquisition of Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes.

Will Gunnar Henderson stay entrenched at shortstop or could he move to third base in 2024 to make room for heralded prospect Jackson Holliday?

The latter represents the proven number one starter the Orioles have been looking for since the last trade deadline. Burnes is not only one of the top five or ten starting pitchers in the league, but also has a great health track record, starting 28 games or more and pitching over 160 innings in each of the last three seasons.

The trade for a legitimate top of the rotation arm signals the Orioles aren’t messing around anymore, they are ready to push for a ring this season.

Of course that news was quickly followed by some alarming injury news at the first press conference from Sarasota. The announcement that last season’s top starter, Kyle Bradish, is dealing with a UCL sprain is more than a little worrying.

While it remains possible that Bradish can recover with just the PRP injection he already received and some duration of rest, this is also an injury that often results in the dreaded Tommy John surgery. At this point all we can do is wait and hope that Bradish only misses the early part of the season.

So, as the O’s get set to start playing some fake games, let’s take a look at the three biggest questions heading into the season.

1. Will Jackson Holliday make the opening day roster?

Aside from the arrival of Corbin Burnes, the early buzz in camp has revolved around the unanimous top prospect in baseball. After a meteoric rise through the minor leagues as a 19 year old last season, the 2022 number one overall pick has a great chance to start the season in Camden Yards.

Widely regarded as having the best “hit tool” in the minor leagues, Holliday could represent an upgrade on an already productive infield. While he probably still needs a few years for his body to fill out to reach his power potential, Holliday demonstrated in all levels of the minors last year that he can hit the ball.

In order to break camp with the big league team, he will need to prove his defense is up to par. It looks like Holliday is going to be competing for the starting job at second base, with Gunnar Henderson firmly ensconced at shortstop after a near MVP-level season.

Holliday played mostly at shortstop in the minors, so the Orioles will be looking to see how he adjusts to second.

Jordan Westburg, Ramon Urias, and Jorge Mateo are all in the mix for the Orioles infield, but Holliday is mostly competing against Westburg and Urias. Westburg could start at third or second and Urias could man third base if Westburg is at second.

If Holliday isn’t going to be a regular starter the team will probably send him back down to Norfolk to get some more seasoning. Though with the new rules granting an extra first round pick for the Rookie of the Year winner, there is incentive to have Holliday up early on if he looks ready.

There is also the possibility Holliday could platoon with Westburg and Urias, as Holliday offers a lefty bat to contrast their right-handed hitting. No matter the outcome, all eyes will be on the budding star in Sarasota.

2. Are there more moves to be made?

This question gained extra relevance with the news about Bradish and to a lesser extent John Means. With two presumed starters out for at least the start of the season it will force Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin into the rotation, leaving a hole in the bullpen.

With the potential sale of the team still waiting on approval from the league, it seems unlikely the leadership will shell out big bucks for another top line starter such as Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery.

It may be more realistic that the team makes a move to sure up the bullpen. There aren’t many great free agent relief options left, but it’s not too hard to envision a trade for a middle or back-end reliever from either the depth of Orioles prospects or a veteran like Ramon Urias.

It would certainly seem prudent for the front office to add something more to the staff with the potential that Bradish could miss the entire season. There are three promising arms in the minors in Chayce McDermott, Cade Povich, and Seth Johnson, but none of them appear to be quite major-league ready to start the season.

Another possibility would be to sign a cheaper back end of the rotation starter that could allow Wells or Irvin to stay in the bullpen. This might be the easiest available option, with some names previously linked to the Orioles, like Michael Lorenzen, remaining available on the market.

3. Who fills out the backend of the roster?

As camp opens up there are around nine locks among the position players and ten on the pitching staff, leaving about three or four spots up for grabs for each. Rutschman, McCann, Mountcastle, O’Hearn, Henderson, Westburg, Santander, Mullins, Hays, and Urias seem set to make it to Baltimore in the field, while Burnes, Rodriguez, Kremer, Wells, Irvin, Kimbrel, Cano, Coulombe, Perez, and Webb figure to be locked into the staff.

Among position players, either Urias or Holliday will fill out the starting infield and Jorge Mateo seems a safe bet to stick on the roster with his speed and defense and his potential to occasionally play outfield.

That leaves the main competition for the fourth outfielder between prospects Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser and veterans Ryan McKenna and Sam Hilliard.

Kjerstad would appear to have the inside track after impressing in his short stint to finish the season in the majors last year. Cowser was seen as a prospect with higher upside but struggled in his stint in the big leagues.

Meanwhile, McKenna is a known quantity with solid defense and limited bat. Hilliard is the wild card, a reclamation project similar to Ryan O’Hearn that the O’s picked up from the Braves in the offseason. He has been mostly mediocre outside of an impressive 27 game stint in his initial callup in 2019 for Colorado.

The only other remote possibility for that last position player spot is exciting prospect Coby Mayo. The 22 year old has one of the most powerful bats in the organization but will almost surely head back to Norfolk to continue to iron out his swing and find his best position defensively.

As for the bullpen, if there are no more acquisitions, it seems the group of Dillon Tate, Mike Baumann, Bryan Baker, Nick Vespi, Keegan Akin, Bruce Zimmerman and Matt Krook will battle it out for two or three spots.

The hope in Sarasota is that Dillon Tate can return to the level he reached in 2022 before he was injured. That would go a long way to strengthening the back end of the bullpen. However, after missing the entirety of 2023 with injuries, that is far from a given.

The rest of the options besides Krook are relatively known quantities in Baltimore, all filling in for parts of last season with varying degrees of success. Baumann and Baker have both had very effective stretches but never really put together a full season.

Krook was recently acquired from the Yankees but pitched just four ineffective innings in the majors last season.

One non-roster invitee to watch is Wandisson Charles. Another big, hard-throwing righty with control issues, similar to Cano and Bautista, who could make a similar leap. Charles was fairly dominant in AA last season but struggled mightily with command after the move up to Norfolk.

February 19, 2024
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steph vs. the wnba player matters that much?

I realize we've reached the turtle race season for professional sports.

Everything is in slllooooowww motion unti mid-March when the college hoops tournament kicks off.

Sure, there's hockey.

And golf.

And professional basketball, too.

But once the Super Bowl comes and goes, there's a bit of a down period we all endure.

So, perhaps that explains the tension from Saturday night when Steph Curry and the WNBA's Sabrina Ionescu engaged in the 3-point contest that was part of the NBA's All-Star weekend festivities.

Curry beat Ionescu, 29-26, in a highly competitive contest.

The WNBA star took Curry on while shooting from the men's 3-point line rather than the shorter distance the WNBA and women's basketball uses.

But she used the smaller sized WNBA basketball during her portion of the shooting contest.

Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu locked up in an entertaining three-point contest on Saturday night, but Kenny Smith of TNT created a stir with some of his opinions.

TNT basketball analyst Kenny Smith stirred the pot after the competition by claiming that Ionescu should have been permitted to shoot from the women's 3-point line.

Reggie Miller, who was offering commentary alongside of Smith, took umbrage with that opinion, talking about boundaries and how Ionescu should be allowed to shoot from whatever distance she wanted to shoot.

Smith then threw in another nugget; Ionescu used the WNBA basketball, which was smaller than the one used by Curry in the shootout.

"Women and men don't play golf from the same tees," Smith said in response to Miller's objections.

Alas, that's true. Women typically play a completely different set of (shorter) tees than men, although over the last few years there's been a push to stop calling them "Women's Tees" and simply refer to them as "Forward" tees.

My interest level for the NBA All-Star Game, on a 1-to-10 scale, is probably 1.5.

Actually, make it a "1". I couldn't care less.

But I do find public discourse interesting, particularly from smart people like Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller appear to be. I could listen to both of them talk about basketball for hours.

Smith got lit up on social media for his contention that Ionescu should have participated in the contest from the women's line.

Then he got clobbered for mentioning the smaller sized ball she used.

Well, which is it?

Should a woman play by woman's rules or should she play by men's rules?

It's just a silly shooting contest, of course. The real answer to the question above is: Who cares?

But a lot of people thought Smith was digging at Ionescu's inferior athletic/basketball prowess by contending she should have played from the "women's line" against Curry.

The whole thing took away from the fact that Ionescu went toe-to-toe with one of the greatest shooters of this generation and lost by one basket.

Me, personally?

I think you should let the young lady shoot from wherever she wants on the court. If she wants to shoot from the men's line, let her shoot from the men's line. Who cares?

That said, I wouldn't have had any problem at all if Ionescu would have participated in the contest and opted to shoot from the women's line.

That's the line they use in the WNBA. She plays in the WNBA. I'm not sure what was so wrong with what Kenny Smith said on Saturday.

And while it might have looked odd to have her elect to shoot from the men's line while using the WNBA sized basketball, that, too, should be her choice.

If she wants to use a basketball she's unfamiliar with, size wise, that's on her. I don't blame her one bit for using the smaller ball she's accustomed to shooting.

In the end, I guess I don't understand what the ultimate point to all of this is supposed to be. Sabrina Ionescu is an outstanding basketball player. She plays in the WNBA. That's a league for female basketball players.

Was Saturday designed to prove that she could either play or not play with/against men like Step Curry?

If that was the intent, it was always going to fail. For starters, just shooting 3 pointers and thinking you're in the NBA if you make a few is like hitting 300 yard drives at the driving range and assuming you'd break par at a PGA Tour event.

It was also going to fail because Ionescu isn't allowed to play in the NBA and, frankly, wouldn't be able to anyway. She's an outstanding basketball player but she wouldn't be able to make a NBA roster. I assume even Ionescu would agree with that statement.

Oh, and there's nothing wrong with that and it doesn't make Ionescu any less entertaining in her own league.

Reggie Miller got offended by something that isn't even really a topic. Kenny Smith is entitled to his opinion, even if it's wrong in some people's eyes.

I've dedicated more space this morning to the NBA All-Star Game and the WNBA combined...in....like....forever. I'm not sure I've ever even typed the words "NBA All-Star Game and WNBA" in the same sentence. Ever.

But we can't even have a harmless 3-point contest without people get all riled up over pretty much nothing at all.

I assume that the NBA and WNBA aren't angry about the coverage the event received Saturday night and again on Sunday. I mean, the NBA and Steph Curry had to know they were on the hook for some ridicule if the future NBA Hall of Fame player lost a shooting contest to -- gasp! -- a woman.

So, going in, the NBA knew something wacky could potentially happen.

I'm sure Ionescu doesn't care that she lost, no matter where she shot the ball from or what size the ball was. She had nothing to prove. She's already one of the best shooters in the WNBA, no matter what happened on Saturday night.

And while Kenny Smith ultimately had nothing to be ashamed of, he now knows to be much more careful in the future talking about women competing vs. men.

Speaking of weird stories that continued to percolate on Sunday, the Jordan Spieth disqualification at the Genesis Invitational was still being discussed two days after it occurred.

For those who didn't hear or don't care, Spieth was disqualified after Friday's second round for signing an incorrect scorecard. How it happened doesn't really matter. Spieth signed for a "3" when he actually made a "4", then apparently left the scoring tent rather abruptly because of stomach discomfort and a necessary trip to the men's room.

Jordan Spieth would have made the cut on Friday in the Genesis Invitational if not for a simple error that led to his disqualification.

Once he left the scoring area, his card was deemed "official". And when tournament officials learned a few minutes later about Spieth's incorrect scorecard, they had no option but to DQ him from the event.

Spieth said all the right things afterwards. And with good reason. It was all on him. It is, after all, his scorecard. And he knows, having played professional golf for a decade or so now, that a player is ultimately responsible for signing his card at the end of the round with the correct score for each hole noted on the card.

But the controversy rolled on over the weekend as some national golf analysts opined that the DQ rule was too harsh. Others suggested that the player signing his scorecard in a PGA Tour event is a thing of the past given the plethora of electronic equipment and data being compiled throughout each player's round.

There are several silly rules in golf. The "stroke and distance" penalty for out of bounds tee shots is one of them, I believe. I can hit a drive 300 yards but one inch out of bounds and be hitting "3" from the tee. You can swing and miss at the ball and you're only hitting "2" from the tee.

Anyway, there are some weird rules in golf.

But you having to sign your scorecard is not one of them.

When you make a scoring mistake, fail to sign the card or somehow goof up the math so much that you get DQ'd, that's on you. If you made a "5" on hole #7 and you signed for a "4", there's a penalty to pay for that. I don't disagree that DQ might be overly harsh, but you're the one who signed for a "4" when you really made "5".

Sure, there are two or three other people keeping your score along the way. It's posted on line for everyone to see. But at some point, the player has to have the right to verify what they shot. It is, after all, his or her score.

So, at the end of the round, technology be damned, a golfer should have to say, "Here's my card. When you add up the hole-by-hole totals, I shot 73."

When they do that, the score is official.

It's important to note that in golf scoring, a player is only responsible for putting his or her scores on the card on a hole-by-hole basis. They are not required to do the math after 9 or 18 holes.

Jordan Spieth did that on Saturday. "Here's my card. When you add up the hole by hole totals, I shot 73."

Except the hole by hole totals showed he shot 72.

Spieth didn't get DQ'd because he wrote 72 on the card or told someone he shot 72. It's important to note that Spieth wasn't caught cheating on Friday. Nothing of the sort happened.

He got DQ'd because the guy who kept his scorecard put him down for a "4" on the 4th hole instead of the "3" he made and Spieth didn't catch the error after the round.

That's what happens when you don't pay attention in the scorer's tent after your round.

And it's probably what you deserve if you can't keep track of your own score.

Daniel e-mailed me on Sunday with a scathing review of Kevin Willard and the coaching he's done at Maryland in the last two years.

"No players, no in game adjustments and no sense of a feel for the game in the final minutes when it's tight. He's an A-10 or CAA coach at best. Maryland will never win with him, they should move on now before they hit rock bottom."

That's what Daniel wrote to me.

Kevin Willard's second year at the helm in College Park is starting to generate controversy.

Two years in, huh?

Not even two years in, actually. The man hasn't even seen his second Big Ten conference tournament and you want him gone?

And before someone points out Daniel is just Daniel and certainly not the majority, we are starting to see "Willard is the problem" crop up little by little over the last six weeks.

For the record, I don't think Kevin Willard is the problem.

I think Maryland not having enough good basketball players is the problem.

I realize recruiting is a major part of college basketball. You're in sales, basically, and while you don't have to be quite as maniacal as Tommy Callahan was with Helen in the diner, you do need to be able to close the deal with quality players.

But Willard's in year two, not year eight.

If you were a high school kid in the summer of 2022 and Willard came knocking on your door, what would you have said?

"Coach, I don't care that your cupboard is bare, I'm coming to Maryland!"


"You know, Coach, I respect what you're trying to do. But I'm probably going to settle someplace where the coach and his staff have been there for a while and they have a solid returning group of players for me to team up with."

I think we know which way most kids went two summers ago.

Willard has been reduced to having to build his team via the transfer portal. That's certainly not an easy way to go about it. You're getting them for a short amount of time, for starters, and they likely come to you as a "finished product" rather than as a player you can help create to fill whatever role you have for them.

Maryland's basketball team isn't awful this year. But they're certainly not great, either. They're barely even "good", I guess we'd all say.

But it's simply not fair to start judging the coach after not quite two years at the helm.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, as the saying goes.

Willard is here for the long haul. If Maryland is still in neutral after the '25-26 season then, perhaps, it will be fair to start taking real, legitimate jabs at Willard's coaching acumen.

For now, patience is not only expected, it's more than fair.

Give the man a chance to succeed.

A reminder that I'll be on the 105.7 morning show today from 6-10 am, hanging out with my buddy Glenn Clark and his weekly co-host on The Fan, Reeta Hubbard.

Glenn will be running the show, which means it will be run just well enough to sound like we know what we're doing.

Reeta is awesome. Glenn and I will do our best to not bring her down.

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February 18, 2024
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sunday stuff

I don't have a horse in the race, as they say, in today's final round of the PGA Tour event at Riveria CC.

My projected winner, Sungjae Im isn't winning. I do have two other players capable of cashing for me; I need a top 20 finish from Adam Scott (currently T15) and a top 20 finish from Kurt Kitayama (currently T20). Kitayama, interestingly enough, was a last minute insertion when I was granted a $25 bonus bet by the folks at SuperBook on Wednesday, thank you very much kind people.

So I really don't care who wins today. Patrick Cantlay (-14) owns a two-shot lead heading into the final round, but I didn't snag him in any of my wagers. Like I said, I'm not that concerned with who wins today in L.A.

But, I'm quickly becoming a Mackenzie Hughes fan.

Hughes is a 33-year old Canadian golfer who played collegiately at Kent State University. He has two career PGA Tour wins.

He's what you'd call, in friendly terms, a "journeyman" on the TOUR.

Hughes has also been quite outspoken recently about the ongoing strife within professional golf created by the folks at LIV, who have helped to create a massive divide in the sport.

Patrick Cantlay leads the Genesis Invitational in L.A. heading into today's final round, but it was commentary by another player during Saturday's third round that generated interest in the golf world yesterday.

He was in the middle of the fairway yesterday, mic'd up for live interaction with the on-air team at CBS, when he was asked to opine on the current state of golf.

"It's all kind of unfortunate right now," Hughes told Jim Nantz. "It just seems that it's all about the money. How much money can I make? We've kind of lost the spirit of the game in the process."


Mackenzie Hughes, of all people, gets it.

The Genesis is one of the PGA Tour's new "Signature" events, where a limited field of the TOUR's top players gather and attempt to earn bigger-than-usual paychecks and FedEx points.

This week in L.A., 70 players started the tournament. The cut was the low 50 scores plus anyone within ten shots of the lead after 36 holes of play.

"The cut" part, I'm good with. I'm not so sure I like the limited field element of the Signature events, but, as I've said here before, there should never be a professional golf tournament played that doesn't feature a 36-hole cut.

Money, though. As Mackenzie Hughes so aptly noted yesterday, it's taking its toll on the sport.

And what's weird is that Hughes is a middle-of-the-pack kind of player who benefits greatly from the increased purses the TOUR has offered in the wake of LIV coming along and ruining golf's business model.

But he understands it.

Professional golfers are supposed to struggle. It's in the DNA of the sport they've decided to play. Struggling to make it, living in your car, not knowing if you have enough money to finish out the season -- it's all part of what makes professional golf special.

I understand it's not that way in other sports. Players in football, baseball, basketball and hockey are whisking through seasons with guaranteed contracts and large sums of money at their disposal and their performance is sometimes an afterthought.

In professional golf, you either play well and make a living or you don't play well and you're not making a living.

It's how most of the players on TOUR get tough and get better.

Sure, there are guys like Tiger, Rory and Jordan who are rich in part because they were handed millions as young players. But those are three names out of thousands. And, obviously, it's probably fair to say the TOUR has greatly prospered in part of because of the international popularity of those three.

The rest of the guys, though, like Mackenzie Hughes, shouldn't get to play on Easy Street.

They should have to earn their way there. And then, once they find it, they should have to play better-and-best golf to stay there.

Glenn Clark and I had a discussion on his show last week about the way our state treats "snow days" during the school year.

What we've done over the last decade or two and what we continue to do every time we give kids off because of an inch or two of snow is teach them how not to toughen up.

"It's snowing out. No need for you to bundle up, help your mom and dad get the car cleaned off, shovel the walk and driveway, and get ready for school. We'll just cancel everything and you can stay inside."

I don't know how this has happened in our country, but it has. No one wants to teach anyone how to be tough. And, because of that, no one wants to be tough.

And that's precisely what they're doing in professional golf.

They don't want guys to show up needing to make the cut to pay his mortgage or keep his wife happy.

They don't want guys having to live three to a room at the Hampton Inn.

They don't want guys staring down a 6-footer needing to make that putt to have enough money to pay his caddie for the week.

Lee Trevino said it perfectly once: "Playing a tournament where a hundred grand goes to the winner? That's nothing. Try playing a $20 nassau when you only have $10 in your pocket at the start of the round.

I played many a round -- in the "old days" -- for $20 or $50 and only had a five and a ten in my wallet when I pulled into the parking lot. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, granted, but it also made me focus a lot more on the task at hand.

Mackenzie Hughes said it perfectly yesterday.

The spirit of golf has been lost.

I've watched far less golf so far in January and February, that's for sure. I'm not sure why. But, in general, the direction of the PGA Tour over the last year or two has left me disappointed. I'm not boycotting it or anything like that. But I definitely know my own viewing habits and I'm less engaged now than I was, say, in 2021 or 2022.

There's too much money being handed out in exchange for just showing up. And that goes against the grain of what golf has always been about.

You think you're better than me at golf? Get your clubs and we'll go find out. That's always been the prevailing thought when it comes to competition in golf.

Baseball hands out millions to guys who just show up.

So does football.

All the sports do it.

Golf should never do that. You get paid when your golf says you should get paid. That's why it was the best sport ever invented.

It should mirror real life: You get out of it exactly what you put into it.

He won't win this week, but I'm hoping a big victory for MacKenzie Hughes is in his immediate future.

And a top 20 finish from Adam Scott and Kurt Kitayama today would help my immediate future.

For reasons only they know, NASCAR kicks off their season today with the crown jewel of their season schedule, the Daytona 500.

It's the one and only stock car race I'll watch this year. You might be the same.

And I won't watch it from start to finish, mind you. I'll check in on occasion to see what's happening and I'll definitely settle in for the last 30-40 laps.

Like everything else in sports -- particularly when you don't actually know anything at all about it -- the Daytona 500 is now far more interesting because you can wager on it.

I'm interested enough today to place Top 10 and Win wagers on three drivers.

Austin Dillon (+4000 to win)

Christopher Bell (+1300 to win)

Tyler Reddick (+2200 to win)

I have a total of $120 invested in the race, which is probably about what it costs for a "get in" seat at the race itself.

Gentlemen...start your engines.

Dale Williams will unpack Maryland's loss in his column below, but last night's defeat to Illinois should just about end any hopes the Terps might have had of sneaking into the NCAA tournament.

They would now need a miracle run through the Big Ten tournament, which seems highly unlikely.

Prior to last night, Kevin Willard could have pieced together a scenario where the Terps beat Illinois at home, Wisconsin on the road and finish out the season on a high note in the conference before winning two games or more in the Big Ten tourney to catch the eye of the March Madness committee.

That dream fizzled with last night's 5-point loss.

The Terps are just too hot and cold.

And Willard has a lot of recruiting work to do -- either "naturally" or through the portal -- to get the program back on track in the Big Ten.

Maryland needs better basketball players in 2024-2025.

A lot of them, actually.

A programming note for those interested in my radio schedule. I will not be on the air today for "Fairways and Greens" from 12-1 pm.

However, I will join Glenn Clark and Reeta Hubbard for a spirited edition of the 105.7 Morning Show tomorrow, Monday, from 6 am to 10 am.

Please tune in. I have no idea what to expect, but it should be fun.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps drop tough one to illinois

Maryland lost to Illinois last night, 85-80. They seemed to be fighting an uphill battle the entire game, trailing for all but two and half minutes in the first half and only tying the game, briefly, once in the second 20 minutes.

It was a one-point game, 74-73, when Jahmir Young snatched a loose ball out of the air and streaked towards the rim. There were 3 minutes left in the game at that time and most of the packed house rose to their feet in anticipation of a lead change. It wasn’t to be.

Instead of going hard to the rim, I think Young was looking for contact.

There was no foul and Young missed the shot with Justin Hardman rebounding. His outlet pass was to Terrence Shannon Jr, who threw the ball all the way down court to Coleman Hawkins. Hawkins flushed it with Donta Scott fouling. The Terps got caught napping, and it may have been the most significant play of the game.

Kevin Willard and the Terps fought hard but dropped an 85-80 decision at home to Illinois last night.

It was a drastic 5-point swing. Two more missed Young attempts, and a driving layup by Shannon Jr put the Terps into a 6-point hole from which they could never recover.

It was no surprise that the difference maker last night was Illinois star Shannon Jr. He, like Young, never found his groove from outside, making just 1 of 7, but he just seemed in control of the game. Illinois had 4 players in double figures, and Shannon Jr led them with 27 points. He made 14 of 16 from the foul line.

Young stuffed the stat sheet last night. He posted 28 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and just 1 turnover. But his inability to hit shots late in games has hurt Maryland recently. Last night, he made just 8 of 23 shots and connected on 1 three-pointer in four tries.

Illinois started the game with a barrage of three-point shots.

The first TV timeout came with 5:05 having been played and the Illini had yet to attempt a shot inside of the three-point arc. Their 12-8 lead was courtesy of a 4-7 start from long range. Four different players had stroked a three for Illinois.

Maryland had countered with a Young triple, and a bunch of points in the paint. It was 2 Terp layups that tied the score quickly after the break.

The Fightin’ Illini got to the foul line a couple of times, and Maryland answered with a Jamie Kaiser 3. It was 18-17 with 11:04 left in the half.

The Terps were getting productive minutes from Caleb Swanton-Rodgers. The reserve big man grabbed 3 rebounds in his first 2 minutes of court time. Maryland had yet to produce a turnover.

At 8:41, Illinois had made just a single 2-point shot, and hadn’t made a three in almost 8 minutes. However, their 10-1 advantage at the foul line had lifted them to a 24-19 lead.

The 16-2 Terp advantage in points-in-the-paint was allowing Maryland to somewhat keep pace with Illinois. Maryland closed the gap to 24-23 by the next break at 7:42.

Young started going to work off the dribble, and his ability to get to the rim helped him produce 7 straight Maryland points. The Terps climbed to a 32-28 lead before Illinois tied it going into the last TV timeout. Young had 13 for the Terrapins while Marcus Domask had 11 for Illinois.

A small flurry of Terrapin turnovers stifled their scoring chances and Illinois was able to regain their lead, 39-36, after Justin Hartman drained a three.

The Illini went back to the foul line to wrap up the first half scoring. Terance Shannon Jr. knocked down a pair to give his team a 43-38 lead at halftime.

Looking up at the scoreboard and seeing 43 points for Illinois seemed hard to believe considering MAyland had appeared to play a tough 20 minutes of defense.

The Illini shot 50% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, a number that was matched, exactly, by the Terrapins. The difference maker was the Illini 5-12 effort (41.75%) from the three-point line, while the Terps were just 22% off 2 for 9 long range shooting.

Early into the second half, Illinois had only increased their lead by a single bucket, but I guess Coach Willard saw something he didn’t like. He pulled his troops to the side for a timeout after just 2:10 of play.

The next 5 minutes saw a bunch of basket trading. Scott had 6 of Maryland’s points. Neither team connected on a three and Illinois lead by 5, 54-49.

The Illini led by 4, 57-53, when the next TV timeout came with 11:04 left in the game. Maryland held a 5-0 advantage in offensive rebounds and those extra chances were keeping the game tight despite Illinois shooting 60% (6-10) from the field.

A three-point play by Shannon Jr gave Illinois its biggest lead at 7, but on the Terps next possession an Illini foul put Maryland into the bonus. Within 50 seconds, Reese had made 4 foul shots and a layup. The score was now 62-59 with 8:45 left.

At the 7:51 media timeout, the two teams had played even in the second half with each scoring 21 points. Illinois led 64-59 and was going to the line to shoot one and one.

After Hardman hit the pair, the Terps gap was again 7 and the play was getting very physical. The Terps were caught in a 1-9 shooting spell, and Illinois was nearing 4 minutes without a field goal.

In what was beginning to look like a repeat of the recent Iowa game, Maryland was heading to the foul on almost every possession. Of their last 15 points, 11 came from the charity stripe. The game was tied at 68 before Illinois scored 4 straight. Scott answered for the Terps with a three, Maryland’s first of the half.

The last media timeout came at 4:01 with Maryland trailing 74-71. Deshawn Harris-Smith, Reese, Kaiser, and Jahmir Long all had 4 fouls. For Illinois, Ty Rodgers and Luke Goode were both one foul away from elimination. Maryland had possession.

After following his own miss and scrapping for an offensive rebound, Young produced two more Terrapin points at the foul line. It was now a single point game.

Maryland’s chance to go ahead was denied when, after a great steal by Young, he raced to the other end for a layup. Instead of going directly to the rim, he played for contact and missed.

Illinois converted that miss into a fast break “and one” when Scott fouled Coleman Hawkins while Hawkins was dunking. That made the score 77-73.

Young then missed a short jumper and Shannon Jr made a jumper in the paint. It was now 79-73, but Scott was on the line after being fouled. He hit both and the Terps held on the next Illini possession.

The gym would have erupted had Harris-Smith made his three-point attempt, but he badly missed it and the Terps were in trouble. They fouled Shannon Jr, who hit both to provide Illinois with a 6-point lead and only 19.6 seconds on the clock.

A Jahari Long three brought life into Maryland, who fouled Shannon Jr. Two more foul shots extended the gap to 5. 83-78. A Terp layup and a couple more Illinois foul shots ended the game at 85-80.

I thought the Terps, with a few exceptions, gave great defensive effort, it’s just that Illinois was better. The Illini shot 48% from the field and were successful on 32 of 36 foul shots.

Playing a huge role in the loss were the 19 fast break points given up by Maryland. I will attribute that more to Illinois execution than to lack of effort by Maryland. I thought they played hard, they just got beat by a superior team.

I would be immensely remiss if I didn’t mention the passing of Lefty Driesell. Lefty was coaching at UMD when I became interested in the team. My life as a fan was growing, but became solidified, when his Terps upset the #2 team in the country, South Carolina, on a cold Saturday, January 9th, 1971.

The left hander, with the absence of a shot clock, stalled the ball for almost the entire first half. The score after 20 minutes was 4-3.

Maryland won in dramatic fashion, 31-30, on a buzzer beater by Jim O’Brian. Cole Field House was sold out with over 13,000 people attending, many rushing the court. Years later, there probably are 50,000 that claim they were there. I watched it all unfold on TV. It was an amazing experience for an 11-year-old fan.

Lefty was a character, possessing massive charisma. He coached against many of the legends of the game, and in the process, became one himself.

His emotional foot stomping on the sidelines paralleled his passion for winning. Much of my love for this game I owe to Mr. Charles “Lefty” Driesell.

May the signature “Amen Chorus” echo through the rafters of whatever venue hosts Maryland basketball.

And may you rest in peace sir, and yes, you were right when you said, “I can coach”.

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February 17, 2024
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winter? no! snow? yes!

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I dislike the winter.

And, no, it's not just because 35 degrees isn't "golf weather". I've played golf throughout the winter of '23-24. In general, if it's 40 or above, I'll play.

It's just.....winter. I don't know why it bothers me more now than it did, say, 20 years ago. But I just don't like it.

That said. There's something about a snowfall I still appreciate.

I don't want a foot of it, mind you.

A few inches here and there is just fine. Like the snow we're getting in Bawlmer this morning. I'm good with that. I'm also driving to Richmond to play golf this morning, so I won't even be around to experience it today.

But you get my point. A snowfall here and there in the winter is still OK by me.

The greatest sport God ever invented. He freezes the pond and we play hockey on it.

It might be because some of the fondest memories of my life came in the 1970's when I used to play pond hockey at Lake Waterford in Pasadena throughout the winter.

I try to explain to my two children all the time how I would skate on Lake Waterford or Friendship Park's pond near BWI Airport in my teenage years. And they find it hard to imagine that it stayed around or below freezing for months at a time in the winter circa 1978.

I don't remember the year, so I'm sorry, but I distinctly recall piling in Fred Ravadge's car -- 4 of us from the neighborhood plus him -- and driving to Sandy Point State Park so we could all walk on the Chesapeake Bay. The entire bay froze over.

That's incredibly hard to believe, now, if you're a teenager and you experience a Maryland winter for yourself. We just don't see the same temperates today we saw 40 years ago.

I'm not political activist or anything even close to a climate expert, but "something" has definitely happened to the climate of our country (world?) over the last four decades. I'm not saying I don't like it, by the way. Give me 50 in February over 25 in February any day of the week.

Speaking of freezing temperatures and golf in the middle of the winter, golfing friends will often talk about the coldest weather they've ever played in and I proudly recall a story of mine from sometime around 1998 when I spent a Saturday at Mount Pleasant in January with my longtime friend, Greg Ruark.

Some of you in the Towson area might recall there was a Caldor on Perring Parkway between Taylor Ave. and Northern Parkway.

Situated in the parking lot was a vertical Caldor sign that featured a clock and temperature reading at the very top of it.

As I drove to Mount Pleasant on that Saturday morning, I gazed over at the clock. It read: 17 degrees.

"What on earth are we doing?" I said to myself.

But I got into the pro shop restaurant and Charlie Harris's wife, Barb, cooked breakfast for Greg and I and we fueled up on several large coffees and off we went.

"I'll have some chili for you boys when you come in later," Barb said as we headed to the first tee.

It. Was. Cold.

17 degrees is cold. A little wind added on for fun made it even worse. But off we went.

The greens were obviously frozen. But there was no one out there but us. And there's always something incredibly special about playing a course where you're the only player(s) playing on it.

Ruark and I buzzed through 18 holes in about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

On several occasions, one of the two of us would say, "You know, it's really not that bad out here," but the reality was it was friggin' freezing. But we had several layers on, each of us, and we were walking and moving around, so it honestly wasn't so cold you couldn't think straight.

Editor's note: Sometime back in the day when I was on the radio, I attended a Ravens/Patriots night game. I don't remember the temperature at kick-off but I want to say it was approaching 10 degrees. That is the coldest I've ever been. Far, far worse than that day at Mount Pleasant. And I was "that cold" mostly because I wasn't really moving around.

Greg and I walked in after the first 18 holes and head golf professional Jim Deck said, "Learn your lesson?"

"Learn our lesson?" Ruark said. "We're going back out for 9 more after lunch."

As promised, Barb Harris served us piping hot chili and a grilled cheese or two. A few of the locals had stopped in for lunch as well and they were both shocked and amused at the fact that two lunatics were choosing to play golf, outside, that day.

"Let's hit it!" I said to Ruark as we got a final coffee refill.

"You two are really going back out?" Jim Deck inquired.

"Sure!" Ruark said. "Why don't you come with us? I thought you liked golf?"

Deck waved us out of the pro shop and off we went for another tour of the former home of the Eastern Open.

Nine holes was enough the second time around. Darkness was setting in and, you'll laugh at this, it was really starting to get cold as we both putted on that 9th green.

We went back in the pro shop to warm up. Barb had closed the restaurant. Greg and I bid one another farewell and headed home.

As I drove past the Caldor, the big clock read: 11 degrees.

So my winter "claim to fame" isn't watching a football game in unthinkably cold weather.

It's playing 27 holes in 15 degree temperatures.

I wouldn't do that now.

And, yes, before you ask, I still love golf.

I just wouldn't go out there and do anything in 15 degree temperatures, except for perhaps attend the AFC Championship Game.

I'd never go to a regular season game or even a "regular playoff game" in 15 degree temperatures. I just wouldn't do it. I don't care enough to sit/stand in an open stadium for 3.5 hours in shockingly cold temperatures.

I would have gone to this year's AFC Championship Game if the temps would have been around 15 degrees, but that's the only game you'd get me out there for in that kind of weather.

There was a time, though, when 15 or 20 degrees didn't bother me.

Ice hockey.


In my younger days, cold weather didn't bother me.

Now? You can have it. All of it. If it's 35 or above, I'm OK. Anything below that and I'm agitated.

But today's snowfall is an acceptable change of pace, although I'm certainly hoping it's all melted by Tuesday.

And it also helps that at noon today, I'm on the tee in Richmond.

Enjoy your snow day.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps look to sweep illinois tonight

The Maryland Terrapins have the rare opportunity tonight to sweep a second conference series by winning at home against a team they’ve already defeated this season on the road.

The Terps beat Illinois 76-67 on January, 14th and the Fighin’ Illini come to College Park today for a 5:30 pm contest. On Wednesday, the Terrapins defeated Iowa at the XFINITY Center after handing them a loss in their own building just three weeks prior.

What makes this game against the nation’s number 14 team much more difficult, is the return of the Illini’s top scorer in Terrance Shannon Jr.

Jahmir Young looks to repeat his 28 point performance against Illinois back in January when the Terps host Brad Underwood's team tonight.

Shannon is a bucket. In his last two games he dropped 31 on Michigan and 28 on Michigan State. The big guard (6’6” 225) has respectable numbers from the floor and the three-point line. We can expect him to play over 30 minutes and shoot around 50% from the field, including 36% from the three-point arc.

Shannon’s presence alone makes it impossible for me to believe we’ll see Illinois, again, go 27% from 3 and just 33% from the field altogether. In the second half of that earlier Terrapin win, the Illini hit just 9 of 40 shots and connected on only 1 of 14 threes. Maryland is a great defensive team, but those numbers will not repeat.

Maryland has three players on the injury list.

Jordan Geronimo had 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocks against Illinois in the first meeting between these two teams. If the knee injury he sustained against Iowa keeps him out tonight, the Terps will need to replace his productivity along with the 29 minutes that Geronimo logged in that Terrapin win.

Maddy Traore stayed on the bench in the first UMD/Illinois meeting. He obviously had no impact on that game, but he saw 20 minutes in the Ohio State loss, scoring 8 points. In the recent Iowa game, Traore had logged 10 minutes before he went down in the second half. His stock seemed to be rising, but it looks like his status is questionable, at best.

Noah Batchelor knocked down a single three in his 7 minutes of court time against Illinois. His availability is also in question tonight because of an ankle injury that forced him to hobble around in a boot last Wednesday.

Those injuries reduce the Terp rotation to just 7 players and could play a role in how Coach Willard plans for the game. Perhaps the lack of bodies forces Maryland into more zone defenses and hampers their ability to press. That’s Maryland’s identity which is possibly being altered. It’s a whole lot to overcome.

I could go down the whole roster of Illini players who had numbers against Maryland which were well below their season averages.

Quincy Guerrier was 2 for 10.

Coleman Hawkins was just 2 for 6 and missed all four of his three balls.

Ty Rodgers is a 52% shooter and he connected on just 2 of 8 shots.

Reserve Justin Harmon only scores 7 a game, but he pitched a shutout against the Terps, going 0-7.

In Maryland’s favor, Illinois has nobody to contend with Julian Reese, and Jahmir Young had a 28 point, 8 assist game against them. The Terps aren’t exactly toothless here, but their bite tonight may be more appropriate for a banana than a steak.

This Illinois team, with Shannon, is a different animal when compared to the squad that fell to the underdog Terps in the middle of January. They played well below their potential, and they face a Terp team that could be without some of their pieces.

If you need some stats to convince you of the difficulties the Terps tonight, how about Illinois being the top rebounding team in the Big Ten. Then there’s the fact that only Nebraska makes more threes than Illinois, and they also defend the three very well.

I don’t like the Terps chances here. They can slow down the game, but that by itself won’t prevent a loss. This is an 8-point Terp loss. I’ll go with 74-66 and hope it stays that close.

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February 16, 2024
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friday stuff

Back to sports today, albeit with a bit of an ailing heart for those impacted by the tragedy in Kansas City on Wednesday.

I attended the Calvert Hall-Spalding MIAA A-Conference championship hockey game last night down in Odenton. There was a packed house at Piney Orchard ice rink for that one, won by the Cavaliers, 2-1.

No one got shot. Or hurt. Well, other than a Calvert Hall player who got knocked out cold by a penalized hit from a Spalding player in the waning seconds of the contest. But you know what I mean.

The stands were filled, a game was played, and there was no violence of any kind amongst the spectators.

It can be done, of course. People in our country can gather en masse for games, events, celebrations, etc. and those moments can come and go without us hurting one another.

On we go...

Caitlin Clark of Iowa broke the women's all-time scoring record last night with a 49-point performance vs. Michigan. She needed 8, and then tacked on 41 more in an emphatic declaration that she's the best offensive player in the history of women's basketball.

The reaction around the country ranged from "She's the G.O.A.T." to "who gives a rat's rear end?" to "I didn't even know they played women's basketball at Iowa."

It was, indeed, a wonderful moment of triumph for Clark, who heaved a 30-foot 3-pointer into the basket early in the game to snag the record. She seems like a terrific competitor and a nice young woman as well. A coach's dream, probably.

Iowa's Caitlin Clark became the leading scorer in the history of women's basketball last night.

Because it's women's basketball, the hoopla and fanfare that accompanies the scoring record will die away quickly. She'll be a big deal again in a month when the women's NCAA tournament rolls around, and you just know the TV folks and the NCAA are foaming at the mouth over a championship rematch between Iowa-Clark and LSU-Reese.

But the general reaction to Clark's record last night was "who?"

And that's more of an indictment on college basketball in general than it is an indictment of her.

No one knows who plays where any longer.

Heck, no one even knows what conference half the schools play in these days. And that's the truth. I tried to name all of the Big East teams yesterday and missed two of them.

I forgot Creighton was in the Big East. I thought Pitt was. Then I realized they've been in the ACC for 15 years, maybe.

I have no idea at all who is in the Big 12 any longer. Or the Pac 10, Pac 12, Pac 16 or whatever they're now called.

We've seen, firsthand around here, what conference shifts do to the interest level for college sports.

Maryland played a Wednesday night conference home game this week in front of a Hershey Bears minor league hockey crowd, basically. Which is to say, about 8,500 people bothered to come out to see the Terps play Iowa.

Someone brought up earlier this week the absence of "stars" in men's college basketball.

There are plenty of star players in the men's division. The NBA will scoop them up, that's how good they are.

No one knows who they are because the "student-athletes" don't stay in the same place long enough for any of us to discover them.

Or, even more accurately, they don't stick around long enough for us to discover them.

Either way, the NCAA has created this pothole themselves. They've let these players wander all over the country looking for their next big deal payday.

And in the meantime, none of us has a clue who plays at Purdue, Houston, Marquette or Arizona. I know that big kid who was at Michigan plays at Kansas, and I "think" it's Dickinson and not Dickerson, but I don't know if he's a junior, senior, etc.

As for Caitlin Clark, she, herself plays to sold out crowds, that much is true.

But that's not because the sports world is gung-ho for women's basketball. Or for her, even. The world of women's college basketball is enthralled with her, and rightfully so, but, in general, she's Chris Kirk on the PGA Tour. In other words, I've heard of her. Haven't I?

Maryland sold out the arena (well, all the tickets were distributed, let's put it that way) when she came to town, but that's the only occasion the Xfinity Center will be filled for women's basketball.

Clark is great. Women's college basketball is decent enough.

No one gets amped up about women's hoops for the same reason fewer people are getting amped up by men's hoops; they have a major identity crisis going on.

We can't keep up with what's going on.

Someone sent me a picture of the Maryland student section midway through the first half of Wednesday's game vs. Iowa.

There were more people at Bentley's on a Friday night than were in those seats behind the basket. And that's not hyperbole.

And I wondered: Does Maryland care that no one is going to the games?

The answer, I think, is: They're getting $53 million from the Big Ten Network whether 8,500 are there or 17,500 are there. That's the only thing that matters these days.

And on the occasion when the rock star of their sport shows up, the seats will be filled. Sadly, there's only one Caitlin Clark.

And unless she's like the Plumlee brothers at Duke and plays forever at Iowa, she won't be around for 9 years to help fill the coffers in the various Big Ten arenas she visits on an annual basis.

In fact, it's the TV money they're gifted that will take the place of filling the arenas.

Tiger Woods experienced the good, bad and ugly in his first official round of golf since last April in yesterday's Genesis Invitational.

Woods played the par 5's great, going birdie-birdie-birdie at Riveria CC. In fairness, the first hole is really a glorified handshake. It's a par 4 with a par 5 designation, in other words. But birdie is birdie.

Tiger wasn't all smiles on Thursday after an opening round 72 but he was able to laugh about an errant shot on the final hole at Riveria CC.

He played the par 3's decently too. He birdied both of those on the front nine to turn in one-under par after his opening nine holes.

But the back nine was a hoot. Tiger's iron play was "off", his short game was far from reliable and he even sh*nked an approach shot into the 18th green.

You and I hit a sh*nk (no, I won't say or write the word out) and we know it's a sh*nk. We don't like it, but we know what we did.

Professional golfers hit one and they refuse to acknowledge it.

"Caught that one on the heel a bit," a local PGA professional once said to me when we were playing a Maryland Open round.

To Woods' credit yesterday, he not only admitted he hit one, he even said the dreaded word in his press conference.

In the end, Tiger fired an opening round 72, which made those of us who took the "over 71.5" very happy indeed.

As I wrote on Twitter, it was about what I assumed we'd see from him.

Some really good shots. Some so-so shots. A few missed putts here and there.

He's still Tiger Woods, yes. But he's not "Tiger Woods". Sure, he used to chew up the par 5's in the old days and that's what he did yesterday. But old Tiger, at 18, would have piped that 8-iron to eight feet on the last hole and rolled in the putt to turn 71 into 70.

Instead, he hit one off the hosel like a 16-handicap and had to scrape together a bogey that could come back to haunt him when the cut line is introduced after today's second round.

The more positive news? Woods drove the ball great for the most part. He survived the hilly walk at the Genesis without much difficulty, other than a stiff back near the round's conclusion.

He shot 72 in his first competitive round of golf since last April.

I see that as a good sign, personally.

I assume, privately, Tiger does, too.

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faith in sports

As a lot of you know, I'm heavily involved in the golf program at Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Three years ago, there was no golf at all within Maryland FCA.

My friend Brian Hubbard and I wanted golf represented within FCA and launched the first ever division of FCA Maryland Golf in the spring of 2022.

Here we are in 2024 and things are really percolating for us, thanks to God's blessings.

In 2023, we held 7 free monthly clinics for junior golfers of all ages.

We hosted 7 different junior golf tournaments as well, with 64 different players and 257 total competitors.

We ran a 4-day golf specific junior camp at the national FCA summer camp in Kutztown, PA and taught 16 juniors more about golf and their faith over those four days last July.

God has graced us with a remarkable platform to share with both junior golfers and adults in the area.

I love coaching. And I love the message FCA provides to my children, personally, and to those we impact through FCA Maryland Golf.

Many of you have probably heard of FCA throughout your life, but might not know exactly what it is.

The very brief, introductory video below, will show you what FCA is all about. How it started, how it impacts our youth and how it's growing in 2024.

I'd love to introduce you to FCA Maryland Golf as well. If you're interested in learning more about how we share the FCA message with golfers throughout Maryland, please reach out to me: 18inarow@gmail.com

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical, who have been longtime supporters of our work here at #DMD and our FCA Maryland Golf project.

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February 15, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

we need to "live differently"

I intended to give full and ample coverage to the start of baseball season in today's edition.

And as you'll see below, I do eventually get around to some baseball discourse.

But it feels a little hollow this morning to make sports the main focus here when there was a sports "tragedy" yesterday in Kansas City.




Marathon races.


Office buildings.

And, yesterday, a celebratory parade for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

It appears as if doesn't matter where or when.

Evil people are everywhere.

I walked into church last night for our Ash Wednesday service and a friend reached out his hand and said, "What are we going to do?"

Needless to say, I instantly knew what he was talking about.

"I don't know," I said.

"What I do know, is that we can't stop trying to figure out the answer," I told him.

If we stop trying to figure out how to put an end to these senseless murders of innocent people, then we really are in trouble.

We have to keep working on a solution.

There are a lot of people in our country who want to pin everything on "guns".

The two Boston marathon bombers didn't need guns.

The hijackers on 9-11-01 didn't need guns, either.

Timothy McVeigh didn't need a gun.

I'm not listing those three tragedies to somehow diminish the pain that guns have caused people in our country.

Instead, I'm trying to point out what should be very obvious to everyone: Evil lurks everywhere. There are simply people who are intent on injuring or killing people and they'll use whatever they can to quench their thirst for hate.

What's the answer?

I believe the answer lies in a simple effort: Can I live like Jesus lived?

Those three men yesterday? They weren't living a life that Jesus lived.

The marathon bombers weren't.

The man who shot up the school near Lancaster, PA wasn't living a life that Jesus lived.

The two kids at Columbine High School certainly weren't.

I could go on and on but you get the point by now.

We're living the wrong way.

I don't know why. If I did, I'd be a billionaire.

Perhaps the answer is as simple as saying: This is the way humanity goes. There are good people and bad people. And while the good people far outweigh the bad, the bad ones still have enough energy and opportunity to do harm to us.

But if we simply say, "This is the way humanity goes," we'll be surrendering ourselves to believing things can never get better.

People scoff when someone offering commentary on a tragedy says, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families..."

I understand the skepticism.

I didn't once mention the word "prayer" until two sentences above, in case you didn't notice. Prayer is a remarkable way to have a personal conversation with God. It is important. But it's not solving this issue that we have in our country right now.

But "thoughts"?

Well, maybe that's part of the answer.

We don't do nearly enough thinking about how we have to go about this, as a society.

We'll offer a lot of knee-jerk reactions.

But we don't do enough real, honest to goodness thinking about how we can stop hurting one another.

I think it lies in trying to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.

He lived a life filled with love, empathy, compassion and kindness for everyone he encountered.

If there was ever someone to "be like", it is, indeed, Him.

We have to teach that way of life, obviously. From the outset, at a young age, when our ideals and moral compass are being formed, we have to be taught the life of Jesus and understand how living like He did will change the way we treat one another forever.

It's incredibly simple and, yet, hard to imagine we can actually get it done.

But the way we're doing it now isn't working. I think that's abundantly clear, no matter how hard it is to admit.

That's what I think about when these tragedies strike.

Those three gunmen yesterday...they couldn't have possibly known Jesus. And they weren't living their life modeled after him.

Timothy McVeigh.

The Boston marathon bombers.

The gunman in Las Vegas.

None of them were living the same kind of life Jesus lived.

We're failing, as a society, to get people closer to Jesus.

We're failing, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. In fact, it's really the exact opposite. We need to dig in even deeper.

As I was leaving church last night, my friend I mentioned who greeted me upon my arrival reached out his hand for a parting comment.

"Keep the faith," I said to him. "Giving up isn't the answer. We have to figure out the solution. It's not getting figured out for us."

"You're right," he replied. "Let's figure it out before it's too late."

It's never too late.

It might feel too late, as we hear details of yet another tragedy in Kansas City yesterday.

But it's not too late.

Let's all live like Jesus lived and see what that gets us.

And I think it's important to point out that trying to live the way Jesus lived doesn't just stop people from killing innocent human beings. It also helps us treat family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors better.

There's a decline in that area, too. We're struggling with every day kindness, let alone trying to diminish horrific tragedies like the ones we've referenced here today.

I can guarantee this: If we all live like Jesus did, things will definitely get better.

So the question is: Are you willing to try?

I have a team-by-team early-bird baseball preview in the hopper that was supposed to be today's main topic. As I referenced above, it felt -- to me, anyway -- a little disrespectful to dive in like that this morning based on what happened yesterday in Kansas City.

It's too early to get into a full predictions segment just yet. There are still several quality free agents left to sign somewhere that could alter the landscape of both the American and National League.

But we'll have some fun today with a few baseball-related nuggets that I think you might like.

And someday soon I'll run the piece that was previously scheduled to be included in today's edition of #DMD.

6 World Series Candidates

The 2024 champion of Major League Baseball will be one of these six teams.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Atlanta Braves

3. Baltimore Orioles

4. Philadelphia Phillies

5. Houston Astros

6. Texas Rangers

Who could be this year's version of the '23 Texas Rangers?

Two teams you're not thinking of right now could be this year's version of last year's champions from Texas.

1. Seattle Mariners

2. Cincinnati Reds

If both of them get good (or better than expected) pitching, watch out.

Percentages of Orioles wins total in 2024.

Over 105 wins -- 22%

95 to 104 wins -- 39%

83 to 94 wins -- 28%

82 to 75 wins -- 7%

74 or fewer wins -- 4%

If the Orioles don't get any kind of wild rash of key injuries, they're a cinch bet to win at least 95 games.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps rally past iowa, 78-66

With Maryland trailing by 8 points, and only 10:04 left to play in the game, the Iowa Hawkeyes were whistled for 3 fouls in just 1 second of play.

The fouls put the Terps into the bonus and also put the Hawkeyes on their heels. Iowa, who until that moment was scoring at a 2 point per minute clip, only posted 8 points in the game’s final 10 minutes.

Maryland closed out on a 28 to 8 run. The foul line accounted for 16 of those 28 points, as they beat the Iowa Hawkeyes last night, 78-66, in front of just a few fans in the XFINITY Center.

Jahmir Young led the Terps with 21 points, 15 in the second half. He was helped by DeShawn Harris-Smith’s career high 17 points as well as 16 from Julian Reese. Payton Sandfort had 19 for Iowa.

Kevin Willard and the Terps rebounded from yet another halftime deficit and rallied to get past Iowa last night, 78-66.

The Hawkeyes held the lead for 30 of the game’s 40 minutes, and led by 10 at one point in each half. They were ahead by 8 at the seminal moment described above. The Terps went from a team that couldn’t get a defensive stop, to one the challenged almost every pass and every shot.

