If you bought season tickets to the University of Maryland’s football games, you got a nice set of commemorative tickets. They listed highlights from the team’s “Proud Past [and] Fearless Future,” including its two undefeated seasons, 24 bowl appearances, 142 All-Americans, and 203 NFL draft picks. And they also included pictures of Terps both past and future.
The current players featured on the tickets were Stefon Diggs, Dexter McDougle, and C.J. Brown. Now, here’s where things start to get creepy:
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I’d be willing to bet that 2013 marks the first year that “Johns Hopkins” and “basketball powerhouse” ever appeared in the same sentence — and even then, it’s not in reference to our beloved Blue Jays, but instead to the Hopkins alum who’s become the NCAA tournament’s most unlikely star. He’s smart, handsome, and good at what he does. And I can’t help wanting to punch him in the face, for no particular reason.
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This afternoon, when Bryn Mawr’s Varsity basketball team travels to St. Timothy’s day and boarding school to take on their varsity squad, both teams will be doing more than shooting hoops: they’ll be making history. Today marks the 111th such game between the two teams. Read More →
For the past few years, the Towson Tigers have been so bad at basketball that it’s almost admirable. They were dubbed “the worst college basketball team in America,” with “the worst stretch of futility in Division I history.” They didn’t win a single game in the entire 2011 season. Their longest losing stretch was an admirably awful 41 games long. But when you’re that bad, there’s really nowhere to go but up.
“For the first time in a long time,” an ESPN blogger wrote recently, “the Towson Tigers men’s basketball program has hope.” Okay, so “some hope” is still faint praise — but we’ll take what we can get. And we’ll also take Four McGlynn, the America East Rookie of the Year last season, who’s transferring to Towson from Vermont next year. McGlynn (as well as a couple other promising transfers) was persuaded by Pat Skerry, the team’s new (and driven) coach. Basically, all the signs are pointing to a Towson basketball renaissance: The school is building the team a brand-new arena. Bill Murray’s son is an assistant coach.
And while we’re happy to hear the Tigers begin to roar again, we’re also a little… nostalgic for the era of extreme awfulness. They’re no longer on ESPN’s “Bottom 10″ list of embarrassing teams. When next year’s season begins, they’ll probably be pretty decent — but not necessarily decent enough to cause any waves. Which makes us wonder: is it ever better to be extravagantly bad than mediocrely good?
With all due respect to Mr. Phelps, the dude does kind of steal the thunder from the rest of our state’s aspiring Olympians. Which is why we figured we might as well let you know about some of the other medal hopefuls our state has produced; keep an eye out for them in London this summer!
Katie O’Donnell is a field hockey champ and University of Maryland grad. O’Donnell is no newbie to on-the-field glory — she brought home the gold in the 2011 Pan Am games, and was a near-miss for the 2008 squad. “The reason I didn’t go to the 2008 Olympics was completely on my own,” O’Donnell told NBC. “I went in and stepped on the field every day at practice, and I was really timid. I was so worried about making mistakes that I ended up making more mistakes and things went wrong for me.” Watching the televised games back in 2008 with her new Maryland teammates was a little heartbreaking for O’Donnell. But the experience convinced her to try even harder — six hour training days with the Navy Seals, for instance. “It was the best experience to be done with,” O’Donnell remembers. “[But] it’s definitely helped us get a berth in the Olympics because it was H-E-double hockey sticks, as some people would say in the hockey world. But it was really tough and getting done with it was so motivating. If you can do that, you can do anything.”
It can’t hurt that Farrah Hall was born and raised in Annapolis, aka sailboat central. Hall got a relatively late start, by Annapolis standards; she didn’t take up sailing until her early teens, because she was so busy on various swim/track/soccer/basketball/lacrosse teams. She was one of those teenagers who spent her afternoons training for triathalons. We bet no one’s surprised that she’s headed to the Olympics. At St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Hall founded a windsurfing club and started to get serious about sailing. She qualified for the Olympics with strong showings at the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold and the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Oddly enough, the U.S. sailing team has also trained with the Navy SEALs — are these Olympians gluttons for punishment or what?!
Some others to keep your eye on:
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Tuesday Links: More Expensive to Fly at BWI, Possible Billboard Tax in Baltimore City, ‘VEEP’ Gets Renewed, and More
BWI airfares rise 13% in 4Q; remain below U.S. average – Baltimore Business Journal
Baltimore to weigh billboard, outdoor advertising tax – Baltimore Business Journal
HBO renews ‘VEEP’ and ‘Girls’ for second season – Baltimore Sun
In healthful move, salad bars sprouting up in city school cafeterias – Baltimore Sun
Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin declares for NBA draft after being suspended by school – Washington Post
While Towson University might have the worst college basketball team in America (sorry, Tigers), at least one of the school’s teams is on a winning streak. They came out tops in the seventh annual CyberWatch Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, in which a fake hospital computer network (complete with patient records, GPS tracking, phone/computer networks, and a medication dispensing station) was attacked by a group of nefarious hackers; the Towson team was one of 25 that tried to stop them.
Towson’s anti-hacking team has proved victorious before. It won the 2011 Maryland Cyber Challenge, the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Regional, and the 2010 CSC Cyb3rBatll3ground Competition. (If you can’t read the name of that last one, there’s no chance you’d ever make the cyber defense team.)
The group, which is coached by math professor Mike O’Leary, advances to nationals in San Antonio on April 20-22. W00t!
After the thrill of success comes the agony of having to do it again. In Loyola of Maryland’s case, their foray into the 2012 NCAA tournament — their first in nearly two decades — won’t be easy. They’re slated to play Ohio State in Pittsburgh on Thursday. The Buckeyes are a 2 seed; Loyola is 15. According to the logic of seeding, they don’t stand a chance. But I can’t help but be hopeful, especially when I remember how people were talking in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia last year.
Back then, another small, obscure mid-Atlantic school with a charismatic coach and low expectations from the wider world made the tournament as a wild card pick. Then Virginia Commonwealth University went on to power through all the way to the Final Four. Their improbable success galvanized Richmond, and is still celebrated on billboards all over town. Here are a few lessons the Greyhounds could take from the Rams:
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Seventeen years is a long time to wait. So it’s a good thing that last night, Loyola University (of Maryland, natch) won a basketball game that just happened to be kind of important. After beating Fairfield 48-44, Loyola clinched the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title, earing them a spot in the 2012 NCAA tournament for the first time since Bill Clinton was president.
This is fresh territory for the Greyhounds, who have only made it to the conference finals once before, back in 1994. Since then, times got tougher. In 2003-4, the team won one game (yes, one) and lost twenty-seven, giving it the worst record in all of college basketball. But this year has been different in a lot of ways, most of them very good. Consider that if the Greyhounds win just one more game, they’ll tie the school’s record for victories in a single season… which was set back in 1948-49!
Of course, those victories become harder-won in the NCAA tournament. But head coach Jimmy Patsos believes in his team. And recent years have seen surprising upsets by smaller, lesser-known teams. Why not put them all the way in your office bracket?
Watch a video of the team celebrating here.
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