Tag Archive | "gary"

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Terps in the big dance? My official prediction is…

Posted on 15 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

It’s tough for me to change now, so I won’t.  It was a helluva run for Maryland in Atlanta and they came within a few minutes of bumping Duke out of the tournament and taking on Florida State today for the ACC title.

Had they done that, I would have ushered in the Terps without question.

But, they didn’t beat Duke.  All along, after that disaster in Charlottesville eight days ago, I said the Terps would have to win three times in the ACC tournament to convince me they were worthy of dancing with the other 64 teams.  

Maybe I’m just tougher on Maryland because I’ve seen them play more than I’ve seen, say, Dayton…or Arizona…or Auburn…or any of the other “bubble teams” that will be watching the selection show on the edge of their seat today. 

I’ve seen Maryland look tournament “unworthy” more than tournament “worthy” if you look at their full body of work.  I saw them beat Vermont in overtime when coach Mike Lonergan could have wrapped up the game in the final seconds by fouling instead of allowing Greivis Vasquez to tie the game with a 3-pointer.  I saw them lose to Morgan State.  I saw them squander big leads at Miami and at home against Boston College.  They beat North Carolina in overtime when their best player had the best game of his life.  Then, they lost at home to Duke and Wake Forest and laid a dinosaur-sized egg in their season finale at UVA to finish the regular season 7-9.  

They weasled their way past North Carolina State on Thursday night in the ACC tourney opener and then embarrassed an obviously uninterested Wake Forest team on Friday.  By the way, on a different note, if that’s the type of performance Dino Gaudio’s team is going to give him in the NCAA tournament, he’ll be home in Winston-Salem next Saturday morning.  

But, when they had to win ONE more game, they couldn’t.  Sure, 3-games-in-3-days is tough on anyone and it’s asking a lot for a team to outplay their opponent when the other team (Duke) hasn’t faced the same arduous schedule.  

That’s why they needed to beat Virginia last weekend.  None of this would have mattered.

Like I wrote above, perhaps I’m just too hard on the Terps because I’ve seen them up close and personal for the last four months.  Maybe Auburn squandered some big leads too.  For all I know, Arizona was as up and down as Maryland.    

Thank God I’m not on the tournament committee, because I think I’d vote “nay” when the subject of Maryland comes up later this afternoon.  They couldn’t beat the 2nd worst team in the conference last Saturday when they knew a win would get them in.  

That said…

Maryland’s going to get in today.

They’ll be a 10 seed.  And, they’ll play 7-seed Illinois in the first round of the tournament on Friday.  After that, they’ll play the winner of Missouri (3) vs. Binghamton (14) in the round of 32 – if they beat Illinois.

That’s my guess.  I don’t have an open line to the tournament committee or anything.

In fact, it’s a good thing that I don’t have the means to communicate with the committee.

On a personal note, I really do hope Maryland gets in.  If nothing else, Gary Williams deserves it after the grief he’s absorbed this year – some of which, of course, he brought upon himself.  On the whole, though, I think it would serve as a just reward for Williams, who stood by his beleaguered team day-in and day-out and, along with Vasquez, never gave up.  

Here’s hoping they’re in.

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Terps: Either last one in, or last one out

Posted on 14 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

Maryland still has one game left to play.  

The waiting game.

The Terps put forth a scrappy effort in their ACC semi-final loss to Duke today, but in the end, they just didn’t have enough to upend a more talented Blue Devils team.

Maryland wasn’t run off the court today, a fact Gary Williams hopes the tournament committee will remember when they convene Sunday afternoon to determine the field of the NCAA’s big dance.

But the mistakes the Terps made, particularly on the defensive end, are not the things championship caliber teams do.

Vasquez looked lost in the final 10 minutes of the game.  Twice he tried to pinch around a screen and nab a back-door steal but the move backfired on both occasions — a Duke player was wide open for the 3 and Vasquez created an open look with his decision to go for the steal rather than move inside the screen to the open player.  

Dave Neal was outmuscled by Kyle Singler with about 4 minutes to play after Henderson missed a 3-pointer.  When Singler takes it to you physically…you’re in trouble.

And Adrian Bowie bit on a school-yard give-and-go inside the five minute mark that led to an easy deuce for the Blue Devils.

When you give up easy points like that and you lose by six…those kinds of mistakes are too large to overcome.

