Friday, March 30, 2007

Maryland Fans . . . If you think all the Terps are done with playing for a while, you'd be wrong! Shay Doron is participating in the WNBA's rookie pre-draft camp taking place right now in Cleveland. She's one of 40 top players invited by the league to compete in the camp, which allows the invitees to showcase their game for the pro team coaches and general managers in a setting in which the players are going head-to-head against other pro-caliber players.

So now might just be a good time for the Turtle Nation to bookmark a new on-line favorite: That way you can follow Shay's journey from college to the next level. For example, this past Wednesday, Shay was one of four players who participated in the WNBA's Draft Prospect Media Conference Call, and the transcript on the WNBA's website will let you know you what Shay had to say.

The actual WNBA rookie draft will take place next Wednesday, April 4th. You can watch the draft (live) on ESPN2 beginning at 1 PM. Or, even better, you could join some Mystics fans (many of whom are also Terps fans) at the ESPN Zone for their annual draft party. You can find out more about the Mystics' event on the Mystics' website (another favorite to bookmark!): (Of course, you can also get to the Mystics' website from the link posted to the right on this very page!)

Shay may be the first serious WNBA prospect that the Terrapins have produced in quite a few years . . . but, as every Terps fan knows . . . she'll hardly be the last! A few years from now, many teams throughout the WNBA may have fearsome Turtles on their rosters. So if you aren't already a fan of the WNBA, now seems like a great time to get into the game!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Will She Stay or Will She Go? Only a day after the Terps lost Associate Head Coach Jeff Walz to Louisville comes news that Assistant Coach Joanna Bernabei has interviewed for the head coaching job at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. That position became vacant two weeks ago with the resignation of Dan Durkin, who had been at the school for 14 seasons. This year, his team finished 7-20; his career record is 176-217.

The Duquesne team's nickname is . . . the Dukes (Get it? Duk-kane . . . the Dukes). Of course this means that if Coach J were hired, she'd become . . a Dukie!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

CONGRATULATIONS, JEFF!! It's now official! After days of rumors, the University of Louisville has just announced its selection of Maryland Associate Head Coach Jeff Walz as the new Head Coach of the Cardinals. We've said it before: we hate to see Jeff go, but this is so well-deserved and we couldn't be happier for Jeff. Jeff has been a huge part of the Terps' success and is more than qualified to run a major college program of his own. Indeed, Coach Frese has had such confidence in Jeff that when she's been off recruiting, she's often left the team in his most capable hands. Last season, after Maryland won the Natty, Coach B promoted Jeff from Assistant Coach to Associate Head Coach, an indication of just how important he has been to the Terps.

And, there's more good news for Head Coach Walz . . . since Louisville's team colors are red and black . . . he won't have to buy new ties!

Jeff, the BasketCases wish you the best of luck and have one request of you: now that you're in the Big East, please prove that nice guys sometimes actually do finish first . . . and kick some UConn butt!!

Photo Credit: University of Maryland

The Jeff Watch: Going, going, gone?? . . . According to an AP story in the Baltimore Sun, Deep Throat an anonymous source "close to the negotiations" claims that Louisville will announce the hiring of Jeff Walz today as its new head coach. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Will He Stay, or Will He Go? The Domino Effect created by Louisville Head Coach Tom Collen's move yesterday to the University of Arkansas may have started the tiles tipping sooner than anyone thought. Tom Jurich, Louisville's Athletic Director, has announced that he "could have a new women's basketball coach next week." Jurich "said he has talked to two candidates to succeed Tom Collen." And while Jurich isn't naming names, today's Louisville Courier-Journal reports that "two names have surfaced" -- current Louisville Assistant Coach Tim Eatman and, yes, Maryland's own Jeff Walz.

According to Jurich,

I want somebody that's been around big-time women's basketball, because I think the game has grown so fast. It's very, very competitive, but it's grown at a very rapid pace, and I want to make sure that somebody that we have is a proven recruiter, has been around big programs, been on the national stage, been in the Top 25.

Well, that would certainly describe Jeff!!! And so the Jeff watch begins. . . . will he stay, or will he go?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Domino Effect. You've probably seen it on TV or somewhere, how if you take a number of dominoes and stand them on end with only a small distance in between each, you can then (if you do it carefully) tip the first domino and cause all the others to fall down in succession . . . Well, that's known as the Domino Effect.

It sometimes works that way in coaching too. When a head coaching job opens at one school, it sometimes sets off a chain reaction. This year with all the openings -- many in major programs -- the chain reaction could approach nuclear. Florida, Texas, LSU, Penn State . . . and let's not forget Northern Iowa . . . among others, are all in the market for new head coaches.