A slow shooting start (1-6) combined with 3 early turnovers, helped ensure that the Terrapins were behind at the first TV break. Two 3’s by Iowa’s Sandfort propelled the Hawkeyes to their 8-2 lead. The Terps had more of their shots blocked (3) than made.

When Sandfort made his third triple of the game, he alone was beating Maryland 9-4. Familiar numbers were stacking up on the Terrapin stat sheet. Maryland was 0-5 shooting threes, 3 for 12 from the field, and had piled up 5 turnovers by the 11:46 timeout. They trailed 13-6.

Maryland managed to trim a single point off of the Iowa lead as the teams went into the under 8-minute TV break. The score was 21-15 with 6:42 left in the half. The Terps had finally hit a three thanks to DeShawn Harris-Smith, but were 1-9 as a team.

When the Hawkeyes drained their 5th triple of the half, Willard had to call a timeout. His team now trailed by 11, 26-15, with Iowa on an 8-0 run. Maryland managed to cut the lead by a single bucket after Young fed Reese for a dunk. Young had anemic numbers at this point (1-6, 2 points).

A Scott three at the 3:00 minute mark got the Terps within 6, 28-22. They had yet to shoot a foul shot.

When Patrick McCaffrey wrapped up the first half scoring by weaving his through a lack-luster Terp “D” for an uncontested layup, the Terrapins trailed 37-31. Notable stats from the first 20 minutes were Maryland’s 2-13 three-point shooting and the 13 points off the hand of Sandfort.

Maryland’s turnover rate had slowed down, but they had still committed 8 in the first half which led to 14 Hawkeye points. The 37 Iowa first half points were just too many against a Terp team that must win with defense. Cutting off Sandfort was surely discussed during the halftime break.

At 17:36 of the second half, the Terps lost their 2nd player of the game. With Jordan Geronimo already out with a knee injury and Noah Batchelor out with a sprained ankle, Maddy Traore went down with what appeared to also be an ankle issue. He was helped off of the court, leaving an even thinner team with no bench.

But, the Terps rallied a bit. A Kaiser triple and Harris-Smith driving layup scoop got Maryland to within 6 points, 46-40, at 16:11. Terps had yet to get a stop in the opening 4 minutes of half #2.

It was 2 foul shots by Kaiser that brought Maryland to within 4 points, 46-42, with 14:21 left. All Terp second half points had been scored by Maryland’s bench. Kaiser had 5 and Harris-Smith had 6.

That tight gap between the two teams was short lived, as Iowa scored four straight to extend the lead back to 8 points. That difference became 10 points when Maryland allowed Freeman to gather a half court pass for a dunk with not a Terrapin defender around him. It was time for a timeout with Maryland down 54-44.

The Terps started to get the job done from the foul line, and finally got enough stops on defense to put together a nice 12-4 run. Now it was Fran McCaffrey’s turn to call a potential momentum stopping timeout. There were just over 9 minutes left in the game.

After 2 more free throws from Young, a nice spinning jumper from Reese tied the game at 60.

A Sandfort air ball from 20 feet gave the Terps possession with a chance to take the lead after Young was fouled. He would go to the line to shoot one-and one with Maryland in the bonus.

Draining both, he would put Maryland ahead by 2, 62-60, Those 2 free throws gave the Terps 11 second half points from the line after getting just 3 in the first half.

The stops that were impossible to come by earlier in the half were now abundant. The Terp lead grew to 5 before a Dix layup closed the gap to 3. That’s where the lead remained at the last TV break with 2:42 left to play and the score standing at 67-64. The Terps had possession under their own basket.

With the shot clock running out, Reese hit a 15-foot baseline jumper that took the wind out of Iowa. A couple more dry Hawkeye possessions, and a Terp parade to the foul line saw the Terp advantage grow to 8, 72-64, with 1:09 remaining.

All of Iowa’s hopes were finally dashed when Freeman missed a lob layup and Reese secured the rebound. The Hawkeyes were forced to foul Young, who converted both.

Maryland finished on an 11-2 run, with all the points but the Reese jumper coming from the foul line.

This game flipped in a way that few games do.

Iowa was pretty much in control, and then lost their poise. Credit needs to be handed to the Terrapin defensive effort, but Iowa contributed by shooting just 1 of 9 from the three-point line in half 2 and missing most of their attempts in the last 10 minutes. They made just 3 of their last 12 shots, with 6 of those being threes.

This could prove to be a costly win for Maryland. With Batchelor out already, and losing both Geronimo and Traore, this really thin team just got a ton lighter.

And there was some other disconcerting news from Wednesday’s win: the crowd.

Not many people witnessed the Maryland comeback live. The gym was nearly empty, with students almost non-existent.

The “Wall” behind the visitor’sr basket was a graveyard, and of the three student areas across from the benches, only the center portion had students. The other sections were practically empty.

The paying fans were represented a little better, but it was mostly a dry arena.

I’m certain that the XFINITY Center will have a much different atmosphere when the Terps return on Saturday to square off against #14 ranked Illinois. It’s a FOX game with a 5:30 pm tipoff.

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February 14, 2024
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wednesday read

Tell the truth.

When you read the headline...

Did you read it as Wednesday "read" that sounds like "reed"?

Or Wednesday "read" that sounds like "red"?

I was going for the Wednesday Read that sounds like "red", in case you didn't realize it. A take off of Tiger's Sun Day Red.

Not very creative, huh?

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day to all of you out there who celebrate with a loved one.

We're chock full of Q & A submissions today. We're going to cover a lot of bases here this morning. Enjoy your Wednesday read.

Editor's note: In that case, it's pronounced Wednesday Read as in "reed".

Bart asks -- "I haven't seen you mention it or write about it so I thought I would ask. What did you think of the Travis Kelce/Andy Reid situation in the Super Bowl? I'm sure you have an opinion as a coach."

DF says -- "It certainly wasn't a good look. No two ways about it. But everything is different at the professional level. It just is. Those guys go at each other like crazy and then, ten minutes later, it's pretty much forgotten about. On they go.

If you want my true assessment of the situation, it's this: I would assume that prior to Sunday's game, Reid probably thought Kelce was pretty much a Grade A jerk. But he's a great tight end. And he helps the Chiefs win. Say whatever you want about him, but when the lights are on, the dude plays.

So the situation that happened in the Super Bowl didn't alarm Reid, nor did it change his opinion of him. He thought Kelce was a loose cannon before the incident.

That's my guess on how it all went down.

It was a terrible look for young athletes to see, and certainly, at the high school or perhaps even college level, it wouldn't be accepted by the head coach with a "shrug and an 'oh well'" like Reid treated it. But pro sports is different. They're grown men. They move on from that stuff quickly."

How many more Super Bowl trophies can Patrick Mahomes win in his career?

Ed Jerns asks -- "Hey DF, you're an odds and percentages guy. What are the percentages that Mahomes wins 5 Super Bowls, 6 Super Bowls, 7 Super Bowls and more than 7 Super Bowls?"

DF says -- "80% that he wins 5. 50% that he wins 6. 30% that he wins 7. 15% that he wins more than 7.

He's a great quarterback. And he might be the best ever when his time is up.

He has 3 now. I think 2 more is VERY reasonable to expect. But to expect him to win 4 or 5 more is a lot of winning in a league that generally features what I call "cyclical parity". For a decade, the Colts and Patriots were the top two teams in the AFC and in the NFC it was the Packers, Giants and Saints who sort of ruled the roost for a long while. Now, those five teams are mostly out of the loop.

I think the Chiefs will probably always be good with Mahomes at the helm but you have the Ravens, Bengals, Bills, etc.

I think it's a fair bet that he can get to 6. I just don't know about 7 or 8."

B.J. asks -- "What would a solid showing be for Tiger at this week's tournament, the Genesis?"

DF says -- "Given that he's never played particularly well at Riveria, I think anything inside the top 20 would be almost a miracle.

He hasn't played a "real" competitive tournament since last April at Augusta National, remember. And the layout at Riveria isn't all that easy to walk.

I'm not saying everything's working against him, but you have a 48 year old guy with a bad leg who hasn't played a tournament in 10 months on a course he's never played very well. I don't see much favor in that scenario.

A made cut would be a nice showing. A top 20 would be a minor miracle. Anything better than a top 20 would be a whopper of a tournament for him."

Neil Brosius asks -- "I had this discussion with some of my golf friends last weekend and we heard your show on 105.7 and I was going to call in and ask but I'll ask you here. What would a 5 handicap player shoot at Augusta National from the tournament tees with pin placements like they have during the tournament? Your answer wins someone a bottle of wine!"

DF says -- "I have no idea what they would shoot but if I a 5-handicap broke 90 from the tournament tees that would be outstanding.

I guess my answer is: "Higher than 90."

He or she would probably make 4 pars. But they'd also have at least 4 double bogeys. If they finished with 12 bogeys, that's a 92. If they could make a birdie in there somewhere instead of a bogey, that's 90. But if they make a triple instead of a bogey, that's a 93.

They would be very hard pressed to break 90 in my opinion. 5 handicap golfers are outstanding players. But you're talking about a 7,000 yard golf course with some of the toughest green complexes anywhere. It would be incredibly impressive if they could post something between 85 and 90."

Paul asks -- "Now that the Ravens have come so close only to get denied by the Chiefs, would you do this trade off next season? The Orioles go 80-82 in '24 and '25 but the Ravens beat the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game next January and then beat the NFC team in the Super Bowl?"

DF says -- "Not doing it, sorry. I would never trade off two years of bad Orioles baseball at a time when they themselves might win the championship in exchange for a Ravens title.

The Ravens are big boys. They'll get their chance again.

But I would never swap two bad years of baseball for a football championship."

Tim asks -- I love a good version of DMD Under Rated and Over Rated. Can I give you five for the website and have you answer them for us? Stefon Diggs, Juan Soto, The Pretenders, Foreigner and Bill Maher. Thanks, Drew!"

DF says -- "That might be the most diverse group of candidates ever for Overrated and Underrated!

Diggs is underrated. I'd take him on my team any day. Does just about everything top notch.

I think Soto might be overrated. Let's see how he fares in New York. Maybe my opinion on him will change. I thought he was going to be a rock star when he went out to San Diego. For now: overrated.

The Pretenders are BIG TIME underrated. One of the most underrated groups of my lifetime, honestly.

Foreigner, on the flip side...overrated. They had some great songs, don't get me wrong. But they eventually became a little too soft and sappy or me.

Bill Maher is a really good one. I've never been a huge fan. But I think he's probably underrated. He's very smart. He's a very good interviewer. I'll go with underrated."

The PGA Tour shifts to Los Angeles this week for the Genesis Invitational, a now mini-major on TOUR with a great field and a Hall of Fame host in Tiger Woods.

The event is played on historic Riveria Country Club, which is one of the few courses Woods has failed to conquer in his almost 30-year professional career.

The thought here is he won't conquer it in 2024, either.

Sungjae Im features enticing odds at +6000 this week when the PGA Tour visits Riveria Country Club.

It's definitely a "horses for courses" venue and it sets up, statistically, to places like Augusta National and PGA National. If you play those venues well, you have a puncher's chance at Riveria, the data says.

Our only "hit" last week in Phoenix was on Scottie Scheffler, who easily would have won the golf tournament if not for his awful weekend with the putter. The rest of our picks at TPC Scottsdale were as bad as Scheffler's work with the flat stick.

Here's who we like this week in Los Angeles.

There has been a trend on TOUR so far this year for longshots to come out on top. While it won't yield much in terms of cashing in at the window come Sunday night, the thought here is that trend ends this weekend. A "big name" is likely going to be holding up the trophy, albeit at less than worthy odds.

With that in mind, we'll give you four "favorites" who should play very well at Riveria and could be winner's circle material. We wouldn't be surprised to see any of them win: Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1600), Collin Morikawa (+1600) and Sam Burns (+2000).

But let's take a chance on a few others. And here's where we'll be sprinkling our Top 20, Top 10 and Win money heading into the tournament.

Adam Scott, +2800 -- He has a great track record at Riveria, for starters. His profile never changes. The Aussie is outstanding from tee-to-green and then the fun begins when the putter is in his hands. He's a solid investment at +2800.

Sahith Theegala, +3500 -- Played his college golf down the road at Pepperdine and has played Riveria hundreds of times. Was in contention again last week in Phoenix before sputtering on Sunday. He's closing in on another win, we feel. It could be this week.

Sungjae Im, +6000 -- The oddsmakers are starting to lose faith in Im as evidenced by his +6000 line this week. And that's a good thing for people who like to wager and make money betting on golf. He's off to a slow start in 2024, but Riveria is perfect for a guy who stripes it off the tee and with his irons and just needs a solid week with the putter. Scoop him up at +6000.

Hideki Matsuyama, +7000 -- The same goes for Hideki. His on-again, off-again play to start 2024 has dropped him out of the spotlight, but it''s hard not to feature him on your cards at +7000. Those are monster numbers for a guy who can easily finish Top 10 and potentially win if it doesn't become a birdie-fest this week.

Sam Ryder, +25000 -- You wanted one super longshot...we're giving him to you. If the trend continues and someone comes out of the (far) back of the pack to win, you might see Sam Ryder holding up the trophy on Sunday night. And if you had $20 on him to win, Top 10 and Top 20, you'd be going somewhere a hair nicer than Ocean City for vacation this summer.

Oh, and speaking of underrated, Bruce Springsteen put out an album in the late 1980's called "Tunnel of Love". It was among the best lyrical work he ever produced.

The record dealt mostly with relationship issues following the end of his marriage to Julianne Phillips. Gone were tracks about factories and dirt roads and stolen cars. Instead, Bruce wrote about love and happiness and sadness and resolution. He's had some very strong writing albums over the years and some not-so-strong writing albums over the years.

Tunnel of Love was an incredibly strong album that spotlighted Bruce's ability to translate his current world to his music.

And, by far, one of the best efforts on the album and one of his most underrated songs, ever, is appropriately called: Valentine's Day.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps look to sweep iowa tonight

The Iowa Hawkeyes come into the XFINITY Center tonight looking for revenge.

Just 3 weeks ago, they tangled with Maryland in Iowa, and suffered a 69-67 loss. The Hawkeyes had nice leads in both halves, but fell victim to a late Jahmir Young blitz.

The Terp senior scored a slew of points in the last minutes of the game, including the game winning layup with 1.5 seconds left in the game.

We’ll detail some of the earlier game’s key items in a minute. But first I’m going to somewhat flip the script and tell you how I see the outcome.

Normally, early in the piece, I like to detail key players and matchups, along with playing styles. Then, I’ll pull that info together and provide my expectations on how the game will be played. Based on that, I take a stab at a likely score.

Today we are going to start with my feelings on the outcome, then I’ll tell you why I feel that way.

Jahmir Young and the Terps go for a second win against Iowa this season tonight in College Park.

The line is Maryland -4.5. That’s way too many points. A ten-point swing in a rematch, without significant injuries, is too many. Maryland was a 5.5 dog in Iowa. Now at home, the line has moved 10 full points, to Iowa +4.5. I can see an 8-point swing, but not 10.

In game 1, the Terps shot 46.7% from the three-point line. That just can’t happen again. Iowa made just 3 of 14 long range shots. This is not a great three-point shooting Iowa team, and they don’t bomb often, but if the over/under on Iowa three-point success is 21.4%, I’m taking the over.

I’m also taking the over on Iowa’s Ben Krikke making 3 field goals like he did in his earlier encounter with Maryland.

The Hawkeye forward was 3 for 11 while being guarded by Julian Reese. That left Jordan Geronimo on Owen Freeman, and Freeman dropped 14 points. Reese might start on Freeman, leaving Krikke with a smaller defender.

Another “over” play is Payton Sandfort to eclipse the 6 points he tallied in game 1. He averages 15 and will get much closer to that number than his 6 in the first contest.

Regarding this whole Iowa team, the rest of their schedule is daunting. After their Terrapin encounter, they have tough home games against 20th ranked Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, and 14th ranked Illinois.

Their 2 remaining home games are against Illinois and Penn State. This is a must win game for Iowa if they want to enter into any post season talks.

Currently holding KenPom’s #57 ranking, (Maryland is 58) and with a tough schedule ahead of them, this is a vital game for the Hawkeyes.

In the Terps favor is the physical dominance that Reese showed against the Iowa bigs in game 1. He was 6 for 9 and grabbed 9 rebounds in 38 minutes of play. Reese also blocked 5 shots. He was the strongest player in the paint.

It bodes well for the Terps that their 19-turnover game in January won’t likely be repeated.

Maryland has been a high turnover team, but their 19 giveaways will drop to around 12 or 13. Many of their 19 were dribbles off of a foot and careless passes. They’ll be a bit more careful with the rock tonight.

Another reason to lean towards Iowa is Tony Perkins. The strong Iowa guard hung 20 on the Terps in January and plays with the same strength as Ohio State’s Bruce Throton. Thorton gave the Terps a lot of trouble on Saturday.

Reese can get 20 tonight, and Donta Scott could match the 14 points he posted in the first game. Young is Young. He can score on any night. Maryland will need big games from all three of those players if they are to contend in this game. Will that be enough?

This is a game that, like the first matchup, comes down to the wire. Maryland has the home court in its favor, and that’s a huge advantage.

Can Maryland sweep the season series against the Hawkeyes? After hearing the discontented fans after the Rutgers game, I can only imagine how they’ll react if the Terps lose this game.

Iowa isn’t going anywhere this post-season. They have the fire power to keep this close, but the Terrapin inside game swings this outcome to their favor. In a very close finish, Maryland wins.

They won’t hold Iowa under 70 points again, but the Terps win, 74-70.

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February 13, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue


When I first saw the information leaking out about Tiger Woods' new clothing line -- SDR -- I definitely thought it was a puzzling acronymn.

And I still do, I guess.

But it came into focus more yesterday when we finally learned about the origin of the weird logo and the meaning of SDR, which stands for "Sun Day Red".

The entire apparel concept is built off of Tiger's affection for wearing a red shirt on Sunday. 79 of his 82 career wins have featured a red shirt on the final (Sunday) round. He wore a white shirt when he won his first professional event in 1996 and later won twice in 1997 wearing a black shirt. Other than that...all red, all the time.

Tiger has worn red since he was 8 years old, he said yesterday.

"I'm a Capricorn and my mom always told me red was my color of strength," Woods said.

"So, I started wearing red in the final round of tournaments as a junior. Then I went to Stanford and our primary color was red, so it just kept on going from there. When I turned professional she told me I had to have red in my outfit scheme and it just took off. I've always felt like red was my color."

I assumed when we heard Tiger's clothing line was going to be called "Sunday Red" that it would appear as such. Everyone, except for perhaps Flyers fans, knows Sunday is spelled as one word.

Alas, it's not spelled like that with the new Tiger Woods clothing line. It's "Sun Day Red."

Hello, World, I guess?

All of this was presented yesterday in advance of Tiger making his season debut this week in Los Angeles at the Genesis Invitational, an event Woods runs to benefit his foundation in Southern California.

While Tiger will be sporting Sun Day Red this week, the masses won't be able to get their hands on it until May.

For those who don't know, Woods left Nike at the start of 2024 after a 3-decade relationship with the clothing and sports apparel giant.

He's back, equipment wise, to using and endorsing Taylor Made, who were once owned by adidas. Taylor Made will be a supporting partner with Tiger's Sun Day Red line, it was announced on Monday. Woods also plays and endorses the Bridgestone golf ball.

But clothing wise, he'll be wearing his own brand and, obviously, trying to peddle as much of it as he can to his international fan base.

This isn't the first time an iconic golfer has dipped into the apparel business. Greg Norman started his own line in the early 1990's, moving in and out of the golf and lifestyle clothing world for the better of four decades now.

Woods, of course, is exceedingly more powerful internationally than Norman ever was, a fact the 15-time major champion hopes will help him move merchandise once it hits the market on May 1st.

As for the logo and the use of Sun Day Red instead of Sunday red, Woods explained it like this on Monday at the launch event.

"It's the right time in my life," Woods said. "It's not just about golf. It's a lifestyle brand. It's transitional. I'm no longer a kid anymore. Life changes, I have kids now, and this is an important part of transitioning into this part of my life, to have a product and a brand that I'm proud of."

Woods explained that his affection for the Sunday shirt color originated from his Thailand-born mother, Kultida, who told him red was his power color. The logo is a stretched-out tiger with 15 stripes -- one for each major championship Woods has won in his career.

And the Sun Day instead of Sunday?

For starters, the brand wanted an acronym of some kind and "SR" didn't necessarily work. And, experts told Woods, Sun Day is more emblematic of golf and the outdoors. It's a play on the word "Sunday", obviously, but it fits what they're trying to accomplish, which is to create something that's unique and connected only to Woods.

And what of the 15 stripes in the logo that are indicative of his 15 career major wins?

"What will you do if you win a 16th major?" Woods was asked at yesterday's launch event.

"There's room in the logo for extra stripes," he said with a grin.

Editor's note: This website has been asked by a public relations firm to participate in a focus group of golfers who will share their opinion of the Sun Day Red apparel line in advance of public availability. As part of that participation, this website may receive complimentary golf and lifestyle apparel not to exceed $250.

The talk of taking or giving the ball at the start of overtime reached epic proportions on Monday as people sought to pin the blame on Kyle Shanahan for his decision to receive at the start of Sunday's Super Bowl overtime.

That the 49'ers apparently didn't know the overtime rules might be an issue.

It's assumed the coaching staff knew that playoff overtime is different than regular season overtime. The players in San Francisco apparently didn't know.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk thought the 49'ers took the ball to start OT because a touchdown wins the game.

Several 49'ers players said overtime rules were not discussed at all in practices or team meetings.

The Chiefs said they met several times in January about playoff overtime and even had a plan for Sunday's Super Bowl. If the Chiefs got the ball second and needed a touchdown to tie (after their opponent scored a touchdown on the first possession), the Chiefs were going to go for two points in an effort to win the game right then and there.

But none of that has anything to do with the idea of either taking the ball or kicking the ball to start overtime if, in fact, you won the coin toss and had the option.

Taking the ball first seems logical when you consider that after each team has a possession, the game becomes sudden death at that point and you would have the first chance to win the game outright with your second possession.

Had the Chiefs matched the 49'ers opening drive field goal in overtime, San Francisco would have then been in position to win the game with a score of any kind on the next series. That's one way to keep the ball out of Mahomes' hands. Just win the game in sudden death.

Taking the ball first also puts incredible pressure on the opposing team if, in fact, you produce a score of some kind on the opening series of overtime, which is exactly what the 49'ers did with their field goal to make it 22-19.

Kansas City was in a "no mistake" situation when they got the ball for their first possession. In fact, they faced a 4th and 1 early in the series that Mahomes converted on a quarterback running play.

On the flip side, by taking the ball first, you also set up a situation where you could potentially be giving Mahomes four downs instead of three when he gets the ball, assuming you score on that first series, which the 49'ers did.

If the game is tied 19-19, Mahomes and Andy Reid would have almost certainly punted the ball away there on 4th and 1, knowing a turnover on downs would have created a sudden death format and the 49'ers would have almost been in field goal position right then and there.

Instead, because San Francisco was up 22-19, the Chiefs had to go for it on 4th and 1.

Mahomes is hard enough to stop when you're giving him three downs to pick up 10 yards. Give him four downs to do it and you're in trouble.

Taking the ball first -- if you win the toss -- means you're the only team that's guaranteed to touch the ball twice if the game is still tied after the first possession by both teams, a tidbit a lot of folks seemed to forget on Sunday and Monday.

The 49'ers didn't lose because Kyle Shanahan made the wrong call on the coin toss.

The 49'ers lost because their defense didn't make a stop when they were ahead 22-19 and the ONLY WAY THEY COULD LOSE WAS BY GIVING UP A TOUCHDOWN TO THE CHIEFS.

As we've noted here time and time again throughout the football season, we're a country in dire need of a scapegoat. The upcoming Presidential election is proof positive of that statement.

Someone has to get the blame.

In Baltimore on January 28, it was Todd Monken. And John Harbaugh. And Lamar Jackson. And Zay Flowers.

Those were the four culprits of the loss to the Chiefs.

Pick one and run with it.

In the aftermath of the 25-22 overtime win for Kansas City on Sunday, people want to blame Kyle Shanahan.

It's hilarious, really.

Someone has to get the blame.

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on American soccer

Americans are playing more and more of a vital role in international soccer these days, and Randy Morgan has his eyes on all of them for #DMD. Each week here, he looks at recent performances of American players and highlights upcoming games of importance.

champions league round of 16 preview

The pinnacle of European club soccer returns this week with the kickoff of the sixteen team Champions League knockout rounds.

In the round of sixteen, teams will play a two-leg series with each team getting one home game. The winner is determined by the total score over the two legs with the second leg going to extra time and then a penalty shootout in case of a tie.

As the Champions League enters the knockout rounds, most of the usual suspects remain the favorites for the title. Manchester City, recently back to full strength with the return of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne from injury, is the solid favorite to repeat as title winners at +200.

After City follows a trio of powerhouse clubs near the top of their leagues, with Bayern Munich the next favorite at +400, then Arsenal and Real Madrid at +500.

For my money, the best value is Inter Milan at +1800. After losing to Man City in the final last year, Inter has been arguably the best club in Europe this season, building a solid lead at the top of Italy’s Serie A while leading the league in both goals scored and goals conceded.

Their odds are longer due to a tough round of sixteen matchup with Atletico Madrid. However, every team is going to have to get by at least one tough opponent to win the cup and if Inter downs Atletico Madrid they could become one of the top favorites from the quarterfinals on.

Round of 16 Matchups –

On Tuesday, tournament favorites Manchester City will kick off the knockout round when they travel to face Copenhagen FC. City received a fortuitous draw in this round with the weakest possible opponent.

Copenhagen deserves a ton of credit for their Cinderella run to qualify from their group, including an impressive win over Manchester United and draw with Bayern Munich.

Back from injury, Erling Haaland and Mancheste City kick-off the Champions League Round of 16 today vs. Copenhagen FC.

Unfortunately for them, their run likely ends here, drawing the top favorite in the tournament. They will probably look to play defensively and see if they can escape with a draw at home to give them some hope in the second leg, but that will be a difficult task against a full-strength City side.

The other matchup on Tuesday features another top title favorite. Real Madrid is in for a tougher test than Man City, when they travel to take on RB Leipzig. Real Madrid are the heavy favorite to advance from the round at -350, but Leipzig has talent and has played them tough in the past, including a 3-2 win in last year’s group stage.

Leipzig got a significant boost over the weekend, when Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham went down with an injury in their 4-0 win over Girona. While Madrid has plenty of talent to go around, Bellingham has been the best player in Europe this season and his loss will leave a big hole in the Real Madrid midfield and attack.

Wednesday brings one of the best matchups of the round with Paris St. Germain hosting Spanish club Real Sociedad. PSG has the star power, led by one of the best attackers in the world in Kylian Mbappe. Despite that, the Parisians haven’t been totally convincing this season, barely escaping the group based on goal differential over AC Milan.

Meanwhile, Real Sociedad hasn’t had the best La Liga campaign but they boasted the best defensive record in the Champions League group stage and have been one of the best defensively in La Liga. Although they are -210 favorites to advance, PSG will have their work cut out score against Sociedad.

The other Wednesday pairing is more lopsided with perennial German champions Bayern Munich traveling to Rome to face Lazio. Bayern is a heavy favorite at -1800 to advance. The fact that Bayern currently sits second in the Bundesliga is mostly a testament to the outstanding season Bayer Leverkusen is having rather than a negative reflection on Bayern.

Led by marquee summer transfer Harry Kane, the Bavarians have the best attack in the German league to pair with the third best defense. They breezed through the Champions League group stage and should have little problem getting past Lazio in this round.

Lazio has had a down year all around, currently sixth place in Serie A with average numbers in defense and attack. They don’t appear to have the firepower to exploit the Bayern defense. The other four matchups begin next week, with the top showdown of the round starting next Tuesday with Inter Milan hosting Atletico Madrid. As mentioned above, Inter would easily sit among the favorites in this tournament had they not drawn such a difficult first knockout opponent.

This version of Atletico Madrid has moved away from their typical defensive style, producing more flowing attack and allowing more goals. However, in a knockout tournament, Diego Simeone still knows how to make life difficult against stronger opposition and it would be no surprise if he went back to a conservative approach to survive this round.

All that being said, Inter has been ruthlessly efficient this season and have lost just once since the start of October. They bring an exquisitely orchestrated attack, spearheaded by the top goalscorer in Serie A along with a well drilled defense capable of closing up shop once they get a lead. It would be quite surprising if they bow out this early.

PSV Eindhoven and Borussia Dortmund provide another intriguing contest on Wednesday. Dutch league leaders PSV have been nearly untouchable in the Eredivisie, remaining undefeated after 21 games with 19 wins and 2 draws.

American Sergino Dest is part of a PSV Eindhoven squad that will take on Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16.

Their opponents represent a step up in class from the level of competition in the Netherlands however, as Dortmund has the more experienced and talented roster of the teams. The German team will see if they can continue their fine Champions League form after winning their group, despite their relative struggles in the German Bundesliga this season.

This game will feature several Americans, with the trio of Sergino Dest, Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi as potential contributors for PSV. Dest and Tillman are likely to start, while Pepi has been a useful attacking option off the bench. They will see if they can help PSV pull out an upset, as Dortmund are slight favorites to advance at -170.

The final two pairings kick off next Thursday with Napoli hosting Barcelona in the more interesting of the two games. Both teams have struggled massively after winning their respective leagues last season.

After a magical season as runaway Serie A champions, Napoli was forced to replace their coach when he left for the Italian National Team. His replacement did not fare well and he has already been fired and replaced.

The Napoli attack remains potent when both Khvicha Kvaratshkelia and Victor Osimhen are on the field, but their defense has seen a large dropoff after losing top centerback Min-Jae Kim to Bayern.

The story is similar in Barcelona, where head coach Xavi has already announced he will step down at the end of the season, demonstrating that not even a title and his status as a club legend are enough to overcome a poor campaign. With the team far behind Real Madrid in La Liga, the Champions League represents Barcelona’s only hope to salvage something from their season.

They too have seen their defense fall off a cliff after it carried them to the title last season. On the attacking side they actually lead La Liga in expected goals, though it hasn’t quite translated to balls in the back of the net.

Barcelona has also struggled with injuries to key players, and they have several that will be missing for these games. The betting odds have Barcelona a -195 favorite to advance, but this matchup feels much more like a coin flip given the struggles of the Catalan giants.

The last fixture pairs English title contenders Arsenal with the only remaining Portuguese club, Porto. Arsenal is a heavy favorite in this pairing at -650 to advance. They boast a much deeper and more talented roster and appear to be peaking at the right time, coming off a 6-0 blowout of West Ham and a comprehensive 3-1 win over Liverpool.

After a wobble just before the new year, Arsenal has looked like a true contender for both the Premier League and Champions League titles over the past few weeks. They have been particularly solid defensively this season, conceding the fewest goals in the Premier League and racking up the most shutouts.

Porto showed off a potent attack in the group stage, scoring the 5th most goals in the competition thus far. They have consistently given bigger clubs problems in the knockout rounds of this tournament, so expect them to at least make it difficult for Arsenal.

In the Portuguese league they have been one of the better defensive teams, with the second fewest goals conceded, and they will likely try to lean on that defense to give them a fighting chance in the second leg in London.

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February 12, 2024
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it sure did turn out to be "super"

The Super Bowl was so boring to start with, the final 60 minutes of the PGA Tour event at TPC Scottsdale was actually far more entertaining.

Like, it wasn't even close.

For those who chose to stay at CBS and watch football, Nick Taylor -- get him now for the Masters and thank me later -- birdied 3 of the last 4 holes in regulation and then the first two holes of the playoff to steal the tournament from 47 year old Charley Hoffman, who didn't really "lose" the tournament. He just failed to win it.

Anyway, all of that, plus Scottie Scheffler missing more four foot putts than Patrick Mahomes had completions in the first half, added up to create high drama at the Phoenix Open.

There was no drama at all in the opening 20 minutes of the Super Bowl. It was borderline dreadful.

But when things got going in the second half, the big game was well worth watching.

The commercials were lousy for the most part. The football, though, was not.

And in the end, we saw a maestro at work. The entire game might not have been Mahomes' Mona Lisa, but the game-winning drive in overtime certainly was his finest piece of work ever, as K.C. connected on a touchdown to win, 25-22, and set up a chance to be the league's first 3-peat champion, ever, next season.

With 4th and 1 and the championship on the line, he scampered for a huge gain to keep K.C.'s title hopes alive. He wiggled K.C. out of a 2nd and 14 situation later on the drive. I could go on and on but you saw it.

When the game was in his hands, Mahomes delivered a virtuoso performance. It was, if we can say it, very Tom Brady-like.

And when he found Mecole Hardman in the end zone for the title-clinching touchdown on the final play of the first overtime, Mahomes wrapped up his 3rd Super Bowl MVP award. The 49'ers had it in their grasp for a long time on Sunday night, but they just couldn't make that one final stop when they had to have it.

Whether or not you like the Chiefs, they, along with Mahomes, are now creeping up on "New England Patriots status".

You don't have to like 'em. But you have to respect them. They are all winners.

For those familiar with Baltimore County and the Towson/Timonium area, I want you to picture this.

Tom Brady's legacy as the greatest quarterback of the "modern" era is not really up for debate.

Chasing Tom Brady now...officially? It looks that way after Patrick Mahomes won his 3rd Super Bowl last night.

He's situated at York and Shawan Road, you know, right there at the traffic light where if you make a right, there's a shopping center with that awesome Japanese and Thai restaurant in there -- Green Leaf.

That's where Brady stands as the greatest QB we've seen. The corner of York and Shawan.

Five years ago, Mahomes was at York and Seminary. 20 traffic lights away, maybe. He was in Lutherville. He still needed to pass through Timonium and Cockeysville just to have a glimpse of Hunt Valley.

Before this year, he was at York and Padonia Road, maybe. Still had some traveling to do, did Mahomes.

But this season he made a big move.

Mahomes isn't the G.O.A.T. just yet. He has some distance to travel, still.

But he can at least see the traffic light at York and Ashland now as he passes across Warren Road. Brady was great. No two ways about it. Mahomes is too, though. And it's starting to look like there might actually be a debate, someday, about which of the two of them were greater.

That Mahomes navigated his way past Miami, Buffalo, Baltimore and San Francisco with that offense in 2023 is really something special.

He beat Josh Allen in Buffalo.

He beat Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.

And yesterday, he engineered a game-winning drive for the ages. Where one mistake would make Brock Purdy a champion and hand Mahomes his 2nd career Super Bowl loss.

It was incredibly spectacular.

Purdy didn't harm his reputation last night. If anything, he boosted it, leading the 49'ers on their own impressive drive in overtime -- albeit aided by an ill-timed K.C. defensive penalty -- but failing to reach the end zone.

As it turns out, that field goal to give his team the lead would be Purdy's undoing.

Patrick Mahomes was speeding up York Road, darting through traffic lights en route to Hunt Valley, chasing Tom Brady.

It's amazing and funny, really, to see the way people react in the wake of their team losing a playoff game.

I thought we were completely maniacal in Baltimore. And we are.

But they're nuts in San Francisco, too.

Folks out there are now pinning the blame on Kyle Shanahan for taking the ball to start overtime as if they have any idea at all what might have happened if the 49'ers would have elected to kick instead of receive after the coin landed on tails at the outset of OT.

What happened was this: The 49'ers needed to make one defensive stop and couldn't do it. That's the story. Period.

They would have needed to make that stop whether they received or kicked off.

In fact, their ability to actually score on their opening overtime drive flipped all of the pressure onto the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes.

One mistake, one fumble, one tipped pass, one "anything" that resulted in a change of possession and the title belonged to the 49'ers.

Tears for Fears once said, "Everybody wants to rule the world."

In the NFL, it's "Everybody wants to blame someone."

There has to be one person to carve up.

San Francisco had a chance to sew the game down the stretch and couldn't do it. K.C. nearly scored at the end of regulation to win the title outright, instead settling for a game-tying field goal.

If the 49'ers stop K.C. on that final drive, there's no coin flip controversy or overtime situation to worry about.

People were outraged after the game at Shanahan's "brain fart" (many said) of taking the ball first.

You have ZERO idea what would have happened if Shanahan would have given Kansas City the ball to start overtime.

Someone has to get the blame. That's what we've lowered ourselves to these days.

But at least we're seeing that Baltimore sports fans aren't the only ones afflicted with that disease.

The game wasn't fixed. I wrote here a month ago, though, that if Kansas City went on to beat Buffalo, Baltimore and their NFC opponent in the Super Bowl, that a lot of people would believe that to be true.

Something about Taylor Swift and her many appearances over the last five months, as if a 34-year old female singer is somehow actually connected to a football game being played.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have been the NFL's "hot story" over the last five months.

There are a lot of things about the NFL that look suspicious, that much is true.

But that's a by-product of the one thing that keeps the NFL in the public eye more than any other sport: gambling.

And here's where I'll concede that, if nothing else, the NFL has done this to themselves.

The entire league is basically built around and thriving off of gambling.

That TV deal the owners are lapping up with annual per-team checks of $250 million-plus?

It would be half that if not for the various gambling enterprises who buy time on NBC, CBS, FOX and the NFL Network. Don't get me wrong, franchises would still be valuable and owners would still be making big money, but if not for FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, MGM and the rest of the gambling icons, the teams wouldn't make anywhere near what they're making in 2024.

The league has surrounded itself with gambling.

The point spreads and prop bets are now part of the pre-game show. In the old days, no one on the air even thought about referencing gambling.

When Al Michaels would snicker in the final 30 seconds when the Jets would score a meaningless touchdown to make the final score 24-16 (getting 8.5 points) instead of 24-9, we all knew why he was snickering.

He knew. And we knew that he knew, which made it even more funny. He just wasn't allowed to come right out and say it.

Now? They flash the odds on the screen before the game and again at halftime.

These days, Al Michaels or Mike Tirico just tells us all what we know deep down at places we don't talk about at parties.

The league wants gambling to be on your mind as the game rolls on.

In 2010, those two would snicker when the Jets scored that late touchdown to cover by a half-point.

In 2024, they just come out and say it: "Well, that touchdown didn't change the outcome of the game, but it definitely changed the way some of you out there watching will enjoy the week ahead."

And the two guys in the booth will giggle because, as we know, for every bad beat, there's a joyous winner on the other side.

And you then want people to think the games are on the up and up when something weird happens?

I don't think the games are fixed or in any way contrived.

But the abundance of gambling attached to the league certainly gives you reason to wonder about the legitimacy of the games.

The league wants it that way.

If they didn't want it that way, they wouldn't take the money from the gambling folks.

You can't have it both ways.

And finally, we talk about the event itself for a minute. It's called the "Super" Bowl, which means it's supposed to be bigger and better than anything else the league puts together.

Van Halen's debut album was great. Van Halen II was good, but it wasn't better than Van Halen I.

Counting Crow's August and Everything After was spectacular. Recovering the Satellites was awesome, but it didn't beat "August".

Boston's first album was one of the best debut albums ever. Don't Look Back was a nice second effort, but, you're getting the picture now.

The NFL has that problem with the Super Bowl.

Every year they try to beat what they did the previous year.

And it's just not working.

The build-up before the game is designed to lead you along a magical journey of heartwarming stories, families connected to football and towns bonding because a former high school player in their community of only 4,000 people is playing in the biggest sporting event in the country.

It's all supposed to help make the game that much more riveting.

So, too, is all the pre-game hoopla. We now sing 3 or 4 different songs before the game. We have wagers on how long the National Anthem will be. You're supposed to be glued into every single second of it, including the commercials, of which there are far, far too many.

And in the end, one thing rings true: The game almost always falls short of the hype and the hoopla. Because it has to fall short.

There's just no way it can be as good as everyone wants it to be. And the odds are it's not going to be all that much better than the one we saw last year.

Usher? The halftime show? It was fine, I guess, if you like him or the music he's involved with.

I'm a huge Alicia Keys fan. I've seen her several times in concert. The NFL could have trotted her out there for 14 minutes at halftime and I would have been thrilled. But a lot of other people would have gone back to the kitchen for more snacks.

The halftime show doesn't matter any longer. We've all figured that out. It's water-cooler talk today, maybe, but no one is rushing out to buy Usher music today or download his greatest hits.

The NFL has gone to great lengths to make the Super Bowl far more than a 60 minute football game. The tickets are outrageous. The price of commercials within the game is insanely high.

Sure, it's a true sign of American capitalism when a ticket that costs $1,250 can be peddled for $10,000. And a commercial that normally sells for $40,000 now goes for $7 million. "You get what you can get for it" people will say.

But it's all just become too much. If we're being honest about it, the entire thing is too much. It can't possibly live up to the hype and the expense.

Are those Lindor people really going to sell $14 million of chocolate because they ran a (lame as all get out) 30-second commercial in the Super Bowl? I can't imagine that to be true.

The pre-game stuff, the halftime show, the commercials. They're all "good", don't get me wrong. It's not horrible. It's not useless. It's not "uninteresting".

It's just not all that different than a regular season NFL game on Sunday night, truth be told.

It's still just football.

The league no longer allows the actual 60-minute championship game to stand on its own two feet. And that's the real story.

The game itself has suffered because the NFL has made it bigger than it deserves to be.

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February 11, 2024
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but will it be "super"?

Let's get the important stuff out of the way first.

San Francisco 26 - Kansas City 22.

There you go. I said earlier in the week my pick for tonight's Super Bowl would be San Francisco and there it is.

I realize there are certain risks that come with betting against Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. But Tom Brady lost three times, too, don't forget. It can happen, even to a first-ballot HOF'er like Mahomes.

So, why San Francisco?

No reason in particular other than I think it's their time, that's all.

I do see where the Chiefs' defense has improved over the course of the season and the 49'ers' defense might have taken a step back along the way.

Will Patrick Mahomes win his 3rd Super Bowl tonight and surpass the likes of Peyton, Eli and Ben Roethlisberger for career Super Bowl titles?

This one could even be a 20-16 final where neither offense really gets anything going all night.

But I'll stick with 26-22 as the final. How does Kansas City get 22, you're wondering? I'm trying to figure that out as well.

Here's what happens: K.C. misses an extra point.

There's one for all you prop bettors out there. Harrison Butker misses an extra point to make it 14-13 instead of 14-14. K.C. then tacks on three more field goals and, VOILA!, there's your 22 point total.

I don't know about you, but I'm very "meh" on the game itself. And even less than "meh" for the halftime show (Usher).

I'm sorta kinda excited for the commercials, which might both delight and disappoint the NFL at the same time. I mean, in the end, I suppose they don't care one way or the other whether I "care" about the game, as long as I tune in and they get their ratings numbers.

But the game itself just isn't all that captivating to me.

It would have been well worth watching had the Lions not collapsed in the second half two weeks ago and were in Las Vegas tonight. Now that would have been something to behold.

Or, the Ravens, of course. The game has an entirely different meaning if John Harbaugh is standing on the sideline tonight instead of Andy Reid.

Alas, it is what it is. Rocky and Apollo Creed going at it -- again. It's pretty boring, if you ask me.

Maybe Usher will bring out Taylor Swift for a surprise appearance to liven things up. I hear she's dating a player on one of the teams.

A middle school, amateur-hour incident occurred last night in the waning moments of last night's NHL game between Toronto and Ottawa.

It's so laughably childish I can't believe it happened. Alas, it did.

For starters, Toronto and Ottawa don't particularly care for one another. So that animosity led to some of the tension between the teams.

With Ottawa up 4-3 late in the game, the Senators Ridly Greig sealed the contest with an empty net goal. But instead of lightly tapping the puck into the net or gently flicking it in from a few feet out, he wound up and whistled a slap shot into the cage for Ottawa's 5th and final goal.

On the ensuing face off, Toronto's Morgan Rielly cross-checked Greig in the head and a fracas broke out.

Cooler heads eventually prevailed but the whole scene was something you'd expect from 13 year olds who get their feelings hurt.

"We obviously didn't like the result on the empty netter," Toronto captain John Tavares said. "So, we're going to stick together and stand our ground when necessary."

I spit out my Royal Farms coffee when I saw that quote from Tavares, whom I've always liked as a player. The Maple Leafs didn't like the "result" on the empty netter?

Here's a few tips for you, then:

Don't trail, 4-3.

Don't give up an empty net goal to lose, 5-3.

Don't be a snowflake when the other team bangs the puck into the empty net instead of gently pushes it into the net so your feelings don't get hurt.

We go through this on almost a weekly basis during the baseball season.

Someone runs around the bases too slow after a home run and they have get hit with a pitch next time up.

Someone steals a base when they're ahead 9-2 in the 8th inning and someone has to get thrown at later in the inning to "send a message".

Baseball players are the absolute worst when it comes to getting their feelings hurt.

And they're making $5 million, $15 million, $25 million, don't forget.

This scene last night in Ottawa was a colossal embarrassment for those guys. Grown men, supposedly.

You lost, 5-3.

That's the only thing you should concern yourself with at the end of the night.

Everything else is eye wash.

Speaking of bad scenes, they had another one yesterday at the Phoenix Open, where tournament officials were forced to call off beer sales late in the day after 30 people were treated by medical officials for over-intoxication.

"At least 30 people blacked out or passed out during the day and were treated by our medical staff," a tournament official said. "So we made the decision to close the gates stop alcohol sales as a precautionary measure."

On Friday, a woman fell from the grandstand to the ground 30 feet below and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Also during Friday's round, a rowdy group of patrons were accused of badgering golfer Sahith Theegala, who is of Indian descent.

The scene at TPC Scottsdale has really gotten out of hand over the last five years or so.

There's a "party" and then there's the Phoenix Open. The two are light years apart from one another.

And the PGA Tour should probably step in at this point and do something about it before someone (or two) dies at their golf tournament.

The "arena concept" at the 16th hole is certainly a great idea. It has become the 2nd most well known hole on the TOUR besides #17 at TPC Sawgrass.

But the accompanying party environment at #16 and throughout the entire property is out of control at this point.

To their credit, tournament officials did something about it yesterday, closing the gates to new ticket sales at 2 pm and then shutting down alcohol sales shortly thereafter.

By the time they did all of that, though, the damage had been done.

Let's hope they get their game together for today's final day of play, where a number of players have to finish their 3rd round and play their 4th and final round in order to have the event conclude as scheduled later this afternoon.

I saw a number of people in the comments section bantering back and forth about Friday's basketball game at Calvert Hall between the Cardinals and Mount Saint Joseph.

I don't feel like I should offer any commentary at all on it.

I'm just a guy there watching high school basketball.

Mount Saint Joseph won the game, 59-40. That's all I'm interested in reporting on.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps give one away in columbus

When push comes to shove late in a tight ball game, you have to want it more than your opponent.

Yesterday, it was Ohio State that pushed, shoved, and wanted the win more than Maryland did. They were able to come from behind in regulation and overtime, to snatch a 79-75, double overtime, victory over a Terp team that self-destructed.

The inability to make key fouls shots played a monumental role in this loss.

First, Donta Scott misfired on both of his attempts from the line with the game tied and 45 seconds left to play in regulation.

Jahmir Young later missed one with 1:21 left in the first overtime and Maryland clinging to a 2-point lead.

After OSU tied the game, Julian Reese went to the foul stripe with 38 seconds left and a chance to give his team what may have been the winning points. Two bricks by Reese and a missed Ohio State three point shot later we were headed to OT2.

Kevin Willard made some early lineup changes yesterday but in the end, veterans Donta Scott, Jahmir Young and Julian Reese were co-conspirators in a bad road loss at Ohio State.

Reese’s misery at the foul line continued when he missed two more consecutive foul shots in the second overtime. For the game he was successful on just 5 of 11 tries form the stripe. How can he make 41 of 51 as a freshman, but be so poor as a junior?

Donta Scott late secured the win for the Buckeyes in the second OT with a really bad turnover when he tried to make a pass and the ball was pretty much taken off his hand

The Terps were down 2 at the time with just 47 seconds left to play. You might expect that play from a freshman in December, but not a 5-year senior in crunch time of a conference game.

Lastly, Maryland’s effort to tie the game ended with Scott going to the rim and having his layup blocked.

I might change my mind when I see the replay, but my take seeing it live was that Scott went to the bucket without conviction and had the shot rejected without elevating at all.

In other words, it was a weak attempt at a time when he needed to be as strong as possible. He didn’t want it more. Forget his stats, this was a rough night for the Terrapin senior.

OSU was paced by Bruce Thorton, who banged his way to 24 points. His driving layups through and around Terp defenders late in regulation and overtime were huge for the Buckeyes.

Young led all Terp scorers with 26 points, but he was just 8 of 22 from the field. That included only making 1 of 4 shots in overtime.

It was a new look Maryland lineup starting the game for Keven Willard and the Terps. Maddy Traore and Jamie Kaiser started in place of Jordan Geronimo and DeShawn Harris-Smith. The Terps opened by going inside, scoring their first 8 points in the paint.

Maryland surged to an early 8-point lead that lasted until OSU scored 7 in a row. Jahmir Young then got rolling for Maryland, scoring 8 points in the game’s initial 10 minutes.

When Scott hit a three, and Traore got his second tip-in of the game, the Terps found themselves up by 10, 28-18, with 7:31 remaining in the half and play having stopped for the under 8-minute TV timeout.

Maryland, at this point, was shooting 50% from the floor, having attempted 20 shots with only 4 being three-pointers. They held a 14-6 advantage in points in the paint.

The two teams then went on mini scoring droughts before OSU closed the gap to 6 points, 32-26 after a Thorton layup. Maryland had gone back to their ineffective three-point game, with 2 of their last 4 shots being triples and both missing. There was now 3:35 left in the half.

The Terp scoring frustrations had now reached over 4 minutes. Their shot selection was really suspect, with Young and Reese taking some ill-advised shots. The lead was shrinking fast.

With 51.6 seconds left, the gap was just a single point. A 13-2 Ohio State run ended the half. The Terps failed to score during the last 5:36 of the first half and trailed 33-32 going into the locker room.

It seemed the tenor of the half, and perhaps the game, shifted when Maryland started taking more threes than twos.

Young got the second half scoring started with a three pointer off a really nice pass from Kaiser. Traore and Thornton then traded baskets. Traore had scored 8 points, with the total distance of his 4 made shots being about 2 feet.

The game was tied at 37 when the first TV break of the second half came around. The Terps hadn’t scored in the last 3 minutes. During that span they had committed 2 turnovers and, again, took some really bad shots.

The Terps would soon lose the lead when Reese fouled Devon Royal and Royal hit 1 of 2 foul shots. The Terrapins still couldn’t score, having now played almost 5 minutes without a point.

Maryland finally got on the board again with two foul shots by Jahari Long. Young followed that with a short jumper and the Terps had regained a lead, 41-40.

The next TV break came at 11:49. The teams were struggling to score. Maryland was shooting 3-9 in the half and the Buckeyes were 3-10. Each squad had committed 3 second half turnovers.

Play resumed with Rodd Gayle Jr making 1 of 2 foul shots. That was his first miss in over 30 tries from the foul line However, a Terp lane violation gave him another try. He hit it.

Reese finally got in gear with an “and one”, returning the lead to Maryland, 44-42. Scott followed that with a three, his second of the game, pushing the Terp lead to 6, 51-47.

Another Terp three, this time by Young, put Maryland up by six, 55-49, with 7:33 left in the game.

Another media timeout occurred with 5:24 left in the game. OSU now trailed by two, 55-53. Maryland had gone 2:34 without a point.

Coming out of the break, Young drained his 3rd triple of the half, but the Buckeyes answered with a bucket by Battle. Another timeout stopped play at 4:12, Maryland led by four, 60-56, with possession of the ball. Unfortunately, Young would turn it over.

The score was 61-58 with 2 minutes left when Ohio State called another timeout. Scoring was a problem for both teams at this stage.

For the Terps it was Young taking some really bad shots. Everyone was missing for the Buckeyes. The Terps had gone 3:43 without a field goal and OSU hadn’t scored in 2:22.

The Buckeyes had the ball, still down 3, before Thornton was left all alone on the left wing by Scott and connected on a three. Tie game with 1:03 left.

With 48.1 seconds left in the game, Scott was fouled attempting a layup. He missed both shots. How that happens, I have no idea.

The game was tied, the outcome was on the line, and he missed both shots. That’s a spot where if you really want to win, you come through with at least one point.

OSU failed to cash in when Thorton missed a jumper. The Terps now had a chance to win the game with a buzzer beater, but Young settled for a step back two from 16 feet and the shot came up short.

It was a terrible possession for a Maryland team that is showing a tendency of failing to get good looks at the end of games. This possession was lazy. Young seriously settled for a bad shot.

Overtime started with OSU making 2 free throws before Jahari Long made a little scoop shot. A layup by Gayle preceded a triple by Deshawn Harris-Smith. The Terps were leading 66-65, but Battle made a 6-footer in the lane to return the lead to Ohio State, 67-66.

Foul shots by Young swapped the lead back to the Terps, 68-67. Young returned to the line after another Battle miss, and gave his Terps a 70-67 advantage.