Now, Maryland waits.

Do they deserve to get in?

It’s awfully, awfully close.  And, of course, a Baylor win tonight or a Mississippi State win tomorrow could push the Terps off the bubble and into the NIT.

If Maryland gets in, they’ll probably be the last team in.

If Maryland doesn’t get in, they’ll probably be the last team out.

It’s that close.

They’ve done more with what they have than just about anyone else in the ACC.  There’s probably an argument they’re the best “not so good” team in the country, considering the only Terrapin that would definitely start for any other major program in the country is Vasquez.

One thing for sure: If they DO get in, they won’t be an easy out.  

24 hours from now, we’ll know their fate.

If I’m betting a dollar, I bet they get in.

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Maryland and Under Armour…Joined at the hip isn’t a violation

Posted on 02 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

Let me get this straight.

The Gary-haters all say, “Gary’s program stinks because Gary can’t recruit anymore.”

The Gary haters aren’t heard from when the Terps beat North Carolina. Recruiting, I guess, wasn’t much of an issue a couple of Saturdays ago when Maryland shocked the Tar Heels.

Now, Gary and the Terps are “in the hunt” for a rock-star recruit named Lance Stephenson and, suddenly, Williams is under the gun – again – because of recruiting.  Only, this time, Gary’s gettin’ torched for actually trying to land a quality player.

Here’s the full story from the Washington Post.  It’s a “lover’s triangle” of sorts, with Maryland Athletics, Under Armour and Stephenson at the points.

Want the Cliff Notes version?  OK.  Under Armour is a $17.4 million “best friend” of Maryland Athletics and the school’s exlusive apparel partner.  The guy who started Under Armour, and still their man out-front, is former UM football player, Kevin Plank.  Plank is also on UM’s “Board of Trustees”, a role given to those who donate $1 million or more to the school.  Lance Stephenson came to College Park for an official “visit” on January 31.  The morning of the first day of his visit at UM, Stephenson also received – and accepted, evidently – an invitation to make a trip to Baltimore to tour the Under Armour headquarters.

That was a mistake.  It connects, innocently perhaps, a recruiting trip for Maryland basketball with a recruiting trip for Under Armour.  The apparel company would have been far better off bringing Stephenson and his family to their headquarters a week or two later.  That would have gone a long way in eliminating any notion that the trip to the Washington DC/Baltimore area was a two-stop visit…College Park for hoops – and Baltimore for talks with Under Armour.

The long history of apparel companies chasing high school athletes is well documented.  Rest assured, it’s been reviewed time and time again by the NCAA, but the catch-22 is they need the marketing dollars the Nike’s, Reebok’s and, now, Under Armour’s, provide to both the schools and the conferences that make up the NCAA.  They don’t like the shady side that brings…”free money” being thrown around just to have a guy wear a certain shoe or sport a particular logo when he becomes a professional.  That relationship begins at the college level though, as apparel giants try to recruit the blue-chippers with the hope of building brand loyalty with them.  It’s highly-competitive and there’s also a “what people don’t know won’t hurt them” element attached to it that most of us aren’t familiar with, including the NCAA.  But, the good (money) probably outweighs the bad (dirty competition) and the NCAA simply says, “we just want you all to try and play by the rules and we’re OK with whatever you do.”

And that’s why the current MD/UA/LS situation needs to go under the microscope.

If Under Armour brought Lance Stephenson to their Baltimore headquarters in an attempt to privately (and, maybe, strongly) influence Stephenson’s decision to attend the University of Maryland, that’s wrong.  It’s that simple, really.  But, unless someone can present some hard, concrete evidence to support such a claim, it looks to me that the “Triangle” is violation free, despite what the Gary-bashers will claim.

There are some questions, of course.  They deserve answers.  Did Gary and/or anyone at Maryland approve of Stephenson’s little side trip to the UA headquarters when he was in College Park for a visit?  If so, that wasn’t very smart on the school’s part, since anyone with even a minor in common sense would put one and one together and say, “gee, that doesn’t look right.”  Did Under Armour contact the school prior to purusing Stephenson to make sure they were, in fact, not putting Maryland in a possible non-compliance position?  It appears they did.  That’s a plus for Under Armour.  It shows they were – or are – aware of the connection between Maryland, a potential recruit, and Under Armour’s perceived role both with the school and the young man in question.  If Under Armour was trying to be devious and assist Gary in some clandestine fashion, they would have done so on “off-hours” and shuttled the kid in with a blanket draped over his head so not even the clean-up crew would know he was in the building.

