Friday, August 29, 2008

Here's Something New: Orioles Look Miserable

I might be one of only about a half dozen people paying regular attention to the Orioles right now. I was half watching tonight's game at Tampa Bay. By the bottom of the 4th, it was 10-0 Rays, Jeremy Guthrie had been pulled, Melvin Mora pulled a hamstring, and Ramone Hernandez got throw out of the game. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Daniel Cabrera, who stinks, has a sore back. Guthrie was the Orioles only good starting pitcher and even he's been bad the last two outings. Their rotation is now so makeshift that it doesn't actually exist. Trembley doesn't have a rotation. Truly. He said he'll take every series on a "series by series" basis from now through the end of the season. Right now the Orioles rotation is Guthrie, Brian Burres, Chris Waters, and whoever is hot at Hagerstown, if not Wellwood.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

D.J. Strawberry traded to Houston

In my new quest to post something relevant to Maryland basketball every few days from now through the start of the 2008-2009 season, it is my duty to inform otherwise unaware Terp faithful that D.J. Strawberry, perhaps the best Terp in the post NCAA championship era, has been traded to the Rockets from the Suns for rookie point guard Sean Singletary from UVa.

According to a story in the Houston Chronicle, D.J. has a non-guaranteed contract, which means he has to make the team in training camp in order to earn NBA coin.

“He’s got a shot to make it,” general manager Daryl Morey told the Chronicle. “He’s different. He’s athletic, can really defend multiple guard spots."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2008-2009 Men's Basketball Schedule is Out

Just got the new men's hoops schedule for the upcoming season and, like that bald insurance salesman says in Groundhog Day, it's a doozy. Terps are the only ACC team to play home and away against UNC and Duke, which coach Gary points out in the official press release, apparently already preparing his notes for why the Terps won't make the tournament. Oh, come now, I kid our beloved coach, now entering his 20th season at the helm.

Terps also have games against Michigan State, Michigan, GW, perhaps Gonzaga, and those giant killers from American University are back for more.

With the off balance ACC schedule the Terps and everyone else in the league plays every since those money grubbing bastards at the league office ruined the perfect harmony of the round robin hoops schedule a few years ago so that they could beef up football by poaching the Big East and wrecking 8 other conferences in the process in order to watch Va. Tech play in the ACC football championship game every year, Maryland plays only the following league teams twice: Duke, Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Miami. (Duke and UVa are on the schedule twice every year, the rest rotate).

Terps play at home against Boston College, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech; and on the road at NC State, Florida State and Clemson.

Notes from the official press release (in case you weren't sure, the comments above were NOT from the official press release)

Other highlights on the schedule include an ACC/Big 10 Challenge matchup in Comcast Center with Michigan, a battle against George Washington in the BB&T Classic at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and non-conference home games against two opponents which won the regular-season title in their respective leagues – Morgan State (MEAC) and American (Patriot).

The Terps have a seven-game homestand between Dec. 12 and Jan. 10, with the final game in that stretch being a Comcast Center matchup with Georgia Tech that serves as the ACC opener. Maryland will play all 16 of its conference games in a row, including back-to-back home games against North Carolina (Feb. 21) and Duke (Feb. 25).

The Terps open play at home on Friday, Nov. 14 against Bucknell.


Day Date Opponent Time Television
Sat. Nov. 8 NORTHWOOD (Exhibition) 2:00 --
Fri. Nov. 14 BUCKNELL 8:00 --
Tue. Nov. 18 YOUNGSTOWN STATE 8:00 --
Fri. Nov. 21 VERMONT 8:00 --
Thu. Nov. 27 vs. Michigan State (Old Spice Classic, Orlando) 7:00 ESPN2
Fri. Nov. 28 vs. Gonzaga/Oklahoma State (Old Spice Classic) TBA TBA
Sun. Nov. 30 at Old Spice Classic, Orlando TBA TBA

Wed. Dec. 3 MICHIGAN (ACC/Big 10 Challenge) 7:30 ESPNU
Sun. Dec. 7 vs. George Washington (BB&T Classic, Verizon Center) TBA TBA
Fri. Dec. 12 DELAWARE STATE 8:00 CSN
Mon. Dec. 22 AMERICAN 8:00 CSN
Sat. Dec. 27 BRYANT 2:00 CSN
Tue. Dec. 30 ELON 8:00 --

Sat. Jan. 3 CHARLOTTE Noon or 1:00 CSN
Wed. Jan. 7 MORGAN STATE 8:00 CSN
Sat. Jan. 10 GEORGIA TECH* Noon Raycom Split
Wed. Jan. 14 at Miami* 9:00 Raycom Split
Sat. Jan. 17 at Florida State* Noon Raycom Split
Tue. Jan. 20 VIRGINIA* 8:00 Raycom Split
Sat. Jan. 24 at Duke* Noon ESPN
Tue. Jan. 27 BOSTON COLLEGE* 7:30 ESPN2
Sat. Jan. 31 MIAMI* 8:00 Raycom Split

Tue. Feb. 3 at North Carolina* 8:00 Raycom/ESPN2
Sun. Feb. 8 at Georgia Tech* 7:30 FSN
Sat. Feb. 14 VIRGINIA TECH* 4:00 Raycom Split
Tue. Feb. 17 at Clemson* 7:30 ESPN2
Sat. Feb. 21 NORTH CAROLINA* 3:30 ABC
Wed. Feb. 25 DUKE* 9:00 ESPN