When Thorton Scored his 20th point of the game, Maryland led 70-69 with 1:32 left.

Maryland again went to Young, who was fouled in the act of shooting. He made just one of 2, allowing OSU to tie the game on yet another Thorton layup, this time over Reese. It was 71-71 with 44 seconds left to determine the outcome with Maryland in possession of the ball.

Reese was fouled while attempting a chip shot layup. It was one of a handful of layups the Terp Center had blown. He, like Scott before him, missed both foul shots.

Maryland got bailed out when Battle misconnected on a three. The Terps had a chance to win it, but Young threw up a contested short jumper and Harris-Smith barely missed a put back. The game was going into double overtime. That last Terp possession fail again to yield a good look. Willard needs better end-of-game options.

The 2nd OT saw Reese finally make a short jumper before turning the ball over. His miscue led to a Battle layup over Scott. The game was again tied.

Reese was fouled and went back to the line, where he promptly missed both tries once more. The teams then traded baskets. There was 1:58 remaining, the score was 75-75, and Maryland had the ball.

Another terrible step-back shot by Young missed the mark. That was the third time where Young just didn’t work hard enough to get a good look. Thorton then went right through Harris-Smith for a layup on the left side. Now Maryland trailed, 77-75 with 1:04 left to decide the outcome.

The next 2 possessions would result in Scott gift wrapping a steal to OSU and Battle missing a step-back three.

The Terps had a chance to tie or win with 15 seconds left.

Scott found himself with the ball on the left elbow and a path to the rim. He drove across the lane and attempted a weak layup from the right side and it was easily blocked by Zed Key.

Had Scott gone strongly to the rim, and elevated, he may have tied the game. As it was, his flat-footed try sealed the Terps fate. Not enough “want to”.

This loss is frustrating for Terp fans because the team lacked effort when they needed it most. Maybe Young was fatigued, and that’s what caused him to not work hard for a good shot.

Missing foul shots in crucial situations is sometimes understandable, but not 4 in a row like Reese did, or the double failure from Scott. Also inexcusable were the lazy turnover and soft drive to the rim at the end of the game by Scott.

It’s notable that Willard made no substitutions during either overtime period. Maybe his troops were gassed in the closing minutes. Young was tired, for sure. Perhaps it affected the play of other Terps as well.

Iowa comes to College Park on Wednesday for an 8:30 pm game. They’ll be looking to avenge their 2-point loss to Maryland on January 24.

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February 10, 2024
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"prime" time playoff games

After a whopping 2.8 million people signed up for Peacock during the weekend of the Chiefs/Dolphins playoff game last month, Amazon Prime got the message.

"The people...they will pay."

And, so, Amazon will reportedly fork over more than the $110 million that NBCUniversal paid for the January wild card game in Kansas City and, in return, they'll air a 2025 wild card game next January.

There are no reports out yet on how many of the 2.8 million people who subscribed to Peacock canceled their membership following the Chiefs/Dolphins game.

As we've written here several times over the last few months, streaming services will continue to play an extensive role in televised sports play-by-play. This year it was one game. Next year, one game. The year after that? Maybe two, who knows?

Roger Goodell and the NFL have sold yet another playoff game to an internet streaming service. Next year, a wild card playoff game shifts to Amazon Prime.

The league, as was announced on Wednesday, will play eight international games in 2024, including a stop in Brazil of all places. Those games will likely all be packaged and sold to a network or streaming service of some kind in the future. Someone has to help pay for Roger Goodell's $64 million salary. It might as well be you and I, the owners figure.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that within the next decade or so, sports franchises are likely going to build their own streaming service and charge for innovative content that can't be found anywhere else.

I've been saying this for the better part of 15 years now, harkening all the way back to my days on the radio: The wave of the future is to simply pay for everything a la carte.

I'd pay a lot every month to have the Golf Channel.

I'd pay nothing at all to have the NBA Network. Or the ACC Network. Or the SEC Network.

I'd pay something to have the NHL Network.

If the Capitals started charging people $10 a month to exclusively watch all of their games, I'd be in on that, too.

I spend almost $200 a month now on cable and internet. An embarrassing amount of that monthly total is wrapped up in fees that our cable provider and amazing state and national government pilfers from us. Some of that $200 is for content, of course. And some of that content I actually watch.

I'd just much prefer to pay for whatever it is I want to watch. I don't need to shell out $2.95 a month for Oprah's channel. I don't watch it.

Anyway, that's where we're headed, which is fine by me.

I didn't fork over the six bucks for Peacock back in January because I just wasn't all that interested in the game. Six bucks is six bucks. Who cares? But I just didn't feel like going through all of the bells and whistles to sign up for the service knowing I'd likely not use it again after that game.

And I knew Kansas City was winning before the game even started. So why watch?

But if there's a sport or franchise that I connect with and my option for watching them mandates a monthly payment, I'm in.

Interestingly enough, as a sidebar to this discussion, I had a small inquiry back in December from a local media publishing firm who wanted to talk with me about partnering with them. They currently don't have a sports department or "anything sports" for that matter and were hoping to branch out into that area given the respective successes of the Orioles and Ravens in 2023.

One of their big quests is to make their current product online only and charge a premium for that content on a monthly basis.

They asked if I'd be willing to transition this website into a pay-for-content model to align more closely with their 2024-2025 goals.

When I said I'd never charge the readers anything, one of their higher ups said, "Noble, but ultimately the wrong move. I don't see how you can get to the finish line like that."

I said, "I've already passed the finish line."

I've been publishing this website for 9-plus years. 80% of the 1,711 people who visited on the first day back on August 25, 2014 probably thought #DMD wouldn't last a year.

I passed the finish line a long time ago. I won the race. At least that's how I look at it, anyway.

I do realize "pay for content" is the model nearly everyone is chasing these days and I respect that. But that's just not the way I want this particular website presented to the readers.

And so, the partnership didn't materialize, which is probably best for both of us. "On We Go", as I tell my golfers all the time. Just keep moving.

I understand the NFL's model. There's greed. There's super greed. There's out-of-your-mind greed. And then there's the NFL.

I don't begrudge them for holding up their fanbase for ransom.

You could do what I (and I'm sure millions of others) did in the playoffs and not pay $6 to watch a playoff game.

Or you could give them your credit card.

They're banking on people handing over their credit cards a lot over the next two decades.

Greed has no boundaries.

An interesting story popped up out of nowhere yesterday when former New York Mets GM Billy Eppler was suspended for his role in fabricating injuries to help manipulate the team's playing roster in '22 and '23.

Eppler is suspended through the completion of the 2024 World Series.

The scheme involved fabricating injuries on dozens of players throughout the two-year period, all in an effort to transition players in and out of the Mets' lineup as needed.

I had to laugh when I read the story yesterday.

Ubaldo Jimenez was once part of an Orioles "roster caper" when he supposedly stepped in a parking lot pothole and was moved to the injured list as a result.

The Orioles are lucky Rob Manfred wasn't the Commissioner back in 2014.

You remember what happened that year, right?

Pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was going through a horrible stretch and the O's were struggling for options to replace him.

Suddenly, and, well, "conveniently", Jimenez stepped into a pothole in the Camden Yards parking lot and, wouldn't you know it, he was going to have to go on the disabled list.

We've all referenced that story many a time over the last 10 years, of course. Anytime a pitcher or field player is struggling and the team needs an "instant option", we always snicker and say, "Did they ever fix that pothole in the stadium parking lot?"

Teams have been manipulating their roster in every sports for decades.

Heck, the NBA actually has an insane rule where players can just sit out because they're "tired", which has to be incredibly embarrassing for a grown man at the height of his physical being -- and making millions of dolllars, no less -- to utilize.

I've never understood the whole "playing roster" thing anyway.

Why aren't you allowed to use any player you want whenever you want?

I mean, baseball has a 40-man roster of all players under contract to the Major League team. Why can't they just use any of those 40 players whenever they want? Who cares if a guy gets called up today, sent back tomorrow, called up the next day, etc.?

The same thing goes for football.

The NFL has this incredibly stupid rule where the team has 55 players "on the roster", 53 players on the team's "active roster" and then, for some bizarre reason, only 48 of those guys can play on Sunday.


Why can't anyone who gets paid by the team play in a game?

And speaking of "creating injuries" and "stashing players on the injury list", the NFL has turned that ploy into its own cottage industry.

Coach: "Hey, Schmedley, how's your wrist?"

Player: "My wrist? It's fine, sir. Why?"

Coach: "Really? Looks a little swollen to me."

Player: "No. You must be thinking of another rookie you guys drafted in the 5th round. I'm fine, sir. Good to go."

Coach: "That's a shame about your wrist. But we're not giving up on you. Go see the GM and fill out the paperwork for the disabled list and we'll see you in training camp next summer."

That scenario happens all the time in the NFL.

In some cases, teams are actually hoping a rookie gets a knock in practice late in August so they can stash him away for a year with an "injury".

I'm sure Rob Manfred would use words like "integrity", "professionalism", "legitimate" and "upstanding" when discussing his decision to punish Billy Eppler. But Manfred has to know Eppler is just one of many who fiddles with the injury list to gain an advantage.

I just don't understand why teams aren't allowed to play any player on their roster whenever they want to play them.

I'm sure, somewhere deep down in places he doesn't talk about at parties, the main factor around roster manipulation circles back to the thing that is driving all of these sports: gambling.

If the gambler's don't know who the team is going to utilize that day, how on earth are they going to be able to accurately place a wager?

Gambling on any sport isn't easy. I think we all know that. But one of the things that makes gambling on golf much easier than other sports is you know who is playing, there's a history of their performance at the golf course, and -- at least on the PGA Tour -- you either play well and stay in nice hotels or you play poorly and double up at the Hampton Inn with another guy who is struggling to make the cut.

The fact that John Harbaugh has to potentially sit out 5 healthy players every Sunday is beyond dumb.

And the fact that guys like Billy Eppler just can't use any player they're paying is also beyond dumb.

Eppler can't work until after the 2024 World Series. That's the bad news.

The good news?

He doesn't have to worry about the Mets showing him up and playing in the Fall Classic next October.

Mackie reached out to me with a question about Lamar Jackson's MVP award and I thought I should make it clear once and for all, even though I think I've addressed it here before.

"No mention at all of Lamar winning the MVP?" he wrote to me yesterday? "Did you forget about it or you just don't care?"

I just don't care.

Now, I do understand why some people in town care that he won. You can now bet on the MVP in pre-season and throughout the season, in fact.

So, yes, I can see where some folks have a vested interest in Lamar winning the award on Thursday night.

But other than that, I couldn't care less, personally, about the MVP award or any other award for that matter.

Kevin Stefanski apparently won "Coach of the Year". I don't know how people determined he was the "best" coach in the entire NFL during the regular season, but I'm sure he did an outstanding job.

I didn't mention him, either.

Post season awards just don't matter to me.

The only award that's worth mentioning is the Super Bowl trophy that gets held up on the big stage around 11 pm on Sunday night.

I love Lamar's play.

He certainly is one of the top 5 overall players in the entire NFL, there's no two ways about that. If you gave the 32 GM's in the league a mythical "first pick" right now of any active player in the league, I'm assuming there would be some who would select Lamar with that pick.

But none of that matters.

Super Bowl.

That's what matters.

So that's pretty much why I didn't make a big fuss over Lamar winning the MVP award. I just don't care.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visiting struggling ohio state today

The Terps have another chance to pick up a road win when they face the lowly Ohio State Buckeyes today at 4:00 p.m. The Buckeyes, tied for last in the Big Ten with a 3-9 record, are losers of 5 straight and 8 of their last 9.

Don’t expect Ohio State to roll over. They’ve lost a handful of very close games and have a win over Alabama. The last 2 Buckeyes losses have been by 3 points to Indiana and by 2 against Iowa.

They have some talent. OSU led by 18 at one point in the Indiana game, in fact.

Perhaps you remember Buckeye forward, Jamison Battle. He’s the same guy who once put up 39 points in the XFINITY Center as a member of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Maryland's Donta Scott could have a huge game in Columbus today when the Terps visit Ohio State.

At 44%, Battle must be guarded on the three-point line. Almost 60% of his made shots have come from behind the three-point line. Although he’s 6’7” and the team’s second leading rebounder, Battle isn’t a major physical presence on a team known for “Bully Ball’.

One of those bulls is point guard, Bruce Thorton. Both the Buckeye leading scorer and leading assist man, Thorton is a bruising 6’2” and 215 pounds. He likes to back down a defender, absorb contact, and shoot a little jumper. He’s not a slick ball handler, but possesses a keen 4 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. He’s tough, and is a reason to believe the Buckeyes hang tough today.

The other Buckeye who averages over 14 points a game (Thorton gets 15.4 and Battle 14.4) is Roddy Gayle Jr.

Another tough guy and good rebounding guard, Gayle is much more effective taking the ball to the rim than he is launching threes. His long balls only connect 28% of the time but he’s about 50% when operating closer to the bucket.

I feel OSU is severely vulnerable when forced to defend the interior. Both Julian Reese and Donta Scott can have major success on the low blocks today. Terp fans need to hope that Coach Willard runs sets for Scott that get him the ball down low. I don’t see a Buckeye that can defend him down there.

Reese will see Felix Okpara and Zed Key attempting to check him. Okpara has great height (6’11”) and length, but has yet to figure out how to use it. He’ll block a few shots, especially when helping, but his straight man against an opposing big needs work.

Key offers a better brand of “D”, but he’s only seeing 16 minutes a game. Neither player is scary on the offensive end. I prefer the game of Key, but he’s 6’8” compared to Okpara’s 6’11”.

If the Terps run sets that get the ball inside to Reese and Scott, Maryland will win. If we’re watching three-pointers and Scott trying the back guys down, they’ll lose. Unless, somehow, the threes go in, Maryland’s key to victory is under the basket.

In their last 2 games, Maryland had made just 9 of 48 three attempts (19%).

It’s in Maryland’s best interest to not turn this game into a slow, half-court game. That doesn’t mean the Terps don’t need to rely on their strength, which is defense, but they need to generate offense by means other than the half-court game.

I’m not so sure that this OSU team likes to defend the quicker pace. Easy buckets are to be had if our bigs beat theirs down the court.

Defensively, Maryland can have success with full court pressure, especially if the ball gets out of Thorton’s hands. Taking the three away for Battle is always a good idea, and respect the dribble drives of Gayle.

The Terps are a 2.5-point underdog on the road. They have better talent, but they need to use it properly.

OSU does not present the defensive problems that Rutgers did, so I expect more than 53 points out of the Terps. Earlier this week, Maryland lost to a three-win team, but it shouldn’t happen again.

Just pound the ball inside, get continual good looks for your bigs, and leave the state of Ohio with a road win. I think I remember someone in Baltimore saying, “It’s a simple game”. 66-61, Terrapins.

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February 9, 2024
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friday stuff

Let's get it out in the open right away.

There will be no Zay Flowers discourse here this morning. Not from me, anyway.

"Allegations" are just that. I heard about the Flowers incident last weekend but had no interest at all in writing about it, posting social media messages about it or even pursuing more details about it.

The Baltimore Banner chose to publish the story yesterday and that, of course, generated wide spread social media discussion about the future of the talented Ravens wide receiver.

Zay Flowers is under investigation for domestic violence, the Baltimore Banner reported on Thursday.

"It's ugly. Ugly stuff," was what I was told by someone who knew details of the allegations. I've heard a few things about the incident that, if true, are ugly indeed. But until those details are corroborated, I'm out. Website traffic and social media promotion aren't worth it.

And, so, that's that. Until we know more or the details are somehow confirmed, we won't be chronicling the story here.

Richard Jewell and the Duke lacrosse scandal come to mind. Here in these parts, we all remember Ray Lewis behind bars in the summer of 2000 for a crime he didn't commit.

I was once personally involved in a story that was drummed up for publicity and then later dropped. But that didn't stop people from accusing me nonetheless.

If Zay Flowers is indeed arrested for and later found guilty of domestic assault/violence, we'll certainly share an opinion or two on it.

For now, there's nothing to say, really. For all we know, Flowers may never formally be charged. I'm sure the Ravens are hoping it concludes in that direction.

Cristobal Del Solar shot a 57 yesterday on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is the second-tier of professional golf in the United States.

His score was 13-under par on the course in Bogota, Colombia, which was only 6,200 yards (and played at 8600 feet above sea level) and featured lift, clean and place in the fairway after heavy rains softened the course earlier this week.

But I don't care what the yardage was and how soft the fairways were.

57 is 57.

And he missed a 6-footer for birdie at the 18th hole for 56.

I've never been 11 under through 12 holes like Del Solar was on Thursday in his opening round. It must be utterly jarring to the nervous system to be in that position.

I once started the Baltimore Fall Publinx at Mount Pleasant at 7 under through 10 holes and it felt like I was having an out of body experience. I can't imagine what it would be like to be standing on the 13th tee at 11 under par, no matter if you're on a 6,200 yard course or 7,200 yard course.

Sure, it's much easier to score and make birdies on a 6,200 yard course. But you still have to putt the ball into the hole.

The internet lit up on Thursday with people poo-poo'ing the guy's round because of the shortness of the golf course, but my guess is 95% of those folks can't break 80 or 70, both of which are extremely difficult to do for anyone who plays the game by the rules.

Golf's "holy grail", a round of 54 (on a par 72 course), is still out there waiting to be had. There have been lots and lots of 300 games in bowling and a bunch of 900 sets, too. There have been, of course, perfect games thrown in baseball.

No one's ever shot 54, though.

But when you see scorecards like Del Solar produced on Thursday, you can't help but think that someone, somewhere, someday, is going to pull it off.

You just need a hot putter.

Plus a bunch of other things to go right for you.

Well, pretty much everything.

#DMD reader Patrick reached out to me with an accusation about "treating the Ravens with kid gloves" following the 17-10 loss to the AFC Championship loss on January 28.

"You and the rest of the boys club in Baltimore don't want your access stripped or your credentials taken away so you shrug your shoulders and say, 'We'll get 'em next time,'" he wrote to me.

I don't have "access" or "credentials" for the Ravens to take. I haven't requested a credential from them for several years now, even though I've been on the preliminary list forwarded to them by 105.7 every summer.

It just doesn't interest me enough to go out there, particularly when I know the restrictions that are already in place and, for the most part, any information I could gather on my own is going to be distributed by the Ravens P.R. department anyway.

So, if I treated the Ravens with "kid gloves" after their loss, it most certainly wasn't because I was afraid of the reaction I might get from the powers-that-be at Owings Mills.

I don't want to speak for the others in the media and how they portrayed it, mainly because I don't watch, listen or read all that much. I honestly haven't opened a copy of The Sun in several years. I don't have anything against the publication itself. I just don't read local news all that much these days.

I know how I accounted for the loss to Kansas City.

The Ravens didn't play particularly well.

Kansas City played better.

I've listed here on a couple of occasions the various reasons why it went down the way it did. I thought I was somewhat harsh when it came to addressing the performance of Lamar, Flowers, Monken and others.

But, unlike some people, I don't see where anyone should lose their job over the loss. If that's "kid gloves treatment", I guess I'm guilty then.

The Ravens had a remarkable season. They were one of the last four teams standing. They played the defending champions and they lost.

You might shrug your shoulders and say, "S**t happens" and I'd probably nod in agreement and say, "Yep, wish it didn't happen that way, but it did."

It's sports. It doesn't always go the way you want it to go. Life, by the way, mirrors sports. My mom died when I was 24. I didn't have that on my "Life Bingo Card", but it happened.

We live in this weird world where everyone needs a scalp.

When something doesn't go the way you wanted it to go or expected it to go, someone has to be responsible for those turn of events. There has to be a scapegoat somewhere.

It's beyond weird, to me.

I don't know why we have to crush people when things don't well. The Ravens tried to win. I can't imagine there was one player on the team who wasn't trying to win on January 28.

It didn't work out. This time. But it might work out next time.

That's the glory of sports.

An ardent NBA follower I'm not, so perhaps I'm just not paying close enough attention to the league and the various "haves" and "have nots".

We are ten days away from the NBA All-Star break.

Nearly every team in the league has played at least 50 games.

And there are four clubs with 10 wins or fewer right now.

How on earth is that possible?

It's February 9 and four teams are still looking for win #11.

Charlotte and San Antonio both have 10 wins.

The Washington Wizards have 9.

And Detroit has 8 wins on the season after a rare road win in Portland last night.

There are plenty of other bad teams in the league, but they actually have 15 wins or 18 wins, even.

These four, though, are beyond horrendous.

How does that happen?

And who is buying tickets in Charlotte, San Antonio, Washington and Detroit to see those four teams play?

I don't get it.

How can a professional team be so bad they've won 7 games in 50 attempts (Detroit)?

I often wonder if the betting public has the courage to just bet $1,000 every night on "the other team" playing those four?

Think about it. If you had the money to do it, where would you be if you bet $1,000 every night on the money line (when one of those four played).

Charlotte is 10-40. You would have to factor in odds, of course. Some nights, the opposition might even by -250 or higher when they're playing Charlotte. But it's fair to say you'd be at least $10,000 to the good if you wagered $1,000 against Charlotte in all 50 of their games this season.

The same goes for the other three lousy teams. You'd probably be up somewhere around $10,000 or $15,000, per-team.

I think the Orioles are going to win 105 games next season. Why wouldn't I bet $1,000 on them every game next season? If they go 105-57, I'd stand to "win" a total of 48 times. Even with the odds I'd be laying, I still think I'd finish somewhere around plus $25,000 or so.

I'd love to know if anyone has just crushed the books by betting anyone and everyone who plays Charlotte, San Antonio, Washington and Detroit this NBA season.

Last night, Portland, a lousy team at 15-35, played host to Detroit. The Blazers were minus-195 on the money line. That's what you're going to see every night, of course. Lines of -195, -235, -285 are routine when the Pistons are involved.

But even so, you're winning 43 of the 51 bets thus far in '23-24 if you hedge against Detroit every time they play.

It seems like easy money, as long as you have the courage and conviction to bet it.

The Capitals lost again last night, 4-2, in Florida. The defeat was Washington's 6th in a row.

There's still time to flip the script, but it's starting to look more and more like the Caps are going to miss the post-season for a second straight year.

And while they might not be in a full "rebuild" mode just yet, they're definitely "re-tooling", if nothing else.

Their offense is lousy.

Their goaltending is spotty, and that's probably being kind.

Their defense is capable, but certainly not good enough to make any kind of legitimate post-season run even if they qualified.

And, so, with the All-Star weekend in the rear view mirror and the trade deadline approaching on March 8, it's fair to ask the question:

Should the Caps unload some guys at the deadline and pack it in for the final 5 weeks of the regular season?

And if so, who goes?

The answer, to me, is "yes". Cut some guys loose at the deadline, try to stock up on some younger talent, and keep shaving some years off the team's average age.

You can also help the team's salary cap by making some moves, too.

Who goes, then?

Anthony Mantha is probably the most available and attractive guy the Caps have at this point. He has 16 goals on the season and looks to be healthy enough to perhaps help someone in the last month of the regular season and into the playoffs.

Mantha has been a pretty big disappointment in D.C. over the last couple of years. A change of scenery might help him. And he won't really be missed in D.C., if we're being honest.

I doubt they can get much for Max Pacioretty at this point given his injury-riddled campaign, but he'd be worth considering, too. Pacioretty does have a No-Movement-Clause in his contract, though, so he'd have to approve a deal to any team.

Nic Dowd is one of my favorite players and I'd hate to see him go. But Dowd would be a really nice pick-up at the deadline for a number of teams who need a hard working center who can also score a goal once a week or so.

Either goaltender is worth moving on, in my opinion. I like Lindgren better than Kuemper, but both of them are far too hot and cold to be reliable fixtures in '24-25 and beyond. If someone wants one of them, take what you can get.

Joel Edmundson is likely gone before the deadline. He's actually been decent-to-good throughout the campaign and could actually net something of small value if a defensively-challenged team needs a shot in the arm in March and April.

Edmundson does have a limited No-Movement-Clause in his contract, where he can list 10 teams he won't be traded to, but if the Caps want to find a taker for him, they likely can.

There's not much there, honestly.

Mantha has some value, as does Edmundson.

Dowd is probably more valuable to the Caps than someone else, but he'd be a nice get.

The Caps aren't going to rebuild their organization with anything they receive for the players listed above. But something's better than nothing.

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faith in sports

This Sunday's Super Bowl has two teams with several players on each side who constantly share their faith in public via the media, interviews, etc.

One of those players, Kansas City's Drue Tranquill, was interviewed this week by Sports Spectrum and what he had to say was remarkable.

It's a 3 minute video below. We'd love for you to watch it and learn more about Tranquill's story and the role his faith has played in his development as a NFL player.

We share these videos here every Friday just to remind you that God is everywhere, even in sports, and the more athletes we find who are willing to share their testimony, the better.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and our "Faith in Sports" segment every Friday.

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February 8, 2024
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thank you, geno

Geno Auriemma did something last night that even the great Mike Krzyzewski couldn't do.

He recorded 1,200 coaching wins before completing his 40th season.

The remarkable UConn's women's basketball coach collected career victory #1200 last night when the Lady Huskies routed Seton Hall, 67-34.

It took Krzyzewski 47 years to reach 1,200. Stanford's women's coach Tara VanDerveer reached 1,200 victories in her 42nd season.

Auriemma reached career win #1200 in his 39th campaign.

Auriemma is also different from those two in that he won all 1,200 of his games with the same program. Coach K also won games at Army before moving to Duke and VanDerveer was at Idaho and Ohio State before her days at Stanford.

UConn's Geno Auriemma reached 1,200 coaching wins last night as the Lady Huskies beat Seton Hall.

In an era when coaches hop from job to job, Auriemma's career at UConn is an outlier in the most positive of ways.

People often ask me who my favorite coach is and the answer has been the same for going on a decade now: Geno Auriemma.

While some find that peculiar given my affection for men's sports, I can easily admit much of what I've read or heard from the UConn women's coach has shaped or reinforced many of my own coaching philosphies, albeit in the sport of golf.

One of the traits Auriemma believes in that resonates directly with golf is body language. I've long been a huge proponent of body language and emotional control in the sport of golf.

"If I can look over at you a fairway or two away and tell if you're winning or losing, playing well or not playing well, then you're doing it wrong," I tell all of my players at Calvert Hall.

It's a rare occasion indeed when a player loses his cool in golf and can then use that emotional outburst to play better. Golf is unlike just about any other sport in that you can't "try harder". It just doesn't work.

In basketball, I can pull you aside and say, "If you don't start running faster and playing better defense, I'm going to sit you on the bench," and a boy, girl, man or woman can do that on the very trip down the court. They can run faster. It's within their abilities.

The same goes for football. You can try harder. You might be the only one who knows you're doing it, but it's possible.

Golf's just not like that. So the ability to maintain emotional control is paramount for people who want to play golf at a high level.

A couple of seasons ago, we were facing an MIAA opponent with a similar record to ours and were playing at their home course. For reasons I wasn't sure, they had a larger-than-normal gallery on hand, upwards maybe of 100 people milling around watching the action on three different holes.

Many of the onlookers were students of the host school. Again, that was odd, because in general, 90% of the spectators at high school golf matches -- maybe even 95% -- are family members of the guys who are playing in the match.

"This is totally going to work in our favor," I told the captain of my team before we teed off. "Watch and see. These guys are going to want to play "up" for their friends and classmates and it's going to work against them."

They started losing their cool before we even reached the halfway (6th hole) mark. Loud outbursts after a bad shot, an angry few digs into the turf after missing the green with a shot, a disgusted swipe at their golf bag with their towel after losing the hole.

As we got up to the 7th tee to start "the back 6", I said to one of my players, "They're unraveling right in front of you. Just make a couple of more pars and you're winning all three points."

We secured an upset win that day that later in the season wound up helping us make the playoffs once head-to-head tiebreakers were used to determine post-season participants.

As we got on the bus to head back to CHC, I reminded the players about the body language and emotional control concepts I preach to them constantly throughout the season.

"You won today because you played better golf," I told them. "But you played better golf today because you didn't lose your cool. When you hit a good shot, you just moved on. When you hit a bad shot, you just moved on. When you won a hole, you reacted the same as if you lost a hole."

Part of emotional control is also staying "even" when things are going well. That's not the easiest thing for teenagers (or anyone, really) to do, since they want to celebrate the very second something goes favorably for them. But that then makes the "down moment" hurt even more. The constant high-and-low you experience has to be leveled off by the athlete.

Some of that I learned on my own over the years working in professional soccer.

A lot of that I figured out as a competitive golfer. It's never a failure if you learned a lesson. And in a lot of my failures, I didn't have the emotional control necessary to succeed. But I learned along the way that emotional control is 50% of golf, if not more.

I once stood on the 15th tee of the Maryland Open at 3-under par for the tournament and this was on day two of the three day event. If I could get into the clubhouse at 3-under or even 2-under, I'd have a realistic chance of winning the tournament the next day.

I hit a not-so-terrible shot on #15 that wound up in the front left bunker. My lie was half-buried in the trap, as occasionally happens. Instead of just accepting it -- since I hit it there, it was ultimately my fault -- and going about my business and trying to somehow scrape together a par or, at worst, a bogey, I huffed and puffed and complained about my bad break, then left the ensuing shot in the bunker. Now I was really in trouble.

I angrily splashed the next one out, raked the trap in disgust, missed the 20-footer for bogey, tapped in for double and openly cursed the golf gods. I was cooked at that point and the golf gods were up there lauging like hyenas.

I made bogey on #16 because my head was gone. Then miraculously made a par despite myself at #17 before settling for another bogey on an easy par-5 #18 to turn 70 or 71 into 76 and shooting myself pretty much out of the tournament due to one 45 minute stretch of losing my mind and my emotional control.

But I learned my lesson that day. I owe the golf gods a huge amount of credit for teaching me something I couldn't have figured out myself. I have since lost other golf tournaments, but never because I lost my head. The other guys might beat me occasionally, because golf works like that, but I won't beat myself.

And Geno Auriemma influenced me, too, with some of his comments over the years about body language and how it helps him and his staff determine if they're getting the most out of their players.

Coaching is unique in that different approaches are necessary depending on the sport.

Basketball is one of those sports where the action is fast and furious and it requires the coach to either "get their team going" by reacting emotionally or "slow their team down" by showing a more even-keeled approach.

Baseball is different, obviously. The game just sort of winds along, generally at the same pace. The in-game coaching that goes on is more strategical than it is emotional.

But occasionally even baseball managers have to react with emotion to send their team a message. The best managers know when to do that and when not to do that.

I was recently at a high school basketball game (not involving Calvert Hall, I'll say that for clarification) where a team ("A") was winning by 7 points with under 2 minutes to go. The trailing team ("B") made a basket with 1:40 remaining that was poorly defended by team A. The lead was now 5 points. The team A head coach then called time out and ripped into several players during the time-out with expletives and outbursts that could be heard throughout the gymnasium.

As I watched the moment, I thought to myself, "How do you expect the players on your team to have emotional control when you don't have any yourself?"

And, further, you're still ahead by 5 points. You have 30 seconds to tell your players something that will impact them...and you're getting the ball with a chance to salt the game away if you can score another basket on the next trip down the court. And you're spending 25 of those 30 seconds screaming at 2 or 3 kids who missed a defensive assignment?

Team A held on to win, thankfully, but it wasn't easy. They turned the ball over in the final minute, missed a foul shot, failed to block out under the basket and, in general, tried to unravel and lose but team B wasn't able to pull it off.

On each occasion when team A made a miscue in that final 100 seconds, team A coach threw his hands up in the air, angrily grabbed his Gatorade bottle and slammed it on the scorer's table and acted like a goof while his players tried to hang on for dear life on the court.

The game was going along fine until the final two minutes when the coach lost his emotional control at the worst possible time. His kids played scared for the remainder of the game, worried about the next outburst instead of worrying about playing sound basketball.

That's the way it looked to me, at least, as a casual observer with no real horse in the race other than being there to see a friend's son play for one of the two teams.

If the coach has poor emotional control and bad body language, how do you expect the players to be any better?

Geno Auriemma helped me understand the importance of those things. So last night's record-setting 1200th victory was cool for me to see, on a personal level.

He "gets it".

Sure, he's had some of college basketball's greatest female players play for him over the last two decades.

Ask any coach about the value of having quality players. It's much easier to win when you have great players and the other teams have good players.

I've been asked hundreds of times since last May: "Congrats on the championship. How'd you guys do it?"

My answer never changes: "We had the 15 best golfers in the MIAA on the same team and they played great golf all season." End of story.

Sure, it helps to have great players. But they generally become great on their own and then you just help them stay great. That's my opinion, anyway. It's your job to help them stay great or get better. If you do that, you've won as a coach.

Speaking of Auriemma, he's on my Mount Rushmore of great coaches in my lifetime.

As you click the "play" button on the video below to see who my four coaches are, please note you won't see Vince Lombardi there because he wasn't really in my lifetime.

For purposes of this exercise, I went with coaches from 1980 through 2024.

My four are showcased on the video below.

They probably won't surprise you. Your four might be the same. Or your four might be totally different.

Feel free to provide your four in the Comments section below.

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February 7, 2024
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terps, rahm, rosburg and more

Earlier this week, I authored a column right here in these parts about the prospects of Maryland perhaps sneaking their way onto the March Madness bubble if they could string together 6 wins in their last 9 Big Ten games, including two over ranked opponents like Illinois and Wisconsin.

And then last night they lost at home...to...Rutgers.

You might have heard of Rutgers before. They're lousy at sports.

Jahmir Young and the Terps suffered through another awful night shooting the ball in Tuesday's 56-53 loss at home to Rutgers.

But somehow they tripped up the Terps last night and delivered a resounding blow to Maryland's Big Dance hopes.

Maryland's not "DONE", yet, but with last night's loss they now have D-O-N.

Dale Williams will handle the full unpacking of the loss with his game review below.

I'm just here to spit out the obvious facts about the importance of last night's defeat. It's one thing to lose to teams like Purdue and Michigan State. Those two are perennial Big Ten powers. It's another thing, entirely, to lose to Rutgers.

Losing to Rutgers in your own building is like having Charlie Brown hit the game-winning 33 yard field goal against you.

It's not good.

And now, the Terps will have to really pull a rabbit out of their hat to get anywhere near that magical Joe Lunardi bubble that everyone in the country follows.

They'll have to beat both Illinois and Wisconsin and then almost run the table just to get a mention from Lunardi.

And let's be honest. Maryland just lost at home to Rutgers. That means they're probably going to lose to someone else they shouldn't lose to at some point in the next five weeks, like Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana or Iowa.

March Madness just isn't the same if the Terps aren't in there to at least lose on that first weekend of the tournament.

We're now resigned to doing what most Beatles fans did a month before a new album was released: praying for a miracle.

The Terps lost at home to Rutgers.

I keep repeating it hoping it's not true. But it is.

It didn't take Jon Rahm long to start crying about a potential return to the PGA Tour. About two months, in fact.

Rahm, who joined LIV Golf in early December, is already dropping very-public hints about wanting to play tournaments on the PGA Tour.

"I'm hoping that in the near future I can be back playing some of those events," Rahm said on Tuesday at Las Vegas Country Club, the site of this week's LIV Golf event. "I would certainly love to go back and play some of them. If there's ever a way back and a way where we can play, even if it's as an invite, I will take it. There's certain events that are special to me that I would still love to support."

Poor Jon. It must be tough to have buyer's remorse two months after you collected upwards of $400 million to sell your soul.

It's been especially tough for Rahm over the last few weeks as the PGA Tour has made stops at some of his favorite courses and tournaments.

"It was a lot harder to be at home not competing and know that those events were going on," Rahm said. "Palm Springs and Torrey, those weeks were hard. I've explained so many times how important Torrey is for me."

Well, it couldn't have been too important. After two years of bad-mouthing LIV, Rahm caved in and took their money, knowing he would be ineligible to play at Torrey Pines and this week's event in Phoenix, another popular stop on TOUR.

"Driving by Phoenix as often as I had to and knowing that I wasn't going to play there, it's definitely emotional," Rahm, who lives in Arizona, said. "That's one of the things that I'm going to miss."

Rahm said in December he took the $400 million offer from LIV in part because of the rumored deal getting hammered out between the PGA Tour and LIV.

But the much-discussed PGA Tour-LIV Golf alliance has still not been finalized. Rahm rolled the dice back in December that the two parties would eventually iron out an agreement and he figured he sneak in a cool $400 million payday and then eventually return to the TOUR to complete the ultimate pro golf double-dip.

Instead, he's been reduced to whining about not getting to play some of his favorite tournaments. It's not a great look for the reigning Masters champ.

But $400 million should ease the pain and the embarrassment of jumping ship.

It must really drive those LIV guys nuts that they left the PGA Tour and the tournaments they once loved still carry on and are played as if nothing ever happened.

So it appears the Ravens don't have a "Game Management Coach" after all, as Monday's news that Jerry Rosburg would return to the organization in that capacity were shot down on Tuesday.

Respected NFL reporter Tom Pelissero was the first one with the story on Monday.

And when the Ravens themselves didn't go out of their way to squelch it, everyone assumed it was legit and Rosburg would be joining the club as John Harbaugh's "Game Management Coach".

Very few things in the NFL are ever about money, unless it's somehow connected to a team's salary cap.

So it couldn't have been money that forced Rosburg to reconsider the position.

What was it, then?

My bird-in-a-tree in Owings Mills says Rosburg never officially told the Ravens he was taking the job.

Pelissero was right. Rosburg was discussing the position with the club on Monday. But that's as far as it went.

It might still come to pass that Rosburg eventually does take the job. "It's not dead, yet," a team source told me.

But Monday's development was simply a reporter jumping the gun. He put two and two together and came up with four, quite naturally. It appeared like it was a done deal until it wasn't.

One thing I learned on Tuesday was this: The idea of a Game Management Coach came from John Harbaugh himself. His first choice for the role was, in fact, Rosburg, who served in a similar capacity with the Broncos back in 2022.

The position is not new within the NFL. Several teams use a Game Management Coach, with a particular emphasis on 2-minute drills and other unique situations during practice each week and then an "assistant to the coach" role during the game itself.

It remains to be seen who might fill the role if Rosburg eventually declines the position entirely.

With both Maryland and the Capitals losing at home last night, it brought about something I hadn't seen yet this season.

I saw the question being thrown around on social media: Did those two entities hire the wrong coach?

Maryland's stunning home loss to Rutgers last night had some people starting to wonder if the Terps have the right coach in place.

And this wasn't posed by nut-case crazies on X who just want the coach fired every time the team loses. Those folks can be disregarded with the same level of enthusiasm as a Flyers fan who says, "This might be our year!"

Editor's note: It hasn't been the Flyers year since 1975. That's the last time they won the Stanley Cup. 1975. You think the Orioles World Series drought is lengthy? The Flyers haven't won the Stanley Cup in almost 50 years. It's a beautiful thing.

No, these were relatively sane people wondering if, perhaps, Kevin Willard (Terps) and Spencer Carbery (Caps) were the wrong choices by their two employers.

Willard is in his second year in College Park while Carbery is in his debut campaign in Chinatown running D.C.'s hockey team.

I know what both the Terps and Capitals need.

They need better players.

Now, sure, in Willard's case, a lot of that falls on him to go out and recruit those guys to come to Maryland and play for him. But two years in, you're still dealing with some leftover kids from the previous regime and you're trying to win at the same time in an effort to prove you're a worthy consideration.

The Terps are not an attractive option at this point. Which is only going to make Willard's job even more difficult.

Carbery's different in that he doesn't necessarily pick the players that play for him and, as a first-year guy, every player on the current roster was someone else's choice. It could take years and years before he's able to mold a roster -- in concert with the team's personnel department -- that fits his eye.

For the first time last night, the same people who soured on Mark Turgeon and Peter Laviolette were asking the question: "Did the (Terps, Capitals) hire the wrong guy?"

I don't know.

But I do know any coach needs time to put it all together and make it work.

As Ben Affleck said in the great movie, Good Will Hunting, "I don't know much...but I know that."

FOX, ESPN and Warner Brothers announced on Tuesday they will combine to offer a sports streaming service next fall that will include offerings from at least 15 networks and all four major professional sports leagues in the U.S.

In other words: Here we go.

Some people will look at this news and feel good about the fact that now they're going to have far fewer apps on their phone to pay for and watch one or two sports on.

There will be less clutter, for sure.

But it also means you're probably going to pay $20 or $30 a month for the offerings of FOX, ESPN and Warner Brothers. It's not a cup of coffee any longer. It's real money.

As we all know, this is precisely where sports on TV is headed. It won't happen in a year or three, but sometime down the road, you're going to be paying to watch virtually any and all regular season games of your favorite football, baseball, basketball and hockey teams.

The Regional Sports Network is dying a very quick death, as government-mandated cable affiliations are mostly gone. MASN, as an example, is down from an all-time high of 10 million subscribers (at $5.35 a month) to just over 3 million now. Once the RSN has to live on its own, it's days are numbered.

So we'll eventually all get the privilege of paying for the sports we want to watch, which, it seems, is probably the fairest way to do it anyway.

If you're not an Orioles fan, you've been paying $60-some dollars a year for the last 17 years for no reason at all.

It seemed backwards from jump street.

If you're an Orioles fan, paying $10 a month to watch all the games seems more than fair. It seems like a steal, frankly.

And that's where we're headed.

The news on Tuesday about FOX-ESPN-Warner Brothers teaming up isn't earth-shattering or anything like that. The NFL still has its deals with Amazon and their own NFL Network, of course. But there will likely be secondary NFL viewing options on the FOX-ESPN-Warner Brothers app that you don't or won't find anywhere else.

One national media analyst said on Tuesday the new app could feature intriguing in-game appeals like mic'd up players and coaches that the league(s) sell to those entities only and increases their app's value.

I might pay $10 a month for that. To hear the players and coaches talking during the game? Yeah, for $10, sign me up for that.

But if that's a $30 expense, I'll pass.

You might not pass on it, though, which is what they're banking on. Streaming is still a weird thing to the older generation. But for our 20-somethings and 30-somethings, it's very much a given that you're going to stream entertainment on your phone and electronic devices.

Times are changing.

It's slow, but swift at the same time.

One of these days, it's going to be all we know.

The PGA Tour will be in Phoenix this weekend for the wildly popular early-season tournament that features the largest attendance for any TOUR event and the craziest golf hole (#16) on the planet.

It's not a major, but it certainly has the feel of one, particularly now with the "Signature Event" status the tournament has claimed. The field will be impressive, despite early-week withdrawals from two top players, Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele.

Shane Lowry at 90-1 this week in the Phoenix Open? Yes, please, we'll take some of that.

If you notice something thus far in the 2024 season, lots of "mid range" guys are doing the winning. Last week it was Wyndham Clark, albeit in a weather-shortened competition, who at Pebble Beach at +4500.

We're going to mostly follow that theme with this week's picks for the Phoenix Open.

This does feel like a place where Scottie Scheffler (+500) should be part of your card, although he won't yield much of anything unless he wins outright. Scheffler is due for a win, he's won at TPC Scottsdale before, and he's the best player in the world right now. That's a tough trifecta to ignore, even if he's only paying 5-1.

But here's a list of six other players we love this week for win, Top 10 and Top 20 wagers.

Ben An (+3300) -- It feels like An is closing in on a "signature win", no pun intended. He's played great golf the last six months. And the setting at TPC Scottsdale won't rattle him at all.

J.T. Poston (+3500) -- A sublime ball striker who should fit in very well this week. If his putter gets hot, which it does several times a year, he could be a winner. Poston is also someone who desperately wants to make the '25 Ryder Cup team at Bethpage. He wants to start laying that foundation now.

Min Woo Lee (+4500) -- You're going to see this name a lot in 2024 when it comes to #DMD wagering. We love, love, love this player. Get him now for the Phoenix Open and then throw some early money on him at Augusta National. "Let Min Woo Lee cook", as he likes to say.

Adam Hadwin (+6000) -- We going back to Hadwin because we think a big win for him is right around the corner. This week could be just that occasion. And the 60-1 number is too just too inviting to pass up.

Corey Conners (+6000) -- Speaking of too inviting to pass up, when you can get Corey Conners at 60-1 at a ball striker's place like TPC Scottsdale, you run to the betting window. Get that wager in before people realize he should be 40-1, not 60-1. All it takes is Conner's putting to heat up and he's at 18-under standing on the 18th tee on Sunday afternoon with a 2-shot lead.

Shane Lowry (+9000) -- Yes, it's "that Shane Lowry" at 90-1, not a different guy named Shane Lowry. Again, he's a ball striker extraordinaire who should mesh perfectly with the amped up theater at the Phoenix Open. And when you get an excellent player at 90-1, you pounce on him. Lowry is too inviting to pass up.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps stunned at home by rutgers

It was a familiar formula that led the Terps to their 56-53 home loss to Rutgers last night.

Poor shooting (2-18 from the three-point line) and crushing turnovers from their key players stymied Maryland’s offense. Jahmir Young gave it away 5 times, as did Julian Reese.

The Rutgers game plan of selling out to stop Young was never countered by Maryland and head coach Kevin Willard.

Young forced his game, electing to penetrate and shoot shots that were ill-advised, double teamed, and highly contested. He stumbled through a 3-17 shooting night with his drives to the rim yielding just 1 bucket in 13 shots.

It’s hard to place blame on a defensive effort that limited Rutgers to just 56 points, but Maryland’s effort in the second half was sub-par and equally complicit in this loss. The Terp “D” gave up 34 points in the second half to the worst offense in the Big Ten.

Donta Scott's last second 3-point attempt fell short and Maryland lost at home to Rutgers last night, 56-53.

The team that’s last in field goal percentage shot 50% in the second half (14-28) with most of those field goals being layups. An offense that produces 53 points is an issue. A defense that for 20 minutes gets run over by Rutgers is an embarrassment.

Julian Reese led Maryland with 19 points. Mawot Mag and Jerimiah Williams paced Rutgers with 15 and 14 respectively.

Turnovers and missed shots defined Maryland’s opening 4 minutes. Reese scored the Terps only bucket, but he also threw the ball away twice. The Terps were 1 -5 shooting, with Donta Scott missing both of Maryland’s three-point tries. The score was 6-2 at the first TV break.

The next 4 minutes saw all but one Scarlet Knight possession end in a turnover. The game was tied at this point, 8-8. A 5-0 Rutgers advantage on the offensive boards gave them chances that their turnovers denied.

Maryland then decided not to score for a while and found themselves down 15-8 when play was stopped for the under 8-minute media break.

During the 5:40 drought the Terps missed all five of their shots and turned it over 4 times. Reese also missed all three of his foul shots. One of those shots was courtesy of a Rutgers lane violation.

Coming out of the break, Jamie Kaiser made two foul shots after he was hacked in the act on a rare (for him) move to the basket.

Maryland had gone 6:22 without a field goal when Reese got a putback after Jordan Geronimo missed a dunk. Reese then contributed a single foul shot to trim Maryland’s deficit to 2, 15-13.

The Terps finally broke the ice from long range when Young drilled a triple. The Terps had regained the lead, 16-15. The Scarlet Knights called timeout, and promptly threw the ball away when play resumed.

Play stopped again at 3:25. The offensive numbers at that point were depressing.

Both teams had attempted 23 shots, with the Terps hitting just 6 (26%) and Rutgers making 7 (30%). Each side had made 1 three-pointer with Rutgers having attempted 7 and Maryland throwing up 10.

Rutgers had already committed 12 turnovers and the Terps gave up the ball 7 times. Rutgers led 19-18. This wasn’t what Naismith had in mind when he invented the game of basketball.

Mercifully, the half ended. The Terps were up by 2, 24-22.

The two most influential occurrences during the first 20 minutes were the three fouls picked up by both Clifford Omoruyi and Jeramiah Williams. Each starter was limited to just 8 minutes of floor time. Maryland capitalized on Omoruyi’s absence by going to Reese. He had a team high 9 first-half points. Young was just 1 for 7 from the floor.

Prior to the start of half number two, the most impressive thing I had seen on the court so far was a dog jumping Double-Dutch during halftime. The game was that bad.

The Terps went right back to Reese to get the second half scoring started. However, any possibility of pulling away was thwarted by their 4 turnovers in the first 4 minutes of the half. Three of those were really careless passes that showed a lack of intensity by Maryland. The game was tied at 30 with 15:41 left in the game.

A Jamichae Davis triple for Rutgers gave reason for Coach Willard to call timeout. His team now trailed by 5 points and had allowed Rutgers to hit their last 3 shots. Maryland looked lethargic and uninterested. Five turnovers and just 4 made shots will do that.

After the stoppage, Young hit a three for Maryland, closing the gap to 2 points 37-35. Neither team scored again before the under 12-minute timeout.

Rutgers was employing an effective strategy of using as many players as it took to keep Young out of the paint. He was forcing some shots, as evidenced by his 3 for 14 shooting at this point in the game. There was 7:42 left to play and the Terps trailed 42-37.

It was turnovers, again, that kept the Terps in a hole. This time it was a seven-point hole that seemed like a deep well considering the Terps couldn’t score.

The hole took on the appearance of a grave when Rutgers scored on consecutive possessions. They held a 9-point lead with 2:54 remaining. The Terps' usually reliable defense had permitted the Scarlet Knights to shoot 52% (13-25) so far in the second half. Rutgers also had an 18-8 advantage in points in the paint.

A technical foul on Mag provided Young with 2 foul shots, which he made. Reese followed with a put back, and then the Terp press came up with a steal. Scott was at the line shooting 2 with a chance to reduce the lead to 3 points, He delivered. There was some life in the arena and in the team.

Rutgers’ Williams went to the rack and was rejected by Reese. The Terps had the ball with a chance to tie the game. From my angle I couldn’t tell if Kaiser threw the ball away on the Terps possession or if Young just failed to catch it. Either way, another careless Maryland turnover gave the ball back to Rutgers.

Maryland would get the ball back with 1:17 remaining, down 3, 52-49. Young drove to the hoop, but his shot was blocked. He retained possession and his prayer from under the basket was answered by a foul call, bailing him out.

He went to the line shooting 2. That “home cooking” call provided Maryland with 2 points as Young converted both foul shots. 52-51 with 1:05 and the Terps pressing.

After breaking the press, Rutgers held the ball while running down the shot clock. Maryland played great defense for 29 seconds. Too bad the shot is 30. Williams slipped by for a crucial, easy layup at the buzzer. A review confirmed he got the shot off in time. 54-51.

A Scott layup made the game, 54-53. Maryland again pressed and intentionally fouled twice, to get Rutgers into the bonus. The next foul put Mag on the line for one and one. The first shot rattled around the rim before going in. The second one also found the bottom of the net.

Maryland raced the ball up court before calling timeout. They trailed 56-53 with 13.9 seconds left. The big question was would they try a three of go for 2. They were 2 for 17 shooting threes at this point.

We never really found out. Young got trapped on the sideline after a double team. His outlet pass to Scott left only seconds for a fade-away three from very deep on the left wing. The shot was short all the way and the Terps had suffered a 56-53 loss. That possession, especially after a timeout, was a disaster.

I’m rarely the guy to jump onto the “outcoached” bandwagon.

I think it’s perhaps the most misused term when analyzing a team sporting event. It’s just the easiest place to park the blame, ask any OC in the NFL.

In this instance, I need someone to explain to me how Willard allowed Young to continually get himself caught in the lane putting up desperation shots. Meanwhile, you have a guy that’s 8 for 10 from the field, Reese, and he’s not getting his number called.

I’m fully aware that Coach Pikiell was trying to also double Reese as much as possible, but last night, that was by far the better option. We all know Reese doesn’t handle the ball well, but he was Maryland’s leading assist guy against Michigan State.

Plus, he was fighting all night, getting 5 offensive rebounds. Reese getting 10 shots while Young goes 3-17 and Scott goes 3-10; well, it makes little sense to me. He was playing hard, reward him.

Speaking of Scott, push away the thoughts that his 3-point stroke is back. After last night’s O-for, he’s made just 3 of his last 22 three-pointers. And, while I’m harping on the deficiencies of this group, lets give a failing grade to whoever is working with Reese on his foul shooting.

The Terp junior made 41 of 51 in his freshman year, That’s a very respectable 80%. Last season he fell to 53% and he’s at 58% for 2023-2024.

Last night he made just 3 of 9, and actually it was 3 of 10 because he was awarded an extra attempt after a scarlet Knight lane violation. He missed that one also.

In a single possession game like last night, those points are critical. I need someone to explain to me how a guy can go from 80% to the 50’s, unless he’s being paid to miss. I just don’t understand it all..

Reese’s stroke is jacked and needs to be scrapped, but what happened to the 80% move? While you’re at it, maybe touch on how Scott went from hitting 44% of his threes as a sophomore, down to 29% the next year. Head shaking.

The Terps, on most nights, have 3 scoring options. They are Young, Scott, and Reese. When 2 of those players shoot 6 for 27, and the team goes 2 for 18 from the three-point line, then it's up to your defense to get you the win.