Given the relationship between Maryland Athletics and Under Armour, wouldn’t it make sense that everyone in position of authority with both organizations would go out of their way to make sure nothing improper could be documented and pursued by the NCAA?

Isn’t there a 300-page book somewhere that spells out what’s right and what’s wrong as far as compliance goes between Maryland and ANY sponsor or booster?

I say “yes” – on both counts.

Kevin Plank didn’t build a billion-dollar-baby by making bad decisions.

Debbie Yow has taken UM from a school with an athletic deficit of $51 million to one that’s now only $17 million in the red.

She knows what she’s doing.

And Gary, no matter what the haters say, is also smart enough to know that he’s dealing with 18 year old kids with big mouths.  What good would it do Gary to help facilitate some sort of improper relationship between Stephenson and Under Armour when he’s not 100% sure the kid is ever going to play in College Park?

As for Plank’s role on the “Board of Trustees”, it might make sense for him to remove himself from that position until, perhaps, his day-to-day-duties change or diminish at Under Armour.  Having the guy who signs the checks at Under Armour sitting on a Maryland board that could – or couldn’t – influence decisions at the the school his company spends $17.4 million with is reasonably assumed to be a “conflict of interest”.  I think that’s an easy way to clean up the situation and I can’t imagine either Plank or UM would be any worse off for it.

The sub-story to this entire issue is easy to dissect.  What knowledge did the University of Maryland have about the “same day trip to Baltimore” that Under Armour scheduled with Lance Stephenson?  If they didn’t know about it, it’s difficult to hold them accountable, isn’t it?  After all, Maryland doesn’t run Under Armour. Under Armour runs Under Armour.  Maryland doesn’t run Lance Stephenson.  Lance Stephenson and his family run Lance Stephenson.

I’m not naive.  I’m sure Under Armour’s position in the sports world and their efforts to become “a player” in the NBA can’t hurt Maryland’s chances of landing top recruits in the future.  Schools all across the country have been parlaying those kinds of “special relationships” with apparel companies for a long time.

It’s only when the school works IN CONCERT with the apparel company to help bring a student-athlete into their athletic program where the line is crossed.

Could the whole thing have been done a little differently to completely remove any doubt at all that Lance Stephenson wasn’t being connected to Maryland through Under Armour?  Sure.

On the whole, though, it looks as if everyone knew the rules (as liberal as they might be…), observed and complied with them, and did what every other school does with much-sought-after high school athletes.

The Gary-haters – facing a bunch of egg in their face when the Terps qualify for the NCAA tournament later this month – are hoping beyond hope Maryland’s going to get called on the carpet for this episode.

It’s not going to happen, though.

Maryland and Under Armour did what any other school and shoe company would have done – within the regulations, of course.

They made Stephenson feel like King for a Day.

It’s how you win the recruiting war.

“We’re going to treat you better, make you better, and prepare you better than anyone else.”

I’m sure that’s how Lance Stephenson remembers his trip to DC/Baltimore.

“They treated me great down there…I might really like that place.”

Of course, that could all change if Stephenson takes a trip to Florida to visit with Billy Donovan.  That recruiting visit wouldn’t include a side-journey to Under Armour, but it might include an accidental visit to the Delta Zeta sorority house.

But wait…sending a recruit out with another basketball player to see the best looking girls on campus wouldn’t be the biggest reason why a kid would choose the Gators over the Terps.

Right, Matt Walsh?

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Posted on 02 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Just five weeks from today, the Yankees fans will descend on downtown and the bunting will be out and the Orioles will celebrate Opening Day. Today, however, I’m sitting here having my first cup of coffee of the week, watching an absolutely stunning beautiful snow event, listening to Drew and Glenn talk about the Terps and Ray Lewis and watching all of the local TV talking heads continue a sick, little Baltimore tradition: “It’s snowing! STOP EVERYTHING!” And if Don and Marty are going to freak out over schools being closed and no one is going to work, then the least I can do is blog and tell you that I’M GOING TO WORK! And I hope you tune me in at 2 p.m.!