Sun. Mar. 1 at NC State* 7:30 FSN
Tue. Mar. 3 WAKE FOREST* 9:00 RSN
Sat. Mar. 7 at Virginia* 3:30 ABC

March 12-15 at ACC Tournament (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)
March 19 & 21 at NCAA First & Second Rounds (Greensboro, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Portland)
March 20 & 22 at NCAA First & Second Rounds (Boise, Dayton, Miami, Minneapolis)
March 26 & 28 at NCAA Regionals (Boston, Phoenix)
March 27 & 29 at NCAA Regionals (Indianapolis, Memphis)
April 4 & 6 at NCAA Final Four (Detroit)

* - Atlantic Coast Conference game
All times and dates subject to change; All times Eastern; Home games played at Comcast Center (17,950) listed in BOLD CAPS

Radio – All games on the Maryland Sports Radio Network (Flagships: ESPN 1300AM, WJFK-FM 106.7) and
TV Key – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ABC, Fox Sports Net (FSN) – national broadcasts;
Raycom Sports network; Comcast SportsNet (CSN); Regional Sports Network (TSN) – regional broadcasts.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Arenas Blogs About Juan Dixon

For no reason other than the fact that he is my favorite athlete of all time in any sport, narrowly edging Eddie Murray, I periodically look for Juan Dixon news online. The man who carried the Terps to the 2002 National Championship is basically without a team right now after finishing the season with the Pistons (but being unforgivably left off the playoff roster). The big name free agents have been scooped up; now it's guys like Dixon, Kwame Brown, and P.J. Brown looking for a home. If Gilbert Arenas had anything to do with it, Juan would find his way back to Washington, wouldn't that be cool?

Here's what Gilbert recently said about Dixon on his blog:

Juan Dixon -- Juan is one of those players out there that needs a team, because he can really help out with scoring. He needs a team to just let him play. I’ve played with a lot of players in my time in the league, and he has to be one of the top five I’ve played with in terms of points per minute. He’s just a high volume scorer. If you gave him 40-plus minutes of playing time, he’d give you 20-plus points per game average. He’s like a bigger Ben Gordon. We’ll see where he ends up. I’ll take him back in D.C. right now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dog Days

After a flurry of negative press around the Maryland basketball program earlier this summer, the best that can be said is that it's been quiet for a while. I'll stick to my statement of waiting until the team takes the court before joining the hand wringing crowd. I was kinda going through my head in terms of who the starting five might be, and basically have no idea. There are actually plenty of good guards and swing men in the following guys: Greivis Vasquez, likely your starting PG; Eric Hayes, likely your starting two or first guard off the bench, freshman G Sean Mosley should help immediately; sophomores Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie both showed they can handle ACC minutes and shine at times last year. And then of course there's Landon Milbourne, who follows in the tradition of 3-men enigmas at Maryland, following the footsteps, of "first you think he's great, then you just don't know what to think" guys like Exree Hipp and Nik Caner-Medley, among others.

But that list is what? Six players long and all those guys are at least pretty good. I have no idea what will happen in the frontcourt, with Dave Neal, Braxton Dupree, and Jerome Burney coming back. That is a mess if those are the top players, but it does open the door for Gary to get creative and go small with a lineup like Burney at the five, with four guards/wings including Vasquez, Hayes, Mosley and Milbourne; they might get killed on the boards but they'd certainly force some defensive problems for the teams they face along the way.

Long way to go before college hoops season, so we'll save the full roster analysis for another day.

Like all Maryland fans, I find myself in something of a odd predicament rooting for Team USA in these Beijing games. I have long followed international basketball and I'm pulling hard for our boys to bring back the gold. At the same time, how can any self-respecting Maryland fan not hate themselves just a little while pulling for a team coached by Coach K? It is odd, isn't it? To some extent, it gives you a sense of what it might fee like to be a Duke fan and root for the front runner. I have to be honest and say it doesn't feel entirely bad. All these years rooting for the scrappy Terps and the crappy Orioles ... it's kinda nice to have a team to care about that should win.

Team USA will try to complete its quest for the Gold in the early morning hours on Sunday against Spain and I will probably just DVR-it and watch later in the morning. After beating the Spaniards by 37 in the prelimary round, I think the only real challenge will be complacency. USA 103, Spain 78.

Haven't posted about the Orioles in a while. They are hanging in there in terms of the potential to finish above .500 but the pitching is so awful. Basically you have one good starter in Guthrie, then Daniel Cabrera, who is good every other or every third start, and then a bunch of minor leaguers. I can't ever remember a starting staff this thin on talent. The last three starters are currently Rad Liz, Brian Burres (after being recalled from Norfolk) and probably someone from Bowie.

While the starting staff has fallen apart, the hitting has been explosive. The Orioles lead MLB in second half batting average at .303 and Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora have been red hot. In watching tonight's collapse against the Yankees, they posted a stat that Melvin Mora is hitting .411 in the second half. Wow. He's close to .290 with 20 HRs and 95 RBI. Huff is in the top 5 or 6 in many of the big offensive categories also, but you just can't beat good teams without good pitching.

That's gonna do it for today.