Last night, all of that happened.

The offense was..well…offensive. But the defense and coaching faltered too, and the Terps suffered what can only be referred to as a really bad, ugly, loss at home to a team that was 3-7 in the league.

Next up, the Terps hit the road to play Ohio State (3-9) on Saturday at 4 pm. Watch it on FS1

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February 6, 2024
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some very serious questions

We're getting to the point again where the mailbox is overloaded.

I try my best to get to them. But then something happens like, you know, the Orioles trade for a Cy Young pitcher or the team gets sold to a group of mostly local business leaders.

There was also that little thing called "The Ravens in the AFC Championship Game" that also filled these pages for a week or two.

I do appreciate those of you who send in questions you'd like to see answered here. Occasionally, I'll reply privately just to get it off my plate. But for the most part, if I think the question is something people would find interesting, I save it for the Mailbag and publish it here.

We have a few hard hitting questions today, including a couple that were submitted just yesterday and are very timely.

As always, if you have any questions for me, send them in: 18inarow@gmail.com

Ramey asks -- "Now that you've had time to digest it all, who gets the biggest bulk of the blame for that loss to the Chiefs? As you always say, someone has to get the blame. Who gets it in your book?"

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens once again came up empty in the big game, falling to K.C., 17-10.

DF says -- "I say that but don't abide by that theory at all. But that is how people work. "We were supposed to win and we didn't, so one of our players has to be the reason why it didn't work out."

I generally use the pizza theory, giving "slices" to different players or things that happened along the way.

But I'll play along since you asked. If one member of the Ravens deserved the bulk of the blame for the 17-10 loss, it was the quarterback. Because it's almost always the quarterback at that point. I assume the winner of this Sunday's Super Bowl will see the same thing take shape; either Mahomes will outperform Purdy and K.C. wins or Purdy outperforms Mahomes and the 49'ers win.

Lamar makes $52 million annually. The Ravens gave him that money, in part, because they assumed when the lights were on and the chips were down, he'd play like a $52 million quarterback. Instead, he played like an improved version of Desmond Ridder. That doesn't take away what he did during the regular season, mind you. But you asked who gets the blame. That's my pick.

I realize a lot of folks in town want to pin it on Todd Monken, but deep down in places we don't talk about at parties, Lamar was supposed to be able to overcome all of that because he's the MVP and the $52 million man. And he didn't."

Jeff Printz asks -- "Hi Drew, a question for your reader Mailbag. What's the final grade for Peter G. Angelos as the owner of Orioles?"

DF says -- "I don't know. I realize this is what we're going to do now that it appears a change in ownership is actually happening. I just don't know that he should be graded like that given there was a lot going on behind the scenes with MLB moving the team to D.C., the MASN fiasco, etc.

We only know about 25% of what went on with Peter during his 31 years of owning the team. What we know, of course, wasn't all that great. He did some good things. And he did some not-so-good things. The franchise had a period (2000-2011) where they were the laughingstock of all of baseball, pretty much.

I'd like to think that we, as human beings, can balance things out a bit by looking at the positive contributions he made to his community, many of which went unpublicized and/or ignored. He donated millions and millions of dollars to various entities within the city and state.

I know some people like to poo-poo those kinds of things, but it's not their millions they're giving away. Peter donated a lot of money for some very positive things in town and never asked for anything in return, attention-wise.

I'd like to just leave it at that. His baseball ownership had highs and lows. But he balanced out a lot of the lows with some incredibly generous moments that made our community better. I think that's a fair way to grade him."

Paul Bortchen asks -- "What are your thoughts on Jerry Rosburg getting a position on Harbaugh's staff as the Game Management Coordinator? What exactly do you think that job will consist of? And do you think Steve Bisciotti forced Harbaugh to create that spot?"

DF says -- "I don't know what to say or what to think because I have no idea what that means. Is Rosburg now going to be in charge of sending down challenge information to Harbaugh once he sees the replays on TV? That would be great, if so. People can stop crying about John "messing up challenges" even though he hasn't actually called for a challenge on his own in a decade, probably. Now, it will be Rosburg's fault.

I have no idea what the position will entail. Does Jerry Rosburg radio down to Harbaugh with 1:54 remaining and say, "After this next play, take a time out."? I'm kind of joking. But I'm also serious. I mean, "game management" is just that, right? When to call time-outs, when to dirt the ball, when to throw the ball, run it, etc.

So, next January if Todd Monken is calling all pass plays in the playoff game, does Jerry Rosburg tap him on the shoulder and say, "Hey, I'm 2nd on the pecking order here -- you know, the Game Management Coordinator -- and you need to start running the friggin' ball before I say something to Harbs."?

This sounds like a bit of a goofy idea the more I think about it. But I'm saying that with no idea what the details of the position are. Maybe it would make more sense if I knew. As it stands now, it just seems like a weird way to pay some guy $200,000 a year to tell you to use your first time out with 2:43 left in the game.

And, no, I don't think Steve Bisciotti had anything to do with it. He pays John $16 million a year to coach the team. If Steve wanted to coach the team, he'd save the $16 million and do it himself.

Credit to Harbaugh for creating Rosburg's position, though. That should shut up the critics until at least next September's season opener."

Robbie asks -- "Hey Drew, I went out to the driving range on Saturday and Sunday and I've developed a nasty case of the shanks. Please help me! I didn't touch the clubs all winter so I'm just hoping this is something you go through after a 4-month layoff. Can you give me some tips to get rid of them? I'm right handed if that makes a difference. Thanks, coach!"

DF says -- "First rule of thumb. NEVER, EVER say (or write out) the word! I'll call them "the laterals" just so I don't have to say the word that starts with "s" and ends with "k".

Second thing. Don't fret. Everyone hits one of those on occasion. My old buddy Bill Bassler Sr. from Rolling Road said "A sh--k is the closest you'll come to hitting a perfect golf shot."

Now, how do you get rid of it? Here's what I think: You're either too close to the ball at address or you move to your toes on the downswing. Either of those will cause the hosel to move into the ball at impact, which is why it strikes the ball first and causes the ball to shoot off to the right (for right handed players).

Go back to the range and try to stand away from the ball more at address. And on the downswing, make a concerted effort to keep your weight either in the middle of or even closer to your heels at impact. You're trying to do anything you can to keep the hosel from moving out in the direction of the ball at impact.

As Romeo said in the great movie Tin Cup, "The sh--ks are like a virus...they just show up out of nowhere." And they'll eventually go away, too. Don't worry about that."

Ed asks -- "I'm genuinely curious about your disdain for the Beatles given that I find most of your musical tastes to connect with mine (I'm 7 years younger than you, I believe). Can you honestly name 10 bands better than the Beatles? And I mean that. Can you honestly find 10 better?"

DF says -- "No, Ed, I can't name ten."

Dustin Johnson and the rest of the LIV golfers continue to toil in relative obscurity while waiting for the PGA Tour and LIV to come up with some sort of working agreement.

Brian Teske asks -- "Any second thoughts or new opinions about LIV Golf now that the golf season is underway and Rahm has bolted? It seems like Rory is coming around to the fact that the two groups have to work together. What say you?"

DF says -- "I said from the day they birthed LIV that I didn't understand why the two groups didn't work together with certain non-negotiable rules in place to protect the history and sweat equity of the PGA Tour. I'm still saying the same thing today.

I don't know why the PGA Tour doesn't run its schedule from January through the end of August (like they do now) and then LIV can play from September through December at whatever international courses they can find.

And if a PGA Tour player wants to fly to Dubai or Tokyo in November and play LIV golf, let him do it. The PGA Tour can create whatever rules they need to make sure their top players play a minimum number of events in the U.S. every season.

The problem, of course, is LIV has been playing "good cop" for two years when, in reality, they're trying their hardest to disrupt and wreck the PGA Tour if they can.

Under my idea, the PGA Tour can remain in the U.S., Mexico and Canada (and the two weeks they're in the UK for the Scottish and British Open) and LIV can go to Dubai, Australia, Japan, Spain, South Africa or anywhere else they want...other than North America.

I'm not sure why that's so hard to figure out.

As it stands now, though, I'm as "anti-LIV" as I've ever been. I've never watched one second of it. I have no interest in who wins, who loses, who plays well, etc. I couldn't care less. I'm sure the 3,300 families who lost loved ones in the 9-11 attacks haven't watched any of it, either."

Miles asks -- "Hi Drew, for your next Q&A column, rank these golfers in order of their greatness. Thanks so much and Go Hall! Raymond Floyd, Payne Stewart, Ben Crenshaw, Davis Love 3rd, Paul Azinger."

DF says -- "Well, Payne Stewart is the outlier in the group because he died at such a young age, albeit with three major championships.

I think Ray Floyd was the best of that group. He won everything except the British Open and finished with 4 career majors. He was a fierce competitor with a remarkable short game. The Masters he gave away in 1990 probably still haunts him, but his career was outstanding.

Stewart would have won more than 3 majors, I assume. He was a great ball striker and a gamer under the gun. The bigger the moment, the better he was. He was Ian Poulter...but Payne could actually win, if that makes sense. I think he's the second best of that group.

It's kind of a toss-up after that. Tee-to-green, Davis Love III was potentially the best of all five of those guys, he just wasn't a great putter. Crenshaw, of course, was arguably a top 3 putter of all time but was wild off the tee. Azinger was just a fighter with a homemade swing. He was the least accomplished of that group.

1. Floyd, 2. Stewart, 3. Love III, 4. Crenshaw, 5. Azinger."

Scott P. asks -- "OK, now that the game is over, would you do this trade? Ravens win the AFC Championship Game over K.C. with no guarantee of how they would do in the Super Bowl and in exchange, the O's struggle to an 83-79 season in 2024 and miss the playoffs."

DF says -- "No way. Sorry. If the Ravens get to the Super Bowl and lose, it's pretty much the same thing (to me) as losing in the AFC Championship Game. Only one team wins their last game of the season every year. Everyone else is bummed out. I'm not trading anything for what we might see from the Orioles in 2024!

They won 101 games last season with "that" team. They might win 105 or more this season, if everyone stays healthy for six months. I fully expect the O's to be in the ALCS in 2024."

On second thought, Ed. I wrote earlier I couldn't name 10 bands better than the Beatles. And that's true. I can't name 10. I can name 20.

1. Electric Light Orchestra

2. The Cure

3. R.E.M.

4. Oasis


6. Led Zeppelin

7. Talking Heads

8. Pearl Jam

9. Soundgarden

10. Echo and the Bunnymen

11. The Smiths

12. Aerosmith

13. Sublime

14. Lynyrd Skynyrd

15. Little Feat

16. The Cars

17. The Guess Who

18. The Doors

19. Hall and Oates

20. AC/DC

I left out 5 very obvious bands just because I couldn't squeeze them in and leave out any of the other 20...

You asked, Ed. You asked...

And while you didn't ask for it, here's R.E.M.'s most underrated song ever.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps host rutgers tonight

If anyone knows a good welder, it may be wise to ask them to head on down to the XFINITY Center before tonight’s Terp game against Rutgers and reinforce the rims with some rebar.

While they’re at it, throw another layer of plexiglass on the backboards too. If current form holds, a ton of bricks will be launched tonight. Without reinforcement, the only defense the basket may have will be an air-ball.

We all know how off line the Terrapin 3-point shooters can be, but the Rutgers Scarlet Knight shooters make the Terps look like Trajan Langdon, the former Duke Blue Devil Alaskan Assassin.

Not only is Rutgers the worst 3-point shooting team in the Big Ten (just 28%), but they match that futility by being the worst 2-point and worst foul shooting team too.

The Knights have made just 3 of their last 30 attempts from behind the arc and the numbers only get a smidgen better when adding in other recent games. They have two starters making about 30% from long range, but their lineup is void of any player who you would label as a “threat”.

#DMD's Dale Williams says Maryland's Donta Scott is set up for a big night against Rutgers in College Park this evening.

This Rutgers team could have been much better if not for the transfer portal. The Huskies stole two key pieces from last season’s Scarlet Knight team.

Cam Spencer took his offensive game to the UConn Huskies while Paul Mulcahy is plying his trade with the Washington Huskies. Those two alone wouldn’t suddenly vault this Rutgers team into an at-large bid conversation, but this Scarlet Knight team would have been better than last year’s NIT team.

Rutgers has had a series of injuries, most notably to Mawot Mag. Mag has a great body for basketball, being a lithe 6’7” and carrying 215 pounds. He has missed 8 games this year and all of his numbers are down.

Although cleared to play after tearing his ACL last February, he clearly is not the same player he was before his injury. The phrase, “Working himself back into playing shape” has been used to describe him.

Last season, Rutgers was a potential NCAA Tournament team before they finished the season 2-6 with Mag sidelined with his injury.

Perhaps some scoring relief for Rutgers will come from Jeremiah Williams, who was just cleared to play after transferring from Temple. In his only game as a Scarlet Knight, he provided 10 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes.

It needs to be mentioned that those 10 points came on just 4 of 12 shooting, but it still was 10 points. He’ll definitely help this team on both ends of the court. He’s a nice defender, being a long 6’4 guard.

My favorite Knight is Cliff Omoruyi. The 6’11” center is almost a double-double every night with 10 points and 9 rebounds per game. He’s a chiseled 245 pounds, but lacks a signature move on the low blocks and has no perimeter game at all.

I like him because he’s an athletic big man who fights all game long and he’s also the fourth best shot-blocker in all of college basketball.

The Rutgers point guard, Derek Simpson, is a name you’ll hear a lot tomorrow. He’s their playmaker and the one guy who can get to the rim. He leads the Knights with 3.2 assists per game. It’s very difficult to accumulate assists when your teammates don’t make the shot.

As a team, Rutgers doesn’t do anything very special. They run the same plays that most teams run, play man defense most of the time, and press a little. They thrive on tenacious “D” (not the one with Jack Black), but just struggle to score.

When a team misses as many shots as I believe Rutgers will, a key to the game must be rebounding. The Scarlet Knights need volume to post enough points to win. If Maryland can limit the Rutgers second chance buckets, then they’ll win the game.

After rewatching last year’s 64-50 Terp loss on the road against Rutgers, (a game where Maryland scored just 8 points in the game’s first 17:30) I’m convinced that Julian Reese can score on Omoruyi. Reese was 4 for 5 against him last year and Maryland really didn’t run any sets designed to get Reese the ball inside.

I thoroughly realize that the Rutgers big man is a talented defender and shot blocker, but Maryland needs to establish an inside game tonight and Reese can pull this off. It’s the only way to open up whatever outside game the Terps might have.

I’ll also place an importance on playing physical basketball. That might go hand in hand with rebounding, but Rutgers will come to College Park knowing that their chances of winning rely on being the more physical team.

The Terps might be frustrating on offense, but they can play a tough physical game, especially on defense. If they can maintain that type of intensity, they can improve to 6-6 in the Big Ten.

With the line set at Terps -7.5, and the over/under at 122.5, the books are trying to tell us this will be a low scoring game with the Terps handling business at home. Those numbers suggest a score of about 65-57. I don’t see Rutgers getting to 57 unless they do so in mop-up time after Maryland has secured the win.

Reese gets back to being an inside presence, Young again dominates, and Scott should have one of his biggest nights of the year. It all adds up to a 69-54 win for the Terps.

Gametime is 6:30 p.m. Watch it on BTN.

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February 5, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

i wonder

Things to ponder on this Super Bowl week.

It feels kind of weird, still, that the Ravens aren't playing this Sunday in Las Vegas. I'll watch the game, sure, but I'm just not that enthused about the match-up. Without the Ravens, I need someone else in the game to pull for...and neither of these two teams do it for me.

For the record, I think San Francisco's winning. But I don't care either way. Both quarterbacks are deeply rooted in their faith and will offer praise to Jesus on the stage after the game, so in that regard, it's a "win" no matter the outcome.

I wonder, though...

I wonder if it bothers Travis Kelce at all that he's always the 2nd most popular person in the room anytime he's out in public with Taylor Swift?

Kelce's "popular". Swift's an icon. And while Kelce's nearing the end of his career, Swift is basking in her prime, having just hauled in multiple awards at last night's Grammys.

Speaking of last night's event, Swift won the big awards but Miley Cyrus won "outfit of the night". I'd post it here but there are kids who visit #DMD occasionally. The entire gown was made up of 14,000 gold safety pins. No fabric, just safety pins. And Lord only knows what she paid for that piece of "apparel". Whatever it was, I'm jealous I didn't come up with the idea and sell it to Cyrus.

I wonder, after watching about 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the Pro Bowl yesterday, why they still play the game and go through the trouble of bringing everyone in for a weekend of shenanigans?

I realize the actual game itself was also dreadful back in the day when they played a "real" football game. But this thing -- a combination of a flag football game and skills competition -- is just awful. The players seem to warm up to it as the day goes, which is realistically the only way it gets saved from being a complete flop.

Wyndham Clark won for the 3rd time in less than a year yesterday when the final round of the AT&T at Pebble Beach was called off due to bad weather.

I wonder if we're starting to see the blossoming of Wyndham Clark as a legitimate PGA Tour star after his 3rd career win yesterday in the weather-shortened event at Pebble Beach?

Sure, Sunday's win has an asterisk, but he came within 2 inches of shooting 59 on Saturday, albeit while they were playing "lift, clean and place" because of the soggy turf. Clark is a legitimate star in the making, having won twice last year -- including the U.S. Open -- and looking like he's going to keep on winning this season.

When his putter is on, he's one of the top 10 players in the world. It was plugged in and red-hot on Saturday when he made almost everything he looked at until the 16th hole. He left putts right in the heart at 16, 17 and 18 or else he would have posted a 59 or, perhaps, even a 58. He's one of the best ball strikers alive. If the putter matches his tee-to-green game on any given, he's a threat to win.

I wonder what else Mike Elias is going to do between now and the start of spring training? It's going to be impossible to top last week's trade for Corbin Burnes, obviously. But does Elias have one more trick up his sleeve before pitchers and catchers report next week?

At least one more bullpen arm is necessary. And what about an additional bat of some kind? Jorge Soler or J.D. Martinez, perhaps?

There are still some quality pitchers available via free agency, but it's unlikely Elias would pull the trigger on the likes of Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery or Clayton Kershaw. The O's rotation is set, barring some sort of spring training injury that could necessitate landing one more proven starter.

I wonder how many goals Alex Ovechkin will finish with in the '23-24 regular season? He just completed a mind-numbing first half of the campaign with 9 goals in 44 games. That's not a typo. 9 (nine) goals.

Ovi now has 831 goals in his career, leaving him 64 shy of breaking Wayne Gretzky's all-time record of 894. He was expected to get somewhere up near 855 by the end of this season, giving him a puncher's chance of breaking the mark late in the '24-25 campaign. Now, unless he goes on a wild scoring tear over the last 30-some games of this season, he'll need all of next year and some portion of the '25-26 campaign to break the record.

There's also a Caps playoff chase for Ovechkin to concern himself with; the Capitals are likely going right down to the wire in an effort to make the Eastern Conference post-season. There's a lot of heat on Ovi over the next two and a half months.

I wonder if there's any way Maryland is going to make the NCAA tournament with roughly a month left in the regular season? I saw something last Friday that indicated the Terps would have been "on the bubble" had they gone to Michigan State and won on Saturday. Alas, they didn't.

The Terps still have 9 conference games left. They're currently 5-6 in the Big Ten and 13-9 overall. They only have two games remaining against ranked teams; vs. Illinois on February 17 and at Wisconsin on February 20.

I'm no Joe Lunardi, but -- barring a miracle run in the Big Ten tournament -- it would strike me that the Terps probably have to win both of those games and then go at least 4-3 in the other seven games to finish at 19-12 overall and 11-9 in conference play.

Left to play other than Illinois and Wisconsin are; Rutgers (H), Ohio State (A), Iowa (H), Rutgers (A), Northwestern (H), Indiana (H), Penn State (A). Maryland could lose any of those games. Or they could win them all. The two key games come against Illinois and Wisconsin. If the Terps somehow win those two, they have hope they might be able to sneak into the Big Dance, somehow.

It's still a longshot, yes. But they do have a chance.

I wonder if the Ravens team will be any different next season because their coaching staff has been decimated with departures over the last 5 days?

I get it: Players play and coaches coach. But coaching does matter. And the Ravens had themselves a whopper of a staff before Mike Macdonald started the domino effect last week.

John Harbaugh has to pretty much rebuild the entire defensive staff, at least in the key positions, and he's turning over his defense to a 31-year old Zach Orr. I can't help but think that's going to be a little bit odd to have Orr potentially telling a 32 year old player what to do and how to play the game.

I wonder if it drives music fans and historians nuts that Taylor Swift now has double the amount of Grammy awards (14 to 7) than the Beatles managed to win in their day?

Kanye West has 24 Grammys by the way. 17 more than the Fab Four but 8 fewer than the all-time Grammys leader. Kanye also had a song a few years back called "I Wonder". In case you didn't know that, now you do.

Do you know who has the most Grammys ever? I would have definitely lost this bet. Beyonce leads the way with 32.

In fairness, instead of worrying about Beyonce's 32, most folks are probably trying to figure out how on earth the Beatles ever won 7? Probably a slow year at the ballot box. That's my guess.

One more thing about the 2024 awards. Swift did something last night no one in music has ever done before. She won "Album of the Year" for a fourth time. Miley Cyrus won her first two Grammys last night as well. It's not my cup of tea, per se, but those ladies can definitely sing, that's for certain.

Cyrus won "Record of the Year" last night for "Flowers". Here's an awesome version of it.

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February 4, 2024
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what did we learn?

That's probably the $64,000 question as it relates to last Sunday's season-ending loss to the Chiefs.

What did we learn?

They say it's never a failure if a lesson was learned.

I'll broad-brush the topic to include all of the 2023 season and playoffs.

What did we learn about the Ravens and/or their players and coaches?

Someone asked me that question on Wednesday of this week.

"We learned the better team doesn't always win. But the team that plays the best, does," was my initial reply.

I think if the Ravens and Chiefs played five times, the Ravens would win a minimum of three of those and perhaps even four.

They lost the one time they couldn't afford to lose, though.

What did we learn about Lamar on Sunday that we didn't know before that 17-10 loss to the Chiefs?

I still don't think the Chiefs had and/or are a better than the Ravens. But they certainly played the best last Sunday. There's no arguing that.

The Chiefs have a better quarterback. Their guy is an established, dominant force. Lamar Jackson is also an alpha, but not quite to the same level as Patrick Mahomes.

We learned that Lamar is still prone to having "one of those games" when we absolutely, 100% can ill afford to have it happen.

I know that I assumed Jackson wouldn't lay an egg like the one he laid last Sunday. I really did think he was past that stage of his career.

Alas, he isn't.

What we're hoping, of course, is that Lamar learned something last Sunday. The next time he's in the AFC Championship Game, we're hoping he takes whatever lessons he was taught vs. the Chiefs and applies them appropriately.

We learned the Ravens aren't totally inept at filling the wide receiver position. Now, you might adopt the stance of "one season doesn't change everything" and I can see where that's true for the skeptics. But, for one year at least, Eric DeCosta got it right with Zay, Bateman, OBJ and Agholor.

Most of us thought the Ravens would be receiver-starved forever. It looks like that might not be true after all.

We learned a couple of generational talents like Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton can almost single-handedly lead a team to victory.

Sure, Madubuike, Clowney, Queen and Humphrey helped from time to time this season. No two ways about it.

But Smith and Hamilton were the show-stoppers. When they had their "A game" intact, the Ravens were pretty much a lock to win.

If DeCosta can add one more player of that ilk -- or somehow keep Madubuike around -- the Baltimore defense should be Top 5 or better again next season. One really good defensive end on the edge...and watch out.

What else did we learn?

We learned probably the most valuable unspoken lesson of them all.

Sometimes the other guys out-scheme you.

We tend to think whatever the Ravens decide to do should work. And if it doesn't work, they should just promptly "fix it" and turn things around.

Sometimes those adjustments work, like in the Houston playoff game, for example.

Other times, the adjustments don't work.

The other team stays up late watching film, too. I realize our fan base thinks the Ravens are pre-ordained to win every game, but it just doesn't work like that.

We also learned the hardest lesson: Sometimes you stub your toe at the worst possible time.

There's generally no rhyme or reason for an "off game". The Ravens were almost fully healthy, except for Humphrey, while the Chiefs were dealing with lots of injuries.

Everything leaned in Baltimore's favor.

A rabid, home crowd.

A thorough beating of Houston the week before still fresh on everyone's minds.

Lamar was on a seemingly invincible trail of games, one that would presumably culminate in a dominating win over Kansas City, a Super Bowl triumph on February 11 and a 2nd career MVP award.

It was all expected to go smoothly until it didn't.

Poooooof! Like that, it was gone.

Sometimes you stub your toe at the worst possible moment.

It happens. The Ravens, despite what people might think, aren't the first favorite to lose a home playoff game. It even happened to the great Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on more than one occasion, believe it or not.

You can't win 'em all.

And sometimes you can't win the one you want to win the most.

We learned that coaches can lay eggs, too. Todd Monken was the fair-haired-boy for the first 18 games of the season, enjoying a very productive debut campaign after replacing the much-maligned Greg Roman as the team's offensive coordinator.

It was Roman who wound up getting the last laugh.

Monken's offensive game plan against the Chiefs was mystifying at best, although it's always fair to point out that the other team's coordinator is trying to match your chess moves with some of his own.

Just like his quarterback and offensive line, Monken had an off day last Sunday. It happens. You don't want it to happen, of course, but we learned it can happen, even to someone like Monken.

A friend mentioned to me recently the biggest reason why the loss hurt so much was just about everyone thought the Ravens were going to win.

"I spent a week making fun of Browns and Steelers fans on X (nee: Twitter) because I just knew we were going to win," he said. "I also bet more than I should have on the game itself. I bought into the whole game hook, line and sinker. I didn't think we could lose."

Maybe that's something else we learned. We should have known it before last Sunday, but perhaps we needed a refresher course.

You can always lose. Nothing is guaranteed.

And, yes, while the Ravens were certainly favored and expected to win, we were reminded that the games aren't played on TV or the internet or simulated by some dude's fancy computer that tells us the Ravens would win the game 54% of the time.

We learned, again, that you never know what's going to happen once the whistle blows and the game begins.

On the good side, I think we also learned that organizations make successful teams, not the other way around.

As we've seen over the last 4 days with the Ravens coaching staff getting torn apart with defections for new gigs elsewhere, the entire NFL knows the secret in Baltimore. It starts with the owner, trickles down to the front office, then to the coaches, and then, finally, to the players.

There's no way to determine who is the best organization, top to bottom, in the NFL. But we know this: The Ravens are in there amongst the discussion, that's for sure.

And that's why they draft well, win often and remain consistent. They don't win enough for some people's tastes, of course, but anyone with some sense knows only one teams win the whole thing anyway. For a long time, it was New England who controlled the league. They had a great coach and a great quarterback.

For the last five years, that baton has been passed on to the Chiefs. Great coach. Great quarterback. Same combination.

For all we know, the Ravens might be next. For a while there, it looked like the Bengals could potentially be in the mix for a small period of dominance. But they're the Bengals, still, until proven otherwise. And the jury is still out on their head coach/quarterback combination.

The same goes for the Bills. It appeared as if they were a team of destiny a few years back and all they've continually done is flush away golden opportunities in January.

The Bengals and Bills are a little bit like The Beatles. You thought they were going to be good. It turns out they wind up blending in with everyone else.

The Ravens really do have the potential to be one of the AFC's consistent contenders over the next 3-5 years of Lamar's prime. And we don't know what the future holds.

Perhaps next year they have to go to K.C. for the AFC title game and maybe then, the Ravens are the ones who upset the apple cart.

I don't know what the 2024 campaign will bring.

But I learned this past season that the Ravens generally do a lot of things right. They keep getting themselves into position to make some noise in the post-season.

They haven't kicked that door down with Lamar just yet, but I'd bet on Lamar far more times than I would bet against Lamar.

And don't forget, if you're unhappy with all of the winning you've seen as fan of the Ravens, there's always the Commanders. They're just 40 miles down the road. They need all the fans they can get.

If you do change teams, you'll appreciate winning even more down there, trust me.

Is anyone here proficient in photoshop? I'm not. And I need someone to help me with a few editions of "Mount Rushmore" coming up here at #DMD.

I need someone who can put the four faces of my choosing on a Mount Rushmore. If you can help me with that, please send along an e-mail: 18inarow@gmail.com

I'll be on the air talking golf today from 12-1 pm at 105.7. It's the debut edition of "Fairways and Greens", where we talk about the PGA Tour, local golf, rules, swing tips and so on.

Today's show will cover many of those things, in fact. If you're interested in tuning in, we'd love to have you on board.

Towson men's basketball plays at home this Thursday night (7 pm) vs. Delaware. If anyone is interested in an impromptu "#DMD Night" at the game, I'm thinking about going. Despite last night's loss at Hofstra, the Tigers (7-3 in CAA) are enjoying a nice season.

If you're interested in going, through a note my way via e-mail (18inarow@gmail.com) so I can see about getting us to all sit together at the arena on Thursday night.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps fizzle in east lansing, fall to sparty

With six minutes and twelve seconds left in last night’s game, and just 1 point separating Maryland from Michigan State, the Spartans ripped off 8 points in 59 seconds and coasted to a 63-54 win.

The game was very tight until that Spartan run despite Julian Reese seeing limited action because of severe foul trouble.

With Maryland’s big man on the bench, the Terps had only Jahmir Young and Donta Scott to pull the scoring load. Young answered with 31 points, but Scott made just 1 of 10 second half shots and the Terp offense could never generate enough points to hang with the Spartans.

Malik Hall and Tyson Walker led Michigan State in scoring, each posting 19 points. Michigan State also won the battle of the boards, reversing the beating on the glass they endured when these two teams met two weeks ago.

The story of the game, outside of that 8-point MSU explosion, was the foul trouble that benched Reese and stifled the Terp inside game. The Maryland big man picked up foul number 2 with just over 2 minutes gone in the first half. Foul three came at 7:04 of half number 1. He played just 9 of the opening 20 minutes.

A miserable night for JuJu Reese (2 points, 4 fouls) curtailed any chances of Maryland winning at Michigan State last night..

Reese’s 4th foul came just 8 seconds into the second half and he was immediately benched. He logged just 5 minutes of court time in the second half. For the game, he had 2 rebounds, 2 points (foul shots), and 2 turnovers.

With Reese on the bench, the Terps offensive choices were limited to one-on-one moves by Young and Scott, with a bunch of threes in between. Maryland shot 30 threes and just 25 two-point shots.

There was just 2 minutes and 13 seconds off of the clock when Julian Reese picked up his second foul and found a seat on the bench. Donta Scott was the only Terp to score before the opening TV timeout, and the Terps found themselves down by 4, 9-5.

Both teams were trying to establish an inside game, but Michigan State’s decision to double Reese as soon as he put the ball on the floor was paying dividends. Despite getting a few touches, MSU smothered Reese and he had yet to attempt a shot. Now he was sitting.

When three consecutive Terp possessions ended with a turnover and were converted into points by MSU, Maryland’s deficit grew to 9 at 14-5. Willard called timeout and reinserted Reese. The Terps hadn’t scored in 4 minutes. During that same span, they amassed 4 turnovers and had made just 2 of 13 shots.

Scott broke the dry spell with another triple. He was the only Terp to score for Maryland in the game’s first 8 minutes. At the under 8-minute break, the Spartans led 14-8. MSU’s Tyson Walker had matched Scott’s 8 points with 8 of his own, and like Scott, had made a pair of threes.

Maryland stormed back behind a bomb and layup by Jahmir Young, followed by a Jordan Geronimo dunk.

In a flash the score was 16-15, but trouble for Maryland was looming. The Spartans scored twice and the Terps once before Reese picked up foul #3 with 7:04 left in the half. He returned to his spot on the bench with Malik Hall going to the foul line to shoot twice. He made one, making the score 21-17 in favor of Michigan.

With Reese on the bench, the Terp offense was in the hands of Young. He immediately converted 2 foul shots, and would have scored again but his attempted layup was blocked.

Without Reese, the Terp offense was relegated to perimeter shots and isolations for Young. With their 3-point shooting checking in an abysmal 2-13, it was Young’s one-on-one game that was keeping Maryland within striking distance. With 3:33 left in the half, MSU led 25-21.

The Terp offense was only producing Young isolations and three pointers, but the long ball started to drop and Maryland trailed by just 2 points after Young and Scott connected from behind the arc.

MSU scored the last bucket of the half and led 31-27 after 20 minutes.

Of Maryland’s 32 first half shots, an alarming 17 were threes. Their inside game nullified when Reese went to the bench, Michigan State had 18 points in the paint compared to just 8 for the Terrapins.

Also notable were MSU’s 7 turnovers, 1 more than Maryland. Walker and Young had each put up 12 points. However, MSU had 8 different players score, while the Terps had only 3.

Julian Reese started the second half on the court, and it took him just 8 seconds to pick up foul number 4. It was an unfortunate foul, as the Terp center was merely rolling to the bucket and ran over an MSU defender.

It’s fair to say that the overall play in the first 4 minutes of half 2 was ugly, at best. There were more turnovers (3) than successful field goals (2).

The two teams combined for just 7 points and were a collective 2 for 11 shooting. All 4 Terp points came from Young and the Terps had trimmed the lead to 34-31. Even without Reese, the Terps were hanging in the game with solid defense.

The second TV timeout came with 11:08 left in the game. In 9 minutes of second half play, the Terps had outscored MSU by 6-5.

The numbers reflected just how bad the play was. A combined 4 for 23 from the field, 0-8 from the three-point line, and 6 turnovers. Why the Spartans were not going inside with Hall and Sissoko, I don’t know. They were playing a perimeter game, with Maryland cutting off the dribble penetration.

When play resumed after the TV timeout, Reese was back on the floor. That lasted one minute before he was pulled. Each team finally hit a three, with Maryland’s coming from Jahmir Young.. At this point, the Terp guard had 7 of Maryland’s 11 second half points. At the 8:53 mark, Scott was 0-7, but Maryland trailed by just 3, 41-38.

It was a Scott power move followed by a successful dribble drive by Young that gave the Terps a lead, 42-41. It was strictly one-on-one basketball for Maryland. Of their 5 made second half baskets so far, just one was assisted. MSU had attempted just a single foul shot and each team was 1 for 7 from the three-point line.

Two foul shots by each team kept the MSU lead at 1 point until Hall connected on a long three with just over 5 minutes to play.

The Spartans then went back to Hall, who beat Scott off the dribble for an “and one”. A steal and layup by Hoggard ballooned the lead to 9 points.

Maryland called timeout with 4:22 left in the game and the Terps lagging behind 53-44. Michigan State had exploded for 8 unanswered points in just a single minute.

Maryland continued their assault from long range, but they also continued to miss. Michigan State was now getting into the lane, and scoring points in the paint. Finally, a Young three connected and the Terps trailed by ten, 57-47.

Any comeback chance that Maryland may have had was washed away by their inability to get a stop. MSU took a double-digit lead with 4:23 left in the game and it stayed at 10 or more until Young wrapped up the scoring on a layup with 16 seconds left. The game ended with the score 63-54.

Jahmir Young has stated in interviews that this Terp team only has three offensive players. When one of those can’t see the floor because of foul trouble and the other one makes only 5 of 19 tries, you have no chance at all of winning. That’s what happened last night.

Maryland’s defense, and Young’s offense, kept things tight for a while. However, 54 points will not win you many games in college basketball.

The Terps made just 17 shots last night. Young provided 9 of those. Scott and Geronimo accounted for the others. That’s just three guys. The non-scorers only took 7 shots, and they were all missed. Shots were missed, but Reese was missed even more.

I’ll give Juju some credit, he didn’t pout or fuss about the foul calls.

The fourth one was a call that the ref had to make, but it was a very unfortunate circumstance. Reese had set a screen and rolled to the basket, but right into (and through) an MSU player. It wasn’t a “dumb” foul, it was kind of bad luck. I didn’t see any of his fouls, last night, that I’d call thoughtless.

Without Reese to attract attention, and defenders, there was little space to operate the Terrapin offense. Most of the Terps second half offense centered on Young with the ball, looking for a shot.

Scott backed his way into the paint for a few shots, but there were no effective sets run. That doesn’t mean that Maryland wasn’t running some sets, it just that those plays resulted in nothing offensively getting achieved.

Maryland had just 2 second half assists and hit 2 of 13 second period threes. With the Terps taking 13 threes against 10 shots inside the arc, if the three ball isn’t falling then you lose.

Kevin Willard’s team defended well enough to win, excluding those 59 seconds. They just don’t have enough options on offense.

The Terrapins will try again on Tuesday when the struggling (3-7 in the Big Ten) Rutgers Knights invade the XFINITY Center for a rare 6:30 pm tipoff. Watch it on BTN.

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February 3, 2024
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you can't say anything (publicly)

Far be it for any of us to feel for a man who earns $16 million dollars a year doing anything, let alone coaching football.

But I felt a bit sad for John Harbaugh yesterday.

In review, maybe even "sad" isn't the right word. I felt like Harbs was in a corner and there was no real way to punch his way out of it, short of just saying, "Look, Todd Monken called a crap game. End of the story. I don't know another nice way to put it. He just zoned out on us and called a crap game against the Chiefs."

And, honestly, John's never going to say that publicly. He's not even going to come close to saying something like that.

At yesterday's end-of-season press conference in Owings Mills, Harbaugh, predictably, was asked about the offensive game plan in last Sunday's 17-10 loss to Kansas City. More specifically, he was asked if had any sort of in-game conversation with Todd Monken about the team's lack of running plays in the loss.

Harbaugh: "Yes we did all throughout the course of the game. That's not the number you want to have. That's not really going to win us an AFC Championship game, for sure.

It's more than just calling plays. A big part of our game plan was RPOs based on what the defense gives you. And the defense was lined up to take away the run. The next thing would be to bring it in tight and run the ball in heavy formations.

We could've done that, but we were down, so we wanted to keep the formations open and give ourselves the best chance to move the ball and score points. We ran the two-minute offense at the end of the half, and two-minute offense the whole fourth quarter, and that's gonna take away rushing attempts.

That's not an excuse. You want to run the ball more. Sometimes you have to be willing to get big and run the ball that way, and we just didn't want to do it that way in the game and it cost us the opportunity to run the ball more."

I have no idea why Harbaugh would go into that kind of detail, other than to be cordial and answer the question as honestly as he could.

It does occasionally look like it's "Us Against Them" when it comes to Harbaugh and the Ravens vs. the frustrated Baltimore football community.

That said, one look at the internet commentary gave a clear indication that a majority of the people didn't care what Harbaugh said. No matter the explanation, it wasn't good enough.

At the end of the day, nothing the head coach says can change anything about the outcome nor will it convince the fan base that he and the coaching staff did the best they could and the Ravens were simply outplayed by the Chiefs in a one-game, winner-take-all situation.

I don't really know what Harbaugh's answer should have been yesterday.

Even if his team runs the ball 24 times, there's no guarantee they win the game. I think we all know that at places we don't talk about at parties, but no one wants to admit it.

John could have simply said the same thing the Beatles privately said after the release of Abbey Road: "That was a colossal whiff. It just wasn't good enough."

But even that wouldn't satisfy people.

I don't know what the fans wanted Harbaugh to say yesterday.

"We stunk. I was awful. Monken was awful. Lamar was awful. Flowers was awful." I mean, he could have said that, but the final score is still 17-10.

No matter what he says, and no matter how much sense it makes or doesn't make, the score remains the same.

Editor's note: I know what you're thinking: Wasn't that the name of a Led Zeppelin song? No, it wasn't. That song was called "The Song Remains the Same". And, yes, there's some irony in that song title as it relates to the Ravens. But I digress...

Glenn Clark brought up something on his radio show last Wednesday that continues to prove true on any occasion the Ravens fail. Someone is always supposed to get fired as a result of it.

A dozen years ago it was Cam Cameron.

Then it was Marc Trestman.

And later it was Dean Pees.

Marty Mornhinweg.

Wink Martindale.

More recently, of course, it was Greg Roman.

No matter what the Ravens do, once that final loss of the season occurs, whenever that might be, someone needs to get the axe.

I actually saw a couple of people this week calling for Monken's ouster. I mean, the guy just got here. He had, for the most part, a wonderful first season as a NFL offensive coordinator. And he had one toe-stub in the post-season that was aided by mediocre quarterback play, three turnovers and a game-changing fumble at the one yard line.

And for that toe stub, he deserves to be canned?

Come on, man.

As for Harbaugh, the more the years go by, the more he should probably just adopt the Bill Belichick profile.

"Coach, can you describe what happened last Sunday with the team's inability to run the ball?"

"You saw it. We didn't run it very much."

"Yes, we know that. But why didn't you run it more?"

"I'm not sure. I'd have to look into it a lot more. Right now I'm just focused on the draft in April."

Belichick's famous "We're on to Cincinnati" line after a loss a couple of years ago has been laughed at time and time again, but it's actually the truest coaching axiom there is.

"Coach, what happened in the game earlier today?"

"We're on to Cincinnati. Today's game is over with."

Most of the people barking and pleading for answers don't really want the answers.

It really is like A Few Good Men.

"You can't handle the truth" is replaced with "No matter what I say, you're either not going to agree with it or not going to understand it."

Sure, Monken's game plan was wonky. But Lamar's play was spotty. The offensive line had an off day. Flowers fumbled the ball on the one yard line when a score there was about to make it 17-14 with almost an entire quarter left in the game.

We could put together the proverbial "game pizza" I talk about all the time and a bunch of folks would get a slice. It wasn't Harbaugh's fault. It wasn't Monken's fault. It wasn't Lamar's fault. It wasn't Flowers' fault. It wasn't Stanley's fault.

It was all of their fault(s).

As is almost always the case, a lot of people had a hand in that 17-10 loss. But everyone wants a scalp. Someone has to get the lion's share of the blame these days. We're really strange like that.

As far as Harbaugh is concerned, he'd be far better served not saying much of anything in these season-ending press conferences.

We all know what we saw. The Ravens lost the game. We, the fans, are searching endlessly for a proper explanation for it, but the reality is even a proper explanation wouldn't do much of anything.

Kansas City won 17-10, no matter what questions are asked and answers are given.

And while there's an argument to be made that that fans deserve an explanation on why things were done the way they were, we all know that 80% of the fans don't care what the head coach says after a loss.

They just want someone fired because of it.

These are interesting times we live in, to say the least.

I'll be back on the air talking golf starting this Sunday from 12-1 pm on 105.7 The Fan. The show will air every Sunday from now through the end of the summer (aka, "when football starts").

There's a chance the show is going to change time slots in a few weeks. I'll let you know if that happens.

In the meantime, if you're a golfer, of any age, ability level or handicap, please check out "Fairways and Greens" this Sunday from 12-1 pm on 105.7 The Fan.

A few questions from the mailbag on this beautiful Saturday in Bawlmer.

If you're interesting participating in this particular endeavor, e-mail me a question: 18inarow@gmail.com

Mitch Garner asks -- "In your days with the Blast soccer team, did you get to travel with the team and if so, what were your favorite cities and least favorite cities?"

DF says -- "I did travel, yes. In fact, from 1982 through 1998, I saw every single game played by the Baltimore indoor soccer teams (Blast/Spirit). I don't know how many games in a row that was, but it was well over 500 consecutive games.

Anyway, San Diego was, by far, the best city we traveled to in my 17 years with the team. We would do the west coast trip twice a year. Once in January when the ice show was in town and again in March when the circus was at the arena. In those days, we'd play some combination of San Diego, Los Angeles, Tacoma and there was usually a game against Dallas, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc. mixed in there either on the way out or on the way home.

San Diego is still the best city I've ever been to in America. It's just awesome.

I really enjoyed St. Louis. Great town, a lot like Baltimore, with really good hotels and restaurants.

Going to Cleveland was always fun because the rivalry between the Blast and Force was huge.

Didn't particularly care for Minneapolis or Detroit. Just too darn cold. The same for Buffalo. It was just too cold.

The Buffalo team offered me the GM position in 1999 and I even went up there for an interview and all, but I just couldn't see myself thriving in a place where it's pretty much 25 degrees all winter.

I liked Buffalo as a sports town. The arena was awesome. The Rich family, who owned the soccer team, seemed great. They made me an awesome offer, a lot more than I was making previously in Baltimore with the Spirit (nee Blast). I just didn't want to move to Buffalo."

Nick Vellagio asks -- "Watching this golf tournament at Pebble Beach has me itching to go out there and I know you went before and wrote about it at Drew's Morning Dish. What advice can you give? Was it worth it?"

DF says -- "Here's my answer whenever someone asks me about Pebble Beach. "Very few things in life live up to the hype, whatever it might be. Having children definitely lives up to the hype. So, too, does playing/staying at Pebble Beach. Not everything in golf lives up to the hype, but that place sure did.

My best piece of advice? Save up your money and then take 20% more with you. Here's the easiest way I can describe. Between golf and your half of the hotel room, you're pretty much locked in on spending at least $1,500 per-day on average. Breakfast is $30. Lunch is $40. Dinner is a minimum of $75 before you've had a cocktail.

Golf at Pebble is in the $700 range depending on when you play.

Spyglass Hill is $500.

Spanish Bay is $400.

The cheapest hotel at either Spanish Bay or Pebble Beach is $1100 a night for a double room with NO view of anything at all. And almost every package at Pebble Beach requires at least a two night stay.

It is not a trip you can take and figure out the "cheap way to do it" unless you're by yourself and you get on the Pebble Beach tee-sheet list as a single and someone inexplicably shows up with only three or fewer players. And then, you're paying a bigger rate ($800?) to play the course without staying there.

It's an amazing piece of property. The golf courses are outstanding. It's just a very expensive place to go. I went once. Would love to go again, if possible. But it's certainly a once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime kind of trip."

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit izzo, sparty tonight

For the first time this season, the Maryland Terrapins will tangle with a team that they’ve already faced in the 2023-2024 season.

They have five of these “home and home” games this year, with the one tonight against Michigan State being the first that completes a series.

MSU defeated Maryland, 61-59, less than two weeks ago in the XFINITY Center. The Terps held the Spartans to just 17 second half points after allowing 44 in the first 20 minutes, but scoring just 27 second half points themselves left them a bucket short.

In that game, Maryland’s Jahari Long, Jahmir Young, and Donta Scott combined to hit 8 of 12 threes. The rest of the Terps went 0-10. Young’s 9 points from long range helped him score a game high 19, but he was just 6 of 15 from the field and committed 7 deadly turnovers.

Jahmir Young looks to continue his recent excellent play when the Terps visit Michigan State in East Lansing tonight.

As I like to do when there’s an earlier game from which to learn, I look at what happened in the last contest that won’t be repeated and what didn’t happen that’s likely this time.

The most glaring “won’t happen” is MSU absolutely will not score just 17 points in a half.

The Terp defense was suffocating for the final 20 minutes, but the Spartans missed a slew of open second half shots. They went 1 for 6 from the three-point line and went to the foul line just twice, hitting both.

MSU got nothing from their fast break offense in the second half and scored just 3 second chance points all game.

Another stat to file into the “Not This Time” category is the 37-22 rebounding advantage the Terps had in game #1.

Julian Reese is a match-up problem for MSU, and he grabbed 12 rebounds in the initial meeting, but keeping him off of the glass with be a focal point of Coach Izzo’s prep. Of Reese’s boards, 6 were offensive, leading to a 10-1 Terp advantage in second chance points.

The rebounding numbers will be much closer today.

I’m not so sure Tre Holliman gets 12 points off the bench today for MSU. His 3 for 4 trifecta shooting was instrumental in that MSU win. That type of sharp shooting was exceptional, even for a guy who hits 44%, like Tre does. He won’t get as many wide open looks today.

I mentioned Young’s 7 turnovers. That can’t happen again, right? He’s a high turnover guy (3.0 per game), but 7? That’s not going to happen again. If it does, the outcome will be similar.

Here’s something that won’t happen, and it affects both teams. Both Maryland and Michigan State had just three players score in the second half.

Young (10), Scott (8), and Reese (9), were the only Terps to put the ball through the basket in the second half. Tyson Walker (7), A.J. Hoggard (8), and Malik Hall (2) were the only MSU scorers in the second half. I’ve never seen that in the shot-clock era.

So, what do we see today? First, I look for MSU to go to Hall much more frequently. He had 10 points in the first half last time against the Terps, and Izzo will run more isolations for him. He’s good for 18.

MSU will push the ball way more in the second half than they did in their last meeting with Maryland. It’s a staple of their offense. Some of those opportunities to push the tempo are predicated upon rebounding the ball.

If the Terps can duplicate their success on the offensive glass, they can slow down the Spartans.

This is such a tough spot for the Terps. It’s a home game for the Spartans that MSU must have. The Terps have been on a roll, but can we expect Jamie Kaiser, Long, and Scott to continue their torrid long-range shooting? (We’ll exclude Scott’s 0-5 against Nebraska)

I’ve been dead wrong about Maryland the last two times out, and a lot of that was the result of their abnormal success with three-point shooting. Perhaps the team’s shooting has turned a corner, but it will take more than a couple of games to convince me.

Michigan State sweeps the series this year. They climb to 6-5 in the Big Ten, dropping the Terps to 5-6.

Hoggard, Walker, and Hall provide the fire power, with some unexpected offensive help from Mady Sissoko. We are looking at a 68-64 final score.

The Breslin Center in East Lansing hosts the 5:30 start that can be seen on the Fox network.

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February 2, 2024
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10 questions and a bonus

#DMD reader Brian Preller checked in with me yesterday with a content idea that I thought was worth accepting.

Here's his e-mail:

Drew, if you're up for it, I'd like to ask you 10 questions about the Ravens/Chiefs game and the season as a whole. If you want to use this for a future edition of the Morning Dish that would be great. Readers can follow along and answer the questions as well. Thanks for the great morning read every day!

Yes, Brian, I'd like to use the idea. Today, in fact. So here are Brian's 10 questions.

#1, What's your overall grade for the Ravens 2023 season, including the two playoff games?

DF: "This is a lay-up. They get an "A". 13-4 regular season, #1 seed in the post-season. Lost by one score in the AFC Championship to the most successful franchise in the league over the last 5 years. What other grade could you give them? They had an excellent season."

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs didn't turn the ball over once last Sunday in the 17-10 win over the Ravens in the AFC title game.

#2, In 50 words or less, summarize the loss to Kansas City.

DF: "Ravens made 3 'big plays' in the game, K.C. made about 10. Ravens turned it over 3 times. Chiefs didn't turn it over once. Mahomes didn't panic. Lamar did. Ravens gave up on the run too early. Flowers fumble crushed the Ravens."

#3, Of these six players, you have to cut three of them. Who are you letting go? Andrews, Humphrey, Beckham, Bateman, Queen, Clowney.

DF: "Yikes. I'd rather keep them all, if possible, but I'll play along. Of those six, in a perfect world, I'd keep Queen, Andrews and Bateman. I actually really liked what Clowney brought to the table in 2023. I'd love to see him return. But given his age, if it came down to Clowney or Bateman, I'm keeping the young(er) wide receiver."

#4, How many more years do you think Justin Tucker has left in him?

DF: "He'll be 35 next season. Been in the league, kicking, since 2012. That's quite a career. He has at least two more seasons remaining, I'm guessing. I'll say he plays in '24 and '25 and that's it. I could see him try to hang around through 2026, perhaps, but I'm guessing he has two more years."

#5, Where do you rank Patrick Mahomes on the list of NFL quarterbacks over the last 30 years?

DF: "OK, since 1994, where does Mahomes rank? Hmmmmmm. Let me do this: Here are 10 best in no specific order; Peyton, Brady, Roethlisberger, Favre, Mahomes, Warner, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers and......Stafford, I guess? I'm thinking McNair, maybe? Eli? Russell Wilson? I'll go with Stafford.

Anyway, the list goes Brady, Peyton, Roethlisberger, Mahomes, Rodgers, Favre, Brees, Warner, Stafford and Rivers.

Mahomes is #4 at this point. In my opinion. I think he'll surpass Ben someday. But he'll never surpass Peyton or Brady in my mind."

The Ravens will host Josh Allen and the Bills in the 2024 regular season.

#6, What will the Ravens record be in 2024, 13-4 or better? 12-5 or worse?

DF: "Let's pretend they go 4-2 in the division, just for kicks and giggles. They have road games at Kansas City and Los Angeles (Chargers) and home games vs. the Raiders and Broncos. Let's say they go 3-1 there. They have the Commanders and Eagles at home, along with the Bills. How's 2-1 sound there? And they have the Cowboys, Giants, Texans and Buccaneers on the road. Let's say 2-2 there.

That comes out to 11-6. As long as Lamar stays healthy, I assume they'll figure out a way to win at least one more game along the way. They'll either finish 11-6 or 12-5. So, the answer to your question is: 12-5 or worse."

#7, A team in the NFL offers you to take any three of their players in exchange for Lamar Jackson. Who are you taking?