And today is the first snowstorm day when our website is a destination or a way to reach the radio at home because I have a feeling rush hour traffic will be limited. Especially when for 40 years every time it’s ever snowed in Baltimore, all of the TV stations freeze and they tell everyone to basically “take the day off.” I don’t know how it works in your office, but most people are happy to oblige when a  “freebie” is offered, even in this lousy, horrific economy. So, at least you’re reading our website and know we’re full service today.

I’m watching WJZ now: “When winter weather bears down on Maryland, we’re there with you. When the economy sucks, we’re there for you. When it’s time to take money from Peter Angelos and lie to you about the Orioles, we’re there for you…”

Honestly, I’m looking forward to driving into the office today and doing the show at 2 p.m. It’s been a very interesting weekend on and off the fields and courts in local sports.

On the fields…

Maryland is back somewhere on the right side of the bubble in the hunt to be in the March Madness with a relatively strong win in Raleigh. I think Greivis is still shooting ball!

I went to RAC Arena yesterday to take in the Retrievers’ big win over Albany. It’s always fun to see the band, the girls, the kids and Randy Monroe’s tantrums at UMBC. Our own Drew Forrester was feted by the local frat boys as he handed out a school spirit trophy with beads at halftime. Jay Greene’s family gave me a T-shirt with his name on it. There were tears, cheers, the works for “Senior Day” as Greene and Darryl Proctor were honored. I shot some WNSTV. I’ll try to get it up.

Lacrosse fans descended upon downtown on Saturday on a chilly day to support their sport and Johns Hopkins is wobbling.

The Orioles are doing something. I’m just not sure whether anyone is paying attention. This was the week we were going to do live from down in Fort Lauderdale. But in five weeks we’ll be playing baseball.

Off the field, it’s been a mess.

Let’s start with The Washington Post’s bombshell hurled at Gary Williams, Kevin Plank, Under Armour and the University of Maryland yesterday regarding the recruitment of Lance Stephenson. It’s been the major topic on Drew’s show this morning. I have no idea who in College Park peed in The Post’s Wheaties, but there’s clearly a witch hunt going on there for Garyland.

And if you’re on our WNST Text Service, you know that Samari Rolle told The Baltimore Sun and the Ravens (and the world) last night that he wants to be released, which caps a weekend of major activity in Owings Mills even without a word or a whisper from No. 52.
There’s plenty to rap about on a day when the weather outside is frightful. The TV stations are frightening everyone else. But I’m going to work. As my Pop would say en route to Bethlehem Steel on a day like today, “I’m not gonna scratch.”

BTW: Shameless plug here…

This Thursday would be my Pop’s 90th birthday. We will have an on air party from 2 to 6 for my dad and all dads and continue our annual tradition of honoring Pops everywhere!

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Now The Washington Post is piling on Gary Williams

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Another missile comes flying onto Route 1 and into the Comcast Center every day it seems, as Maryland Terps head coach Gary Williams contunues to get pelted for the poor recruiting and lack of success in the ACC and in getting the Terps back off of “the bubble” and into the NCAA Tournament and March Madness. Today, it’s The Washington Post’s turn to begin what could be a lengthy series about how the Terps have fallen from the nation’s elite on the hardwood.

Clearly, Williams’ personality has been an acquired taste for many in the regional media and now that the team has lost its way on the floor, many who have been stung by him in the past are taking their turns using him like a pinata.

Today’s piece is a long, magazine-style take on the plight of the Terps.

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More national media pile on Gary Williams

Posted on 11 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The story about Kendall Marshall is now a few days old but it’s making the email rounds so I thought I’d pass it along for your Terps reading. Penned by Jason King of Yahoo! Sports, this is an interesting read from an interesting perspective. Most of Gary Williams’ critics would say it’s a recruiting issue, the team’s demise from the elite of the ACC and the absence from March Madness annually.

I’m just passing it along.

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Baltimore BracketBusters and an Idea for a Baltimore College Hoops Triple-header

Posted on 04 February 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Morgan State @ Towson, Towson Center, Towson, MD – February 21
UMBC @ Rider, Alumni Gymnasium, Lawrenceville, NJ – February 21
Loyola College @ Drexel, Daskalakis Athletic Center, Philadelphia, PA – February 21

In case you missed it, earlier this week ESPNU announced the pairings for their seventh annual BracketBuster event.  The two-day slate of games featuring 51 games including teams from 17 different conferences is truly a celebration of mid-major college hoops.  The weekend of February 20th and 21st will be ruled by college basketball’s little guys and Baltimore will be right in the middle of the action.

It’s phenomenal that the folks at ESPN decided to match-up Todd Bozeman’s Bears and Pat Kennedy’s Tigers.  These two North Baltimore foes will lock-up for the 23rd time with the series tied at 11 games apiece.  Bragging rights are directly on the line

The reason why I think it’s so great is because it gives a team like Towson something else besides their conference tournament to look forward to.  It’s an impromptu late-season big-time backyard rivalry game.

While I love spontaneity as much as the next guy, I suggest taking this game and really running with the idea of a late year Baltimore-Baltimore match-up, sans the surprise.

Wouldn’t it be great to break up late season monotony with a battle for Baltimore bragging rights?

Imagine a triple-header of games at the 1st Mariner Arena in early February.  Take the five Division 1 schools around town, Coppin, Loyola, Morgan, Towson, and UMBC and that leaves you with one spot.  While this event would need great organizing to succeed, what would make it great would the participation of the big boys… the University of Maryland Terrapins.

I know, I know, what’s in it for Gary?  Why should he leave Comcast during his ACC conference schedule to play a “nothing good can come from this”-type game?  Well, I’ll simply offer, it might be good for Coach Williams to show his face around the Harbor a little bit more often.  Throughout his whole tumultuous January the center of discussion was recruiting, and more specifically, not recruiting the city well enough.  This would be a great event for kids from all over the greater Baltimore area to enjoy.  I don’t see how playing an in-state opponent in front of 11,000 people in his state’s largest city could possibly be a bad thing for a program attempting to re-grow some of those grassroots.

The benefit for the locals is obvious in exposure alone.  Any local media outlet would be crazy not to ant to put their name on the event and its content in their programming. Not everyone can go to the University of Maryland and play so this would be a great chance for young players to see the unique styles of our area’s coaches and become familiar with their distinct personalities.

You could even involve the high school teams in an All-Baltimore Basketball weekend.  The collegiate triple-header could be played on a Saturday or Sunday with varsity squads from all over Baltimore County going out of conference to play on the preceding Friday night.

I don’t know, just a thought…

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Midweek Musings

Posted on 04 February 2009 by Mark Suchy

Random thoughts from the local sports scene that are bouncing around the cranium this week…

*  I don’t know about you, but this current Maryland men’s basketball team is probably the most forgettable group ever assembled during Gary Williams’ tenure in College Park.  No inside presence, very little depth, a repeated inability to play cohesive team defense and a lack of a true “go-to” player all add up to the debacles like last night’s in Chapel Hill and the embarrassment in Durham two weekends ago.  For a guard-dominated team, there sure aren’t many good ones on this roster.  In my opinion, Adrian Bowie has to play 30 minutes a game at point guard and settle that position once and for all.  That would allow more freedom off the ball for Greivis Vasquez to come off of screens and play a little closer to the rim (because, Lord knows, he’s just not very good from way outside).  More Sean Mosely can’t hurt either.  But unless and until Braxton Dupree and Dino Gregory contribute much more significantly, this Terps team is doomed to finish with a maximum of 6 ACC wins.  Just look at the remaining schedule and tell me how they can finish the second half of conference play at 6-2 (which is what it will taje to go 9-7 and be a legitmate “bubble” team come NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday).  Wake, Duke, UNC, Clemson and Virginia Tech are all significantly better than Maryland and will assure the Terps another NIT trip.

As for the status of Gary Williams, it appears he will at least get another year to straighten out the current problems in the program.  At least as it regards recruiting, this is a positive development.  Any appearance of internal conflict could easily chase away potential Terps, no matter how highly or lowly regarded they may be.  And right now, this program needs all the talent it can possibly unearth.

*  So Ty Wigginton is a Baltimore Oriole?  I guess I’ll upgrade from that 13 game plan to a 29 game plan now.  I mean really.  How much more of this type of mediocrity are all lifelong Oriole fans supposed to swallow?  I understand that every major league team needs depth and versatility for the rigors of a six month season, but exactly how does having Wigginton fit in?  Is this a preliminary move that clears the way later this year to trade Melvin Mora (assuming he waives his no-trade clause, which I would imagine he’d be happy to do by mid-July when they’re 22 games out) or even, perhaps, Brian Roberts?  There simply appears to be an overabundance of utility players on this current roster.  Wigginton, Chris Gomez, Ryan Freel.  Awfully inspiring.