DF: "Man, if Stafford were a little younger, I'd be taking Stafford-Kupp-Nacua in a heartbeat. But I think we all know the answer to this question, as much as it pains us here in Bawlmer: I'd take Burrow-Chase-Higgins from the Bengals."

#8, Did the Ravens make a mistake by not hiring Bill Belichick as their defensive coordinator?

DF: "I assume we're presupposing Belichick wanted to be a defensive coordinator, was willing to move, etc., right? Either way, though, the answer is "No, they didn't make a mistake." I don't see Belichick as the kind of guy who could "work for someone" after spending the last two decades as a head coach in the league. I realize he's a defensive genius and all, but I just don't see as a guy who would sign up to be a #2 or #3 staffer in the organization."

#9, Pick an off the wall Super Bowl match up for next season.

DF: "Texans vs. Packers. You said "off the wall". Both of those teams have good, up-and-coming quarterbacks. They have good head coaches. And great uniforms/helmets, if that matters. Here's one other off the wall thought: Rams vs. Dolphins. I still think Miami would have been dangerous this past post-season if they wouldn't have been hammered with December injuries. If they can get/stay healthy next season, the Dolphins could be very dangerous. Same for the Rams. They have the makings of a top 3 offense, for sure."

#10, Steve Bisciotti says to you, "I'm changing the team colors and allowing you to do make the final decision." What would you, Drew, go with for the new team colors?

DF: "Thank you!!! Finally, Steve got wise and moved away from that dreadful purple color. OK, I'm not going with orange and black. Sorry, I'm just not. It's great for the baseball team, but we're not following suit with the football team. I honestly think I'd go with some combo of red, white and blue, as an ode to our Star Spangled Banner roots. You remember the National Anthem...written in Baltimore...a song our country used to cherish before crazy folks started losing their minds a decade or so ago.

Anyway, yep, I'm thinking red, white and blue. You have all kinds of combinations there. Look at what the Bills do, for example. At least we're getting rid of purple! Anything new is an upgrade over that."

BONUS QUESTION, The very best thing about the 2023 Ravens season was......

DF: "Lamar stayed healthy the entire season and gained valuable playoff experience. To me, there was nothing more important than that. He remained injury-free and he played on a big stage last Sunday. Despite losing that game, I think that experience will help him in the future."

Let's finish up with some other e-mails for the Q and A segment that are non-Ravens related.

Kent asks -- "Four straight days without slamming the Beatles. You turning over a new leaf? (This was received on Thursday, 2/1)."

DF says: "You folks are hilarious. "Slammed". You mean, "making it publicly known I'm not a fan of their music" constitutes "slamming". OK then.

I didn't even realize I went four days without slamming them. But now that you mentioned it, I'll be sure to make it part of next week's content for sure.

Or maybe I'll spend this weekend re-listening to all of their albums to see if I can pick out two or three more good songs. I love a good challenge."

Mark asks -- "Hey Drew, do you have more respect for Taylor Swift or less respect for her now that you've been smothered with her on social media and television for the last month?"

DF says -- "This is a lame answer, I know, but nothing has changed, really. I don't pay all that much attention to her. I think he's extraordinarily talented, musically, and that opinion hasn't been altered because we've seen a lot more of her over the last 3-4 months.

I realize the networks make a big deal about her because she's one of the most popular and successful music artists of the last 25 years. It's their job to over-promote her. I get it.

And I assume, like any good marketer, Ms. Swift has taken the bull by the horns during her relationship with Travis Kelce and made the most out of it she can. She knows the cameras are on her at all times. She's no dummy, that's for sure.

I'm certainly not a "Swiftie" as the kids say, but I think she's very talented and certainly easier to like than dislike. I mean, if you dislike Taylor Swift I have to assume you also disliked The Flintstones, Leave It To Beaver, Friends, Handy Manny and the smell of coffee in the morning. And if you don't like those things, you're what we call "A Bad American".

Jason Fairall asks -- "Longtime reader of the Dish, first time with a question for you. Is there anything left on your sports bucket list that you're still hoping to do? Thanks, Drew."

DF says -- "I would say #1 on my list is to play St. Andrews in Scotland. I've had a trip or two mapped out but it never came to fruition. I'm going to try and get that on my schedule for 2025. I'd say "play Augusta National" but I know that's not going to happen. But St. Andrews is open to the public and can be played by anyone with a reasonable handicap.

I honestly think that about covers it. I mean, there are some golf courses in the U.S. I haven't ever played that I want to play, but it's not like I "can't" play them. I just need to find the right contact and work through my list of golfing friends. I just haven't made it all that important to do so.

There is one band I've never seen live that's on my bucket list, though. And since I know they're wrapping things up, I need to figure out how to see them before they pack it all in and call it a career.

My favorite song of theirs is below."

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faith in sports

This seems like an appropriate entry in today's edition of "Faith in Sports", since both quarterbacks in next week's Super Bowl are devout believers in their faith.

Brock Purdy's story is much different than the story authored by Patrick Mahomes. As everyone knows, Purdy was the last player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. And here he is, now, about to play in the Super Bowl.

The video is a little more than 3 minutes long, but it gives you an inside look at Purdy and his faith and why he believes he's been moved into the spotlight as a star in the NFL.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here every Friday.

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February 1, 2024
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hot, off the wall, legit takes

You can guess which of the three "takes" applies to the topics below.

One thing for sure, and this certainly isn't a "hot" take, it's a fact: This has been one wild three day period in Baltimore.

The Ravens flatlined in the AFC Championship Game.

The Orioles were sold.

We discovered John Angelos might have, you know, mislead the state of Maryland during the lease negotiations.

And Mike Macdonald is now the erstwhile Ravens defensive coordinator after landing the head coach job with the Seattle Seahawks yesterday.

Where to start?

Let's go with the Macdonald departure first.

The Ravens lost defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald to the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday.

I might be in the minority here, but I don't see it as a season-breaking kind of deal.

Was he a solid defensive coordinator? He most certainly was, yes.

But if he didn't have Roquan Smith, Justin Madubuike, Jadeveon Clowney, Patrick Queen, Kyle Hamilton and Marlon Humphrey, where would Macdonald be today? Hint: Not in Seattle.

Madubuike might not be back next season. Queen, too, might depart in the off-season. The defense will look different in 2024, that's for sure. And the new defensive coordinator will have to patch things together with whatever he's given once the dust settles and Eric DeCosta fills whatever vacancies there are.

I just don't see the Ravens taking a major step back in 2024 because Mike Macdonald has moved on.

The Baltimore defense might not be as game-wrecking next season as they were this past seasson, but that will be more about the players that leave and not the defensive coordinator who hit the road.

Speaking of Macdonald and filling a head coaching vacancy, here's another point to ponder. And, no, this isn't "pile on Mike Macdonald day". He just happens to be in the news, that's all.

And this point isn't so much about Macdonald, it's more about the way NFL teams fill coaching vacancies these days.

I talked about this yesterday on Glenn Clark Radio.

I don't understand why teams feel the need to fill their head coaching position with an offensive or defensive coordinator from another team. Granted, not every head coaching spot gets filled that way, but it feels like about 90% of them do. And why is that?

I'll use Mike Vrabel as an example.

No offense to Raheem Morris or Mike Macdonald or Dave Canales, but who do you feel more comfortable with coaching your team next season? A guy who has had a lot of success as a head coach -- Vrabel -- or an unproven entity like one of those three?

Now, yes, perhaps Vrabel or Bill Belichick don't want to hop right back on the coaching horse. That's entirely possible. But it sure seems like teams these days would rather go with the "hot coordinator" than a tried and true, proven (former) head coach.

I just don't get that.

Mike Macdonald was an excellent defensive coordinator in his brief two years with the Ravens.

That does not, in any way, guarantee he's going to an excellent head coach in the NFL.

It's just weird to me that coordinators are more valued than head coaches who have been there, done that and have the tee-shirt, that's all.

The sale of the Orioles was made official by the ballclub on Wednesday, eliminating any concerns at all that perhaps Tuesday's "leak" of the news was getting the cart before the horse.

John Angelos will stay on board as "Senior Advisor", it was announced on Wednesday as the Orioles formally announced the sale of the team to David Rubenstein and his ownership group.

The group, managed by David Rubenstein (for those who care about these things, his name is pronounced: Ruben-stine), will own 40% of the franchise until Peter Angelos passes away. It's assumed that at some point after that, the group will acquire the remaining 60%.

John Angelos, as we learned yesterday, will hang around for a few years as the team's "Senior Advisor" which, I think we all know, means he won't really do much of anything.

Angelos drew the ire of several Maryland political figures on Wednesday when they lashed out at him for not telling them the whole truth and nothing but the truth during last year's lease negotiations.

I know you're shocked by that. Or not.

As Glenn Clark and I discussed yesterday, things within the organization have modestly improved over the last few years, although last summer's embarrassing Kevin Brown fiasco will linger as one of John Angelos's all-time-not-go-greatest-hits.

When the dust settles on all of this, the new ownership group will likely quietly push John away over the next 12-18 months and he'll have millions of reasons to take his ouster with a smile.

Let's call it like it is: The sooner the Orioles are Angelos-free, the better. And that's mostly because it's hard to operate a business that someone else used to own while they're still hanging around at the water cooler and watching your every move.

Truth of the matter? I'd bet John doesn't really want to be there any longer. It was probably just a novelty of the moment, and perhaps even somewhat necessary while Rubenstein and the other new people learn the nuances of running a Major League Baseball franchise.

In the end, John just wants his money. If they give him a check tomorrow and tell him to go away for good, I'm sure he'd be just fine with that.

The mood around town improved on Tuesday and Wednesday, but one listen to sports radio told you that people are still steaming over the Ravens 17-10 loss to the Chiefs.

"Completely unacceptable," I heard someone say on the air yesterday. "If heads don't roll, I won't be renewing my seats."

The announcers on that particular shift didn't engage the caller at all.

I guess the times have changed in the radio business.

Circa 2010, I would have battered that caller for 2 or 3 minutes for being a nitwit. These days, you just hit the "end call" button and say, "Appreciate the call, Rick, we gotta run..."

"If heads don't roll," the caller said.

Whose head should roll?

Lamar Jackson?

John Harbaugh?

Todd Monken?

Mike Macdonald already left so they can't jettison him.

Eric DeCosta?

When you say something idiotic like "If heads don't roll", who, exactly, are you talking about?

The head coach who just helped engineer a 14-5 overall campaign?

The quarterback who is about to win his 2nd MVP award after beating everyone like a drum for five months?

The offensive coordinator who helped produce one of the franchise's most prolific offensive campaigns in his first season with the club?

People just say stuff to say it.

"Heads should roll..."

Because they lost a football game to a team that has been to four Super Bowls in the last five years?

If the Ravens went 6-11 and 7-10 and you said, "Heads should roll", I'd probably agree with that. Two straight losing seasons like that would give any owner reason to at least consider a coaching change.

The Ravens have perhaps the league's most dynamic player and they're coming off of a season where they were FAR AND AWAY the best team in the AFC from September through late January. "Heads should roll..."


Some of you people are nuts, man, I'm telling you.

The draft is three months away and the Ravens will have several significant needs to address, but I think it's very obvious what they're going to be looking for in late April.

Offensive line.

Edge rusher.

Defensive back.

I'm going to stick with what I've said and thought for the last two or three months. If Amarius Mims of Georgia is available at pick #30, the offensive tackle from Georgia will be Baltimore-bound.

Bralen Trice from Washington could also be an intriguing option for the Ravens in that spot.

If cornerback Terrion Arnold of Alabama slides down to that #30 spot, he could also be someone Eric DeCosta values late in the first round.

There's no doubt Ronnie Stanley is on the 15th hole of his (healthy) NFL career. Offensive line is the Ravens' most obvious area of need, either to replace Stanley or veteran Morgan Moses.

John Simpson was a good story and all, but he's also someone the club should look to replace at some point very soon.

The Ravens offense doesn't need much other help. Running back can always be tweaked, of course, but if Dobbins returns from his injury and Keaton Mitchell is healthy at the start of the season, there's probably no reason to worry about the ball carrier department.

The defensive defections could leave a bruise, though.

I was hoping we wouldn't be worried about the draft until after February 11, but here we are, sifting through names and scouting reports on February 1st.

They're playing at beautiful Pebble Beach this week on the PGA Tour, along with Spyglass Hill at the AT&T Pro-Am.

Is Justin Thomas ready to break through and get his 2024 campaign off to a great start at Pebble Beach this week?

For those interested, here's who we like:

Justin Thomas, +2400

Jordan Spieth, +1800

Matt Fitzpatrick, +3500

Hideki Matsuyama, +6500

Nick Taylor, +8500

Adam Hadwin, +11000

Erik van Rooyen, +17500

Win bets on all of those guys plus the usual Top 10 and Top 30 wagers are suggested.

I'm very bullish on Justin Thomas this year, as you'll see throughout the next few months. I think Thomas has his golf-swing-issues fixed and once he wins again, he's going to be one of the circuit's best players again.

Spieth has never missed the cut at Pebble Beach and has a win there a half-decade or so ago. He can putt those bad poa annua greens as well as anyone.

I know the weather is supposed to be iffy out there all weekend, with rain and high winds at times. That probably makes it more of a crapshoot than other weeks. But I'm sticking with my original lineup of six guys and I'm tossing in Matthew Fitzpatrick because he's familiar with adverse conditions as a vetern of the European Tour.

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January 31, 2024
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What football game?

I don't remember anything about what happened Sunday, you know, the day the Ravens were ousted from the playoffs.

You could even say, their post-season exit was -- wait for it -- swift.

Too soon?

OK, well, if ever there was a fair trade, we have one.

The Ravens lose the AFC title game at home to Taylor, Travis and the Chiefs.

But two days later the baseball franchise in town gets a new ownership group in place.

As C.J. Stroud would say: All Glory to God.

Baltimore native David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group is joining with others to purchase the Orioles for $1.725 billion.

There's no telling if yesterday's announcement was intentional to help stitch up the wounds of Sunday's bitter football loss, but if that was the intention, the Angelos family hit a grand slam in their final plate appearance. That was a much-needed shot in the arm, indeed.

The two primary funders of the purchase are David Rubenstein and Mike Arougheti, both private equity billionaires who forked over the amazing sum of $1.725 billion dollars for a franchise that was purchased 31 years ago for $173 million.

I'm not a private equity or hedge fund dude in the least and I have no idea how the final number of $1.725 billion was agreed upon, but John Angelos has to be giggling over his espresso this morning.

But it's Baltimore that will hopefully get the last laugh.

Not everyone around town was thrilled with yesterday's news.

"Be warned," a longtime successful Baltimore business owner wrote to me last night. "Rubenstein's a woke billionaire with a history of wanting to be in the spotlight. He's an attention seeker. You heard it here first."

OK, then. Thanks for that insight.

I have no idea if that's true, although I certainly trust the person's opinion who sent that to me. He would know.

Someone else who worked with Rubenstein two decades ago and has since run in similar circles on occasion sees it differently.

"He's a very, very smart man, one of the best I've ever known. When he gets involved in something, the results are usually extraordinary," this person wrote.

To me, it's all worth the gamble, if you can even call this a "gamble".

Beggars can't be choosers in this situation. We've been wanting this day for a long, long time.

And while I realize Tuesday's news was made without me in mind, it turned out to be one helluva birthday gift for the site owner.

I got a new coffee grinder, Ben and Jerry's "Netflix and Chill" ice cream (unreal...if you haven't had it, go get it tonight), new golf clubs and the Orioles were sold on January 30, 2024.

I guarantee you this. There's no way your birthday in 2024 will be better than mine, unless the O's win the World Series next Fall and you're a late October baby.

The book will close on the Angelos ownership tenure at some point later this year when the ink is dry on the deal, but the grade is already in. "Tried hard, had some success, but couldn't keep up with the academic work."

You can give them whatever grade you want. Some would say "E", others might say "D", and some of the more friendly folks in town might even hand out a "C" just because it's the end of the school year and you don't want to spoil the kid's summer before it even starts.

Grade the Angelos ownership tenure as you see fit.

It's over.

And the prevailing thought all over town is, like Howard Jones once said in the 1980's, "Things Can Only Get Better."

I think that's a safe assumption, even though it's very fair to point out that David Rubenstein, Mike Arougheti and anyone else they bring to the table have never been owners of a professional baseball franchise.

It's not as easy as we all think it is, I know that.

But in this case, it would be hard to not be an upgrade over what Baltimore has endured since the late 1990's, which is when the Angelos family essentially stopped trying to put out a competitive team and instead started fighting with Major League Baseball over territorial rights, TV deals and other things none of the great unwashed like you and I cared about.

The telltale sign of the new ownership group will come around rather quickly. Will they fork over the necessary funds to keep the team's top young players in orange and black, in contrast to what happened in the late 1990's when the Orioles allowed Mike Mussina to take the train up to Penn Station and join the Yankees after being low-balled by the Orioles?

John Angelos all but predicted last summer that the O's weren't going to be in position to keep the team's young franchise players because of baseball's expanding salary demands and Baltimore's "small market" stature.

That's going to be the first real test of the new ownership group. Do they sing that same "poor boy" song or do they pony up the big bucks to keep Gunnar, Adley and any of the other young studs who rise to prominence?

The bet here is they'll pay whatever's required, because they shelled out $1.725 billion for the right to do that.

But time will tell on that one. I'll hopefully be here to see it all unfold.

The last few years of Orioles baseball have actually been pleasant. And with all due respect to John Angelos, who stubbed his toe more than once during his time in the spotlight, he was the first family member to actually "get it". He brought in Mike Elias and turned the on field product over to him, completely. That might have been the best move of the last 31 years, frankly.

So it's not like Rubenstein-Arougheti and the others they bring along are inheriting a train wreck. They're not.

But life comes at you fast in Major League Baseball. You're good for a couple of years, then it's time to pay the piper, and you either do that and continue to be good or you push away from the table and suddenly you're in 4th place again.

And let's also acknowledge the other white elephant in the room. You're not guaranteed to succeed just because you have billions of dollars and you spend gobs and gobs of money on baseball players.

Yes, we're looking at you, New York Mets. And you, Los Angeles Angels. And you, New York Yankees.

What Rubenstein and Arougheti have to do is very simple: Let the baseball people do their thing.

You want the key to success? There it is. The new owners don't "need to put their stamp on the team" or anything silly like that. As we saw over the last 31 yeras, that's a recipe for disaster.

"I don't understand paying someone Roy Oswalt that kind of money when he only works once every five days."

Who can forget that line, right?

Alas, it's a new day in Balwmer.

Let's move on from here and bask in the news from yesterday.

The Orioles have been sold.

And let's just presuppose that two guys wouldn't pony up $1.725 billion and then say, "I can't wait to screw this up..."

These guys are from Baltimore and they know what the Orioles mean to this region. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt right from the start and hope they prove me right.

I don't know what's better. The Ravens winning on Sunday or the Orioles being transferred to new owners. But I'm pretty sure I'd know which way I'm voting if you asked me.

I suspect you're thinking the same way.

Opening Day.......bring it on.

The Birds are, finally, free.

The subject of personal investment has come up quite a bit this week as fans in town do their best to deal with Sunday's loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

"We spent all of our vacation money on four tickets to the game," someone wrote to me on Monday. "And to see that kind of performance was just so disappointing. As my 11 year old son said to me in the 4th quarter, we should have just gone to Ocean City instead."

I don't know what to say to any of that.

You know, as a fan, that in almost every circumstance your investment will never get fully repaid.

You're shelling out $250, $500 or $1,000 of your money to go watch guys play a sporting event where they're earning, in some cases, a million dollars for that 60 minutes of work and the irony is......you're the one paying their salary.

There's just no way you're winning, financially, when you're a fan.

You're just not.

And if you're in it to try and break even, somehow, you should probably just duck out now and save your money.

Being a fan of a team, any team, requires a significant investment in many different ways. There's a time investment, financial investment and even an emotional investment.

I've been a Washington Capitals diehard since 1975, the second year of the franchise. I'm as upside-down as upside-down can get when it comes to "investing" in the team and getting a proper return on what I've put into it.

But that comes with the territory.

You either keep investing, or you sell your stock and get out.

I'm not interested in selling my stock in the Ravens. I got the short end of the stick on Sunday in only one way: the team didn't win.

But the experience, environment and game itself were priceless, mainly because I sat with my 16 year old son and got to enjoy it with him, just like I enjoyed the 1983 World Series in Baltimore with my father.

I got a return on my investment on Sunday, trust me.

Did I want the team to win? You're darn tootin' I did. But I wanted the team to win mainly for the folks I know in the organization, still, like John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta, both of whom are among the best gentlemen and people you'll ever meet.

I sent both of them a text yesterday, allowing for one day to come and go, and basically said the same thing to each of them: "You're a winner. One game doesn't change that."

And as fans, I'd hope we see it that way, too.

The 2023 season ended with a loss, like almost every season does for any team that makes the playoffs in any sport.

The NFL is like American Idol. Only one person can win in the end.

But the idea of "investing your time and energy" and getting shafted just doesn't make sense to me. You knew what you're were getting into when you signed up for it.

You either come back and invest again next season or sell your stock.


I'll keep investing.

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January 30, 2024
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the morning after the morning after

For those who have been around these parts for a while, I typically author this piece 48 hours after the Ravens season ends.

It takes that long for things to really sink in and to have a little more clarity than perhaps I had in the aftermath of an abrupt campaign coming to an end.

There is something to be said about "the first time".

I say this about sports constantly: Nothing beats experience.

Nothing beats it.

I had an amazing experience when I qualified for the U.S. Senior Open in 2021. But I was also completely overwhelmed. I had no idea what I was in for until I got there and went through the first paces. Interviews, club manufacturers, the fitness and health trailer, the practice rounds, trying to hang out with my family as well. It was great. But I had no idea what I was doing.

Oh, and then I had to actually play competitive golf for two days. So mix that in as well.

If I'm ever fortunate enough to get back there, I'll be much more prepared because I now know what it's all about.

I can't help but think that what you're going to read below -- three observations about Sunday's game -- were all somewhat of a by-product of "the first time".

It was the first ever AFC Championship Game for Lamar Jackson.

It was the first time Marlon Humphrey and Geno Stone ever had to absorb a loss in the AFC Championship Game.

And it was the first time the Ravens organization ever hosted an AFC Championship Game. Plus, it was the first one of those in Baltimore since 1971.

The bet here is all four of those entities -- Lamar, Marlon, Geno and the Ravens -- won't do it the same way next time around.

Alas, we're here today to look back at what happened on Sunday. So here goes.

I'll be the first to admit, as everyone here knows, that I didn't think the Ravens were going to lose on Sunday against Kansas City.

That said, had you told me you saw the script and the Ravens were going to run the ball 6 times (with running backs) and the turnover ratio was going to be 3-us and 0-them and Zay Flowers would get the ball knocked out of his hands on the 1 yard line, I would have told you the Chiefs were going to win and the Ravens were going to lose.

I just "assumed" the Ravens would play their game and it would be enough to win. I do think it's fair to point out that there's no shame in losing to Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. I know that doesn't sit well with people who believe the Ravens should win every game they play, but the Chiefs are the Chiefs. They know how to win.

Was Sunday's performance a situation where Lamar didn't rise to the occasion? Or did the Ravens ask too much of him?

Alas, the Ravens didn't play their game. Not on both sides of the ball, anyway.

And even though the defense did their job and then some in the second half, they weren't able to make a stop on that final series when it was needed the most.

So, yes, the offense gets most of the blame for Sunday. But the defense gets a wrist slapping, too. Not enough to cause bruising, but K.C. rolled through Mike Macdonald's unit in the first 20 minutes of the game and then got the better of them on that aforementioned final series.

Graded out, the defense got a B+ in my book. They held the Chiefs to 17 points, which, we all suspected, would have been enough to give the Ravens the win.

That covers the defense.

But what about the offense?

Here's what I see now, more clearly, on Tuesday morning.

Something happened to Lamar.

I have no way of knowing how this happened. I don't know if he was coached "that way" or not coached that way. I have no idea because I'm not in the locker room and not at practice.

But the Lamar we saw on Sunday was not the same Lamar we saw in the regular season.

He wasn't remotely close to the Lamar we saw almost single-handedly beat the Texans two weeks ago.

Sure, the Chiefs had something to do with it. They schemed to keep Lamar from beating them and they were successful.

But this was more about Lamar than it was the Chiefs, I think.

Here's a hot take that's not designed to be a hot take, but you'll probably consider it that way: I think Jackson tried to be -- you won't like this word -- too "quarterbacky" in an effort to offset the critiques of those who claim he's just an athlete and not a real quarterback.

That's the way it looks to me, anyway.

I don't have any hard evidence or proof of it. But the eye test tells me Lamar wound up trying to play a different game on Sunday than he played in the regular season and in the playoff opener vs. Houston.

Here's the truth that we don't talk about at parties.

Lamar is an athlete first and a quarterback second. He just is. And when he's functioning in that profile, he's the most dangerous, dynamic offensive player in football. And it's not even close, if you ask me.

When he gets away from that profile and wants to be "quarterbacky", something changes in him.

That's not to say he can't throw the football well or read defenses appropriately or manage the game efficiently. He can do all of that.

But that's not what makes him the most valuable offensive weapon in all of football.

What makes him great is the fact he can intuitively do all of that stuff above and tuck the ball away and scamper for 21 yards on 3rd and 11 when you had him trapped twice in the backfield and thought you were going to sack him for a 9 yard loss.

This is just a guess. But I think Lamar probably does pay too much attention to what is said in the media. His teammates and friends share it with him. It's easy for you and I to say "he should ignore those things", but it's not our name and our talent getting flamed by people who never played a down of football in their life.

Instead of proving his value by simply winning a game, Lamar gets wrapped up in trying to play differently to show everyone, once and for all, that he can be "quarterbacky".

That's my take. I could be off. Or I could be right.

What I do know, is the Lamar we saw on Sunday was "different".

He didn't have it right from jump street. Something was off. And he never really got his chakras in line. One of his biggest moments of the game was a botched play, actually. You know, the one where he threw a ball that was blocked at the line of scrimmage and coulda, shoulda, woulda been intercepted and instead he was agile and smart enough to dart through the line and catch the ball for a wild reception and lengthy gain.

When that is one of your highlights, as a quarterback, you're having an off day.

Was some of his spotty play a result of Todd Monken's game plan? Maybe so.

But Lamar had the AFC Championship Game on his racquet and couldn't serve the ball in play, let alone win a set against the Chiefs.

It was almost as if Jackson went into the game saying, "You people don't think I can out-quarterback Mahomes? I'll show you I can."

Lamar was not good on Sunday. Any claims that he was are coming from folks with some sort of agenda to serve. John Harbaugh said afterwards he thought Lamar "played his heart out..."

That's code word for, "Lamar didn't have his best stuff but he never gave up."

And I do think Lamar played his heart out. He's not a quitter. That kid didn't deal with what he faced as a kid growing up in South Florida and learn "quitting" from those circumstances. Lamar's a fighter. And despite the loss on Sunday, you have to believe he'll better in 2024 than he was in 2023, which is really saying something.

But on Sunday, he was like a drummer missing a beat.

It just wasn't there.

I'm not sure the moment was too big for him. I see a lot of people trying to attach the "choke" word to Lamar and I don't buy that at all.

I just think he got away from playing the kind of football he's capable of playing and more importantly, the kind of football that makes him the most valuable and puts the Ravens in the best position to win.

If anything, I think it's very fair to say he might have tried to do too much. I know he wanted to win. Lamar seems to be one of the more genuine athletes we've had in this town. There's no doubt he wanted desperately to win on Sunday.

There's a saying in golf: You play your best when you get out of your own way.

I don't think Lamar could get out of his own way on Sunday. Instead of doing what just came natural, he tried to do things that weren't nearly as effective as "just being Lamar".

Why that happened...I don't really know.

Lamar's like an elite golfer who suddenly loses his swing. You start going over every position in the golf swing and try to figure out what's going wrong. "Paralysis by analysis" we call it in the golf world.

You wind up playing "golf swing" instead of just playing golf and trying to get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes, no matter how it "looks".

That's what Lamar looked like to me on Sunday. He was trying to "look like a quarterback" instead of just taking the team down the field by any means necessary.

I don't know what happened to him, exactly, but it was evident something about Lamar was "off" on Sunday.

Trying to be too "quarterbacky"? I think that's worth pondering, for sure.

Next season, just let him be Lamar. That's how you get the best out of him.

There was an interesting scene posted on social media following Sunday's loss and it had a lot of folks in Baltimore really agitated on Monday.

Marlon Humphrey and Geno Stone were out and about somewhere and Humphrey posted a quick 10-second video of the two of them laughing and giggling as if they didn't just lose the most important football game of the season at home.

The comments to Humphrey's post ranged from snarky to outraged to, in some cases, borderline threatening.

People were pissed.

A social media post following Sunday's game had Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey in hot water on Monday.

I don't know Marlon Humphrey at all. Nor do I know Geno Stone, either.

If they thought posting that video would be "funny", they were way off base.

I can't imagine that Humphrey is all that surprised by the reaction his post generated. You lost the AFC Championship Game at 6:00 pm and at 9:30 pm you post a video where you and a teammate are laughing and cutting up like you're at a Nate Bargatze show at The Lyric?

Read the room, bro. Read the room.

Maybe they were trying to get people going. I'm not sure why they thought that was wise, unless the whole thing was just a tequila-infused moment of stupidity. But perhaps Humphrey said to Stone, "You wanna get fans angry? Watch this..."

Or perhaps it wasn't at all intentional. Maybe they were just goofing around and decided they'd publicize it to give people a first-hand glimpse into how a championship squandered is handled.

I get it. Athletes are wired differently, particularly elite, high-level guys like Humphrey and Stone. There are 1,500 professional football players in the entire country and they're two of them. They are built different than almost everyone else they encounter on a daily basis.

And I understand -- having been involved in professional sports from 1981-1998 -- that players must not allow losses to linger. When the game's over, the game's over. Time to move on and get ready for whatever comes next.

That very well might have been what Humphrey and Stone were doing.

But posting it on social media? Basically spotlighting the fact that you're over the loss 3 hours later? I just don't see where either of those guys could possibly think that was the way to handle a crushing loss.

And the guess here is the organization probably doesn't look too kindly at it, either.

You're asking 70,000 people to invest hundreds (and in a lot of cases, thousands) of dollars on tickets for the game, plus you're selling suites at $90,000 each, and you certainly don't want your players to flaunt how easy it is for them to dismiss a loss that left the town crumbled in disappointment.

This has nothing at all to do with the loss, per se. Humphrey barely even played and Stone was his usual, capable self.

But it was a really awful look for those two guys, particularly Humphrey, who barely played in the loss due to a lingering calf injury.

Now, that said, let's do some simple reasoning.

Neither of those guys are from Baltimore. And they probably have very little clue about the town's sports history. The painful loss of the Colts, the agonizing playoff defeat to Peyton Manning in 2007, the "Billy Cundiff game" and, not to mention, the disastrous two-decade run of the Orioles.

If you're not from this area you just don't understand it all.

Humphrey and Stone don't have Baltimore in their blood. They're here on a long vacation, basically.

My guess is they'll both be in Cancun by week's end or some other exoctic resort...where they can really blow off some steam.

And while they do live here, now, there's a 95% chance, if not more, that neither of them will call Baltimore "home" once their playing careers end.

They're renters here. Nothing more.

And there's just no way they know how painful it was to the city to have to endure the agony of that loss on Sunday.

Yes, that might tell us more about who we are as sports fans. And it might serve as a cautionary warning of sorts, too. "Stop getting so invested in the team, both spiritually and financially."

But we assume, perhaps incorrectly, that every player on the team cares about winning and losing the way we care. And the reality is -- some of them just don't.

They care. Don't get it twisted. Humphrey and Stone cared about losing on Sunday.

But you want the truth? They probably don't care as much as we think they care.

There's just no way you would lose a game of that magnitude and then post things on social media that give off the impression -- accurate or not -- that you're already over what happened a few hours before.

And I have to think the front office folks were not too thrilled with seeing it.

If you want to go out after a loss and have a few drinks and chase girls and forget it all ever happened, go do it.

But don't post it on social media.

Be smarter next time.

For our sake, at least, we'd rather not know how easy it is for players to laugh immediately after perhaps the worst loss in franchise history.

The Ravens made some very interesting in-game operational decisions on Sunday as they tried their best to make the game an event fans in attendance would remember for the rest of their life.

It always has to be written out, clearly, so people don't get confused: What the Ravens did on Sunday didn't cause the team to lose to the Chiefs, 17-10.

But there's no doubt about this: The football "game", itself, took a back seat -- at times -- to the organization's interest in spotlighting the team's history.

Was the introduction of Terrell Suggs prior to the start of Sunday's 4th quarter a good move by the Ravens?

And those decisions, while well intentioned, left several players "put off", as one team source told me on Monday.

Some members of the team felt that the in-game theatrics and player introductions served as unnecessary distractions. On two occasions in the fourth quarter, the Ravens cut off the lights in the stadium, a moment that the franchise had never done in its history.

They used the first of those occasions to introduce Terrell Suggs. The other was an effort to create a frenzy prior to the Chiefs getting the ball on the pivotal series after Justin Tucker's field goal made it 17-10.

The Ravens meant well.

But the whole thing, once the game started, seemed somewhat over the top and out of place.

There was already pressure to perform in front of the home crowd. Now you add in bringing back players from the 2000 and the 2012 teams and you might get the feeling the organization is saying to the 2023 team, "You have a lot to live up to...this is your day to shine. These guys got to a Super Bowl. Can you?"

It's reasonable and even smart, perhaps, to work the crowd into a lather before the game, whether that's with a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, a military flyover (Sunday's was called off around 2 pm because of the inclement weather and low visibility issues), the "Honorary Captain" and the presentation of the game ball.

Having Michael Phelps out there before the game was a win.

Having Jon Ogden out there was also a smart move.

But some people felt like the team went overboard with the constant in-game trips down memory lane, the player introductions and so on.

Sure, this was the first AFC Championship game in Baltimore since 1971 and the Ravens, obviously, wanted to go all out and create the greatest spectacle they could.

But at times it felt like there was an entertainment event of some kind going on and a football game broke out in the middle of it.

And no one could figure out what, exactly, the Ravens were trying to do with all of it.

"Get the crowd into the game." Was that the goal?

The crowd was into the game. From the first whistle. And they stayed in it, particularly on every K.C. offensive possession.

I said this to several friends throughout the day and into the night. The crowd was far, far less intoxicated than I thought they would be.

People were drinking, of course. But I thought the crowd was almost "professional" in the way they handled themselves before and during the game, other than a few chants of "bull-s**t!" after officiating calls and some morons throwing things at K.C. players after the 4th quarter interception in the end zone.

I don't think they needed Todd Heap or Anquan Boldin to be introduced in the third and fourth quarter to be any more into the game than they already were.

But even if that was the intention behind the five in-game player introductions, it certainly begs the question: Couldn't you have done all of that prior to the game?

Here's what I don't know: What kind of "real" impact that whole episode had on players, although I know of at least one starting defensive player who was particularly wrankled by it all.

Here's what I do know: If the Ravens make it to the AFC Championship Game next season, you can bet, without question, the front office will do things a lot differently than they did them on Sunday night.

Terrell Suggs might be there again, but he won't be introduced in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens themselves might have let Sunday's moment get to them, in fact. In their quest to make the event memorable and curtail any momentum generated by the Chiefs, they might have created an air of distress within their own team.

Weird, right?

You think you're doing the right thing by just pouring everything you could into the presentation of the game and, along the way, you left out the most important part. There was a football game being played.

And if you asked the 70,000 fans if they wanted to see Ray Lewis dance and Ed Reed bang a drum and Terrell Suggs throw his fists at a camera or if they'd rather see none of that but have the team win, they'd take the win every single time.

The Ravens thought they were doing the right thing on Sunday afternoon.

They're proud of their history and they're proud of their city, too.

Next time, though, the bet here is they'll just let the football game play out and save the other stuff for the victory parade.

What's the old saying: "It's never a failure if you learned your lesson."

On a proud, personal note, ending with something positive today, I'd like to share that yesterday's edition of Drew's Morning Dish was the most visited in the almost 10-year history of the website.

10,404 "unique visits" were registered here yesterday, surpassing our best day by 1,600'ish visits.

I wish it wouldn't have taken a loss in the AFC Championship Game to create that new record, but there's nothing I can do about that.

So, a massive "thank you" to all who visited yesterday. Thank you for choosing #DMD to help get you through a very dark Monday in the history of Baltimore sports.

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January 29, 2024
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wasted opportunity

Let me get the personal stuff out of the way first.

Yesterday was, by far, one of the most special "sports days" of my life.

I was at the 1983 World Series, Games 1 and 2, in Baltimore. That was special.

I worked for the Blast when we won the 1983-84 MISL Championship. Very special indeed.

I'm a lifelong Capitals fan. Watching them win the Stanley Cup -- via television -- on June 7, 2018 was incredibly special to me.

And then there was yesterday.

I shared the entire day with my 16 year old son.

58 of my other friends and business clients were in two hospitality tents I purchased from the Ravens so we could all enjoy the game to the fullest.

The stadium was on fire in Baltimore yesterday. Unfortunately, the Ravens offense wasn't.

Inside, the stadium was electric. Absolutely bonkers from start to finish, or at least until Mahomes found Valdez-Scantling with 2:19 to play to seal the deal.

It was an incredible day. Just amazing.

I felt privileged to be there and blessed to enjoy it with my son and friends.

The only problem? The Ravens laid an egg on the field.

Part of the nuance of breaking down sports and individual athletic competitions is sometimes you have to be harsh in your assessments.

You can soft-peddle your way around things -- which is a direction our country has been going for a decade or more now -- or you can be honest and just call it like is.

We prefer the latter around here.

Let's just say it, get it out in the open, and go from there.

Along the way, we might even be overly critical when only "critical" is necessary, but it's better than being soft and avoiding the truth.

We'll probably spend most of this week going back and looking at things about yesterday's 17-10 loss to the Chiefs that come to us or stand out so much they're worth another look.

For example...

I'm not going to touch on this here today because there are bigger fish to fry, but a bird in a tree tells me some of the Ravens were perplexed by the organization's decision to trot out all of those old players DURING THE GAME. The message some took from that was: Are you as good as these guys? Can you live up to their past performances? You better do it today.

We'll delve into it later this week if the mood strikes, but I did find the whole "cutting off the lights" decision in the fourth quarter (twice) to be VERY odd indeed. No sense going over all of it today. There are far more pressing issues.

Another issue we'll touch on later this week, I'm sure, will be Baltimore's offensive game plan, which, to put it mildly, seemed distinctly "odd". The league's leading rushing offense ran the ball a total of 16 times, but only 6 of those were carries by running backs.

The Ravens ran for 81 yards on the day. They gave the ball to their running backs 6 times...3 from Justice Hill and 3 from Gus Edwards.

Zay Flowers carried the ball 2 times. Dalvin Cook never even saw the field.

John Harbaugh didn't want to criticize his offensive coordinator after the game, saying, "It's just the way things played out", but Todd Monken's game plan was really weird.

More on that later in the week.

The final score was 17-10 but it wasn't really that close.

And yet, the Ravens were a fumble at the goal line and a couple of really stupid penalties late in the fourth quarter away from perhaps stealing the game.

They were never in it. But they were always in it.

That's probably why it hurt the most when the clock reached 00:00.

In a weird way, I think it would have been better to just lose 31-10.

Lamar got outdueled by Mahomes yesterday in the biggest game of Jackson's NFL career.

"Just wasn't our day," could have been the reaction.

Instead, it's a spring and summer full of "how did we let that happen?" that the Ravens have to face.

No one will face more scrutiny than Lamar Jackson.

And rightfully so.

On a day when Kansas City's quarterback manned up with a virtuoso performance, Jackson laid an egg.

A collossal egg, if we're being honest.

He missed on several deep throws, failed to see a wide open Nelson Agholor in the end zone in the 4th quarter, and, as is his habit, held onto the ball too long.

Yes, the Chiefs' defensive line had a terrific day and the Baltimore offensive line was "off" for whatever reason. But Jackson has to be able to navigate that along the way. Yesterday, he couldn't do it.

When you earn $50 million annually, the assessments become a little more critical, of course. And this one will be simple and to the point.

Jackson failed to deliver a performance anywhere close to the enormous salary he commands.

And this is why, a month or so ago, I poo-poo'd all the whining and begging for Jackson to be "respected" with talk about the MVP award.

The Ravens just lost the AFC title game at home.

Who gives a flying-f about the MVP award? I certainly don't.

Brock Purdy got nosed at the wire by Jackson for the MVP honor, it would appear. Guess where Purdy will be on February 11? Yeah, Las Vegas. Guess where Lamar will be? In Pompano Beach.

Now, it's fair to point out that Jackson's performance yesterday might have been somewhat connected to Todd Monken's offensive strategy, but Monken didn't throw the ball into triple coverage with 7 minutes left. Lamar threw that ball.

Jackson is a great athlete. No two ways about it.

Because we're a sports-country enamored with awards, honors and highlights, Jackson will someday be a Hall of Fame entry even if he never does win a Super Bowl.

But this much is true right now: He's not a great quarterback.

He's a great athlete.

He had a great season.

But losing the AFC Championship at home when all you needed to do was score 18 points? That takes you out of "great quarterback" discussion. At least for now.

Like I wrote above, that might be "overly critical". But it's far closer to the truth than most of you want to admit at parties.

Jackson had an opportunity yesterday to beat Patrick Mahomes and couldn't do it.

As Charley Eckman would say: "It's a very simple game."

When Justin Tucker connected on a field goal with 2:34 remaining, the score was 17-10. The Ravens had two timeouts remaining.

If things went well, John Harbaugh's team was going to get the ball back with just under 2 minutes left, needing a touchdown to send the game to overtime.

The Chiefs started on their own 25 yard line. If the Ravens could force a 3-and-out, they'd probably get the ball on their own 30 or so.

On the first play of that series, the Ravens somehow had 12 defensive players on the field. How on earth does that happen?

On the second play, Roquan Smith inexplicably blew up the offensive line and was slapped with an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Ticky tack? Maybe. Unnecessary? Perhaps. But so, too, was Smtih barreling through the offensive line like a maniac and shoving the K.C. running back. For all of Smith's greatness this season, that was a horrendous penalty to take at a bad time.

The flag on Roquan got Kansas City up to the 45 yard line and gave them some breathing room. It also meant that if they did have to punt, they'd likely pin the Ravens deep in their own territory.

The Chiefs then ran two plays and the Ravens used their final two timeouts to stop the clock.

With 2:19 left, it was 3rd and 9.

"This is the ballgame," I said to my son as the Chiefs broke the huddle. "If they get a first down here, they win."

And then Patrick Mahomes did something Lamar Jackson couldn't do.

At least not yet, in his career, Jackson can't do it.

Mahomes sealed the AFC Championship with a majestic back foot throw to Marquez Valdez-Scantling, who made a remarkable catch while falling to the ground.

Jackson's never been able to do that.

Mahomes sewed up his 4th Super Bowl appearance with a sensational throw with the game on the line.


It's worth pointing out, as much as it pains us, that yesterday's win was probably the Mona Lisa of Mahomes' career, in terms of "degree of difficulty".

He came into Baltimore, where the stadium was bonkers the entire game, with probably the least talented offense of his career, and was able to beat Lamar Jackson on his own field.

It was also a memorable day for Travis Kelce who -- to borrow a term many of you use here too frequently -- was living rent free in the Ravens' heads all day long.

He certainly "engaged" with defensive players time and time again throughout the game and seemingly had some kind of free pass from the officials.

Patrick Mahomes will make his 4th Super Bowl appearance in 6 years on February 11 after yesterday's win in Baltimore.

But he also made 11 catches on the day for 116 yards. He was targeted 11 times. He caught the ball every time it was thrown to him.

Kelce was a Hall of Famer before yesterday's performance, but Sunday's effort removed any doubt at all that he'll be in Canton someday.

I wrote in yesterday's edition of #DMD that the only way I could see the game going sideways would be if the Chiefs somehow jumped out to a first half lead.

They have big-game experience, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, with the aforementioned to rock stars leading the way.

They know how to finish off games, despite their "meh" 2023 regular season.

And when it was time to put the final touches on Sunday's AFC Championship game, Mahomes knew how to do it. Andy Reid knew how to do it. Steve Spagnuolo knew how to do it.

Nothing ever makes up for experience. Nothing.

Not even the MVP award can make up for having been there, done that.

The officiating was a central theme from distressed Ravens fans last night (and today, too, I assume), but the reality is the game went exactly like every other game goes.

They missed a few calls along the way.

They made a few calls where you went, "Really? You're calling that now?"

And they flagged some guys where maybe a stern talking-to would have been sufficient.

But from an officiating standpoint, the game didn't seem any different to me than a game in week #14 of the regular season.

Some of the calls that people in the stadium howled about were clearly penalties; Travis Jones clubbed Patrick Mahomes in the face. Jadeveon Clowney rag-dolled Mahomes into the ground after he threw the ball. Both of those infractions were justified.

The Zay Flowers "taunting" penalty was probably over the top. As I've said here for a decade, the entire league is built on taunting. Every player taunts. For sixty minutes.

Here's what people watching don't know: Maybe Flowers was penalized because on the prior series, the officials said to the players, "Enough of the taunting. We're putting an end to it now. Next guy to taunt gets a penalty."

I have no idea if that happened.

I'm just pointing out that we watch the games from 35,000 feet and we're not always able to see exactly what's going on down there.

The officiating didn't impact the game.

Zay Flowers fumbled the ball on the goal line. In fairness to him, it wasn't really a fumble. He did, as Harbaugh pointed out after the game, have both hands securely on the ball as he dove for the end zone. But it got knocked out of his hands, the same way Lee Evans had the ball knocked out of his hands once upon a time.

The officials didn't put 12 men on the field with 2:34 to play in the game. The Ravens somehow did that.

The refs didn't let Valdez-Scantling get behind them and seal the game. The Ravens secondary was guilty of that.

I didn't think the officiating was any different yesterday. They made some good calls, made some bad calls, missed one or two they should have made and, in general, did their best to police the game the way they're instructed to police it.

The Ravens lost because their quarterback got outplayed.

Their offensive scheme was weird.

They turned the ball over three times.

And they couldn't stop Travis Kelce.

All the rest of it is eye wash.

The Ravens were better than the Chiefs from September 10 through January 27.

That superiority earned the Ravens a home game yesterday.

But on January 28, the Chiefs were better.

They just were.

And the Ravens will spend the next seven months trying to figure out how it all happened and how they won't let it happen again next season.

Do you trust them?

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AFC Championship Game

Sunday — January 28, 2024
Issue #3446

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens

3:00 PM EST

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-3.5)

it's time for the figure four leg lock

Where's the great Greg "The Hammer" Valentine when you need him?

The Ravens could definitely use his services this afternoon when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs try to steal the AFC title away from them in Charm City.

Put Andy Reid's team in the figure four leg lock and just hang on for dear life. It's now or never.

It's John Harbaugh's first-ever home conference championship game today. Will the Chiefs spoil the party? Or will Harbs and the Ravens claim a spot in the Super Bowl?

Kansas City comes to town to play in their mind-boggling 6th straight conference title game. For John Harbaugh's squad, it's their first appearance in the contest since their January win in New England all the way back in 2013.

That might be the only edge the Chiefs have on the Ravens this afternoon.

They have the experience.

K.C. has been there, done that and they have the tee-shirt. Five of them, in fact.

So, yes, when it comes to playing in a game of this magnitude, the Chiefs know how to put things together. The Ravens are relatively new to this kind of pressure.

Other than that, though, Baltimore has all the advantages today. And some of them are significant.

The Ravens offense is dynamic. They can throw the ball, run the ball, chop you up on a 14-play, 75 yard drive or go down the field in 6 plays and tear your backfield apart.

Kansas City's offense is good. But it's limited, too. Yes, they have an all-world quarterback. But to borrow a phrase from Tom Brady's ex, "What's Mahomes going to do? Throw the ball AND catch it himself?"

The Chiefs are decent enough running the ball, but the Baltimore defense figures to stymie that particular game-plan.

It's going to be an uphill climb for the visitors today.

Their only likely method to victory is to have a monster day on defense and hold the Ravens to under 24 points. If Kansas City can keep Lamar and Company to 23 or less, they have a chance.

But even then, they'll have to figure out a way to score at least 24 on Baltimore's defense, and that's certainly not a guarantee.

The one concern for the Ravens, I'm thinking, would be if they happen to fall behind by a score or two early in the game.

If Kansas City hops out to a 10-0 or 14-3 lead, that would change the way Lamar and the offense are used to playing. I'm certainly not saying it's "game over" if the Chiefs go ahead in the 2nd quarter, but it's tough enough to come back in the NFL when you're playing just a regular team on any given Sunday.

One thing about the Chiefs that you really can't debate: They know how to win. It obviously stands to reason that every season is different. And just because they have won time and time again in the past doesn't necessarily mean they'll be able to do it again today.

But they know what it takes to put a game away.

And so, that's really MY only concern this afternoon. If the Ravens get out to an early lead and maintain some sort of advantage throughout the game, I don't see how the Chiefs can overcome that, even with one of their patented late-game drives.

I don't see how this one gets away from the Ravens. I just don't.

Lamar is playing at too high of a level.

They can run the ball effectively.

The receivers get open. And they catch the ball.

And the Baltimore defense just isn't allowing much in the form of big plays or long, punishing drives.

One stat that I think is going to be supremely important today is what each offense does on first down. If there's ever going to be a "tale of the tape" this afternoon, it comes from that category.

If the Ravens can turn the game into a series of 2nd and 4's and 3rd and 2's, they're going to have a field day with that Kansas City defense.

If the Chiefs, on the flip side, can force the Baltimore offense into a lot of 2nd and 7's and 3rd and 7's, things might take a turn in K.C.'s favor.

I know Mahomes is legit and he can still sorta-kinda win a game on his own. But this contest, today, is a matter of Baltimore's offense beating Kansas City's defense or vice versa.

That match-up determines the outcome of today's title game, I think.

My guess on the numbers? Baltimore runs for 177 yards. Lamar accounts for 58 of them.

Jackson throws for 244 yards. 21 of 30.

Flowers catches 6 passes for 79 yards to lead a balanced attack.

Beckham hauls in 4 passes for 71 yards including a big 40-yard strike.

The Ravens lead 13-10 at the half. It's a football game for the first 30 minutes.

A Gus Edwards TD run in the 3rd quarter makes it 20-10.

The Chiefs settle for a field goal after driving deep into Ravens territory.

Lamar hits Mark Andrews with a TD pass late in the 3rd quarter to up Baltimore's lead to 27-13.

The natives get a little restless in the opening minutes of the 4th quarter when Mahomes finds Kelce for a TD to make it 27-20.

But an 11-play, 65 yard drive results in a Justin Tucker field goal with 6:05 left in the game.

Kansas City gets two more cracks at it on offense but can't narrow the gap, with their final effort ending on a Roquan Smith interception with just over one minute left in the game.

When the final whistle blows, the Ravens are headed to their 3rd Super Bowl since 1996 with a 30-20 win over the Chiefs.

Figure four leg lock...applied.

Las Vegas, here we come.

I know the mail doesn't generally deliver on Sunday, but we have a few Q & A offerings to get to on this championship occasion.

Brad asks -- "Drew, what did you make of Nick Dunlap's decision to turn professional and leave college early after he won the PGA Tour tournament last week?"

DF says -- "He didn't have a choice, really. There were a few things left for him to chase as an amateur, but none of those came close to offering him the kind of career security he's going to get by turning pro now and scooping up all the money that is available to him by virtue of his win at the American Express.

Here's the thing people might not understand. This kid was a great amateur player. Probably top 5 in the world. But he was the 4100th ranked golfer in the world prior to winning last weekend.

I'm not saying he wouldn't have earned his PGA Tour card somehow either this year or next, but the process to do that is pretty grueling for a college guy.

There's no telling how long it would have taken him to get his card. One year? Two years? Three years? Meanwhile, you're burning through money playing in Korn Ferry events and other developmental tour events trying to stay sharp and improve your game, in addition to winning some money along the way.

With his win in the American Express, he jumps over all of that stuff and is, suddenly, on the PGA Tour for the next 2 years.

Golf is a crazy game. That kid could have won last week, stayed amateur, and then suddenly lost his putting touch, his confidence and his game...all within about a 4-week span in May.

If that happens now, he still makes money every week playing professional golf, no matter if he stinks it up or not.

Don't get me wrong. Dunlap is a really, really nice player. But he could play the next 2 or 3 years out there and not win another tournament. There's no telling what his future holds.

He did the right thing at the end of the day. Frankly, he did the only thing he could do. Take the money and spend the rest of 2024 trying to get better."