*  Speaking of the Orioles, I brought this up on-air the other day while filling in for Nestor.  Why wouldn’t the team have any interest in Manny Ramirez?  I know the answer already ($$$$), but why wouldn’t you at least explore something along the lines of two years?  He could be the everyday DH, hit a ton in Camden Yards, stick it to Boston and New York 38 times a year, and show some of the younger players how to be a complete major league hitter.  And don’t give me the argument about Manny taking away at-bats from Felix Pie or Luke Scott.  Really, who cares?  If you’re telling me that people wouldn’t be much more inclined to go see the Orioles on a Tuesday night in June against Seattle because Manny’s in the lineup, I’d tell you you’re lying.  The guy is the best right-handed hitter available, a certain Hall of Famer and a draw.  Oh, right, I forgot, who cares about selling tickets when MASN is lining the hallways of the Warehouse with cash.  Silly me.

*  Money, money, money.  We’ll be hearing plenty of talk about it over the next month as the Ravens map out their future with the pending free agents.  My guess is that Ray Lewis has played his final game as a Raven; he will simply take the highest offer, and the Ravens will choose not to match.  The two most critical pieces to retain are Terrell Suggs and Jason Brown.  After that, it will be “right player, right price” as the team rebuilds for ’09.  And every one of us that cares about the team should not go insane about any of the moves this front office makes until the season is played.  As I recall, there was an awful lot of yammering and Ozzie bashing last April, May, etc. about his draft manueverings and picks, free agents, trades, etc.  Be patient, everyone, and give this entire front office a little credit as the off-season plays out.  More often than not, the moves work.  Which is the most critical reason behind the franchise’s success over the past decade.

*  Early Final Four hunch: Duke, Marquette, UConn, Michigan State

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 01 February 2009 by Glenn Clark

15 get props, 7 were lucky, and there was a total ZERO. Yes, I’ll be discussing at least 23 people in this blog; and that’s still fewer than the number of analysts on NBC’s pre-game show.

Props to you……

1-Georges St. Pierre

You have to credit GSP for a DOMINATING win over BJ Penn at UFC 94 Saturday night. I believe “Rush” is more popular in Montreal than the Expos EVER were.

2-Reggie Holmes (Morgan State) and Michael Harper (Coppin State)

Holmes surpassed 1,000 career points in Morgan’s blowout win over UMES Saturday. Harper scored 21 as the Eagles knocked off Delaware State Saturday. I wouldn’t be stunned if these teams somehow end up facing each other again this season for the MEAC title.

3-Mike Green

Sure, Alex Ovechkin had a pretty good weekend; but so did Mike Green. Green had two points Saturday and four more Sunday (1 goal, 3 assists) as the Caps got big wins over the Wings and Senators.

4-Rafael Nadal

He’s now just a win at the U.S. Open away from the career grand slam; and is undoubtedly the best player in all of tennis with three straight wins over Roger Federer in grand slam finals. He also gave us some ten hours of STELLAR TV watching over the weekend. Thanks Rafa!

5-James Harrison and Santonio Holmes

Don’t really need to explain this, I think. Harrison’s play almost ended the game halfway through. Holmes’ plays ended the game finally in the last 40 seconds. Roethlisberger continued to extend plays; his physical ability is tremendous. But Holmes and Harrison made the plays that won the game. Holmes should have been MVP.

6-Jonathan Squibb

Wing Bowl

Any competition that looks like this at the end is a winner in my book; and this guy was the winner of a winning competition. (Does that even make sense?) Squibb ate 203 wings to win WIP Philadelphia’s annual Wing Bowl in front of 20,000 people at the Wachovia Center. God bless America.

7-Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson

If LeBron James is going to get over the hump and win a NBA title this season; it’s because of his upgraded supporting cast. Williams has been a HUGE upgrade; which has helped the Cavs all season. He and Gibson put together their own personal 15-2 with James on the bench Sunday in helping the Cavs to a win over the Pistons.

8-Talor Battle

It’s not easy to beat Michigan State in East Lansing; but getting 29 points from your star will help. Penn State pulled the Top 10 stunner in the Big Ten Sunday; and Battle was the biggest reason why.