Craigh Sills asks -- "Hi Drew, question for you about golf. I hear people say all the time that "short game" is the thing to practice the most but I'm not sure I know exactly what that means. I just started playing a year ago and would love to get to the point where I can play and break 100 regularly. When people say I need to work on my short game what's that entail? Thank you. Love the Morning Dish."

DF says -- "I think some people have different definitions, but, to me, short game is everything around the perimeter of the green, say, within 5 or 10 yards of the putting surface.

I guess it technically includes putting.

But, to me, "short game" is chipping and pitching, mostly. And bunker play. Basically, anything around the green that has to be chipped or pitched is a "short game shot".

I also think 20-100 yards is a critical distance to work on.

I tend to look at it like this. Anything inside of 20 yards should result in a shot within the flag stick.

Anything between 20 yards and 60 yards should be within 15 feet of the flag.

Anything between 60 and 100 yards should be no more than 20 feet from the flag.

But "short game" work, right around the greens, is really critical. It turns doubles into bogeys and bogeys into pars...real quick. Being a good putter helps, too, but if you're chipping it and pitching it well, you're bound to make some of the ensuing putts just because you can't possibly miss them all."

C.J. asks -- "I've always been a fan of overrated/underrated both on your radio show and at the Dish. Who is the most overrated Raven and most underrated Raven? Thanks!"

DF says -- "Wow, tough to even think of someone who is overrated given what they are playing for on Sunday (today). I hate to pick on Ronnie Stanley because I think a lot of his decline has been traced to injuries, but it sure does seem like he's gone from "ultra-valuable" to "overrated" in a pretty brief amount of time.

It would be easy to pick out some of the guys who have been OBVIOUSLY underrated this year; Stephens, Likely, Agholor, etc. They've all performed above what most people assumed, although I think Likely is a budding star in the making.

I think Travis Jones has been vastly underrated this year. He'd be my call. He isn't a "full time" guy quite yet, but when he is on the field he's starting to make more and more of an impact. If the Ravens lose Madubuike, Jones will step in and get more playing time in 2024, 2025, etc."

I hope everyone has a great day at the stadium this afteroon. I realize the weather is garbage and that's a shame, because a Chamber of Commerce day at the stadium on AFC Championship Sunday would have been something to behold.

But, as we know with the baseball team, beggars can't be choosers. You never know when this day might come around again, so go out there, enjoy it, and have a great day.

Be polite to people, especially those who traveled from Kansas City. That would be my only real message to everyone. You're sorta-kinda representing all of Baltimore when you go to the game and encounter Chiefs fans. They are, by the way, the nicest group of "away fans" I ever ran into during my days traveling and covering the Ravens on the road.

By far, Kansas City and Nashville had the two nicest fan bases.

So please be kind, have fun, and bask in the (rainy) glory of the first AFC Championship Game in Baltimore since 1971.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps embarrass nebraska in college park

Yesterday, the Terrapins found themselves in a tight ballgame at the midpoint of the first half.

Trailing 20-18, at the ten-minute mark, they blitzed Nebraska 26-7 from that point on, taking a 44-27 lead into half time and coasting to a 73-51 win.

When Maryland’s Jordan Geronimo hit a 3 to start the second half, the game was over. The only thing left for Nebraska to do was absorb getting violated on the offensive glass. The numbers favored the Terps 17-3.

This game changed due to some unlikely sources. It was Jahari Long and Jamie Kaiser banging down first half threes like they were tap-in putts.

Each player made 3 of 4 in the first 20 minutes while their teammates were making just 1 of 9. Those two scored 50% of Maryland’s first period points. It was too much for Nebraska to handle. You could see the fight leave their collective bodies.

Maryland scorers were led by Julian Reese’s 15 points. He also had 16 rebounds. Kaiser had 14, and Jamir Young tossed in 12. For Nebraska, only reserve C.J. Wilcher reached double digits with 14.

Nebraska’s Keisei Tominaga opened the scoring with a three off a nice ball fake. After a series of misses by both teams, Jamar Lawrence hit another three and Nebraska had jumped to a 6-0 lead.

The first TV timeout came at 15:36 after Reese hit a shot over Josiah Allick and Brice Williams drained yet another triple for the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska started the game going 3-4 from behind the three-point line, but 0-3 from inside it.

The next 5 buckets in the game were all triples. Two of those came off the hand of Maryland’s Jahari Long while Jamie Kaiser added one. For Nebraska, it was Rienk Mast and C.J. Wilcher doing the long-range bombing.

At the next break, the score was 15-11, in Nebraska’s favor, with Kaiser going to the line to shoot two shots. The three-ball had accounted for all but two points in the game. The Cornhuskers had 5 threes coming from 5 different players.

Two more Kaiser threes, the second one was a rainbow from the Xfinity Center logo, had the Terps on top 21-20. But the threes kept coming. DeShawn Harris-Smith hit one too. Maryland had opened a 4-point lead.

At the 6:53 timeout, the Terps held a 28-25 lead. The teams were lighting up the scoreboard from the outside, but Maryland was taking advantage of 8 Nebraska turnovers.

It was another three by Long that extended the Terp lead to 10 points, 35-25. You could sense the steam leaving the Cornhuskers and frustrations setting in.

The Terp energy was not being matched by Nebraska. The Terrapin bench had scored 22 points already, with Kaiser and Long putting up 11 points each. The two had combined to shoot 6 for 7 from beyond the three-point stripe. Maryland’s lead grew to 12.

The Terps were also owning the offensive glass. Their 8-2 advantage had led to a 13-3 difference in second chance points. The offensive board dominance helped the lead grow to 41-27. Nebraska had missed its last 6 shots and had not scored a field goal in 6 minutes.

The half ended with the Terps ahead 44-27.

It was quite an offensive explosion for Maryland in the first half.

The 44 points was surely bolstered by the unusual appearance of successful three-point shooting by the Terrapin bench. The Terp defense contributed too, allowing Nebraska to score almost nothing inside the three-point line. When the ‘Huskers stopped making threes, their offense stalled.

The visitors had just 2 field goals from inside the arc, going 2-9. They were also a bit careless with the ball, having turned it over 9 times compared to just 3 for Maryland.

Total rebounds in the first half stood at 22-11, in favor of Maryland, further displaying the Terrapin dominance. I’d say rebounding and bench scoring by Kaiser and Long were the stories of the first half.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Jordan Geronimo joined the three-point parade, and the route was on. Nebraska was just going through the motions and trailed by 22. They had 12 turnovers and just 10 field goals. The fight was out of the ‘Huskers and the rest of the game was essentially play time.

Mercifully the game stopped. It had actually ended much earlier for Nebraska. When Kaiser and Long go 7 for 9 from the three-point line, The Terps can hang with anybody. Even DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jordan Geronimo Joined the three-point party.

All of the stats that depict hustle were strongly in favor of Maryland. The Cornhuskers grabbed just 1 offensive rebound in the second half while giving up 7.

The Terps were far more assertive, and extremely relaxed. A big lead can do that to a team. They had 11 steals compared to 5 for Nebraska. The Terps also had three players get more rebounds than any ‘Husker.

Nebraska got embarrassed yesterday. Maryland stuck it to them.

The Terps return to action next Saturday at Michigan State, seeking to avenge the loss Tom Izzo's team slapped on them in College Park last Sunday.

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January 27, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

ready for it?

If you take a second to think Back to December, I assume most of you thought what you're about to experience tomorrow was a possibility mixed together with a pipe dream.

But now that we're roughly 24 hours away from The Best Day we could ever imagine, it's time to sit back, relax and take it all in.

Our Ravens are in the AFC Championship Game! You could, almost, refer to the 2023 Ravens campaign as a true Love Story.

I'm sure you're a tad nervous. We all are.

And while I'm not an expert on the central nervous system, my best piece of advice to all of you is this: Breathe.

The reality in a game like this is the part no one wants to discuss in the Daylight.

One team tomorrow will be moving on and the other will experience a sad moment of Closure as their season comes to an abrupt halt. I always found that to be the toughest part about the season ending in any sport I played; today you're playing, Fearless, and tomorrow, you're standing around saying "Is It Over Now?"

Catching touchdowns in the AFC Championship game...now that's How You Get The Girl.

I think we all know how this is going to play out tomorrow. It all comes down to the two quarterbacks. Which one will stand above the other for 60 mintues and ultimately be The Man? We're thinking, believing and hoping it's Lamar, of course. The fans in Kansas City are hoping it's Patrick Mahomes who winds up being Untouchable tomorrow.

Although the Ravens are in decent position, salary cap wise, moving into next year, there will likely be a Change or three...made necessary by the league's salary cap. I have no idea what John Harbaugh's central theme will be tomorrow, but I assume he's going to mention something to the team like: "You know, guys, there's a real good chance that after these next two games We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Whether that's enough to motivate his team to a win tomorrow under what think might be Treacherous conditions and then again on February 11 remains to be seen.

Speaking of Harbaugh, I have to assume that in his Wildest Dreams, growing up as the son of a football coach, he never once thought he'd be a Super Bowl appearance away from someday getting into the NFL Hall of Fame. Weird how things happen, huh?

20 years ago, Harbs was a lowly special teams coach in Philadelphia. Now here he is, once a champion, hoping for another in the next few weeks. And you know what they say about trophies: Two Is Better Than One.

This game on Sunday likely revolves around Style and which team Hits Different. On offense, the Ravens hope to get Lamar Jackson into a situation where he can Run and throw. On defense, they'd like to flush Mahomes out of the pocket and make him perform under duress.

One huge key is this: Baltimore's defense has to keep K.C.'s offense in check, mostly by trying to coax them into taking three points instead of Seven.

Kansas City has their own huge task in front of them. If This Was A Movie, the screen writer would probably have K.C. creating two or three turnovers and knocking the ball out of Lamar's hands late in the game with the Chiefs nursing a 4-point lead. But it's real life and the Ravens are desperately trying to make the Chiefs eventually say to themselves, Would've, Should've, Could've.

I suspect Mike Macdonald will once again be the Mastermind behind a defensive scheme that makes life difficult for Mahomes and the K.C. offense. The Last Time these two teams met, Macdonald and guys like Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton weren't around. Those three alone have the ability to create some legitimate Bad Blood on Sunday.

The key to the game is Lamar. I suspect Harbs won't have anything new fangled to throw his way. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The guess here is Harbs pulls his QB aside tomorrow around 2:30 pm during the warm-ups and says, "You're On Your Own, Kid." It's Lamar's football game to win.

Which will way it go?

We'll see tomorrow.

One thing for sure: This game will go down -- win or lose -- as one of the most memorable days in the history of Baltimore sports.

It all started way back in September.

Now, here we are, with just four teams left standing.

And the Ravens don't have to worry about hearing that crazy song, Renegade, at the start of the 4th quarter. They're at home, ready to be Mean, trying to extinguish the NFL's version of The Last Great American Dynasty.

Win or lose, this game tomorrow is being played on something akin to Holy Ground. These events just don't come along all that often. At least not in Baltimore, anyway.

I had an Epiphany a few months back that the Ravens were going to be playing this game tomorrow. My gut tells me they're gonna win, too, but if they happen to come up short, please Don't Blame Me.

In the end, the one thing I wish all of you is Happiness.

Enjoy the day. Revel in the game. We all know if they don't win it's going to be a bit of a Cruel Summer, but would you rather be watching the Ravens tomorrow or watching two other AFC teams play for the AFC title while you stare into Blank Space?

Prior to every Calvert Hall Golf match, we say a team prayer that includes these words: "God, give us the ability to accept victory or defeat with equal degrees of humility." Translated for Ravens fans who are invested in tomorrow's outcome, it goes something like this: "Give us the ability to enjoy victory with a State of Grace. And if the Ravens lose, give us the ability to Shake It Off."

Long Story Short, you and I both know we're very fortunate to have this game being played in Baltimore tomorrow.

Let's cherish it.

Someone get the Ravens together in a huddle and give them this message: It's Time To Go!

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps host nebraska today

Nebraska’s head basketball coach, Fred Hoiberg, lost a lot when Derrick Walker graduated last season.

Hoiberg needed to replace his leading scorer, rebounder, assist man, and let’s toss in shot blocker for good measure. Walker did it all, and deservedly earned his all-conference status. To replace Walker’s contributions, Nebraska raided the transfer portal.

Boasting a 5-4 conference record (all the wins are at home), I’d say Hoiberg did a nice job of supplementing his returning roster.

The wins so far this year have come against Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, and Ohio State. That’s an impressive block of work. The newcomers have had a substantial role.

Julian Reese and the Terps face a pesky Nebraska team today in College Park.

The most impactful pick up has been Rienk Mast. Coming from Bradley, Mast is a big (6’10”, 245) center who’s not afraid to step outside and test his 35% three-point shooting.

At first glance, he appeared to my eyes to be awkward when putting the ball on the floor, and even some of his passes lacked sharpness. But after watching a few more of his games, I have a different view of what he brings to the court.

Mast runs as an effective pick and roll as any big I’ve witnessed this year. Numerous times I’ve seen him set a screen above the foul line, and then wait for exactly the right time to slash. When it’s clear, he goes to the rim.

It’s been a prosperous play for the Cornhuskers and has helped Mast establish his 13.7 points per game average. He’s the one Cornhusker you can count on to play 30 or more minutes each night. His last time out, he hung 34 points on Ohio State, making 6 of 8 three pointers.

One thing to watch with Mast, and this will be key to the outcome, Mast likes to body-up his assignment. It’s almost odd how he gets his feet behind him, sticks out his chest with his arms in the air, and leans into his man.

If the refs see this as a fair and legal move, then Mast can be effective defending on the low blocks. If they whistle him, he’s in trouble. Another factor with this technique is how does Julian Reese respond to all the pushing.

Reese can occasionally play with a lot of emotion (that’s a nice way of saying he has a bit of a short fuse). How he responds to being leaned on for 30 minutes will be paramount in determining today’s outcome.

Continuing with the additions by transfer, the 6’7” Brice Williams has also earned a starting role with this team. His height may indicate more of a 3 or 4 role, but defensively, Williams frequently is assigned the other team’s point guard.

I’ve watched him check Northwestern’s Boo Buie and Purdie’s Braden Smith. Williams is no slouch on the defensive end. On offense, Willaims makes 37% of his threes and averages 13.3 points, but it’s his defense where he really shines. Also, at the foul line he’s good for 85%.

The last transfer may not start, depending on how good Juwan Gary’s calf feels. Gary has missed the last couple of Nebraska games, and his status is questionable. If he goes, Gary adds another tough defender and solid rebounder to this lineup.

His game is more of a tough guy than it is a highly skilled player. He’s the second leading rebounder on the team (a shade under 6 per game) and fourth in scoring with 11.7. He’s effective enough that when healthy, he’ll see 30 minutes of playing time, or more.

That last transfer is Josiah Allick. I like his game. He has a wide variety of inside finesse moves that allows him to shoot around defenders more than over them. He’s kind of a sneaky interior player instead of a power or physical guy in the paint.

The 6’8” senior, when matched against Donta Scott could supply Nebraska with some bonus points.

We have yet to discuss Nebraska’s leading scorer, Keisei Tominaga. This guy never met a shot he didn’t like. Runners, floaters, threes, hook shots, left or right hand, it doesn’t matter to him. He’ll shoot the rock.

I find that his unpredictability makes him fun to watch. He’s quick enough to defend most guards, but his 179-pound frame doesn’t hold up against bigger guards. He’s excitable.

I’ll mention one key reserve, because he can make an impact. That guy would be C.J. Wilcher. He’s a 44.7% three-point assassin. You absolutely can’t leave him alone outside. Almost 75% of his attempts come from long range. That’s his role. Come in, hit threes.

Nebraska makes more threes per game than any team in the Big ten. When looking at averages, Maryland is giving up 10 points to the Cornhuskers in three-pointers. That’s a lot to make up.

Jahmir Young shows up every night, but Williams might be strong enough to slow him down. Even if Young gets his, can Reese flourish against Mast and can Scott have a big night against Gary or Allick? What kind of night will we see out of Tominaga? He can be hot and cold.

Nebraska doesn’t play a high-tempo game, just #146 nationally, but they check in with the nation’s 24th most efficient offense. They have enough athletes to defend all over the court, and they are a good foul shooting team (77%).

It’s their defensive side that will keep them in today’s game. I also like that fact that throughout the year, they have had seven different players be high scorer for a game. That offensive diversity means they can survive a bad game from their top guys. That’s a luxury Maryland fails to possess.

I’m sure the bettors see the Terps riding high off of a road win in Iowa, but I see danger signs here. This Cornhusker team has some things that the Terps wish they had.

Mast will frustrate Reese and the Cornhuskers, behind some very balanced scoring, will trip up the Terps in the XFINITY Center.

It’s not a blowout, but 70 – 66 sounds about right. Tip off is at 12 noon.

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January 26, 2024
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sorry lamar, it's not you (yet)

A friend of mine sent a text yesterday.

He, like everyone else, is enamored with the prospects of a Baltimore win this Sunday.

This has been a week full of excitement amongst Ravens fans.

"If they win Sunday, are you going to the Super Bowl?" someone asked me last weekend.

The answer to that is, no, I'm not. Truth of the matter? I covered 8 Super Bowls and was in New Orleans for #47 when the Ravens beat the 49'ers and I always found the game itself to be VERY overrated.

The build-up? Working radio row? Hard work and lots of fun.

But the game itself wasn't that big of a deal.

I suspect this Sunday will be much different. The championship game, in Baltimore, isn't something we've seen in these parts. Unless you were around for the one played here in 1971, what you're going to witness on Sunday is fresh-fallen-snow. It's brand new to us.

I can say, other than the Caps-Golden Knights Game 5 in 2018, this game on Sunday is the most anticipated sporting event of my adult life.

That wasn't the question I received yesterday, by the way.

How close is Lamar Jackson to surpassing Ray Lewis as Baltimore's all-time favorite Raven?

It was this one:

"If Lamar wins this game on Sunday and then wins the Super Bowl in two weeks, does he surprass Ray Lewis as Baltimore's most beloved Raven ever?"

It took me three seconds to reply:

"No, he doesn't."

It's really hard to differentiate between the Colts and Ravens. The times were so, so different. Johnny Unitas was a Charm City treasure, that's for sure. But so, too, is Ray Lewis. I'd never rank one of those over the other. There's just no way to do it and be right.

But I can rank Ravens vs. Ravens.

And as much as I believe Lamar Jackson is on the fast-track to "iconic" status in Baltimore, there's just no way he's going to rise above Ray Lewis with a win this Sunday and a win in two weeks vs. either Detroit or San Francisco.

He might, someday, be the all-time "best" Raven.

But I think that's even a stretch, frankly. Ray Lewis built the Ravens, pretty much on his own. Lamar came along 20 years after the team's inception and just dazzled us with his brilliance.

Ray built the 7,000 square foot house.

He sold it to Lamar, who installed a 3-hole golf layout in the backyard, a full-size basketball court, and a massive in-ground swimming pool with one of those cool slides that's shaped like a huge bendy-winding tube.

Ray built the house.

Lamar just added on to what Ray built.

It's still beautiful and all, don't get me wrong. I love me a good water slide and a 78-yard par-3 with bunkers around the green.

But Ray painted the picture and Lamar just touched it up.

Now, that doesn't mean that Jackson isn't going eventually work his way past someone like Ed Reed or Terrell Suggs onto the Ravens proverbial Mount Rushmore.

Heck, Lamar might already be there.

I mean, if you asked me right now to give you the all-time top Ravens performers, I'd probably go Ray, Reed, Ogden and Suggs as my top four.

Lamar is arguably in that mix of four right now, but if you want to put him 5th because he's only in the May of his NFL career, I might buy that.

That said, the bet here is Jackson will easily be #3 before his career ends and, maybe, even #2 eventually.

I don't think he'll ever surpass Ray Lewis as Baltimore's favorite purple son, but I'm not going to say it's "impossible", either.

For starters, Jackson will have to play his whole career here. If he plays in Baltimore for 10 years and, say, Tampa Bay for 3 or 4, that might change the way we think of him. That's not something we were ever concerned about with Ray. He was a lifer in Baltimore.

But that's not something to worry about in 2024. Lamar's here for the long haul, albeit with a lot of work to do to earn the same sort of lifetime exemption we've bestowed upon Ray Lewis.

A win this Sunday would go a long way, that's true.

And a win in the Super Bowl would really start cementing Jackson's status, both as an all-time great in Baltimore and a NFL Hall of Famer.

But bigger than Ray?

Sorry Lamar. Not yet.

There was a story on Thursday that suggested the Orioles might be interested in signing free agent pitcher Domingo German.

Now, it's always fair to point out that a story/rumor of this sort could have been originated or planted by German's agent, who is no doubt looking to cobble together a better-than-he-deserves deal for the maligned, controversial and twice-suspended right hander.

German was originally suspended by MLB back in 2020 for assaulting his girlfriend.

Last season, he was given a 10-game sit-down after being caught with a foreign substance during a mound visit.

Oh, and he's also been injured quite a bit throughout his 7-year big league career.

I'm not buying stock in this one, sorry.

This isn't an attempt to stir the pot, but if you're going to take a chance on a polarizing pitcher, why not go get a guy who might be able to really help? Yes...like Trevor Bauer.

Please understand this: I'm not saying the Orioles should sign Bauer. I get the whole thing. Lots of baggage, a pretty saucy story trailing behind him, etc., etc.

I'm saying if you're even thinking about signing Domingo German, why wouldn't you consider Bauer?

If you can't tell, I think the Orioles should pass on German. I just don't think he's that reliable.

The "other stuff" has to be considered also. I'm definitely a second-chance guy, but it seems like the former Yankee right hander has used up most of his free passes.

Bauer's case is similar in nature, yes, although baseball dealt much differently with him than they did with German or any other player accused of sexual assault or a charge of that ilk.

It's probably best for the Orioles to just say no and no to both German and Bauer. The damage there just can't be undone.

But I'll say it again for the folks in the back of the room who can't hear all that well. If, in fact, the Orioles are considering making a run at German, they should definitely kick the tires -- firmly -- on Trevor Bauer.

German's low-pressure light is on. Bauer could still have some tread left.

Evan Datz asks -- "You're given this opportunity and have to choose one. Which do you pick and why?

You are 125 yards out and have to hit your ball from the fairway within 25 feet of the flag. If you do it you get $50,000. If you fail to hit it within 25 feet you can't play golf for six months.

You have one foul shot to hit. Make it you win $10,000. Miss it you can't play golf for three months.

You have one frame of ten pins bowling to roll a strike for $5,000 or a spare for $2,500. If you don't do it, you can't play golf for one month.

Which way are you going? I know you enjoy a good wager. What's your poison?"

DF says -- "I love this question! Love it, love it, love it. I'm not even a bowler and I'm going with the strike/spare option in bowling. For starters, I have two different potential outcomes instead of one. Picking up a spare in ten pins is pretty easy. And going one month without golf (I'm assuming "in season") wouldn't be all that tough to do if I somehow missed out on a strike or spare.

The free throw option is out. Completely. I always stunk at shooting foul shots.

I'd love a crack at $50,000. And not playing golf for six months wouldn't be the end of the world. I'd treat it like a shoulder injury. But 25 feet is a lot "tighter" than people realize, especially from 125 yards out. Now, if you would have said 75 yards? I'd be taking the golf option.

Anyway, get me my $2,500 for rolling the spare, please. Thank you very much."

Randy asks -- "Dude, what's with all the Beatles hate? Is it some sort of running gag? Please do tell."

DF says -- "I'll say it for the 143rd time. I do not "hate" the Beatles. They had 3 or 4 good songs along the way, sort of like REO Speedwagon and Blue Oyster Cult. I just always found the hype to be more than the actual substance, that's all.

"All we need is love, da-da-da-da-da, All we need is love, da-da-da-da-da, All we need is love, love -- love is all we need."

I mean, with creative lyrics like that, how can you possibly hate those guys, right?

But there's definitely no "hate". In fact, I can't think of a band I truly "hate". I've never been big on the Grateful Dead, for example, but I get why they're popular. It's not my thing, but I respect them. There's no "hate".

It's a shame the Beatles quit. Who knows what they might have turned into had they had the fortitude to continue on as a band?"

Matthew Fernice asks -- "Big question here for your next Q & A. Who's the greatest sports broadcaster of all-time?"

DF says -- "It's funny you bring this up, because I was putting together some February content ideas recently and one of the things I was thinking about doing was a "Mount Rushmore" week and one of the days would focus on sports broadcasters and/or play-by-play guys.

This is really hard to answer. Let me say from the start I'd only consider guys who did multiple sports on the big time stage. So, like, Jon Miller is a wonderful play-by-play guy in baseball, but he doesn't have much else on his resume besides that. He did dabble in other sports, but nothing ever came of it.

So, with that criteria in mind...

I would probably go with Dick Enberg. Verne Lundquist was also really, really good. And so was Brent Musburger, actually.

Lots and lots to choose from. Keith Jackson was awesome. Jim Nantz is solid. Mike Tirico is very underrated, I think.

But I'm going with Enberg, by a nose, I think, over Lundquist."

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faith in sports

I just love finding something new on the internet that I can use, personally, and share with my Calvert Hall golf team and with you, here, at #DMD.

There are so many great testimonial videos and such on the web, but this one I found from Kelly Schmidt is just five days old and is perfect for my spring golf season and our weekly FCA huddles at Calvert Hall.

This one from Schmidt, a basketball player, touches on a number of subjects that are integral to the life of a faith-based athletes.

And, as always, we can apply anything you see in the video to our own lives.

Give this 9 minutes of your time today, please. Just 9 minutes.

Thanks to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and "Faith in Sports" here every Friday.

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January 25, 2024
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making it make sense

Glenn Clark and I had a blast in the final 20 minutes of my Wednesday appearance yesterday.

It was the informal debut of our new podcast -- "This is what's wrong with our country" -- which, I'm thinking, will quickly rise to the top of the charts once we actually get it up and running.

I kept telling Clark yesterday: "You're gonna make a million bucks if you just take a chance on this thing."

OK, that might be a tad ambitious. I have no idea what a podcast could make if it actually becomes a legitimate hit. I listen to roughly 10 of them a week. 8 of them are connected to golf. 2 of them are related to ministry. 4 of the 8 golf podcasts are decent, but that's about it. The other four sound like lesser versions of Wayne's World.

The 2 ministry podcasts are outstanding. If those 2 aren't making money, the whole thing's rigged.

Anyway, I bring that up to simply suggest that podcasts of all kinds -- quality wise -- might actually turn a profit here and there.

Is there a reason why the NFL sent a referee who frequently penalizes the home team to Baltimore for this weekend's game?

I have no idea if Clark and I could make a million bucks. But the content is worth a million bucks as long as we stick to the formula, which is very clear and easy to understand: We're going to tell the truth about what's wrong with our country.

And along the way, we're going to be able connect things that happen in sports with things that happen in real life. There is almost always a connection, somehow. You just have to dig deeply for it.

For instance, one of the things wrong with the NFL is the act of wide receivers getting up after they fail to catch a ball and throwing an imaginary flag hoping -- if not begging -- for an official to see them doing that and thinking to themselves, "Hmmmm, maybe I missed the call. Should I throw a flag? Yeah, I should throw a flag."

I've said for years that any receiver throwing the imaginary flag should be penalized 15 yards. Let the officials officiate. We all know they're already having a tough enough time without you acting like a goof and trying to dupe them into throwing a flag that might not be deserved.

And there's where we tie in the podcast...

One of the things wrong with our country is the same scenario as wide receivers throwing imaginary flags.

Everyone's always trying to dupe someone. People don't want to come by their success honestly. They'd rather dupe someone.

Earlier this week, I walked into the bathroom at a local Panera and happened to come across a kid of maybe 16 to 18 years old rummaging through the trash can -- in the freakin' bathroom -- and pulling out a plastic cup someone had thrown away.

I couldn't help but notice he went to the sink, turned on the hot water, and threw some soap into the cup and washed it out.

Duping Panera out of $2.49 for a drink.

I said to him, "Hey, man, throw that cup away. If you need a drink that bad, I'll buy you a drink."

He looked at me like I just said, "The White Album is a great piece of music."

In other words, he gave me a wild look like, "Are you nuts, old man?"

"I got it," he said to me. "I don't need anything."

He went out to the main part of the restaurant and when I walked by the soda station, there he was, filling up "his cup" with a soft drink.

I ordered my food and a coffee and then ordered an extra small drink.

I took the plastic cup and walked to where he was sitting. I sat it down in front of him, somewhat firmly.

"I got you a legitimate cup. You're good, now. Have a great day." His friend seated with him was totally confused.

I went over to the other side of the restaurant and ate and did some work on my laptop.

That's what wrong with our country. You're eating in Panera. You've already paid XXX for food (he had some sort of soup/sandwich combo in front of him) but you won't pay the $2.49 for the soda because you know there's probably a plastic cup in a trash can somewhere.

What are you, a raccoon?

So I paid the $2.49, if for no other reason than to keep my own chakras in line.

Whether you're throwing an imaginary flag or snagging a free soda from Panera, you're trying to dupe someone. Stop trying to get something using dishonesty as your main weapon.

Another thing wrong with our country is this obsession we have with making excuses.

I'm not bringing this up specifically because of Ms. Swift and her imminent appearance in Baltimore this weekend.

But I said this here two weeks ago and it bears repeating today. If this game goes sideways on Sunday and the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl, 88% of Baltimore sports fans are going to play the "NFL wanted K.C. to win because of Taylor Swift" card.

We have this bizarre infatuation with trying to explain away anything negative by creating a fake reason why it happened the way it did.

It can't just be that the Chiefs beat the Ravens 27-23 because Patrick Mahomes threw three really nice passes in the 4th quarter with his team trailing 23-20.

It will be because the league wanted the Chiefs to win because that gives Taylor Swift entry into the Super Bowl and the NFL wants even more 14 year old girls to get attached to the NFL.

14 year olds can't bet on the games. The NFL couldn't care less about them.

The only people the NFL cares about now are those who can wager on the games...legally. Everyone else is eye wash to them.

But that's another thing wrong with our country: There's an excuse for everything. You can't even think about this next Presidential election without the excuses starting to pile up. The winner will boast and the loser will brood and it will be a complete s-show, as we all know.

You lost. Scoreboard. Re-group and try again next time.

We rank near the top of the sports world here in Baltimore when it comes to making excuses. I'm not sure why. We just do.

It's probably because we had our brains beat in for 20 years by the Red Sox and Yankees fans who came buzzing into town every summer and laughed at how inept our baseball team was at that time.

I don't know what it is. But, here in Baltimore, someone's always "out to get us".

This week it's the NFL. They've sent a referee to town who calls more penalties against the home team. Voila! We smell a rat.

Taylor Swift is now the 2nd most popular figure in the league behind the quarterback who throws her boyfriend the ball. Another rat!

Trust me, if this thing goes sideways on Sunday, Baltimore will be Excuse City instead of Charm City for three or four days.

It can never just be that you lost.

Sticking with sports, Clark and I yesterday discussed the concept of 9-8 division winners getting to host a playoff game while a team, potentially, with a better record has to go on the road to play the 9-8 team.

That's another thing wrong with the country.

We're not allowed to reward winners any longer, for fear it makes the losers feel bad.

There's no way it makes sense for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) to host the Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bucs should make the playoffs, yes. They won their division. Good for them.

But Philadelphia finished 11-6. They had a better season than Tampa Bay. Not worth discussing. Philly was better.

Under normal circumstances, you'd just say to Tampa Bay: "Sorry, guys. You'll have to go on the road for that first playoff game because your record wasn't good enough." In this case, Tampa Bay might have been the #6 seed and would have gone to #3 Detroit in that first game instead of hosting the Eagles.

But we're not not allowed to tell the Buccaneers they "weren't good enough" because it might hurt their feelings.

So, we give them a home playoff game so they're happy. And the Eagles have to go on the road and we don't really worry about them and their feelings because, you know, the rules say they have to play on the road since they didn't win the division.

Likewise, that's wrong with our country.

We're not allowed to tell anyone they aren't good enough. Even when it's obvious they aren't, we're still afraid to do it.

We have to find ways to break it to them gently. And if we say one word wrong, BAM!, we've crushed their spirit.

A few years ago, a 9th grader came out for JV golf at Calvert Hall. Nice kid and all. Seemed like a genuinely friendly, well-rounded young man.

Sadly, his golf was terrible. On his information sheet, he noted his best round ever was a "92". I seriously wondered, as I watched him hit balls at Pine Ridge during the tryout, if he had ever played a full 18 holes of golf.

There was zero chance he could have posted a score under 130 that day, had we gone out to play 18 holes.


So when his 20-minute evaluation was finished, I very politely said, "You need a lot more experience." I wanted to leave it at that.

But he wanted more of an explanation. "Are you saying I'm not good enough to make the team?"

"That's right, I said. "I'm sorry, but your golf just isn't good enough at this point. If you work hard over the next 10 months or so, you might be able to make it next year, though. Don't give up. But you have to get a lot better."

That night, his parent sent me an e-mail where she said, "I can't believe you told my son his golf was awful."

A) I never said that at all. I simply confirmed what he asked me. "Are you saying I'm not good enough to make the team?"

Yes, the answer to that is "You're right, that's what I'm saying."

B) I told him he needed more experience and then I tried my best to give him plenty of support by suggesting if he improved he could potentially try out again as a sophomore.

He didn't tell his parents that, though.

I couldn't have let him down any more gently than I did.

And that's another thing wrong with our country. Even when you do let people down gently and even when you do have to tell them they lost or they aren't good enough, they're still mad at you.

Go get better.

There's your wisdom for the day.

Dig in and try to get better. See where that takes you.

We spend so much time trying to make sure no one's feelings get hurt that we wind up confusing them even more than they've already confused themselves.

It's sports.

You win some.

You lose some.

If you're not willing to buy into that as the central theme of every sporting endeavor you ever attempt, you're just kidding yourself.

You can't win every time.

Be prepared to lose and learn how to deal with it.

And by all means, stop trying to dupe people.

We'll be back next week with another exciting episode of "This is what's wrong with our country."

On the docket: Umpires who think the game is about them. Bands who never start their concert at the time displayed on the ticket. And tipping for things that absolutely have no justification for receiving a gratuity. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Oh, and Go Ravens!

Ray asks -- "You might have answered this before and if so I apologize. I know you are a huge music fan. What are your all-time top 5 favorite albums? And can you give us one vastly over rated album and one vastly under rated album please. Thanks and Go Hall!!

DF says -- "I have been asked this question before and I don't know if my answer today will be the same as it was then. My tastes, especially for albums, change a lot over time.

My favorite Springsteen album has always been "Darkness On The Edge Of Town" and it still is even today. And it's definitely in my top 5 of all-time.

Rush was phenomenal. Picking one of their albums is really hard. "Moving Pictures" is most certainly the one I played more than any others. I loved "Hemishperes" and "Permanent Waves", too. But "Moving Pictures" is in my top 5.

Beastie Boys "Hello Nasty" is definitely top 5 for me. They had other great albums. But something about Hello Nasty was "different" in that it felt like they were finally realizing just how good they really were.

The Cars "Candy-O" is in my top 5. Every song on that album is great. And that's hard to do.

Eminem's "The Eminem Show" is also a top 5 album of all-time for me. I realize that's quite a diverse selection of music there, but that also shows you my age. I have albums from the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's and 2000's listed. Not intentionally, mind you. It just worked out that way.

I assume you mean an overrated album that was a big seller and an underrated album that maybe wasn't a big seller?

OK, I'll bite. I loved (still do) Pink Floyd. But I think "The Wall" album was really overrated.

Underrated? I realize the Counting Crows had the unfortunate accomplishment of painting their Mona Lisa first, with "August and Everything After", but their second album, "Recovering the Satellites" was every bit as good as "August". There are 8 or 9 great songs on Recovering the Satellites. It's a vastly underrated album."

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps rally for stirring 69-67 win

The Maryland Terrapins pulled off a 69-67 win last night when Jahmir Young got hot in the second half, and Iowa scored just 1 field goal in the last 8 minutes of the game.

The Terps had trailed by 10 in the first half and by as many as 9 in the second.

Young had 17 points in the second half, but none were bigger than his eight points in the final 1:24 of the game.

He hit a contested step-back three and another triple from the top of the key. He was then called upon, with the clock running out and the game tied, to hit the winner

Young delivered a driving layup off the left side, leaving the Hawkeyes with just 1.5 seconds to counter. Their last shot never threatened the rim.

Great team defense and three late baskets from Jahmir Young, including the game-winner with 1.5 seconds left, lifted Maryland to a much-needed Big 10 win at Iowa last night.

While Young and his late heroics might grab the headlines, the entire Terrapin defensive effort should share the glory.

Holding the potent Iowa offense to 34 and 33 points each half is no small feat. It wasn’t just the Terps pace of play, but more so it was their defensive intensity that proved the difference. The Terps also had a whopping 8 blocked shots.

Young had 22 points for the game (17 in the second half) and was backed by Julian Reese’s 17 and 14 from Donta Scott. As a team, Maryland made 7 of 15 three-point attempts. Iowa connected on just 3 of 14.

The Hawkeyes were led by Tony Perkins' 20 points and 14 by Owen Freeman.

Four minutes into the game, and the familiar turnover bug had already infected the Terps. At the 15:47 timeout, Maryland had three turnovers against just a single made basket. The team was 1-5 from the field, with their lone field goal being a deep three by Donta Scott.

Perkins had 4 points for his team, Freeman accounted for the other two. Jamir Young had yet to attempt a shot, and the Terrapins trailed 6-3.

Not much really happened during the second 4-minute segment, with the exception of more turnovers. Maryland now had five and Iowa had committed 4. The score was 11-7 after a little over 8 minutes had been played.

The next four-minute block saw Juju Reese get into the act with a slam off a nice feed by Long. Long had just banked in a three pointer. The Terp scoring enabled them to stay within 6 of the Hawkeyes, 20-14 with 7 minutes and change left in the half. Young had yet to score for Maryland. Perkins had 9 for Iowa.

When Iowa scored 4 straight coming out of the break, Willard was forced to call a timeout. His team was now down by 10, 34-24 and Scott was still on the floor with 2 fouls.

Young finally got on the board with a baseline 3 off of an inbounds play. He followed that up with a couple of free throws, pulling his team to within 5, 24-19. Give the Terrapin defense credit for forcing Iowa to use large portions of the shot clock while looking for a good shot.

Freeman was beginning to be a problem for Maryland. The Hawkeyes kept going to him and he was responding. They weren’t the smoothest moves, but by the last TV timeout at 2:21, he was good for 10 points on 5 for 6 shooting. For Maryland, it was Jahari Long hitting his second three that kept Maryland’s deficit under 10 points.

The half ended with Maryland down by 6, 34-28. They had done a nice job of slowing down the Iowa offense by applying consistent ball pressure. However, Iowa was dominating in the paint, 28-14. Both teams had attempted 7 threes.

Maryland was successful 4 times while the Hawkeyes had missed all 7 of their tries from long range. A 12 to 0 Terp advantage from three-point line and a 14-point difference in the paint for Iowa was probably exactly the opposite of what was expected. Bench points were even at 6 a-piece.

The Hawkeye’s first shot of the second half ruined their perfect 0-fer from the three-point stripe. Josh Dix drained one from the corner boosting Iowa to a nine-point lead. Both teams started scoring at a faster pace before turnovers cooled both squads. The first TV timeout came at 15:36 with the Hawkeye lead at 7, 41-34.

With Iowa missing 7 shots in a row, Maryland closed to within 3, 41.-38, as Young got to the rim for an “and one”. A Scott three got them even closer, closing the gap to 2, 43-41.

Another three-point play by Young on a nifty dribble move going to his left brought the lead down to a single point. Maryland’s run was far from over. A Reese score in the paint was followed by a steal from Jamie Kaiser. The Terp guard went directly to the rim, where he was fouled. He missed both shots, leaving the score at 46-45. It was a 15-4 run for Maryland.

A Perkins 3, followed by 2 Reese foul shots (Maryland was now in the bonus), left the game tied at 48. Maryland’s defense was really bothering Iowa. The Hawkeye ball handlers were struggling to initiate the offense. The Terps were also picking up a handful of blocked shots.

A Willard timeout paused the action with 8:54 left in the game, Iowa ahead by 2, and the Terps in possession of the ball. Maryland’s defense continued to impress. Their points in the paint had already matched the 14-point total of the first half.

Iowa stretched their lead to five on a three by Josh Dix and 2 Freeman foul shots. A Young put back was matched by 2 Ben Krikke foul shots, leaving the gap at 5, 59-54. Both teams were flashing some zone defenses at this point, and Iowa was struggling to get field goals.

The score was 63-57 when the last TV timeout came at 3:28 mark. The Hawkeyes had produced 8 of their last 10 points from the foul line. When play resumed, Reese hit 2 more Terp foul shots to cut the lead to 4. Two more made foul shots, this time by Scott, made the score 63-61.

Maryland had a chance to go ahead after an Iowa miss, and they made the most of it. A step back Young three put the Terps up by 1, 64-63. Iowa regained the lead with 2 Perkins foul shots.

Young took control again, nailing another three-pointer made possible by a solid Reese screen. Those were his 15th points of the half. Iowa had the ball, down 2 with 30.8 seconds left in the game.

The Hawkeyes went to Perkins, who drove on DeShawn Harris-Smith and drew a foul. Perkins tied it with 2 foul shots. The Terps had the ball, down 2, with 21 seconds left. Each team had 67 points.

Nobody touched the ball but Young. Iowa then made a fatal mistake by not taking away Young’s left hand and he made them pay.

His drive to the left side of the rim resulted in a banked in 4-footer giving his team a 2-point lead with just 1.5 second left. A desperation heave by Iowa from half court was woefully short. Maryland had pulled off a 69-67 win on the road.

Maryland’s ability to slow down the game, thus limiting possessions, was paramount in their victory.

I was greatly impressed by the Terrapin defense last night; they frequently required the Iowa offense to use substantial portions of the shot clock before putting up a shot.

The 8 shots the Terps blocked were huge also. Seven of those came in the decisive second half, with many of those coming late in the game.

I was also baffled by the Iowa defensive decision on the last bucket by Young. He’s the one guy you can’t let beat you, but Iowa did. Allowing him to get to his strong hand and drive to the hoop without help is just bad basketball. Credit to Young, but it was a cardinal sin to allow that to happen.

It was a good win for a Terrapin team that never quit and played hard defense throughout the game. In crunch time, they have the best “go to” guy in the conference, and he sealed the deal.

Next up, Nebraska in College Park on Saturday at noon.

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January 24, 2024
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they got it right

Let's take a mini-break from all things AFC Championship to mention yesterday's baseball Hall of Fame news, where Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton all earned their way into Cooperstown.

All three were no-brainer kind of picks, I'd say.

Billy Wagner and Gary Sheffield Jr. were close, but didn't make it.

Others like Manny Ramirez (32%), Chase Utley (29%), Omar Vizquel (17%) and Bobby Abreu (14%) were issued stark reminders that they're never going to see Cooperstown without having to buy an admission ticket.

"Hall of Very Good" for those four, yes.

Hall of Fame for the other three? Definitely.

Adrian Beltre (L), Todd Helton (middle) and Joe Mauer (R) were selected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

It's sort of a relief to have a year come and go where the three guys who got in aren't really worth arguing over. I mean, sports talk radio and websites dedicated to sports might want it the other way around. It would have been awesome for steroid users like Sheffield Jr., A-Rod or Manny to get in...if you're in the sports commentary business, that is.

But I wouldn't have voted for any of those three. So on a personal level, I'm thrilled with the guys who got in and thrilled with some of the guys who didn't.

I still think Billy Wagner should make it, but his time is quickly evaporating. 2024 was his second-to-last year on the ballot. And this time, he missed by just five votes. Next year is his last and best chance to close the deal.

I think closers, like kickers and goaltenders, always tend to get overlooked because they're not "real players". Wagner was a Hall of Fame relief pitcher. But that still might not be enough to get him in.

Next year, Ichiro Suzuki is on the ballot for the first time.

I'm not much on the whole "unanimous" selection thing or even the "first ballot" debate, but I'll climb the hill, stand there, and die on it: If anyone doesn't put a check box next to Ichiro's name next winter when the voting takes place, they shouldn't be allowed to vote for the Hall of Fame ever again.

Pretty simple stuff.

"You actually turned in a ballot and didn't vote for Ichiro?"

"Well, yes, but let me explain. You see --"

"No thanks. We don't need an explanation. You're no longer allowed to vote. Take care."

We can argue about others on the ballot next year like C.C. Sabathia, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and Felix Hernandez.

There's no argument at all about Ichiro. He's in. Period. Unless you want to lose your right to vote, that is.

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals slumbered through another listless night on offense in a 5-3 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday evening.

The Caps scored one goal in the first 57 minutes of the game before scoring twice in the final three minutes to make the final score look semi-respectable.

This is, now, officially, a lost season for Ovechkin.

It's the one thing he couldn't have in his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky.

Ovi has played in 42 games. He has 8 goals.

Marcus Johannson of the Wild -- a former Capital -- is a journeyman player with a limited skill set. He scored his 7th and 8th goals of the season last night. Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer in this generation and will be, at the very least, the second greatest scorer ever in the sport of ice hockey.

He has 8 goals on the year.

Something's wrong.

Like, big time wrong.

It could be the talent level of the players around him.

The Caps are not very strong offensively.

They're not all that good, period. Their loss in Minnesota last means they've now lost more games (23) than they've won (22).

But Ovechkin couldn't afford this type of disastrous season in his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky's goal scoring record.

He started the campaign with 822 goals.

A 35 goal-season, at the very least, would have put him at 857 and created a potential scenario where he broke Gretzky's record next year.

This 8-goal campaign to date has completely erased any chance he'll break the record next season.

He's currently on pace to score 15 goals this season. The guess here is he'll still figure out a way to get to 20, providing he doesn't miss any more games, like he did recently when he sat out three games with a lower body injury.

If he gets to 20, he'll finish with 842 goals. That would leave him 52 goals shy of Gretzky heading into 2024-2025.

It would also stall the Capitals front office in their quest to effectively market Ovi's goal scoring chase next season.

The only thing Ovechkin couldn't have was an injury-riddled year or a season where he just couldn't put the puck in the net.

I'm not sure which one would be worse, but here we are, with 8 goals in 42 games.

As Richard Vernon said in The Breakfast Club --- I expected more from a varsity letterman.

As the Ravens prepare for Sunday's AFC title game showdown with the Chiefs, a significant number of "public" tickets went on sale yesterday at 10:00 am.

It's funny how the sports ticketing world has changed.

The tickets that were "put on sale" yesterday were actually nothing more than seats being sold on the secondary market, packaged to resemble legitimate tickets.

A friend of mine texted me at 10:03 am and said, "Got in! Can't believe it!".

Five minutes later he shot me another text, "$1800 for two seats in the lower deck. No thank you."

In fairness, there were some upper level seats originally available for $399 that wound up costing roughly $500 with the added-on fees.

$500 for an upper level ticket to the AFC Championship Game is a reasonable get-in price, in my opinion.

But the face value of that seat was $165.

So, what was released yesterday weren't face value seats. They were seats with a mark-up and added-on fees attached, sold through the Ravens ticket agency, Seat Geek.

And, look, the ticket business is what it is. If you don't get a seat at face value through your in-season loyalty to the team (season ticket, sponsorship, etc.), you're never going to get a seat on the open market at face value for a game like the AFC Championship.

This morning, there are gobs of lower level tickets available for $1,500 or more, which turns into $1,800 after fees.

That's a high price to pay, no doubt.

But it's all relative, as I said to a friend on "X" last night.

If $1,500 doesn't mean anything to you, what's $1,500 for a football ticket?

I recently had a friend who bought an $800 bottle of wine and opened it for us to drink that same night.

$800 for a bottle of wine is crazy to me.

But $800 to him is like $10 to me.

I wouldn't pay $1,500 to watch a football game.

But I've paid $1,500 to play Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay over a long weekend.

It's all about what you can afford and how important it is to you, I guess.

So you either pay $700 (now) for an upper level seat or $1,500 for a lower level seat and that's that. If you do, you're in. If you don't, you're watching the game from somewhere other than the stadium.

I'm excited to be there on Sunday and even more excited that I paid what I consider a very reasonable price for my lower level seat and 2-hour pre-game party at the stadium.

When it comes to ticketing, first in almost always wins. When you wait, you're left to pay what you have to pay to get in.

The PGA Tour moves to beautiful La Jolla, California this week and the event at Torrey Pines actually begins today and runs through Saturday as the TOUR finally caved in and stopped competing with Super Bowl Sunday.

This stop at Torrey Pines is one of the most treasured of the early-season rotation on the PGA Tour. Both golf courses are outstanding and the whole La Jolla vibe is almost impossible to top, unless you're at Pebble Beach next week.

We enjoyed a pretty nice go of it at the American Express Championship last week. All of our guys made the cut and a few were inside the top 15.

A couple of familiar names highlight our picks this week. As always, we urge you to wager within your own limits. We'll continue to recommend win wagers (those with the longest odds) and wagers in the Top 10 and Top 20 (odds decrease at each level).

Ludvig Aberg (+2000) is drawing a lot of attention this week and with good reason. He should be able to overpower the par 5's on both the North and South courses. While he's totally unfamiliar with the golf course, he won't have trouble off the tee as the two layouts are fairly open and accommodating, except for a few holes that run along the ocean.

Aberg is going to be a great player on the PGA Tour. He'll win multiple times this year, we think. We're guessing this could be one of those triumphs at Torrey Pines.

Eric Cole is once again on #DMD's list of favorites at this week's PGA Tour stop at Torrey Pines.

Sahith Theegala (+3000) remains one of our favorite plays week-in-and-week-out and his return to a familiar area (he went to school at Pepperdine) should only help him this week. Theegala is on the verge of a big time breakout, we think, and it could start this week at Torrey Pines. His only weakness -- and all players have one -- is a medium-well short game. But the green complexes at Torrey aren't all that difficult. We're very high on him this week.

Eric Cole (+3500) is a horse we're going to continue to ride until he finally wins or misses three straight cuts. Cole is quickly rising among the TOUR's best ballstrikers. He's hovered around weekend leaderboards throughout the last 12 months. He just needs to get his ball into the winner's circle. We're still on his side and love his chances this week.

Beau Hossler (+7000) is one of our favorite plays this week. He's going to win at some point. Torrey Pines is a place he's played a bunch over the years, both as an amateur and on the TOUR. His poa annua putting is good, which should help him this week. He's not overly efficient on par 5's, but the ones he'll face at Torrey Pines are pretty short and reachable for even the shorter hitters on TOUR.

If you have a few bucks to sprinkle around on some big time longshots, throw a few bucks on guys like Sam Ryder (+9000), Taylor Pendrith (+9000) and Adam Schenk (+10000).

And if you're someone who loves sticking with the favorites, you have to love Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa, both of whom are in the +1000 range. We're not big on betting favorites in the smaller events here at #DMD, but some folks like that strategy. Both "X" and Collin are great investments this week.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit hawkeyes tonight

I’m not ready to claim that tonight’s Terp game against Iowa is the irresistible force vs the immovable object, but this contest in the Carver-Hawkeye Arena does feature the highest scoring offense in the Big Ten going against the league’s top-rated defense.

Terp fans know which one describes Maryland.

The other side of the court is also interesting.

Iowa has the worst defensive numbers in the 14-team league while the Terrapin offense is prolifically inept. Part of the equation for the extreme rankings is the tempo with which the teams play.

Iowa plays with the 7th fastest tempo in the NCAA, hence more possessions for both them and their opponent. The opposite is true For Maryland, with their 297th tempo ranking showing a slower pace that produces fewer scoring opportunities.

Kevin Willard and the Terps have to figure out how to score more points and stop a high-scoring Iowa team tonight in a key Big Ten matchup for Maryland.

Iowa cashes in on those extra possessions, ranking 18th nationally in offensive efficiency. The Terps come in at 169. Defensively, the Terps rank 17th in efficiency nationally while Iowa claims spot number 114. Which style will prevail?

The Hawkeyes boast three players that average 14 or more points per game. The Terps have just one. Ben Krikke gets 16.5 and leads his team. Checking in at 14.4 and 14.3, respectively, are Tony Perkins and Peyton Sandfort. They all get the job done, but in different fashions.

Sandfort takes the most threes on this team, but as a unit, Iowa does not put up a ton of them. The 6’7” guard hits 38% of his three-point attempts, and almost 2/3 of his shots come from behind the arc. His 6.8 rebounds per game is tops on Iowa.

He’ll draw Jordan Geronimo to start the game. Geronimo had better lace up his track shoes, because Sandfort gets up and down the court. Actually, this whole Iowa team likes to run.

Nobody pushes the ball harder than Perkins. The point guard and assist leader dishes out 4.2 “dimes” a game. He’s the most athletic starting Hawkeye, and likes to get to the rim. He has a solid assist to turnover ratio, and does a nice job of orchestrating this Iowa offense.

I’m guessing he’ll be called upon to check Maryland’s Jahmir Young. That job will be helped by his 6’4” frame.

The Hawkeye’s premier scorer is Valparaiso transfer Ben Krikke.

This 6’9” forward doesn’t shoot threes and rarely posts up. Instead, his offensive game is the long-lost mid-range game. His 16.5-point average comes on 58.8% shooting.

Although he carries 245 pounds, he’s not a mauler inside, nor is he an athletic marvel. He reminds me of a smaller Hunter Dickinson who prefers 12 footers over posting up.

Iowa will start a 6’10” freshman center, Owen Freeman. Freeman wills his way to 10 points a game. I don’t see a signature move with this guy. He kind of just sets picks and then hangs around the basket.

What he does is offer a big body to defend inside. I wouldn’t brand him as a great defender, instead I will term his defensive functionality as “disruptive”.

He’ll push and battle with anybody. Maryland’s Juju Reese can score on him, but look for Iowa to double Reese. It’s an effective strategy against a team that can’t make threes.

Maryland can’t win this game by scoring in the 60’s. I don’t care how slow they run their offense, they won’t be able to hold Iowa under 70 points. The best they can do is to limit the Hawkeye breakaways and hope Iowa has an off-night shooting. But the Terps need to find more scoring.

If Jahari Long fails to start tonight, I’ll be surprised. Maryland can’t afford DeShawn Harris-Smith’s 33% shooting and 15% three-point shooting.

If Harris-Smith does start, I suspect it’s solely to slow down Perkins. He’s Iowa’s catalyst and slowing him down should be a major Terp priority. I can still see him getting 20 points tonight.

Getting back on defense must be another point of focus for Coach Kevin Willard. The Hawkeyes run hard after getting a rebound and we can expect the Terp bench to get substantial minutes providing breathers to the starters.

This will be a green-light game for the Terrapin offense. Meaning, any open look gets launched. That green light can produce some more relaxed, and more accurate shooting. The Terps will need it.

Can Maryland hit enough jumpers to keep up with Iowa? I’m not so sure about that. That said, this Hawkeye team only has a 3-4 conference record. They are 2-2 at home, having lost to #1 Purdue and losing to Michigan in a game where they gave up 90 points. Maryland can’t score 90.

A fun game, where unexpected scoring from the Terp bench won’t be enough to hold off Iowa’s quick paced offense.

Maryland puts up a nice offensive showing with 75 points, but that won’t get them a “W” at Iowa against a team averaging almost 87 in their last three home games (Purdue excluded).

In recent years, Maryland has struggled at Iowa, so it would not be surprising to see an 82-75 win for the Hawkeyes. Gametime is 7 p.m. and will be carried by BTN.

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January 23, 2024
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what if "it" happens?

OK, so let's get this out of the way today, on Tuesday, so it's clear right from the start.

I don't see the Ravens losing on Sunday.

I'll wait until game-day to give you my predicted final score, but I already have the scenario playing out in my head of how I think the game is going to go.

But, yes, spoiler alert here -- I think the Ravens are going to win.

That said, I'm also well aware it might not go that way.

They're calling for crappy weather on Sunday in Charm City. Maybe that impacts the Ravens more than it does the Chiefs.

The Chiefs have been there before. Five straight times, in fact. This will be their 6th consecutive appearance in the AFC title game. Lamar's never played in one and the Ravens haven't made it this far since 2013. A smattering of players have played in games of this magnitude in their respective careers and Justin Tucker was part of the Super Bowl 47 team, but the point is simple: K.C. is far more familiar with the AFC Championship Game and the pressure that goes with it.

One of these two will move on to the Super Bowl following this Sunday's showdown in Baltimore. Will the loser's legacy be stained?

It's probably also fair to say the Chiefs might have the edge at quarterback, if only because their guy has "been there, done that" while Lamar is seeking his first-ever Super Bowl appearance.

In this season, Lamar has outplayed Patrick Mahomes. But Lamar has also had a season full of offensive weapons to use. Mahomes has pretty much had your Uncle Bill and your brother-in-law Timmy, both of whom played a couple of years at wide receiver for Kutztown University back in the day.

Anyway, that's a three paragraph way of warming everyone up to the idea that the Ravens could lose on Sunday. Let's be honest with ourselves and admit it's possible.

I heard someone on talk radio yesterday claim, "If we don't win on Sunday the season's a failure in my (his) eyes."

He went on to say, "Lamar and Harbs might not get this chance again for five years, who knows? And if they come up short on Sunday, this stains them."

I love when people say stuff like that, just to say it.

32 teams started the season. There are four left standing. Only one is going to win the title.

I could see 18 of the non-playoff teams considering their season a failure. That makes total sense. When you're in a league where almost half the teams make the post-season and you're not one of them, that's not good.

And I might even see the likes of Dallas and Philadelphia looking at their season as a "meh" kind of campaign. They were both, throughout the regular season, among the best 5 or 6 teams in the entire 32-team league. A first-round playoff elimination could lead to believing your season was a failure, despite a solid regular season.

But in no way, shape or form, would a loss on Sunday by any of the four teams left standing be considered a "failure of a season".

John Harbaugh's going to the Hall of Fame whether he wins Sunday or doesn't win.

I suspect Lamar Jackson is now just about a lock to gain entry into the Hall of Fame as well. His star may continue to rise this weekend and, if things go right, in a few weeks in Las Vegas. But either way, given his career trajectory and all, I think it's safe to say Lamar is going to the Hall of Fame unless something really, really weird happens to his game.

So this game on Sunday doesn't really do much of anything for either of them. That's not to say a win wouldn't help both of their profiles, because it would. And a loss would be something they'd both have to deal with, publicly, particularly the quarterback, since it's his first foray into a championship game setting.

But if the Ravens lose on Sunday, their season's not a failure and Harbaugh and Lamar are both still on the fast track to Canton.

Jackson most certainly has "more to lose" than does Harbaugh because the quarterback is in the crosshairs. Unless your kicker misses a 44-yarder that people paint as the reason your team lost the game, the quarterback almost always gets the blame if their team comes up on the short end of things.

We already know how it's going to play out on Sunday if the Ravens somehow don't win.

"Mahomes outduels Jackson in Baltimore".

It could be a 17-13 defensive scrap for 60 minutes and, somehow, Mahomes getting the better of Lamar will be the central storyline.

Lamar does have far more at stake on Sunday than does Mahomes, that is, if you think public perception and media scrutiny count for something.

Mahomes is an accepted NFL darling-boy. He can -- almost -- do no wrong.

And in fairness to him, that's a tag he's earned. It hasn't just been given to him. Mahomes has earned whatever spotlight he garners.

Lamar is seeking to be considered among the league's best, even now, with a second MVP award within his fingertips. Whether the disrespect bothers Lamar or not is unknown. Whether being needled for not being "quarterbacky" enough irritates him is a mystery.

I suspect, given that all of the "kids" spend hours on social media these days, Jackson saw the "quarterbacky" comment and other things goofy media members have said about his distinctive approach to the quarterback position.

He can do something very quarterbacky on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.

He can beat Patrick Mahomes.

And if he does that, his legacy continues to grow.

If Jackson doesn't win, though, the season is not a failure. Not in the least.

But winning sure would be better than losing.

If only to shut up the naysayers and critics who said Jackson couldn't beat Mahomes, it would be great to see Jackson holding up the Lamar Hunt trophy around 6:15 pm on Sunday night.

Tom in Abingdon asks -- "Drew, just wondering what you think about the rumors the Ravens are close to a contract extension with Justin Madubuike? Do you really think EDC can pull that off without Mads reaching free agency this spring?"

DF says -- "I'd be pretty surprised if Madubuike re-signs before free agency. Why would you do that? There's not an agent worth his/her salt who would allow their client to sign before being able to accept offers from interested teams. Even if Madubuike wants to re-sign in Baltimore, it would still be smart to go get other offers to see if you can drive up the Ravens' price.

I think Eric wants Madubuike back, but I also think he's accepted that it's probably not going to happen. "Next man up" is always the theme with the Ravens as it relates to roster compilation.

The guy right now who is starting to break out and shine is Travis Jones. The Ravens are getting a lot out of him. And he's inexpensive.

Anyway, I don't see Madubuike signing before the season ends. It just doesn't make sense. Not to me, anyway."

Chris P. asks -- "If you were advising Nick Dunlap, would you tell him to leave college golf and join the PGA Tour right now or play out his college season first? There are a lot of big events on the PGA Tour in the next few months where he could make boatloads of money, right? And do you think Dunlap is a can't miss kind of player like Tiger was or will he be more like Spieth and Thomas and other college players? Thanks!"

DF says -- Good questions, Chris. I suspect he's going back to Alabama to finish out his 2023-2024 season with his teammates. And then he'll turn pro the day after Alabama's season ends, whenever that might be.

Don't forget, he can play in any event he wants -- as long as his college tournament schedule allows for it -- because every tournament on the schedule would gladly give him a sponsor's exemption. He would have to turn professional in order to take advantage of the 2-year exemption he earned for winning last weekend's tournament. But every tournament would love to him as an amateur.

And Dunlap has a really unique opportunity in place. He won last year's U.S. Amateur. He just won a PGA Tour event. He'll be playing in the Masters in April. My opinion? He should remain an amateur through the college season and play in as many PGA tournaments as he can in an effort to establish himself as one of this generation's best amateur golfers.

Do I think Dunlap is going to have a good-to-great professional career? I sure do. Better than Thomas or Spieth? Maybe. I can definitely see him winning a major at an early age like they both did.

But is he "Tiger like"? I don't see that. 82 wins and 15 majors is pretty hard to forecast."

Mike asks -- "Let's pretend for a second that Lamar isn't the Ravens MVP. Who would it be, then? Who is their 2nd most valuable player in the 2023 season?"

DF says -- Wow, this is a good one. The obvious names jump out right away. Justin Madubuike, Kyle Hamilton, Roquan Smith...those three guys have turned that defense into a wrecking ball almost by themselves.

I think Zay Flowers has had a very under-the-radar-screen impact on the offense. His numbers were good, not great, but you didn't see many drops from him and he gave Jackson someone to rely on when Andrews went out with his injury early in the season.

If you wanted to argue hard for Flowers to be the team's "MVP #2", I'd listen to you and wouldn't fight you on it all that much.

But in the end, I think Roquan Smith would be my choice.

No disrespect to Hamilton when I say this, but Smith is involved in just about every play. He's mean, he hits hard, he has great tackling technique and he is, as some have noted, a bit of a mini-Ray-Lewis out there.

I think the Ravens could win a game or three without Hamilton.

I don't think they could win important football games without Roquan Smith.

But all of those guys -- Flowers, Smith, Hamilton and Madubuike -- have been supremely important to the Ravens this season."

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January 22, 2024
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to be the best, ya gotta beat the best

This is probably the way the football gods drew it up.

Kansas City will make their 6th straight appearance in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday in Baltimore.

Six straight.

I don't care who you are or what sport it is, six straight trips to a championship game of some kind is pretty special.

In their way of another Super Bowl appearance are the Baltimore Ravens.

The best quarterback of the last five years (Mahomes) will be going up against the guy who might be the best quarterback in the NFL over the next five years (Lamar).

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are headed to Baltimore for a showdown with the Ravens in next Sunday's AFC title game.

The football gods are foaming at the mouth in anticipation of next Sunday's showdown.

Oh, and "she" is coming to town, too, one would presume.

Yes, we're talking about Taylor.

As in, Taylor Swift.

She'll likely be in Baltimore to watch her man, Travis Kelce, amidst rumors that Chiefs tight end is going to retire after this season. It would be awesome if his stellar career comes to an end in Charm City next Sunday.

It's going to be a showdown of epic proportions.

The Ravens are prohibitive favorites and for all the right reasons.

They've clobbered everyone in their path over the last eight weeks except an intentional loss to the Steelers in the final regular season game.

They rolled over a game-and-spirited Texans team on Saturday.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, disposed of the Bills yesterday thanks to a couple of late, bonehead throws by Josh Allen and a missed 44 yard field goal by Tyler Bass with 1:40 remaining in the game.

Kansas City certainly wasn't "great" in the 27-24 win over Buffalo yesterday, but they were good enough to leave town with life still left in their season.

And despite their flaws on both sides of the ball, the Chiefs have experience doing something the Ravens don't: winning in the recent post-season.

That might be the only area where they check a box and the Ravens don't. Baltimore is better on offense and far superior on defense. Special teams might be a wash; they have an excellent kicker and so, too, do the Ravens.

The only area where Kansas City ranks ahead of the Ravens is in the intangible "they know how to win" category. And while that's certainly a great team trait to possess, it's not the end-all be-all of next Sunday's game.

Kansas City is going to have to play their rear-ends off and hope the Ravens have an off day. That combination is the only way they can leave town with a win.

And I just don't see the Ravens and Lamar stinking it up next Sunday.

There's a lot to sift through and evaluate before next weekend, but this just seems to be a game the Ravens are going to control. Mahomes will get his yards and find Kelce a time or three, but the Chiefs are going to have produce a "once-in-a-season" kind of defensive performance to stymie Lamar and Company.

I don't see Kansas City having enough variety and top-to-bottom excellence to win next Sunday.

Sure, there's more pressure on the Ravens and all. They're at home, obviously, and will be favored to win. And there's that thing about Lamar guaranteeing a Super Bowl title back in 2018. Those pesky promises will always be brought up until they're fulfilled, of course.

But pressure or not, I don't see the Ravens losing next Sunday.

Oh and don't forget: Someone will have to tell Taylor that she and Travis should, you know, "Shake It Off" after they get beat by the Ravens.

I was at the Maryland basketball game yesterday and struck up a conversation with a couple of people next to me who overheard me talking with a friend about Nick Dunlap potentially winning the American Express Championship later on Sunday.

"I don't play much golf," one guy said. "How big of a deal is it if a college player wins a golf tournament?"

"Well, imagine if Major League Baseball had a rule that allowed for each team to use one college player during their season," I explained. "And then imagine a pitcher who plays for the best college baseball team in the country joining the Orioles for a weekend series at home against the Blue Jays and throwing a no-hitter against them."

That's pretty much what Nick Dunlap did yesterday when he won the event out in California.

That college baseball comparison is a good one. While Dunlap is certainly one of the best collegiate and amateur golfers in the world, an amateur hadn't won a PGA Tour event since greedy Phil Mickelson did it in 1991. Amateur golfers can generally compete with the top playing professionals, but rarely are they going to threaten to win on Sunday, let alone actually find the winner's circle.

A college pitcher at one of the top programs can probably throw enough quality pitches to get a few major league hitters out, even at age 21, but to throw a no-hitter against a real MLB team? Very little chance of that.

The same goes for golf. Outstanding amateur players can make some birdies along the way and even occasionally produce a solid score at a PGA Tour event, but it's crazy to think they could actually win.

Sam Bennett sniffed around at the Masters for 60 holes or so last April before he fizzled on Sunday.

Beau Hossler had a piece of the U.S. Open lead in the second round as a 16-year old a decade ago before he unraveled.

It's nearly impossible to do what Nick Dunlap did yesterday.

He beat a great field, for starters. Scheffler, Cantlay, Thomas, Schauffele, Zalatoris. Those five were in the field, along with at least a dozen other TOUR winners.

Last week he was in class in Tuscaloosa.

This week he's exempt for the next two years on the PGA Tour after Sunday's triumph.

Life comes at you fast when you can hit it 300 yards off the tee and your short game and putting are sublime.

And there you have your first "big story" of the 2024 PGA Tour campaign. It's not a Ryder Cup year, but Nick Dunlap just made an early appeal for a spot on the team that will play at Bethpage in September of 2025.

Oh, and don't forget this: He's only going to get better.

And he now has a U.S. Amateur win and a PGA Tour victory within the last six months. No one else in the world can say that except for Nick Dunlap.

Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles is getting a lot of heat this morning for his failure to use his last time out when the Lions screwed up and snapped the ball too early on the final play of yesterday's Detroit 31-23 win over Tampa Bay.

The decision to not use the time out was definitely bizarre.

But it wasn't nearly as bizarre as the Lions snapping the ball with 14 seconds left on the play clock and 37 seconds remaining on the game clock.

Can you imagine if Lamar Jackson did that?

The fans would annihilate John Harbaugh. Actually, whatever annihilate is, the fans would double that on Harbaugh.

Yes, had the Bucs used their final timeout after that mistake, there would have been about 35 seconds remaining and Detroit would have had a chip shot field goal to make it 34-23.


Did you see Nick Dunlap yesterday?

The #1 rule in sports that Bowles apparently forgot is the obvious one: Anything can happen.

Use your final timeout and make the Lions connect on the field goal. And keep playing football. See if you can somehow get the ball downfield quickly after the kick-off and at least get in position for a field goal with 10 or 15 seconds remaining. Make that one and then try the onside kick.

Yes, I'm aware it's improbable.

Yes, I realize it's wish-upon-a-fallen-star kind of stuff.

But that was a dreadful sequence of coaching there and an amazing lack of vision from Jared Goff, who should have known better than to snap the football early like he did.

And if Detroit would have somehow been "upset" that the Bucs called the timeout and extended the game after their gaffe, all Todd Bowles had to say to Dan Campbell afterwards was, "It was your nitwit quarterback who snapped the ball too early and kept the game alive. Blame him."

I just kept thinking to myself: Imagine what these goofy vultures in Baltimore would do to Harbaugh if Lamar snaps the ball early like that. And Harbaugh is a winner, don't forget. Bowles hasn't won jack-squat. And yet, John would still get crushed.

I realize the game was over, mostly.

999 times out of 1,000, or maybe more like 4,999 out of 5,000, a team comes back from 11 points down with 30'ish seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime.

But it's like saying something nice about the songs on the Beatles album, "A Hard Day's Night".

It's the thought that counts.

Bowles didn't think it all the way through and neither did Goff.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

sloppy terps lose by two

If you want to beat a team like Michigan State, you can’t play sieve-like defense during the first 20 minutes and you can’t turn the ball over 18 times, 7 of those by your playmaker and top scorer.

You also can’t get stripped of the ball when you’re down by 2 and looking for the hero shot as time winds down. All of these things happened yesterday as Michigan State took down the Terrapins, 61-59.

The Spartans were able to win despite scoring just 17 points in the second half after posting 44 in the first 20 minutes.

Michigan State took a 15-point first half lead when the Terps went 8:30 without a field goal.

Maryland fought back to take a 3-point lead with 8:26 left in the game, but a pair of A.J. Hoggard buckets, each following a Terrapin turnover, returned the lead to MSU. It was a lead the visitors never relinquished.

The Terps had a chance to tie or win when Jahmir Young rebounded Tyson Walker's miss with 7 seconds left.

Unfortunately for Maryland, Young streaked down the right side and never picked up his head.

Donta Scott had a nice afternoon for Maryland on Sunday, but it wasn't enough as the Terps dropped a 61-59 decision to Michigan State.

Had he looked up, he would have seen Donta Scott unguarded on the left side. As it played out, Young made the fatal mistake of crossing over his dribble right in front of MSU’s Tre Holloman. The Spartan guard easily poked the ball away. The loose ball was never recovered before time ran out.

That last play was a microcosm of the entire game, and most of the season for that matter. They have too many turnovers, and too few scoring options.

Young had 19 points, but it came on 6-15 shooting. Scott had one of his best efforts this season, with 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

Julian Reese posted a 10-point game, with all 4 of his field goals coming in the first half. He had 12 rebounds, but also had 3 turnovers. DeShawn Harris-Smith had 5 points and 4 turnovers.

Michigan State was led by Walker’s 15 points, followed by 12 from Hoggard, Holloman, and also Malik Hall.

The three-ball was flowing early. In the first 3:30 of the game, Maryland hit two and MSU dropped one. Michigan State held a one-point lead, 9-8, at the first TV timeout with 15:46 left in the half.

Scott had three points for the Terps while Young accounted for the other 5. Maryland had yet to attempt a 2-point bucket.

The first Terrapin two pointer was a layup by Young. Another deuce came off of a Scott putback, but MSU answered with two triples sandwiched between a Jahari Long three.

The score was 17-15 at the 11:54 media timeout, with MSU holding a tiny 2-point lead. The Terrapins had already registered 5 turnovers, but the Spartans had only converted those into 3 points.

When play resumed, MSU scored 5 in a row. The gap was now 7 points and Kevin Willard needed a timeout to stop the momentum. Ten of Maryland’s shots had been from the three-point line and just three were successful.

After the timeout, Maryland went inside to Reese, but he missed a short shot. MSU converted. Missed shots and turnovers were now the story for Maryland, as a prolonged scoring drought allowed MSU to go on a 15-0 run. The Terps were trailing 29-15 before Reese made 1 of 2 foul shots.

When the under 8-minute TV timeout arrived, Maryland trailed 29-16 and hadn’t made a field goal in the last 5:18 of play.

During that span they were 0 for 5 from the field and had committed 4 turnovers. The Terp defense was getting abused, allowing MSU to shoot 61% from the field while making 5 of 9 threes.

The game got a bit out of hand with the Spartans leading by as much as 15 before DeShawn Harris-Smith converted an “and one”, reducing the Terp deficit to 12 points. Long hit his second three, but the Terps couldn’t get enough stops to narrow the Michigan State lead. The score was 35-24 when play was stopped with 2:53 left in the half.

Bolstered by Long’s third triple of the half, the Terps nibbled at the MSU lead, trimming it to 7 with 1:22 left. However, the single digit deficit would expand to 10 points when the Terps left MSU’s Jaden Akins alone on the right corner. He drilled the three and Maryland was now behind 40-30.

It was another Maryland turnover, followed by a series of MSU foul shots, that saw Maryland, again, behind by 12. The half ended with the score 44-32.

Fast break points favored Michigan State, 14-0, at the half. Willard could not be happy with the easy buckets that were the basis for Maryland’s large first half hole. Nor could he be happy with his team being torched from the field by MSU’s 60% shooting from the three-point line and 58% from the field.

The second half started with Young nailing a three. An MSU shot clock violation and subsequent Reese conventional three-point play reduced the lead to 6 points. Maryland was back in the game, point-wise and emotionally.

A Scott three got the crowd on its feet, cutting the lead to 5, but a bad pass by Harris-Smith eliminated Maryland’s chance to get the game within a single possession.

They would get another chance to be behind by just three points after an MSU miss by Walker. A Reese put back after a missed shot by Young got the Terps to within 3 points, 46-43 at the 15:54 break. It was an 11-2 start to the second half for Maryland.

A Walker jumper was answered by a Scott bucket on an isolation play on the left side. He was fouled and converted the free throw. It was now a 2-point game.

The gym was ready to explode. Part of the reason for the fan adrenaline rush was Scott had just tied the game with a layup, and part of it was caused by an obvious bad call that gave the ball to MSU.

Reese tied the game with a nifty move on the left blocks. It was his third bucket of the half after being held scoreless from the field in the opening 20 minutes. MSU had opened the second half by going 2-16 from the floor, including missing their last 10 tries.

The Terps finally forged ahead on a Young three. With 7:54 left in the half, Maryland led 53-50 and had outscored MSU 21-6 in the second half. The Spartans were in the midst of a scoring drought lasting almost 5 minutes.

Hoggard finally got MSU back on the board with a driving runner followed by another driving layup. Michigan State was back up by 1.

It was now Maryland’s turn to stop scoring. Their own gap between buckets was pushing 4 minutes. During that time, the Terps turned the ball over three times, pushing their second half total to 7 and their number for the game to 16.

The Terps found themselves down 3 after a nice Walker take to the hoop resulted in a layup. A sweet turn-around from 12 feet by Reese ended the field goal frustrations for Maryland. With 3:23 remaining, Michigan State led 56-55, and they had possession of the ball.

The MSU lead grew to 3 points after a careless mis-dribble by Young turned it over to the Spartans. Hoggard cashed in with another floater from close range. There was 1:31 left and UMD trailed by 3.

Willard went to Young, who penetrated the lane for an easy layup. Walker and Young then traded long-range jumpers, but Walker’s was a three while Young had his toe on the line. MSU had the ball with 36.3 seconds remaining and a 61-59 advantage.

Walker ran the shot clock down to 11 seconds before calling time out. At this point of the game, only Walker and Hoggard had converted second half field goals for MSU.

When Walker missed his contested jumper from the right side with just 9 seconds left, Maryland had a chance for the win or tie.

That chance disappeared when Young was stripped while driving down the right side looking for the last shot. The ball rolled away and the game clock ran to zero. Maryland has lost, 61-59.

In the post-game interview, Willard stated that a timeout may have been in order before Young’s game ending turnover.

I’m not so sure about that.

As it played out, it couldn’t have turned out any worse for Maryland, but I blame Young for the final mistake.

He had one intention only, which was to shoot the ball.

Much like his miss with 6 seconds left in the Northwestern loss, passing the rock was never a thought by Young. In the Northwestern situation, there were no viable options. In this case, Scott was all alone on the left side.

Perhaps it would have been a better move if Scott was going to the bucket, but Young never looked hisway regardless.

In no way am I pinning this loss on one play by Young at the end of the game, considering that the Terps are nowhere near in contention without him.

But it does show that Young needs to be darn near perfect for Maryland to beat a good team. There just is no offensive help for him outside of Reese and Scott.

Willard needs to make some lineup changes in an effort to get more points. The most glaring deficiency is coming from starting 2-guard Harris-Smith.

While being stout of body and a plus defender, the Terp freshman hasn’t recorded more than 2 field goals in a game in over a month.

Perhaps the season’s grind is starting to get to the young player. He frequently gets tough defensive assignments, and that may play a role in his offensive numbers.

That being said, his jumper needs retooling and his only offensive contributions come from the dribble/drive. Personally, I think we need to see more Jahari Long.

Other than that, the rest of the bench has too many holes. There are no saviors to be had. I don’t even want to list all of the reserve deficiencies. They are all easy to see.

I expect a massive turnover in this roster for next year.

Willard has signed only one player for next season and with seniors leaving along with the expected exodus of some current roster spots, he’ll have ample room to attack the portal.

We’ll see a huge influx of transfer portal players that could number as many as 7. From where the help comes this year, I have no idea.

Next up for Maryland is a Wednesday trip to Iowa face the Hawkeyes in a 7 pm contest.

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January 21, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

down goes houston, who's next?

I owe the Ravens a massive "thank you" today.

So here it is: Thank You

A few weeks back, I took a chance on what I thought was a sure thing and bought 60 tickets to the AFC Championship Game. It wasn't buying them that was the gamble. My money would have been returned had the Ravens lost yesterday.

I have 60 friends attending the game next Sunday, in a private tent just outside of the stadium. Had yesterday's result gone the other way, there'd be no party, no tent, and no friends gathering to celebrate the biggest football game in Baltimore since 1971.

As the final seconds of yesterday's game ticked off, I wanted my 16-year old son to know what he was witnessing and would also get to enjoy next Sunday.

"In my lifetime, I've never personally seen an AFC Championship Game in Baltimore," I told him. "Very few people have. There are still some folks around town who were there in 1971, but, for the most part, this generation of sports fans in Baltimore is going to see something next Sunday they've never seen before."

"Lucky dog," I said to him with a wink.

Lamar Jackson accounted for all 4 touchdowns yesterday, throwing for two and running for two as the Ravens whipped Houston, 34-10.

I saw the loss in Pittsburgh in 2009 (for the 2008 season) and the two games in New England in 2012 and 2013. I've seen AFC Championship Games before, yes. But I've never packed up the car, buzzed down 95 to the 395 exit, and proceeded to watch one of them at the downtown football stadium.

That will all change next Sunday, God willing.

Thanks, Ravens.

I'm still of the mindset I'd rather Baltimore face Kansas City next Sunday, so I'll be rooting for the Chiefs to beat the Bills in tonight's encounter in Buffalo. I've said from the moment the Bills made the playoffs they're the one team I'd prefer the Ravens not have to face.

Alas, if Buffalo wins today, they'd be coming to Baltimore next Sunday, which will probably make the Ravens a 5.5 or 6.5 point favorite, at least. But for one day, at least, I'm rooting for Mahomes, Kelce and Swift.

The outcome of yesterday's win pretty much never being in down throughout the second half gave me a chance to zip over and watch Nick Dunlap put the finishing touches on a third round score of "60" at the American Express Championship, the 3rd event of the year on the PGA Tour.

Dunlap has a 3-shot lead over Sam Burns through 54 holes.

So thank you for that, too, Ravens.

It's a great story in the making out there in the California desert. Dunlap is a collegiate golfer at the University of Alabama.

No amateur has won on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson did it in 1991. Dunlap is already in the Masters this spring as a result of his victory at last summer's U.S. Amateur, but a PGA Tour win while still in college would be a career-altering accomplishment. It just doesn't happen.

But it could happen today, although there are lots of big names lurking just off the pace if Dunlap should falter this afternoon at the Stadium Course at PGA West.

Back to yesterday's football game, which went about the way most people assumed it would.

The Texans would hang around for a while while the rested Ravens got their sea legs under them, then it would all unfold from there.

It was 10-10 at the half, but it was only tied because the home team produced three mistakes in the opening 30 minutes that gifted Houston all of their points.

Jordan Stout shanked a punt that gave the Texans field possession near midfield.

Kyle Hamilton inexplicably dropped an interception that would have ended a Houston scoring (field goal) drive.

Baltimore's special teams unit allowed a punt return for a touchdown where the runner essentially went right up the middle of the field.

Houston's offense never got into the end zone on Saturday. They didn't even get close, really.

And while it took the Ravens a half of football to get their offense in gear, once they did, the Texans had no answer for anything Lamar Jackson gave them.

Jackson already has the MVP wrapped up, despite FOX broadcasters Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen singing the virtues of Brock Purdy last night, but if there was ever a shred of doubt about the most valuable player in the NFL, Lamar erased it with his second half performance in the 34-10 win over Houston.

There were some other standout performances, yes. The entire Baltimore defense was superb, particularly the run stoppers in the trenches. That performance by the defensive line bodes very well for next weekend should the Ravens draw the Bills for the AFC title game. Buffalo can run the ball effectively.

Without Marlon Humphrey in the secondary, the Ravens got a nice next-man-up performance from little used Ronald Darby, who set the tone for the day with a nice break-up of C.J. Stroud's first throw of the game on the initial series.

It was as if Houston's offensive coordinator said, "Oh, Darby, huh? Well, we'll go right at him right away and see what he's made of."

And that they did. And when Darby was up for the task, both on that play and throughout the game, the Ravens chances to win dramatically increased.

The Baltimore running game was a beast all afternoon, piling up 229 yards on the ground.

Yes, that stat is a little misleading because Lamar accounted for 100 of those yards and he's not a running back, although at times he's actually better than almost any running back in the league.

But even discarding Lamar's 100 yards, the Ravens still got 66 yards from Justice Hill, 40 from Gus Edwards and 23 from newcomer Dalvin Cook.

Lamar was the MVP of yesterday's game, but a nice consolation prize goes to Hill, who had the best game of his professional career, I thought. He added two catches for 11 yards to his running total and ran with an authority we haven't seen from him over the last few years.

It was a methodical, organized beating. The Ravens were better in all facets of the game, by a lot, save for that punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Houston is an improved team, yes. And they have a lot to look forward to in 2024, yes. But they could play the Ravens 5 straight days and the Ravens would finish that run at 5-0.

And, now, Lamar has one more hurdle to overcome. Not only would a win next week even his career playoff record at 3-3, but it would move him within a victory of that Super Bowl he guaranteed on draft night back in 2018.

A victory next week would also put the finishing touches on John Harbaugh's eventual Hall of Fame speech in Canton, Ohio, as well.

Harbaugh has probably done enough already to earn HOF honors.

But a 4th AFC Championship game and two Super Bowl appearances would seal the deal.

We'll debate "first ballot" consideration and all that other stuff down the road. But a win next Sunday at home sends the longtime Ravens coach to the Hall of Fame.

Next Sunday is going to be one wild afternoon in Baltimore, that's for sure.

Later this week, we'll toss out the obligatory "remember, they could lose on Sunday" column to try to keep everyone in balance. But in the meantime, the entire town is going to be ON FIRE a week from today.

We've never seen next Sunday's game before, after all. Not in person, anyway.

It's going to be a memorable day in Bawlmer.

If you're one of the other 59 joining me at the stadium next week.....I can't wait to see you.

And Nick Dunlap, I can't wait to see you today to see if you can finish off a historic PGA Tour win.

Thanks again, Ravens!

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps host izzo, spartans today at noon

Having only conducted some pleasure viewing of a couple of Spartan hoop games, I was totally prepared to do my pre-game scouting of this MSU team, and then write an article focused upon Maryland’s chances of getting crushed today.

I was thinking that Tyson Walker was too fast and too good.

That Malik Hall was too strong and that the team as a whole shot too well from long range (41.7% from three in Big Ten play).

After carefully reviewing each of Michigan State’s last three games, I’m going to back off from the prediction of a ten-point (or more) Spartan win in the XFINITY Center.

Michigan State still plays a very physical style of basketball, and Tom Izzo get more calls than anybody not named Krzyzewski.

With Duke’s legendary “Coach K” now retired, Izzo moves to the top of the pack. Maryland must answer MSU’s physicality and they need to guard the three-point line.

Tom Izzo and the Spartans visit Maryland today in what promises to be one of the Terps more physical encounters in '23-24.

The two most dangerous Spartan three-point shooters are Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins. Walker ranks 6th in Big Ten scoring with 20 points a game. He takes a large percentage of his team’s shots, much like Jahmir Young does for Maryland.

He’s not big at 6’1” and 185, but he can shoot it and is very quick. At 48.5% from the floor, a defender must respect his dribble drive game too. He’s tough with great hesitation moves. He is their Jamir Young.

Jaden Akins can hurt you from deep also. Before his recent 0-5 game against Minnesota, he had hit almost 50% in his previous 7 games. Over half of his field goal tries come from behind the arc.

Akins gets 10.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. He’s not a flashy player, he’s just steady and heady.

The “muscle” on this Spartan team comes from forward Malik Hall and guard A.J. Hoggard. Hall only gets 11 points each time out, but he should be scary to Terp defenders. Maryland simply does not have a match-up answer for his 6’8” 220-pound frame.

Donta Scott lists similar numbers, but he’s not the same body type as Hall.

Hall will shoot a couple of threes each game, but he’s just 30% from that range. In the paint, however, Hall becomes very efficient. Some of the shots he takes around the basket will look awkward, but he connects on 50% of those tries.

Although his season average is 11 per game, he’s been getting about 15 in his last 3. Today, I think he’s more likely to post 15 than he is 11. He’s also 2nd on the team in rebounds. He’d start if he was a member of the Terrapins.

A.J. Hoggard and his 6’4”, 210-pound frame would also start for Maryland. While Walker is the “go-to” guy on this offense, it’s Hoggard who frequently triggers the Spartan offense. MSU will run sets with Walker off the ball, running him through multiple screens. It’s Hoggard who hits him for the quick jumper. Plays like that help Hoggard claim the top assist spot for MSU, 5.2 per game.

Hoggard’s points (he’s second on his team with 11.2) come mainly from his strong drives to the rim, and secondarily from the three-point. He’s 32% from deep, but he usually takes just 2 or 3 of those each game.

I can see him matched up with Maryland’s DeShawn Harris-Smith. Two strong guys, one a senior the other a freshman, going head-to-head. Watch this battle.

At the center position, the Spartans will split game time between Mady Sissoko and Carson Cooper. Neither one has much of an offensive repertoire, but Sissoko is a quality defender and rebounder.

At 6.7 boards per game, Sissoko leads his team despite playing under 20 minutes each game. He’s efficient when he shoots (mostly dunks) but he only attempts 3 or 4 shots per game.

The Terrapin game plan, defensively, has to prioritize defending the three-point line. Next, they might consider doubling Hall when he decides to put the ball on the floor.

Hall is the only post-up player who can hurt Maryland. Don’t double the post when someone other than Hall gets the feed. Instead, guard against the outlet pass. Lastly, more so in this game, the Terps can’t let Michigan State get runouts after a turnover. That’s an Izzo staple.

Offensively, Maryland will rely on Jahmir Young. Other than Reese on the low blocks, there are no clear Terrapin advantages. The Spartans will force Maryland to shoot threes. I expect them to sell out in an effort to cut off the drives of Young.

Coach Willard will need to play Young off the ball in order for him to get good looks. The other Terp pieces will need to hit threes. If they continue their poor showing from behind the arc, Maryland can’t win.

Michigan State’s starting lineup will include 4 seniors and a junior. Two sophomores dominate the bench minutes, but expect 4 of the MSU starters to play over 30 minutes.

I don’t expect freshman Coen Carr to get substantial minutes, but if he’s on the court, watch him. He’s super explosive and will make an impact in this league before his college career is complete.

The University has planned a Lefty Driesell celebration for today’s game. The former Terp coach had intended to appear in person, but was forced to cancel his trip. The now 96-year-old coaching legend will still be honored.

Even though I think the talent level is fairly even between these two teams, and the Terps are at home, I have to lean towards the experience of the MSU starters.

Maryland will be forced to hit threes in order to compete. If they hold to form, then Young will need another 30-plus point performance in order for the Terps to contend.

Could that happen? Sure.

But the Spartans will guard against that at all costs. When the final whistle blows, it will be Michigan State holding on for a 67-63 win. It’s a noon start at the XFNITY Center for this nationally televised CBS game.

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Playoff week #2

Saturday — January 20, 2024
Issue #3438

Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens

4:30 PM EST

M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore, MD

Spread: Ravens (-9.5)

three to go

It all starts today for the Ravens.

They need to win three football games to be champions of the football world.

It's going to be cold and frigid today/tonight in Baltimore, but the Ravens have the benefit of being at home and taking on a Texans team that probably isn't all that comfortable playing in the conditions they'll encounter in today's Divisional Playoff encounter.

Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first.

It's a pretty simple game: If Lamar Jackson doesn't win this game against the Texans, he'll face an off-season of wrath unlike he anything he saw or heard in 2019 and 2020 when he lost home playoff games to the Chargers and Titans, respectively.

I guess it's worth mentioning that Jackson might be spared off-season ridicule if, somehow, the Texans win today's game 38-34 or 35-31 and Jackson has a huge day but the Baltimore defense fizzles against C.J. Stroud and the Houston offense.

If that scenario plays out, everyone will echo the same words: "What more can Jackson do? He put up 34 (31) points!"

These two, in particular, are under the gun today when the Ravens host the Texans in the Divisional Playoff contest in Baltimore.

But if the Ravens fall today 20-17 or 23-19 and Jackson has a so-so performance, that's when all heck is gonna break loose.

Enough with the negative chatter. We all know Lamar's gonna get smashed if the Ravens lose today. No sense in beating that topic into the ground.

A win today, though, would send the Ravens to the first home championship game in Baltimore football since 1970. That's all they need. A win over the Texans, by one point or 24 points, and the Ravens will play host to either Kansas City or Buffalo next Sunday at 3:30 pm.

The Texans come in hot, yes, but it's not like the Ravens have reason to fear the visitors from Houston.

C.J. Stroud is the likely Rookie of the Year and Houston's offense has percolated quite nicely over the last couple of weeks, but they'll need to have all of their parts in working order today to give the Ravens a run for their money.

Make no mistake about it: This would be a fairly massive upset if Houston leaves Baltimore as a winner tonight.

What do we see happening in this game? I'm glad you asked.

There are really only two possibilities, as #DMD sees it.

The first one is this:

The Texans fight hard. They trail 13-7 at the half, fall behind 16-7 in the third quarter, score a TD to make it 16-14, then take the lead early in the 4th quarter on a field goal to make it 17-16. But the Ravens collect a touchdown with about six minutes left to go ahead 22-17, then Jackson runs in the 2 point conversion to make it 24-17.

Houston drives downfield and has the ball in the Baltimore red zone with under 2 minutes remaining, but they run out of downs and gas and the Ravens win, 24-17.

That's one plausible outcome today.

The short version: Houston hangs tough, gives the Ravens all they can handle, and bows out gracefully late in the game.

The other plausible outcome is this second one:

Baltimore hops out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. Houston gets on the scoreboard with a 2nd quarter field goal to make it 10-3, but the Ravens counter with another quick touchdown to post a 17-3 lead.

After a late 2nd quarter turnover by the Texans, the Ravens march down the field and Justin Tucker hits a field goal at the buzzer to give Baltimore a 20-3 halftime lead.

The Texans score a touchdown midway through the 3rd quarter, but the Ravens come right back with a punch-in-the-mouth 75 yard drive to go ahead 27-10.

Early in the 4th quarter, Jackson has one of those drives where he accounts for 68 of the team's 81 yards on the next offensive series and it's 34-10, Baltimore, with eight minutes remaining.

Houston starts throwing caution to the wind and Stroud coughs up a fumble that is picked up by Jadeveon Clowney and he rumbles down to the Houston 5 yard line. A few plays later, the Ravens score again to finalize the scoring at 41-10.

The short version: The Texans are never really in it. They try hard and all, and they show glimpses of a team that might be really good in '24 and '25, but on this day, they're not a match at all for the Ravens. Just like the Ravens did to the likes of Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco and Miami, John Harbaugh's team simply decimates the overwhelmed visitors from Houston.

Those are the two most plausible outcomes today.

And #DMD is going with outcome #2.

It's 7-0 Ravens at the end of the first quarter and 14-3 late in the 2nd quarter before Justin Tucker hits a late field goal to make it 17-3 at the half.

Baltimore goes up 24-3 before the Texans score a TD and a field goal to cut the Ravens' lead to 24-13.

But Lamar and Zay Flowers connect on an early 4th quarter TD and then Jackson runs one in himself to make it 38-13.

The Texans connect on a last minute TD to soften the blow a bit, but the final score tells the story. It's a thorough Ravens butt-kicking, as the Ravens eliminate Houston, 38-20.

We're trying to make it clear. This is about giving the Ravens more respect than giving the Texans less disrespect.

Houston has the makings of a really good football team. Another day, another game, this one might be different.

But the Ravens are just too good.

After today's game...we'll be down to "two to go".

Oh, there's another game today as well. Green Bay visits San Francisco as the 49'ers begin their quest to realign with the Ravens in a rematch of Super Bowl 47.

I know everyone is going with the 49'ers in this one and I see why.

I have a weird feeling Green Bay is winning, though.

I'll be that guy, I guess: Packers 27 - 49'ers 24 (OT).

I'm out of town this week and, honestly, have been "in and out" of #DMD throughout the last few days while I'm hosting some FCA friends on a golf trip.

I did get the chance to go through the comments last night and read what all of you had to say in response to yesterday's lede article about NBC censoring C.J. Stroud's comments after last Saturday's playoff win over Houston.

Some of you didn't think it was a big deal.

A couple of you chastised me for using this website as a platform to "promote religion".

I read them all.

I wish I had something to say in response to all of you, but I don't, really.

Those of you who think an athlete sharing his love for Jesus through the media is a good thing are likely going to continue thinking it's a good thing.

Those of you think "religion and sports don't mix" or believe an athlete shouldn't have the freedom to proclaim his love for Jesus in a post-game TV interview are likely going to continue thinking those things. I'm not going to change your mind. Nor do I really expect or want to change your mind.

A #DMD reader named "Jerry" e-mailed me yesterday with an interesting question: "Why is important to you to promote C.J. Stroud? He doesn't play for one of our teams. Why are you so enamored with him?"

C.J. Stround could play for the Saints, Broncos, Seahawks or -- gasp -- the Steelers. I wouldn't really care.

In fact, I'm fairly certain that earlier this year, Mason Rudolph of the Steelers mentioned Jesus in a post-game TV interview and I posted that clip on social media and thanked Rudolph for his courage to say that after the game.

I don't care who C.J. Stroud plays for. In fact, he plays for "Team Jesus", if you ask me. And that's a team I can root for no matter the uniform color or logo.

#DMD publishes 365 editions per calendar year.

We dedicate a segment to "Faith in Sports" every Friday and I'm guessing that once a month, at most, I'll dive into another Christian-related story that I think is a good conversation piece for the website.

Roughly 65 times a year, something here is connected to Christianity. I don't think that's overkill or too much or anything of the sort.

I understand some of you aren't interested in reading about Christianity, in the same way some of you aren't interested in reading about golf, hockey, soccer, basketball and so on. When golf is front and center here and you're not interested in reading about it, I assume you just skip past it.

I mean, you can complain or whine about it if you want, but I'm probably not writing less about the Masters or the British Open because you wrote a comment voicing your lack of interest in the tournament.

I'm trying to produce the best content I can.

And I'm also trying to stay true to what I believe in, which, I'm well aware, doesn't connect with all 8,500 of you who come around on average every day to read the website.

I get excited when athletes and anyone associated with sports takes time to praise Jesus, in public, on their platform.

One of the biggest reasons it excites me is because most athletes are far more prone to talking about themselves and promoting their deeds and their accomplishments when the microphone or camera is put in front of them.

So, in the aftermath of the biggest win of his football life, C.J. Stroud decided to take 3 seconds to give glory to God and Jesus Christ.

In my mind, I owe it to him to thank him for his conviction.

If you're wondering why I take time to promote and support people like C.J. Stroud or Tim Tebow, now you know.

And if you're not of the same mindset, it's all good.

Believe it or not, God still loves you. And that's the truth.

In closing, let me again remind everyone you must post a name or initials if you're going to post in the comments section. That has been our long-standing rule here and it's still in play. "Anonymous" will not be accepted. I will remove those comments, per our rules.

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January 19, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

shame on you, nbc

A few weeks ago here at #DMD, I casually mentioned that my former radio pal, Glenn Clark, and I were (sorta kinda) tossing around the idea of starting a podcast that I wanted to title, "This is what's wrong with our country."

Imagine how much discourse you could have about that subject.

Where to start, right?

Well, NBC television has given me fodder for the debut episode of the podcast, whenever it might be unveiled.

C.J. Stroud had his comments altered by NBC after his performance against the Browns last Saturday.

It happened last Saturday after the Houston Texans disposed of the Cleveland Browns in the opening round of the playoffs in Houston.

As is often the case, the on-field reporter grabbed the winning quarterback for a quick interview following the game.

That quarterback happened to be C.J. Stroud.

Here's what he said to Kathryn Tappen of NBC when she asked him about the win over the Texans.

“First of all, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ,” Stroud said. “I mean, it’s been amazing being in this city for as short as I’ve been but the love that I’ve got. I’ve really just been doing it for Houston, man. The people back home, I’m blessed enough to be in the position that I’m in and blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now. We gotta just keep it going, but I’m super blessed.”

That was immediately after the game.

NBC then posted that interview on their Sunday Night in America Twitter account.

Makes sense, right? He was the winning quarterback, they carried the Texans/Browns game and Stroud was the star of that win.

Except here's the clip NBC posted.

“I mean, it’s been amazing being in this city for as short as I’ve been but the love that I’ve got. I’ve really just been doing it for Houston, man. The people back home, I’m blessed enough to be in the position that I’m in and blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now. We gotta just keep it going, but I’m super blessed.”

Notice anything missing?

NBC edited the original interview to remove Stroud's praise of Jesus.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

What else is NBC willing to edit, alter or remove in an effort to have their agenda pushed forward, whatever that might be?

It is an election year, don't forget.

The most interesting part about the controversy from last weekend is that someone, somewhere, directly connected to NBC, made a decision to edit Stroud's video.

This wasn't an accident.

It wasn't done to get the clip to fit into a certain segment of time on Twitter or anything like that.

It was done, with intention, to alter the presentation Stroud made to the people watching the post-game interview.

Someone at NBC made a direct decision to alter Stroud's words.

There's nothing they can say now that can remedy it, explain it or soften the impact of that decision.

They didn't edit out the last sentence: "We gotta just keep it going, but I'm super blessed."

That sentence took as much time as, "First of all, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ," yet NBC decided to remove the first sentence and not the last sentence.

I wonder why?

Here's an athlete, minutes after a high-profile victory on a national stage, taking 3 seconds to praise Jesus. And NBC is somehow afraid to allow that message to be spread to everyone on their social media platform.

But why?

Cui bono?

Who benefits from NBC's decision to censor Stroud's praise of Jesus?

It's indeed a sad, sad state of affairs when one of our major television networks is afraid to allow someone giving freely of his or her time to speak without fear of having their commentary altered or silenced.

You wanna know what's wrong with our country?

NBC showed you last weekend.

Shame on them.

With Marlon Humphrey listed as OUT for Saturday's game with the Texans, the Ravens are going to have to dig in a little deeper against C.J. Stroud and the Houston offense.

Injuries happen.

There's no use crying about it. Everyone gets nicked up as the season goes on.

But Humphrey's absence could be critically important against Houston. And if the Ravens get past the Texans, Josh Allen and the Bills or Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would just love to face Baltimore next Sunday without their top cornerback in the game.

The good news is Mark Andrews has been upgraded to question and now appears a safe bet to return either this weekend or next weekend, assuming there's an AFC Championship Game in Baltimore.

Andrews doesn't play defensive back, though. And while he's a welcome return to the starting lineup, it's fair to say the Ravens would likely much prefer to have a healthy Marlon Humphrey on Saturday than a healthy Mark Andrews. Sorry, Mark.

The weather isn't going to be great on Saturday, either.

The Texans, of course, play in much warmer temperatures throughout their regular season, whether that's at home or against their three AFC South foes in Nashville, Jacksonville and Indianapolis (indoor stadium).

If anyone has an advantage playing in expected 20 degree temperatures at kick-off on Saturday, you'd figure it's the Ravens. But it's likely not the kind of edge that entirely swings the game in Baltimore's favor. The Ravens still have to play hard, smart, error free football if possible, frigid temps or not.

We'll go through the game in more detail in tomorrow's edition of #DMD, but I'd be very surprised if the Ravens lose to the Texans.

Can they lose? Well, of course.

Is Houston coming in on a bit of a heater? They are, yes.

But it would be a monumental upset if the Texans roll into Baltimore on Saturday and leave with a win.

The Ravens are just too talented and too deep on both sides of the ball.

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faith in sports

I saw this clip a couple of years ago, but it's always worth repeating. The message and the story are simply that good.

It's 5 minutes in length.

You'll see and hear young men and women in PUBLIC SCHOOLS in Northern Virginia gathering together to share in the truth about the impact God has had on them both spiritually and athletically.

That the video below is focused on PUBLIC SCHOOLS is incredibly important, since most public educational institutions are concerned about students who share their faith within the walls (or fields) of their schools.

This is an awesome 5 minute video below. Please check it out today.

Thanks, as always, to our friends at Freestate Electrical for their continued support of #DMD and our "Faith in Sports" segment every Friday.

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January 18, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

thursday stuff

#DMD reader Paul Snacke reached out to me with an e-mail mid-day on Wednesday.

"I read your column about why we love sports and it made me think about it quite a bit. I love sports just like you but today (Wednesday) was the first time I ever asked myself why."

That's why we're here.

We didn't solve any of the world's great problems here yesterday or anything like that, but perhaps we gave you reason to pause and reflect on just what it is about sports that you love so much.

Some of you will put that love on full display this Saturday afternoon when you sit in 15 degree temperatures to watch a football game you could otherwise watch from the comfort of your warm, spacious (and free of charge) living room.

There are always arguments about what makes a "great fan", "good fan" or " bad fan". Most of those arguments are dumb. But there's no denying -- at least to me, anyway -- that you're a great fan if you sit out there this Saturday afternoon/night and watch the Ravens play the Texans.

Have at it, as Brian Billick used to say.

Back to yesterday's topic for just a second.

A few people reached out to me with some private thoughts about what they like and don't like about sports and one thing that resonated with just about everyone was how their view of things change as they get older.

Growing up, we all thought professional sports was pure.

Wiser in your years, you come to discover that's not true at all.

It can be a dirty, ugly business.

Teams and players win that, in your eyes, don't deserve the glory of victory.

We saw Michigan football win the national championship this season with a coach who was twice suspended in 2023 for he and/or his program's inability to follow the rules.

There's more, but you get the idea.

Kids in Ann Arbor think Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are the cat's meow.

You and I? Not so much.

Anyway, if we gave you reason to think about why it is you love sports, that's what we're here to do.

The PGA Tour moves to a popular spot on their early season rotation this week; La Quinta, California, for the American Express Championship.

This event is played over four days on three different courses, with the final round moving back to the Stadium Course at PGA West.

It is, in short, a complete birdie fest.

Sungjae Im has a great track record at the American Express Championship.

You make a lot of birdies...and you have a chance.

Can't make a lot of birdies? Enjoy the scenery.

As you'll see below, we're going with birdie makers and guys with a decent history at the event.

We love Sungjae Im this week at +2100. He's played the tournament five times and has never finished outside the top 20, finishing 18, 11, 12, 10 and 12.

He had a terrific start to his season with a 5th place finish at The Sentry two weeks ago. He took last week off -- a rarity for him -- and is now ready to roll at La Quinta.

Talk about horses-for-courses, Adam Hadwin -- at +5000 -- is just that, with two runner-up finishes and three other Top 10 paychecks.

His career on TPC courses is also stellar. And he's one of the best putters on TOUR over his last 24 tournaments.