9-Tommy Morrison

Controversy appears to surround him as he tries to make a comeback; but no opponent has slowed him down yet. The former heavyweight champion absolutely demolished Corey Williams in Laramie, Wyoming Saturday night. I love this line from the recap……”One ringside observer thought that the spectacular KO may have required a coroner rather than a ringside physician.” Great line.

10-Lindsey Vonn

I don’t know much about skiing; but apparently what she’s doing is pretty good. She won the Super G on Sunday; and I’ve always wanted to be a “Super G” winner. She’s also winning whatever the skiing season competition is; and that is probably pretty good too. Overall; she’s American, and will hopefully win a bunch of medals in next year’s Olympics. Wherever they are. Did I convince you of how cool she is just yet?

11-Serena Williams

She’s number 1 again; and is again a winner at the Australian Open. She’s pretty freaking good.

12-Jerel McNeal

Did anyone notice that Marquette is undefeated in Big East play? McNeal scored 26 and had 11 assists as the Golden Eagles beat Georgetown Saturday; and their head coach Buzz Williams thinks they’re a “really elite” team. He might be right about that.

13-Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Bob Hayes, and Randall McDaniel

Should Shannon Sharpe be in? Sure. Should Andre Reed be in? Sure. But are all of the men elected to Pro Football’s Hall of Fame this weekend deserving? Absolutely. Congratulations to all of them.

14-CareerBuilder.com

I really thought THIS was the winner for Super Bowl ads. Very funny.

15-Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Further proof that God loves us and wants the best for us. Should be renamed “Super Bowl Sunday” dip.

Getting lucky……

1-Gary Williams

He was outstanding Saturday night as Maryland beat Miami; and boy did he need it. It was a tough week in College Park; but Gary picked the right time to prove that he is still a hell of a coach. His prize? The Terps take a trip to North Carolina next…..

2-Kenny Perry

Bogeying the 18th with a one stroke lead isn’t normally the preferred way to win a golf tournament. But Perry rallied on the 3rd extra hole to defeat Charley Hoffman and win the FBR Open.

3-Stony Brook Seawolves

A controversial late foul call on Darryl Proctor lead to Stony Brook getting a one point win over UMBC Saturday. Randy Monroe has had a tough time repeating last season’s success with little depth; and tough calls don’t help.

4-People who have been looking for a reason to dislike Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

Here’s the dirty little secret. This picture is NOT a big deal. It just isn’t. Michael Phelps did a bong hit. Whoa! He probably did it more than once! You know what else? The guy that caught the game winning touchdown in the Super Bowl has been known to smoke pot, too! But some people are so desirous of hating this guy. Maybe he’s not the greatest human being on the planet; but there’s no reason for everyone’s panties to be this twisted….

5-Iman Shumpert and Georgia Tech

THIS isn’t a great video of Shumpert’s last second game winner; but it’s all I could find. If they don’t beat the Deacons, they might not win an ACC game this season.

6-Steelers Fans

Steelers

I believe God has decided to allow the Steelers to win Championships. If you lived in Pittsburgh AND your football team sucked; I can’t fathom how suicide wouldn’t creep into your mind every couple of days. Congratulations douchebags; I can’t wait for the Ravens to kick your ass next season. (Oh my god. Did I say “douchebags”? So much for journalistic integrity! If I didn’t mean it; I’d totally edit myself.)

7-Insomniacs

Could there have been ANY more late night TV this weekend? AMAZING tennis; St. Mary’s-Gonzaga on Thursday night; the UFC fight Saturday night; and more. Is there anything better than leaving a sporting event and knowing there are more sports to watch when you get home? Oh yeah; not having to wake up at 5am. That would be better. Damn.

Total ZERO…….

The Winter

So; there’s more snow expected Monday night? Great. Let’s recap my first winter back home since spending the last two winters in Arizona.

I have enjoyed the pleasures of bronchitis and a bacterial infection.

My girlfriend’s 4Runner was stranded on a hill.

It took me 2 hours to make a 30 minute drive on Tuesday night.

I have spent so much money on thermal underwear, thermal undershirts, gloves, PatientFirst trips, airborne, Zpacks, cough syrup, coats, scrapers, hand warmers, vitamin c drops, tissues, orange juice, etc. that I might have to take a second job.

This whole global warming thing is BOGUS.