Hadwin is one of those guys who sniffs around a lot and somehow doesn't wind up in the winner's circle, but his history at the American Express supports your decision to throw a few bucks his way this week.

We wouldn't be at all surprised to see a longshot win this week and Keith Mitchell at +8000 is one who could triumph. Mitchell is one of those under-the-radar kind of guys who sneaks in, makes 24 birdies in four rounds, and wins by two.

This is precisely the kind of event a guy like Mitchell wins. He might not be ready for a major championship just yet, but he is quietly one of the TOUR's up-and-coming competitors.

We think this might be the week that Eric Cole breaks through and wins on the TOUR. He's a great investment at +3500 and his game is tailored perfectly for the TPC style layout.

Cole makes birdies by the buckets. He'll need to do that this week.

All of those guys are worthy of your "win" and Top 10 investments.

It doesn't feel much like "playoff fever" in Baltimore if you're judging that based on how many people are trying to sell their playoff tickets.

One look at your various social media pages tells you the story: Folks are unloading their seats at face value.

I don't think this is a bad sign for Baltimore or anything like that.

If this Saturday was Baltimore vs. Buffalo for the AFC Championship Game, people wouldn't be selling their tickets.

"It's the Texans. We're gonna win. And I don't feel like freezing."

That's what a friend of mine told me yesterday when I reached out to him after seeing him trying to dump his four tickets for Saturday's game via Facebook.

I'm seeing a lot of my friends that I know are diehards posting on social media that their seats are available for purchase.

I don't blame them at all.

As I wrote above, I'm not going, for sure.

Now, if it's 20 degrees next Saturday when the Ravens host the Bills or Chiefs? I'll be there for that one, yes.

I'll keep saying what I've said all along about this new "thing" where people with tickets are just as inclined to dump them as use them when conditions speak to a potentially unpleasant experience.

The NFL has done this to us.

It's just too easy and too comfortable to stay home on Saturday.

They've given us far more reasons to watch from our living room than to battle the elements and go to the game.

But if they play next Saturday, we're all going to have to show up that point.



I know what you're thinking: "Depends on the temperature".


I think...

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

northwestern nips terps by three

Under most circumstances, if this season’s Terrapins are trailing by four at the half (like they were last night) and score 41 points in the second, they’ll come out with a win.

But last night at Northwestern, the Maryland defense failed them, and the Wildcats endured a physical game to win 72-69.

Jahmir Young did all he could for Maryland, scoring 28 of his 36 points in the second half. That effort was more than offset by Boo Buie’s ability to get past the Terp perimeter defenders and get to the paint.

His 20 points were complimented by his 7 assists. Many of those went to Matt Nicholson. Nicholson put up 10 points last night, almost 6 above his average of 4.4.

Four Terps scored in double figures. Beside Young’s 36, Jordan Geronimo had 12, Donta Scott went for 11, and Julian Reese posted 10. Something I can’t ever remember in major college basketball; those 4 players were the only four Terps that scored.

Buie’s 20 points were followed by Brooke Barnhizer with 15 and Ty Berry with 11.

Jahmir Young poured in 36 points for the Terps last night but Maryland fell at Northwestern, 72-69.

The early game action centered around Terrapin turnovers (4) and Northwestern converting those into 7 fast break points.

Each team had hit 2 three-pointers, but the Wildcats were one shot better from the floor and led 14-12 with 11:49 left in the half. Jahmir Young was getting beat up and left the game for a brief spell with an ankle issue.

Scott hit his second three of the half to put Maryland up one, but immediately picked up his second foul, sending him to the bench.

Going into the under 8-minute break, the story continued to be Terp turnovers leading to Wildcat points. Terrapin miscues had soared to 8 with Northwestern scoring 9 times off of those mistakes.

The teams were tied at 23 with 3:03 left in the first half. Northwestern had amassed 7 steals as the Terps continually made passes without first observing what was around them. Julian Reese was effective offensively (3 for 4) but had tossed the ball away 5 times already.

The Terps were doing the job on the boards (14-8), keeping them in the game.

Northwestern rung up 5 quick points after a Terp timeout before Scott’s third three of the half made the score 28-26, in favor of the Wildcats.

The teams then traded buckets before some really bad Terrapin defense (mostly Jahari Long) allowed Boo Buie to catch the ball without any pressure until he reached half court. Buie then weaved his way through the rest of the defense to connect on a floater from just inside the right elbow.

The half ended with Northwestern holding a 32-28 edge. Key stats for the half were the 5 Reese turnovers, and 10 total for Maryland, along with the fact that the Terps had yet to shoot a foul shot. Maryland is second in the Big Ten in free throws attempted, but hadn’t gone to the line in the first 20 minutes of play.

In the first minute of the second half, Northwestern had been called for 4 fouls, sending Young to the line twice and allowing Maryland to close to 34-33.

The first TV timeout arrived at the 15:56 mark. Northwestern had already committed 6 team fouls, and Jahari Long was going to the line with Maryland having tied the score at 39.

As frequently happens when foul shots are missed in a tight game, the floodgates opened for Northwestern after Long missed both free throws. The Wildcats ran off 6 straight, forcing Maryland to call timeout.

Young responded after the break, with two driving layups, getting the Terps to within 2, 45-43. Northwestern had been having success with drive and dish layups to their big men. The Wildcat bigs had produced 9 of Northwestern’s 13 points thus far in the half.

While all of this was going on, the Terps had forged ahead of Northwestern in fouls committed. The Wildcats were now in the bonus and were marching to the free throw line. Eight of their previous 10 points came from the charity stripe.

The Wildcats had gone over 4 minutes without a field goal, but still maintained a 4-point advantage. It was Ty Berry making 2 foul shots at 7:20, keeping the lead at four points. At this juncture of the game, each team was 0 for 5 from the three-point line.

The goose eggs from behind the arc lasted until Buie hit a trey at 6:47. Young, again, answered, but with a two pointer. The Terps were behind by three.

Rebounding was becoming an issue for Maryland, having given up 8 offensive boards in the first 14 minutes of the second half.

The Terps got another big three from Geronimo, but then went to sleep on “D”, leaving Berry alone. His triple made the score 62-57. The final TV timeout came at 3:16, with Reese shooting 2 times, hoping to cut the lead to 3 points.

The Terp center, who struggles from the line, connected on just 1, but the Terps held Northwestern to an off balance three by Berry.

Young was then fouled in the act of shooting, and he calmly swished both tries. The score was now 62-60. But, Buie drove round Scott and was fouled. He made both. The lead was back to 4 with 2:18.

After another timeout, Young blew by Buie to score his 21st point of the half. The teams were now separated by just two points, and when the Terp defense forced a shot clock violation, they had a chance to tie or take the lead. The Terps tied it with yet another Young short jumper.

Buie answered with a floater from the elbow, beating Scott. The Terps were down by 2 again, with possession and 34 seconds left in the game. An unreal successful step back three by Young with Berry in his face and the shot clock going off gave Maryland a brief lead, 67-66.

The Terps couldn’t get a stop. Buie blew by Scott again, getting to the rim and putting the Wildcats up 68-67. Young and Buie had scored the game’s last 15 points. It was Maryland’s ball with 20 seconds left to decide the outcome.

Not surprisingly, the game was put into Young’s hand.

With Buie on him and another defender shadowing behind Buie, Young couldn’t get inside and settled for a tough step back jumper from just inside the key. It missed and Northwestern grabbed the rebound. The ball went to Berry, who was fouled with 3.9 seconds in the game. His team was up 1. Barry hit both shots. The lead was now 3 points.

Maryland’s inbound pass went to Young and he was quickly fouled. His first attempt was good. His second was also successful.

Berry was now fouled and it was his turn to go to the line. He made both shots putting the score at 72-69 with less than 3 seconds left.

Any chance that the Terps had were washed away when the deep inbound pass was picked off. Game over, 72-69, in favor of Northwestern.

On defense, some mismatches were created when the Terrapins switched. On several occasions, Scott found himself guarding Buie. That was a grave issue as Scott’s lack of speed allowed Buie to get inside and do what he wanted.

The Terps got a real solid effort for Geronimo, who hit a pair of threes and went 5 of 6 from the field. The contribution by Geronimo was offset by the 10 steals that Northwestern pilfered, and by the fact that the bench points favored the Wildcats 15-0.

Maryland getting their pockets picked 10 times is unacceptable if they want to win in the Big Ten.

Getting no points from their bench and nothing from DeShawn Harris-Smith is also a problem. But last night, all of that would have been forgotten if the Terps played better defense. They had too many lapses, and they flew home with a close loss on their record.

They’ll be back at it on Sunday when Michigan State comes to the XFINITY Center for a noon game.

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January 17, 2024
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

the ultimate sports question

You might have gone your entire life and never once answered, or even thought of, this question I'm going to pose to you today.

I ask my high school golf team this question every year before we start our season and ask them to write down their answer for discussion.

Here's the question: Why do you love sports?

More specifically, for my golfers, I ask them: "Why do you love golf?"

But here, today, I'm asking you just the general question.

Why do you love sports?

And, yes, I'm presupposing, since you're here and all, that you actually do love sports.

If you're here and you don't love sports, that would be like me going over to a Beatles website and lurking there, waiting for an opportunity to chime in with a list of bands that were better than the "Fab" Four.

It just wouldn't make sense for me to do that.

Editor's note: The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Psychedelic Furs, Tears for Fears...we can start there, I guess.

Alas, you're here and you love sports.

But why do you love sports?

My guess is probably 80% of the men reading this today played sports of some kind growing up. Some of you might have gone on to continue playing as an adult. Some of you might have gone into coaching once you couldn't play any longer.

I've been around sports my entire life.

My first Little League team growing up in Glen Burnie was the Cardinals. We played our games at Richard Henry Lee Elementary School (which I think has since be renamed). I was a catcher on that team. I wore #9.

My very first season of Little League, we went 14-0 and won the championship. I hit a double in the last inning to give us a 3-2 win over the Braves in the championship game. It's amazing the things we remember in detail about our life but we can't remember what we had for breakfast last Thursday.

I thought sports was great at that point in my life. With a start like that, how could I think otherwise, right?

I played sports as a youth, then went into sportscasting at a little station in Glen Burnie called WJRO.

Then I went to work for the Blast soccer team for 17 years.

Later, I spent 12 years in sports talk radio.

I started playing competitive golf in 1993 and was hooked from the first tee shot I hit in the 1993 Maryland Amateur at Mount Pleasant.

In 2014, I started this website and we're still here.

You're getting the whole scope of it now. My whole life has been immersed in sports.

So, I obviously love sports. But why?

I'll be the first to admit my love for leagues and teams and such has changed a little bit as the years have gone on.

I've become pretty disenchanted with college sports. You might feel the same way. Or you might be crazy about college sports.

I think the erosion of what college sports is supposed to be about is one of the great tragedies of my sporting life. But that's just me. Your mileage may vary on that one.

The more I watch the NFL, the more I wonder.

I'll leave it at that.

But, as gambling becomes one of the league's central financial partners, you'd have to be naive and a little bit silly to at least not wonder a smidgen about where it's all going.

We're back to the question, though.

Why do you love sports?

My answer hasn't changed over the last 30 years or so once I discovered it back in the early 1990's.

I love sports because it reminds you, always, that anything is possible.

It's always possible.

You have to assume that's what DeMeco Ryans is drilling into his Houston Texans this week as they prepare to come to Baltimore.

"Guys, we can beat this team. We really can."

And we all know that to be true, of course. That's why they play the games, as the saying goes. The Texans could come in here and win this Saturday.

The greatest example of "anything is possible" in my lifetime is, of course, the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. There have been countless other moments of similar upsets and such over the last 54 years, but that moment sticks out as the one that reminds us all, "Anything is possible."

I love sports because you never know.

I've been blessed so many times with sports accomplishments that I either wasn't expecting or, perhaps, didn't think I was capable of accomplishing.

God works in mysterious ways.

I have no other explanation for my qualification for the 2021 U.S. Senior Open golf championship other than to say that God wanted me there. He put me there for reasons only HE knew at the time.

Sure, I had some basic golfing skills that I needed to use to qualify and play in the event. I'm not here to suggest a 10 handicap golfer could qualify for that event because "anything is possible".

But there was nothing about that day that was different than any other round of golf. God blessed me that day, plain and simple.

I love sports because you never know what you might get to see.

As for golf itself, I love that particular sport for another reason.

I knew this a year or two into my relationship with golf.

It's never changed.

I love golf because it's hard.

I've played every sport pretty much known to man. Some of them, I played at a good level. Others, I just fiddled around with long enough to realize it wasn't for me.

No sport, ever, has been harder than golf.

It's what always drew me to it and kept me chasing it. The quest to "figure it out" has only increased with time.

I overheard a young man in his 20's say something recently that made me giggle.

"I think I've figured out the golf swing!" I heard him tell a friend next to him at the driving range.

And, yes, there he was, striping whatever iron he had in his hand. Ball after ball, heading out into the Pine Ridge night. It was glorious.

About 10 minutes later, I heard him swearing.

Gone was the majestic ball flight and solid contact.

He was scattering balls left and right. "Army golf" we call it among friends when someone can't find the middle of the clubface.

"Left, right, left, right, left, right..."

I laughed to myself.

"Welcome to golf, kid," I snickered under my breath. "You just made the biggest mistake of your golfing life. You'll never figure it out. Never. Not today, not next month, not next year. Just know that."

Golf is hard.

That's why I love it.


I love sports because it reminds me almost every time I watch a game of some kind that anything is possible.

The players and their stories.

The coaches and their stories.

Games, seasons, championships. Shocking wins and shocking losses.

So, tell me: Why do you love sports?

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit northwestern tonight

It will be a battle of extremes when the Terps take on the Northwestern Wildcats tonight at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston Illinois. Gametime is 9 P.M.

Maryland, who stayed in the area after their win at Illinois, is the worst 3-point shooting in the Big Ten at 24%. Northwestern hits 43.5% from long range, the best in the conference.

The two teams are also at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to overall shooting percentage. The Wildcats connect on 48.6% of their field goal attempts. That’s second only to Wisconsin’s 50%.

There’s only one Big Ten team that makes less than Maryland’s 38% and that’s Rutgers with 36.6%.

Northwestern is the worst rebounding team in the Big Ten, while the Terps are second only to Purdue in offensive rebounds. There is also a 14.2 point difference, in the Terrapins favor, in points allowed.

Maryland needs a big night from Donta Scott this evening when the Terps visit Northwestern.

We can attribute some of Mryland’s lofty ranking in points allowed to their slower tempo, but the guys from College Park play way better defense than this group at Northwestern.

The Wildcat offense is driven by the three B’s, Buie, Barnhizer, and Berry. This trio not only leads the team in scoring, but also in rebounding. The head of this pack is Boo Buie.

Buie will play almost the full 40 minutes. He’s the leading Wildcat scorer with 18.3 points each game, and he also leads his team with 4.9 assists. When the senior guard gets into the paint, he’s trouble. His collection of floaters and runners is top notch and contributes mightily to his point total.

He also puts up more 3’s than any other Wildcat, dropping a respectable 35% of those tries. Quick, fast, and energetic would aptly describe his game.

Brooks Barnhizer is the next high scoring Wildcat. This 6’6 junior not only gets 13.8 points a game, but he’s the leading Northwestern rebounder with almost 7 per outing. Barnhizer plays much stronger than I anticipated. He cuts well without the ball and goes hard to the hoop when he puts the ball on the floor.

When going to the basket, Barnhizer is just as likely to pull up and shoot a fade-away as he is to finish at the rim. He makes just enough threes (31%) to deep a defender honest and he’s sneaky on the offensive glass. Barnhizer is a solid college player.

The last of the B’s is Ty Berry. This senior walks into this game with a very impressive 44.7% three-point average.

Berry launches 62% of his shots from behind the three-point arc. Second on the team with 3.9 rebounds per game, Berry can drop threes in bunches. If a team feels they need to double Buie to stop his penetration, don’t leave Berry open. That’s frequently a three-point mistake.

Let’s now turn our attention to some Terp matchup advantages.

I expect Maryland to dominate inside much like they did against Illinois. Maybe we can’t expect a 52-26 advantage, but the paint needs to be the focus of Maryland’s offensive sets.

Some of that is dictated by the Terp’s shooting woes, the other factor is that I feel neither Luke Hunger or Matt Nicholson can check Julian Reese.

Nicholson certainly has the size (7’, 280), but he’s slow and lacks verticality. He gives Northwestern 4.4 points on the other end. Sometimes he comes off of the bench, other times he’s a starter.

If Nicholson doesn’t start, then Hunger will. He also has good size (6’10”, 255) but like Nicholson, he’s not much of a scoring threat and is less than a plus defender in the post.

Coach Willard must also be looking at the other possible interior matchups. I expect Barnhizer to bash heads with Donta Scott. As much as I respect Barnhizer’s strength, he should be no match for the bulk of Scott. That should be another low block mismatch of which Maryland should capitalize.

Assuming that the Terps start Jordan Geronimo, they’ll have a big advantage against his likely assignment, Ryan Langborg. Langborg is just 6’4” and 195. He can’t match Geronimo down low. We’ve all seen that Geronimo isn’t a “go-to” scorer, but tonight could be a good night for him if Maryland game plans for it.

Buie can defend, and I expect to see him on Jahmir Young. Young had 18 points against him last year while Buie shot 1-9 in their only matchup. But that game was in College Park and this one is a road game for Maryland. Things could be different this time out.

Maryland keys are to exploit advantages in the paint, force Buie to work hard for his shot, keep Berry off of the three-point line, and dominate the glass.

Young has been so good this year, but if there ever is a game in which he may not be the number 1 scoring option, it’s this one.

So, here’s what I expect. Forget Buie’s 1 for 9 last year, tonight he goes for over 20 despite Maryland going at him with Deshawn Harris-Smith. We’ll see Reese and Scott have big games, but Young could be held a little under his 20 points a game average.

The Terrapins will out rebound Northwestern, but the Wildcats will get threes from too many people for Maryland to secure this win.

I prefer Maryland’s talent, but being away from home for an extended time isn’t the best scenario for the turtles.

Maryland beat Illinois by 9, and Illinois beat Northwestern by 30, so the Terps should win by 39. Right? Of course not.

After losing their last outing at Wisconsin, Northwestern returns to their winning ways with a 74-71 victory tonight.

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January 16, 2024
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can't blame the nfl for being swift

Stats Nerd brought up an interesting point here in the Comments section recently.

Why all the disdain for Taylor Swift?

And I'm not talking about her music, per se. You're either a fan or not. Or maybe in between.

My son asked me the other day what I thought of U2, for example. They're a good example of "in between".

I have a lot of respect for what they've done and they career they've produced. I'll stand on the hill of "The Joshua Tree is one of the 10 best albums of my lifetime" and fight like the devil to support that argument. Their "early stuff" was really good. But I lost interest as the years went on.

I'm a fan, but I wouldn't be driving to Philadelphia to see them live. That's "in between", I guess.

So, as it relates to Taylor Swift, you're either a fan or not. Or maybe in between.

I think she's incredibly talented. Her net wealth tells you all you need to know about her business acumen and ability to turn music and dancing into profit.

I've never purchased a Taylor Swift song or CD. I know a handful of them because I have a teenage daughter. It's pleasant music. Not my cup of tea, but far more entertaining than the Beat -- well, never mind. We're here to talk football today.

Anyway, I have no idea at all if the NFL has entered into any kind of discreet arrangement with her regarding her recent "prominence" at Kansas City Chiefs games. I'm not a conspiracy guy by nature, so I'll just assume it's all natural. She is dating a football player and she's one of the most famous women in the world in 2024. The NFL would be dumb not to promote her at every turn.

If they do have some sort of agreement with her, they call that "business", I think.

If they don't have an agreement with her, then it's simply smart of them to latch on to her during this relationship she's maintaining with Travis Kelce.

Oh, and she's no dummy either. Swift's nothing if not a massive opportunist, as most business owners tend to be. She knows who she is and she knows when she's at the game, people are paying attention to her. The more attention she draws, the more interest that's created in her music and her brand.

I certainly know we're living in a day and age where people get offended by just about everything.

Some of that turns into faux outrage because, well, we also do that quite well these days.

The amount of disdain and anger I see for Taylor Swift is hilarious.

She's the Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan of music...right now.

Based on attendance and ticket prices for her shows -- and I have no idea what kind of real barometer those two things are for popularity -- she's the most popular musical artist in the world right now.

If she walked into your place of business today and said, "If you guys want me to endorse your company (product) and not charge you anything for it, I'll happily do it," every single one of you would smartly agree to that. I'm guessing you would, anyway.

She wore a jacket on Saturday night at the Chiefs/Dolphins game that resembled a Travis Kelce jersey and the internet went bonkers over it. Like, completely bonkers.

My teenage daughter has zero interest in sports. But she knows who Travis Kelce is.

"Dad, is there any chance Travis Kelce will ever play for the Ravens?" she asked me the other day.

Taylor Swift is directly responsible for that question.

I just don't get the hate for her.

Yes, I know how our country works. All too well.

We build you up, build you up, make you into something, revel in your success, love on you and.....then.....we tear you down.

Eventually we say "enough is enough, we're tired of your success."

The great lead singer of The Smiths, Morrissey, once authored a great song called: "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful".

Oh, how true that is.

Maybe it's because I'm working on my 7th decade on this planet, but I've (almost) mastered the art of not letting stuff that shouldn't bother me actually not bother me.

I couldn't care less about Taylor Swift's emergence as an NFL promotional doll.

Good for her, I say.

She seems like a nice, young lady. Someone has to sell millions of records and travel the world singing and dancing. Why not her?

One thing I'm not going to do is get agitated about her new presence on NFL broadcasts and the like.

Always remember this, even though I know -- as a diehard sports fan like you -- that it's hard to do: The NFL is a TV show first. And a sports competition second.

You don't have to like that. I don't particularly care for that theory, personally.

But it's true. Saturday night in Kansas City confirmed that theory once and for all.

It's a TV business first and foremost and a football league next. Honestly? I'd rather know that than wonder about it. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, the saying goes.

So I'll be the first to launch the 2024 Conspiracy of the Year: The NFL wants the Chiefs to get back to the Super Bowl. Because of her and the spotlight she draws to their games within a segment of the population they might not otherwise reach every weekend.

I don't believe that myself.

But I'm getting ahead of the game and announcing it as the theory you're going to hear and read about if the Chiefs somehow beat the Bills and Ravens/Texans winner and advance to the Super Bowl again.

"The league wanted to make sure Taylor Swift was at the Super Bowl."

You know you were thinking it.

I just happened to be the first one to say it.

Oh, and one last thing.

If you're really all that hot and bothered about the NFL showcasing Taylor Swift, here's some advice for you: You could just, you know, Shake it Off.

And so it will be the Ravens and Texans in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon with John Harbaugh's team installed as early 9.5 point favorites over C.J. Stroud and Company.

That's a lot of points for a playoff game, although five of the six played thus far exceeded that margin of victory, with only the 24-23 Detroit win failing to yield a double-digit win.

Sadly, the Ravens didn't get the draw they really wanted when Pittsburgh predictably fell short against the Bills yesterday in Buffalo. A Pittsburgh would have given Baltimore a cakewalk next Sunday and would have eliminated a surging Bills team at the same time.

Alas, it didn't happen that way.

Buffalo won, 31-17, and that meant -- as we called here last week -- that all three home teams won their playoff openers and Houston, after beating Cleveland, would be coming to Baltimore for Saturday's 4:30 pm tilt,

I'm certainly not afraid of the Texans.

But it's obvious they're coming into town as one of the league's hotter teams at the moment.

When they showed up on opening Sunday last September and got slapped around by the Ravens, I didn't think much of them, Stroud included.

Times have changed, as they often do within a season.

The Ravens are better than they were in that week one victory, but so, too, are the Texans.

Nine and a half points seems like a lot to me.

And have you seen those Texans helmets?

How are they losing to anyone by 10 points or more with those awesome helmets?

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January 15, 2024
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let's not get ugly

In case you missed it, there was a messy, horrible scene in Chicago over the weekend.

I bring it up here today to give some words of preparation for an event that might happen and an event that will happen here in Baltimore.

This past Friday night, the Chicago Bulls unveiled their 2024 Ring of Honor. One of those inducted was former general manager Jerry Krause, who was the chief architect of the Bulls dynasty in the 1980's and 1990's.

Krause passed away in 2017, so his wife, Thelma, was on hand Friday night to accept the honor of her late husband's induction into the Ring of Honor.

When Krause's name was announced, some fans in attendance booed him.

Many of them weren't around during Krause's time as general manager, rather they were merely reacting to what they might have seen in the Netflix documentary, "The Last Dance". It was in that show where Krause was routinely dragged through the mud by Bulls' superstars like Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen.

Golden State head coach -- and former Chicago Bulls member -- Steve Kerr was particularly outraged by the incident in Chicago last Friday night involving the late Jerry Krause.

Krause was a controversial figure in Chicago, no doubt, but he was also the guy responsible for giving Phil Jackson another shot at coaching and employing Tex Winter, the brains behind the successful triangle offense that the Bulls used throughout much of their dominant era.

And it was also Krause who had to keep the team's various egos somewhat in check during contract negotiations and the like.

Like him or not, he was a vital part of the Bulls' success during their halcyon days.

And on Friday night, with Krause's wife sitting at midcourt, people in the arena booed her late husband.

Bulls color commentator Stacey King led the initial string of responses during the third quarter of Friday's game vs. Golden State.

"I'm a little upset right now," King said. "We just had a remarkable ceremony, bringing back the legends and I'll tell you what, Chicago is a sports town. What we witnessed today when Jerry Krause's name was called, and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I hurt for that lady. It brought her to tears."

King continued: "Whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves. That's not Chicago, that's New York or Philly. Chicago's not like that. We don't have a reputation of being that way. Whether you like Jerry Krause or not, that man brought six championships here. He didn't shoot a basket nor did he get a rebound, but he put six titles up in this arena. There's a lot of teams that only have one. That was really classless. I was disappointed in the people that booed. It was a sad thing."

The following night in San Antonio, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich echoed King's comments.

"I feel the same way about that as when Kawhi Leonard got booed here earlier this season. It’s unnecessary. It’s impolite. It’s ignorant. If anything, it’s like a snapshot of the world we live in today. Meanness seems to be a lot more condoned."

And then there was former Bulls member Steve Kerr, now the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, who witnessed the event firsthand on Friday when his Warriors were in town to play the Bulls.

"It's shameful," Kerr stated. "Absolutely shameful. I cannot believe — I'm devastated for Thelma and for the Krause family. What can we possibly be thinking? I cannot believe that the fans — and you have to understand, when you hear boos, it's not all of them, right? So the fans who booed, they know who they are."

"What are we doing? Whether people liked Jerry or not, whether they disagreed with the decision to move on, we're here to celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team. Tonight and last night was all about the joy and love that that team shared with the city and I'm so disappointed in the fans, and I want to be specific because there are lots of fans, I'm sure, who did not boo. Both those who booed, they should be ashamed."

There's not much else I need to write here. It's all there. Awful. Heartless. Mean. Disgusting.

Pick whatever words you want for your own description.

Why on earth would someone do that to another person -- dead or alive -- with their wife sitting there at midcourt, hoping to bask in the glow of a ceremony honoring his memory and contribution to the Bulls? What's the benefit? What are you accomplishing? What's it say about you if you decided to boo Jerry Krause on Friday night?

And I bring up the story not so much to beat up on the morons in Chicago who booed Krause on Friday night, but to issue a reminder to folks here in Baltimore.

Our football team plays next weekend in a big game. Hopefully, they'll also play the weekend after that, too.

Despite their remarkable season and all, there's always a chance they might not win one of the next two games.

If they don't, it could get ugly in these parts.

Here's all I'm going to say: Don't be one of the ugly ones.

You can't control others, but you can control you. And if things happen to go sideways against the Texans or Steelers or the Bills or Chiefs the following weekend, just make sure you're not one of the ones who acts like a moron in the aftermath.

No scraps with opposing fans at the stadium. Don't get into a Twitter fight with one of the Raven players. No matter what you might think, they hurt more than you hurt when the team loses.

I'm hoping we don't have to deal with this at all. But I know how sports works. And I know how people are when their favorite team loses in a way that wasn't expected.

Let's not be "that way" if the Ravens lose. Shake on it?

But there's an even bigger story in the offing we need to monitor here in Baltimore.

It's no secret that Orioles owner Peter Angelos is in poor health. He has been for quite some time, in fact.

And when the day comes that he passes away -- we all do at some point, remember -- there's a high probability that people in Baltimore are going to act like morons.

You know it's going to happen.

Just make sure you're not one of them.

As Gregg Popovich said: It's rude and impolite. And it's unnecessary.

Angelos is a polarizing figure in town, there are no two ways about it.

But he's also someone who has done a lot of good in Baltimore, no matter what you might think about his ownership tenure of the Orioles.

And he's also a father and a husband, in addition to someone who helped keep ownership of the baseball team in Baltimore in 1993 when "outsiders" from points beyond were lurking and attempting to buy the franchise.

He's also been very generous with his money along the way, often times doing so without publicity or fanfare. It's a public story now, so I don't feel awkward sharing it, but when longtime radio broadcaster Ted Patterson lost his wife a dozen or years ago, Angelos privately helped fund her funeral.

The news of Peter's passing could come today. Or next month. Or it might not happen until this June or next June. Who knows?

But with the events of last Friday fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a good idea to mention two potential stories we might have to face in Baltimore sometime soon.

An improbable Ravens loss.

And the death of a somewhat controversial figure in the Baltimore sports community.

Either way, we owe it to the two parties involved to not act like degenerates if/when "things happen".

Let's not flood the airwaves with phone calls we shouldn't make or, do, say or post anything that will make us look like we're doing something out of spite.

The final sentence of Popovich's statement rings true: "If anything, it’s like a snapshot of the world we live in today. Meanness seems to be a lot more condoned."

Whenever it happens, we should treat Peter Angelos with respect. The way people in Chicago should have treated Jerry Krause last Friday night.

Meanness is condoned these days, for some weird reason. We've done it to ourselves.

And, so, I'm also here today to say something about a current radio personality in town that many of you have criticized here in the last year or so.

Frankly, I regret not saying this earlier.

I will no longer condone (which, in this case, means "allow") jokes, snide remarks or commentary about the weight of Jason LaCanfora from 105.7.

It's rude. It's impolite. And it's unnecessary. Thank you Gregg Popovich.

The Spurs coach is right. "Meanness seems to be a lot more condoned."

The internet has done that, of course. There's very little accountability any longer. You can post or write just about anything you want and you're not responsible for it.

This doesn't mean you're not allowed to have an opinion or voice that opinion. You are welcome to do that.

If you want to criticize LaCanfora as a broadcaster, you're welcome to do that. In the same way some of you criticized me when I was on the air, it comes with the territory.

If you want to criticize any media member here, you can do that. But we're no longer going to allow for personal commentary about their appearance, weight, etc. I'm ashamed it took me this long to call some of you out for that.

I've removed a number of posts about Jason that I felt were objectionable and will continue to do so if you elect to post commentary about his or people's weight or general appearance.

Come up with better material. Like poking fun at the Beatles. Or the Philadelphia Flyers. Or Thursday Night NFL football, which is still the worst thing the league has ever done. And that's saying something.

You can make fun of golf, Fred Couples, Training Day, the Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Springsteen, Vivek Ramaswamy, chinese food, Silver Oak (Napa or Alexander Valley), Ted Lasso, the Washington Capitals or anything else I like. No worries there.

But I'm not going to allow anyone to make fun of someone's appearance or weight. It's ugly.

And it serves as no benefit to anyone at all. It's unnecessary and, potentially, painful to the person you're lashing out at for no real reason at all.

Just like last Friday in Chicago, it makes you look bad when you act like a moron here.

So let's pledge that we're not gonna do it.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation. Trust me, it's not that hard to rise above the fray.

I know we can do it.

I don't believe in playing "scared" or anything like that, but hopefully yesterday's shocking win by the Packers in Dallas serves as a timely reminder to the Ravens.

Take the Texans seriously.

I don't think that's what happened to Dallas, per se. But they certainly looked shell-shocked early in the game when the Packers took it to them on the opening drive. And before the Cowboys knew what hit them, it was 20-0.

I can't imagine John Harbaugh will let the Ravens take Houston lightly.

But players sometimes do things on their own, the same way Dawson and Downey "supposedly" took matters into their own hands the night they gave Private Santiago the code red. Just last week, for example, Jameis Winston and the Saints offense eschewed a directive from their head coach to kneel out the game against Atlanta, instead plunging into the end zone and creating a firestorm.

So, John Harbaugh can talk about the Texans all week and implore his players to take them seriously, but it's then up to the players to listen and heed their coach's advice.

There are still players in Baltimore who were part of both the Chargers and Titans home playoff losses in '19 and '20. Even though they don't want to go there this week, I assume their mind might wander to those two fiascos.

Those two games and yesterday's Green Bay win in Dallas should be more than enough to get the Ravens to take the Texans seriously next Saturday.

Oh, and yes, I realize I'm getting the cart before the horse and it could be the Steelers who come to town next weekend if they somehow pull off a win over Buffalo today.

If that happens, just remove the word Texans above and insert the word Steelers. Same deal. Even though Pittsburgh stinks, you still have to give them their due...and then beat them 40-17.

A final shameless plug for this morning's show on 105.7 from 6-9 am. I'll be on the air with my old radio pal, Glenn Clark, as the Big Bad Morning Show takes the holiday morning off.

Glenn and I will talk Ravens, of course, plus we'll have a couple of special guests to help us sift through the first weekend of playoff football.

Oh, and don't forget...

Rumor has it we're going to be joined by a certain-football-fan from Indianapolis around 8:30 am. You know who it is, if you were a regular listener to my show from 2002 through 2014.

Yep, it's gonna be lots of fun.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps stun #10 illinois on the road

Maryland doubled up Illinois in the paint yesterday, a whopping 52 to 26, and in doing so handed the Fighting Illini a 76-67 home loss.

Big games by Jahmir Young (28 points, 8 assists) and Juju Reese (20 points, 11 rebounds) along with a solid team effort on the boards were the biggest factors in this road win against a top 10 Illinois team.

Young was outstanding and took advantage of the Illini lack of quickness at the guard position. He continually got to the paint, where he either converted or dished. Young’s 8 assists were matched against just 2 turnovers.

Reese achieved his double/double because he avoided foul trouble and was able to stay on the court.

Kevin Willard and his Terps went toe-to-toe with Illinois on Sunday and left Champaign with a big 76-67 conference victory.

His matchup with Coleman Hawkins was favorable because Hawkins doesn’t play much with his back to the basket, where Reese rapidly picks up fouls. Lacking the burden of having foul trouble, Reese was able to be very active defensively. HE was a factor on both ends of the court.

The Terrapins got down by as many as 9 points in the first half before climbing back into the game and briefly taking a 1-point lead before closing out the half down by 2.

Illinois helped Maryland’s cause with some really poor second half shooting. They were successful on just 9 of 40 second half shots including hitting on only 1 of 14 three-point tries.

The first 4 minutes had a very familiar feel. The Terps sandwiched two layups in between 4 misses in a row. They also lost Illinois guard Luke Goode twice and he made the Terps pay by draining a couple of early threes.

On the second three, Donta Scott closed out in such a lazy fashion that he earned himself a trip to the bench. Illinois led 10-5 after 4 minutes.

After the break, Maryland missed a three and Goode made this third triple within 5 minutes.

Willard had to call a timeout after UMD allowed 5 quick points. That included another wide open three, this time from Quincy Guerrier. The score was now 20-11.

Shooting woes were once again rearing their ugly heads for Maryland. The Terps were 5-15 from the field at this point, including 0-4 from the three-point line. Their defense was really disappointing, allowing the Illini to go 4 for 6 from long range.

Jaimie Kaiser was getting worked while trying to guard Markus Domask, showing his inability to guard at this level because of his slow foot speed. Domask scored 6 consecutive Illinois points, keeping his team comfortably ahead, 28-20 at the 8-minute mark.

Two quick Terp points from close range, they now had 18 points in the paint, closed the Fighing Illini lead to 4, 28-24 with 6:36 left in the half.

Maryland was doing a great job of hanging on the boards against a very good rebounding Illinois team. The totals were 16-15 in favor of the Terps.

The under 4-minute TV timeout came with 3:49 left to play in half number 1. The Terps trailed 33-30 and had possession under their own basket. Despite knocking down just 1 of 9 triples, their 22 points in the paint were keeping them in close contact with Illinois.

Noah Batchelor was inserted into the game after Scott twisted his ankle and immediately bombed a three. The game was tied at 33 with under three minutes left to play in the opening 20 minutes.

The Terps would take a single point lead, 35-34, after Reese backed down Dayne Dainja for an easy bucket from 5 feet away. Illinois would use the foul line and a short jumper by Dainja to take a 39-37 lead into halftime.

The Fighting Illini attempted 13 first half foul shots (hitting 10) while the Terps made just 5 of 6. Illinois was successful on 5 of 8 threes against just 2 of 12 for Maryland. The Terps were doing damage inside, owning the paint 26-14.

It was Young and Reese handling the offensive work for the Terps with 12 and 11 points respectively. Domask led Illinois with 13.

It was Young and Reese, again, starting the second half with back-to-back buckets giving the Terps a short lived 2-point lead. It lasted until Maryland left Domask all alone for a three, and he made it. The 22% three-point shooter was now 2 for 2 from deep.

When Reese found himself all alone right under the basket, his dunk off a Scott feed allowed the Terps to regain the lead. The score was 47-46 going into the first TV timeout of the second half at the 15:10 mark.

The under 12-minute time out came with 11:42 left in the game, Illinois going to the line, and Maryland holding their biggest lead, 52-48, after a Jordan Geronimo three from the right corner.

Only two Illinois players, Domask and Hawkins, had scored for them in the second half so far. At this point in the game, it was notable that the Terps had committed just a pair of turnovers.

Illinois was shooting 2 of 19 before Ty Rodgers made a runner from in front of the basket. Reese immediately answered for the Terps. The Illini called timeout after a slick Young runner gave him 20 points for the game and provided the Terrapins with their largest lead, 58-52.

Another Reese bucket pushed the lead to 8, but Illinois responded with four straight points. It was a rare Harris-Smith triple that ended the mini-run and put the Terps up 7, 66-59 with just 3:40 separating Maryland from a rare road win.

That three was huge, as the 4-point Illinois run had ignited the crowd. The three-pointer silenced them.

Maryland was being outscored 19-6 from the foul line and had made just 4 of 17 threes. Yet, they were clinging to a lead, 66-61, when Harris-Smith drove to the rim and drew Hawkins’ 5th foul, ending the Illinois center’s night. Unfortunately, the Terp freshman missed both foul shots.

When Young blocked a shot and then hit a short jumper off the glass, the Terps had had a 68-61 lead with under 2 minutes left.

Domask hit two shots in a row (Kaiser had no chance guarding this kid) before Young was fouled and converted two foul shots with 1:01 left to play.

Illinois would score just 2 more points the rest of the way, and the Terps cruised to the unlikely 9-point victory, 76-67.

Maryland played hard yesterday, as evidenced by their 41-41 draw on the glass. Yes, they had some favorable matchups and Illinois shot horribly in the second half, but this was a total team effort.

And I emphasize “EFFORT”. I was a bit disheartened by Scott’s first half defensive intensity, but outside of that I thought that Maryland team played hard. They matched or exceeded the Illini effort in every phase of the game.

I have to admit to being a bit baffled by seeing Jamie Kaiser frequently called on to check Domask. The Illini transfer from Southern Illinois frequently undressed Kaiser. Domask had 26 points, and scored on everyone that attempted to guard him, but he especially torched Kaiser.

There were some big plays in this game, but perhaps none were bigger than the Harris-Smith three with exactly 4 minutes left in the game.

Maryland’s 8-point lead had been cut to 4 with plenty of time remaining in the game. Harris-Smith found himself open for a three, and he nailed it. It broke some Illinois momentum and from that point on you could really believe that this contest could end in a Terp “W”.

The Terp freshman is a 16% three-point shooter. I’m sure the Illini faithful were happy he shot it, until it went in.

The Terps next have a Wednesday date against Boo Buie at Northwestern (3-2, 12-4). Gametime is 9 pm.

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January 14, 2024
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bring on.....the texans?

January Joe turned into January Joke with two third quarter throws.

The Dolphins couldn't swim in the frigid, icy waters of Kansas City.

And now all that stands between the Ravens and an encounter with the rapidly improving Houston Texans is a (likely) loss by the Steelers in Buffalo tomorrow afternoon.

I say this a lot: The team that thinks they're really good is often times more dangerous than the team that actually is really good.

I'm hoping that theory doesn't play out here in Baltimore next Saturday if, in fact, it's the Texans who come trotting into town for the Ravens' playoff opener.

Pending a win by Buffalo over the Steelers tomorrow, the Ravens will face C.J. Stroud and the Texans next Saturday in Baltimore.

Houston battered the Browns yesterday. And that Cleveland defense that everyone thought so highly of? Not so good against C.J. Stroud and the rest of that Texans offense.

Now, it's fair to point out that 14 of the 45 Houston points came as a result of Cleveland's offense giving points to the Texans, but even still, Stroud and Company looked the Browns defense in the eye and said the same thing you and I said the first time we heard the Beatles Abbey Road album from start to finish: "You're really not that good after all."

And Joe Flacco, it turned out, didn't have any more rabbits to pull out of his playoff hat.

He was good early on, for sure. The game had all the makings of an instant classic in the first quarter before Houston pulled out to a 24-14 halftime lead.

Then, disaster struck early in the third quarter, as Flacco threw two pick-six interceptions within minutes of one another. 24-14 turned into 31-14 and then 38-14.


And the Texans were moving on while the Browns were moving back home, still in search of that elusive first-ever Super Bowl trip.

If Pittsburgh somehow shocks the Bills tomorrow, Houston will play in Kansas City next Saturday while the Ravens will play host to the Steelers in Charm City on Sunday. If form holds out and the Bills win, the Chiefs will be on the road for the first time in Patrick Mahomes' playoff career on Sunday while the Texans will visit Baltimore on Sunday.

Last night's game in Kansas City went as expected, score wise, but it was complete lunacy that the NFL allowed the game to be played in the first place.

The next time the league issues fines in the name of "player safety", every player in the league should send a check for one penny back to the league with a note in the memo section: Dolphins at Chiefs, 1/13/24, player safety no longer exists

Just like they did with the Bills/Steelers game, the league should have moved last night's game to either sometime today or Monday in light of the sub-zero temperatures they forced people to encounter in an effort to attend, work, or play in the game itself.

Other than television -- which, we all know, is practically what drives every decision the league makes -- there was zero reason to play the game last night.

Alas, it went off as scheduled, and the Dolphins were lifeless. The Chiefs weren't a whole lot better, mind you, but the 26-7 decision is in the books and that's that.

Yes, football is an outdoor sport. Played in the elements and all.

Yes, games with similar temperatures have been played as scheduled in the past.

That excuse, of all of them, is the dumbest one I've ever heard. Just because you ran the red light at Ridgely and York Road once because you were in a hurry to get to First Watch in Timonium for their awesome oatmeal doesn't mean you should run it again next time and the time after that.

Maybe it's because I recently watched that movie about the 9 people who died trying to climb Mount Everest that has me worried about super-duper cold weather. I don't know. But that, last night, was one of the dumbest things the league has ever done.

Oh, and I had the Chiefs and the under, so I was thrilled with how the game turned out. But the fact they even played is the clubhouse leader (early, granted) for #Clownshoes Moment of the Year.

Editor's note: Did you know it costs you upwards of $60,000 to climb Mount Everest? True story. You have to be part of a group climb and they are run by several Nepalese companies who provide guides, permits, tents and insurance. Can you imagine giving them $60,000 and then going up there and never coming back down?

So, with last night's loss to the Chiefs, Miami put the finishing touches on one of the better late season collapses we've seen in the NFL in recent years.

A month ago, they were humming along nicely like the first side of U2's great album, The Joshua Tree.

Then, they lost at home to the Titans after squandering a late two-touchdown lead and that defeat seemed to do something to their chakras. They were never quite right after that.

It's fair to point out the Dolphins got annihilated with key injuries in December and early January, but they were a shell of themselves by the time they got to Kansas City last night for their playoff ouster.

And once the game kicked off and the frigid weather kicked in, they were done.

Buffalo has to get past Pittsburgh first, of course, but this is all setting up well for the Bills to be in Baltimore on January 28 playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

Oh, and yes, I'm well aware the Ravens have to beat the Texans, too.

Will that one be a walk-in-the-park? I don't think so.

The match-up smells eerily similar to the Chargers-Ravens and Titans-Ravens playoff encounters we've all tried to push out of our brains.

Houston is coming in hot. And, as I noted above, they're actually at the point now where they're actually believing in themselves and thinking they're a really good team.

Had Cleveland won, though, the Ravens would have been facing a similar foe. Either way, even if it's Pittsburgh next Sunday, the Ravens have to face a team coming in off of a win while John Harbaugh's team sat home and rested in front of the fireplace.

If it's the Texans, we're in for a week of hearing how great C.J. Stroud is, so you better buckle up now or put in earplugs.

Personally? As much as it pains me to say this: I'd much prefer the Steelers to beat Buffalo tomorrow. That would eliminate the one team (Bills) I think is a potentially concerning match-up for the Ravens and would give Baltimore a cakewalk next Sunday and then they'd host either K.C. or Houston in the AFC Championship Game.

But, like everyone else, I'll just sit and watch it all unfold and take whatever comes our way.

A few questions from the mailbag that I haven't gotten to in forever.

Miles asks -- "Hey Drew, I'm curious if you have any kind of formula or data you use to put together your golf betting cards? I'm getting a little more into golf wagering this year and even though I know the fields pretty well and can figure out who the favorites are based on stuff from the PGA Tour website, I'm wondering if you have any other tips to follow?"

DF says -- "It's almost all about the golf course, the previous success (or not) of the players at that course, and what kind of winners the event (assuming it's on the same course) has produced in the past. So, yes, there's a formula of sorts, but it's more about research than it is data, per se.

This week's Sony is a good example. As I write this, Keegan Bradley is now in the lead late in the 3rd round. He's a premium ball striker on TOUR. The Waialae Country Club has a long list of great ballstrikers as their champions: Jimmy Walker won it twice, Hideki Matsuyama, Si Woo Kim and Cameron Smith were also recent winners. All of them are known far more for their ballstriking than putting, although in the weeks they won at Waialae, they putted out of their minds.

I took guys like Corey Conners, Andrew Putnam, Brendon Todd and Chris Kirk this week for those reasons. None of them are known as great putters, but they are sublime ballstrikers. I needed their putter(s) to get hot. Sadly, only Kirk has a chance to win today. Todd and Putnam were both right there until Saturday when they couldn't make a birdie to save their lives.

Anyway, looking ahead to this coming week's American Express Championship, go do the research on who has played the course(s) well over the years and what kind of winner the event has produced. At that particular tournament, you're going to see an expected final score of something around -23 or -24 next week.

Look at the recent winners: Rahm, Swafford, Si Woo Kim, Landry, Long. A couple of names you know in there, but also some folks who were definitely surprise winners.

Find a few birdie makers who are middle of the pack kind of guys if you're looking for a potential "big score" next week: I haven't even looked at the field in-depth yet, but guys like Taylor Montgomery, Brandon Wu, Ben Griffin and Adam Schenk stand out to me as the kind of player that might prosper next week at a really good price."

Bart asks -- "Are you discouraged by what the Orioles have done or haven't done actually in the off-season?"

DF says -- "Not really. The only way you'd be discouraged is if you thought they actually were going to do something. And I assumed all along they weren't really going to spend any money because that's just not what they do.

Now, is it discouraging that they haven't traded for a front of the rotation pitcher? Sure. But, again, perhaps the White Sox want too much inventory for Dylan Cease. It's one thing to trade for a piece you need. It's another thing to trade for that guy and get fleeced at the same time.

And, I'll always be the guy in the back of the room reminding you they won 101 games last year and didn't do anything crazy in the 2022-2023 off-season, either.

I'll rely on Mike Elias and his expertise at this point. He's earned that. If he thinks standing pat and waiting for a veteran to fall into his lap is the right move, I'll sign off on it."

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his 9th season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2023-2024 season.

terps visit illinois today

Maryland will tackle Illinois today in a 2 pm game at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Illinois.

For the second straight game, the Terps will face a team that has lost their best player. The Fighting Illini are without the services of Terrance Shannon Jr who has been suspended because of a sexual assault charge. His appeal of the suspension is pending.

Unlike Michigan, who was kind of toothless without Dub McDaniel, Illinois has enough sufficient talent without Shannon that they have been able to maintain their #10 ranking nationally.

The Fighting Illini will start 4 forwards and one guard, Luke Goode.

The 6’7” sophomore, Goode, is not your traditional point guard. He’s not quick off the dribble and he can’t break down a defender. He’s a pretty solid ball handler though, and a real good 3-point shooter (40%).

#DMD's Dale Williams says Jahmir Young should be a huge key for Maryland in today's encounter with Illinois.

What he can’t do is guard Maryland’s Jahmir Young. Goode doesn’t possess the foot speed to stay in front of the Maryland star.

It’s hard to believe that the Illini could be ranked so high without having a true point or a premier big man. OK, they do have a big man with 6’10” Coleman Hawkins, but Hawkins is much more comfortable running the floor and shooting from outside than he is posting down low.

He’s 38% when shooting threes. Hawkins wore out Julian Reese when the two met last season, outscoring Reese 16-5 while holding the Terp center to just 1 field goal.

Hawkins is very active and gets up and down the court. He’s really long too, but I don’t consider him a lock-down defender in the post. He averages almost 11 points a game, good for 4th on this team.

Outside of Shannon’s 21.7 points, the Illinois leader is Marcus Domask.

Domask gets 14.1, but isn’t much of a long-range threat (22%). However, he has pretty much mastered the long-lost art of the mid-range game, and his spin moves while driving to the bucket are tough to guard.

He plays smart and he’s another member of the big Illinois lineup. They will start 6’10”, 6’8”, 6’6”, 6’6”, and 6’7”.

The 6’8” player is a guy who should worry Maryland. Quincy Guerrier is big and strong and really good around the basket.

I’m not sure what Terp would match up best with Guerrier. Perhaps Jordan Geronimo and his impressive vertical jump can defend Guerrier, but I feel Donta Scott is too slow to defend the quick moves and dribble drives of the 5th year senior who spent 2 years with Syracuse and another 2 at Oregon.

Here’s why I like Illinois tonight, and then I’ll touch on what I like about the Terps chances.

Illinois plays hard. They will go after every rebound and what they don’t grab, they will tip around. They have a tall lineup, and all of those guys are aggressive.

Guerrier is a match-up problem and Reese could struggle defending Coleman on the perimeter. Another big factor: Illinois is home.

Here’s what favors the Terrapins: While the Illini can put size on Young, only Ty Rogers is quick enough to attempt to defend Young.

Young will get inside and Illinois lacks an intimidator in the paint. I also like the prospects of Maryland’s press vs the Illini ball handlers. This is a high turnover team for coach Brad Underwood.

If The Terps can set up and effectively run their press, they might get some cheap buckets.

I think the Terps can post up Domask and have success inside, and Reese will have some success scoring with his left hand over Hawkins.

Illinois plays fast, hard, and with good verticality. The Terps need to match that energy, especially on the glass. If they don’t, this game could get ugly.

Reese MUST contain Coleman Hawkins on the perimeter, and Deshawn Harris-Smith needs to be a lock-down defender on Domask.

If Maryland can achieve these keys, then they can keep this game close. I’m not sure they can win, but they might surprise a few people who think this is going to be a blowout.

This Illinois team is nice, but without Shannon, they are a bit over-ranked at #10.

They do have an impressive resume with their 3 losses all being away from home and against ranked teams. Of their 12 wins, only the 3-point Michigan State victory was close. The rest were no stress wins.

The Terrapins deliberate style will help slow down the game and keep Illinois from posting huge offensive numbers. The Terp one-two punch of Young and Reese will help keep the game within reach.

I’m looking at a 73-67 win for the Fighting Illini. The books initially had this game at UMD +9.5, and it was quickly bet down to 8.5.

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breakfast bytes

Caps get rare two goal night from recent call-up Hendrix Lapierre, turn back Ottawa in D.C, 6-3; Ovechkin fails to score again, still has just 16 goals in 54 games.

MLB: Orioles split on Monday; nip Braves, 2-1, lose to Rays, 8-3; Dodgers trade Margot to Twins.

College sports: UMass will join the MAC for the '25-26 school year.

NFL: Sources say neither Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard or Saquon Barkley will receive the franchise tag; all three running backs are likely going to be free agents this off-season.

Monday, February 26

CAPS GOALS: Protas (5), Carlson (4), Pacioretty (2), Malenstyn (6), Lapierre 2 (3, 4)


RECORD: 27-21-9

NEXT GAME: 2/27 at Detroit

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