Talk to you in the morning.

-G

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It’s OK if the Steelers win – and other Sunday thoughts…

Posted on 01 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Having been surrounded by Pittsburgh Steelers football all week on radio row, you’d think I would be the first guy to scream, “PLEASE, ARIZONA…PLEASE BEAT THOSE BLACK AND GOLD RAT FINKS!”

But, I don’t feel that way.

I really don’t care one way or the other who wins today in Tampa, but I can give you a good reason why – in Baltimore – we should be OK with it all if Pittsburgh does come out on top: it reduces their chances of winning the Super Bowl next year.

Think about it.  How hard is it to win back to back Super Bowls?  Since 1990, it’s only been done 3 times.

I’ll take those odds.

So, if Pittsburgh wins today, they won’t win the whole thing again next season.  I’d make that bet in a heartbeat.

And, that means one less team we have to worry about being in the way of the Ravens in 2009.

For the record, by the way, I’m calling it Pittsburgh 27-Arizona 24.

I’d say “I hope I’m wrong…” – but maybe I’d rather not be.  

> The Australian Open Final between Nadal and Federer was tremendous…but it was a little sad to see Federer throw in the towel like that in the 5th set.  Even when Nadal lost the 4th set, 6-3, he made Federer battle for every point.  Once Rafa broke Federer’s serve in the 5th set, Roger packed it in.  One thing for sure right now:  Nadal has Federer’s number.  And don’t look now, but they both have major title wins on three different surfaces.  Federer lacks only a win at Roland Garros (French) to complete the career Grand Slam, while Nadal needs to triumph at Flushing Meadows (U.S. Open) to wrap up his Grand Slam.  I wonder how important it is to Federer to win the French before Rafa wins in New York?  We’ll see in May.

> Start saving your money now for NHL playoff tickets in Washington.  How many highlight-reel game-winning goals has Ovechkin scored this year?  I can think of four off the top of my head.  Most players would give their right leg to have four game-winners in a season…let alone the kind of goals The Great 8 has scored to win games for Washington this year.  Have you seen the goal he scored yesterday in their win over Detroit?  Here it is.  What can you say?  The guys is…well…he’s…GREAT.  

> A nice win for Maryland last night over Miami and they fulfilled my early-week prediction that the Terps would win one and lose one in that brief two-game homestand.  At 3-4 in ACC play, Maryland still needs to somehow get to that 9 win regular season total in conference play to finish with 20 wins and a shot at the NCAA Tournament.  Looking at their remaining schedule, I don’t see how Maryland gets six more wins unless they win two of the five remaining games against the league’s best four teams: North Carolina (2), Duke, Wake Forest and Clemson.  They could go 0-5 in those, unfortunately…but they won’t.  Can they get to 20 wins?  Probably not.  

> Towson continues to struggle at home in CAA play, as the Tigers dropped a 60-53 decision to a surprisingly good Drexel team yesterday before 2,900 at the Towson Center.  The Tigers (3-8/CAA) are just 1-5 at home in conference play and are in danger of finishing 10th or 11th in the CAA if they don’t string together some wins down the stretch.  Towson’s problems are similar to that of Maryland: no big guy, no one under the basket to fight for the ball on either end of the court, and, ultimately, no one the other team has to work hard to take out of the game.  

> I’ll be at the RAC Arena on Monday night for the annual visit from Boston University and their animated Head Coach, Dennis Wolff.  B.U. is one of the America East’s best programs and UMBC will have their hands full on Monday night.  The Retrievers are coming off of a 1-point loss at Stony Brook on Saturday night.  If you’re coming out on Monday night, e-mail me (drew@wnst.net) and we’ll have a soft drink together before the game. 

> I don’t ever get excited about early-season golf on the PGA Tour, but I see that Kenny Perry is leading the tournament in Arizona by one shot going into the final round.  I doubt I’ll watch it today.  But Kenny Perry is a helluva player.  There’s your golf coverage.

> Is the third time the charm?  Twice in the last month, I’ve contacted the Orioles to see if they’ll make room for me in Ft. Lauderdale and allow me to broadcast my morning show from their spring training site in late February.  I still haven’t heard from them (maybe they’re evaluating the hordes of media folks who are applying for spring training credentials?) so I’ll reach out to them ONE more time this week and see if we can make it happen.  

Have a great Sunday…

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