The University of Arkansas (in the SEC) is yet another school with an opening . . . but multiple news agencies are reporting that an announcement will be made today that the Razorbacks' new head coach will be Tom Collen, head coach of the University of Louisville. Which means, of course, that the Louisville Cardinals (of the Big East) would have an opening. Which means that someone else may leave another coaching job to become head coach there. So basically, an opening in Arkansas filled by Collen would tip a line of dominoes leading to Kentucky, which could possibly tip a line of dominoes leading to . . . Maryland.

According to today's Louisville Courier-Journal, the Terps' own Associate Head Coach, Jeff Walz, who hails from Kentucky, is someone the Cardinals may be interested in. While the BasketCases would hate to see Coach Walz leave College Park, we would certainly understand if he left for a head coaching job, and we think Louisville (or any program he might join) would be very very lucky to have him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Defense Rests. The Terps have taken their fans on an unbelievably fabulous ride in the past year. Last season's championship run was, quite simply, magical. Nothing can ever take that away, including the team's unexpected exit from the tournament tonight. As disappointed and saddened as we are as fans, we know that the Terps are heartbroken, and we ache for them. The last minute of tonight's game was unbearable to watch, as we saw the pain on their faces and the tears in their eyes. True to form, the Terps never quit, they never gave up. To the entire team -- the players, the coaches, and the staff -- thank you all for your hard work, and for all the joy that you have given us. Farewell to Shay and to Aurelie; thank you again for four incredible years. And to everyone else, we know that you will come back next fall, more determined than ever. And we can't wait to see you.

Good luck, Tony! Yesterday it was announced that longtime University of Northern Iowa Head Coach Tony DiCecco has decided to step down for health reasons. He will continue to work with the Panthers athletic department, but in a different capacity.

You may remember Coach T from the BasketCases' in-depth coverage of the Terps' Loose Meat Sandwich Tour Coach T agreed to a home and home with the Terps (after better known Iowa teams declined) so that Coach B could bring her Natty-winning team to her home state and introduce them to some Iowa home-cooking and some Iowa values. After that game, Coach DiCecco told a reporter, "Yes . . . Maryland is as good as they say they are . . . I'm not really looking forward to going back (to College Park next season) because most of those kids will be the same kids in a year."

Now, we know you weren't looking forward to the return trip, Coach T, but did you really have to resign? Nah, we're just kidding. Actually, we're pretty amazed that Tony even managed to coach last December's game. Just last August, Coach T underwent quadruple bypass surgery . . . plus, he was diagnosed with diabetes four years ago. Despite these health problems, he still coached his Panthers through a successful and memorable season. Not only was it a season in which he saw his team face off against the defending champs, but it was one in which he saw his team move into the new McLeod Center and (probably the biggest thrill of all) he saw his team record a (crushing!) win over in-state rival, Iowa, for the first time in 31 years! So, what better time to make a graceful exit! Best of luck to you, Coach T, in whatever you do in this next phase of your life!

No doubt Coach Tony will be a hard act to follow, but, according to the DesMoines Register, there's at least one candidate for the head coaching job who comes with a pretty good pedigree. Let's put it this way . . . it's not impossible that when the Panthers arrive in College Park next season for the back half of that home and home, there could be two Coach Freses on the sidelines: Coach B (Frese) coaching the home team and Coach M (Frese) coaching the visitors. Brenda's sister, Marsha Frese, a former assistant to Brenda and now an assistant at Illinois, is being mentioned as a possible successor to Coach DiCecco. Now wouldn't that make for some interesting family dynamics!

* * * * * *

In other news . . . Former Maryland opponent #14 seed Marist (already the Cinderella team of this year's NCAA tourney after knocking off Ohio State) advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in Dayton by beating another former Maryland opponent, Middle Tennessee State. We didn't mix that up . . . Marist really did beat the Blue Raiders last night (handily!) --- the same Marist team that the Terps outscored by 23 in the first half and beat by 26 even with the Terps' starters spending most of second half on the bench. Yes, that Marist. Congratulations to the Red Foxes . . . now if you can only upset Tennessee next weekend, you may be rewarded with another shot at the Terrapins!

And more news of note . . . our sister ACC school, Florida State University, pulled a huge upset by beating #2 seed, Stanford --- on the Cardinal's home court! Wow . . . great job, 'Noles, way to represent the ACC! Good luck at the Sweet Sixteen in Fresno!

And, of course, we're not forgetting (how could we!) that tonight at 7 PM on ESPN2, the Terps take on Ole Miss with the winner (Go Terps!) heading to Dayton for the Sweet Sixteen.

Photo Credit: Des Moines Register

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Shake Off the Rust and Play." That was the advice ESPN commentator Stacey ("I love you Kristi Toliver") Dales had yesterday for the top teams on how to handle their first round NCAA Tournament games. It turned out to be particularly good advice for the Terps today, as Maryland came out against Harvard looking like a team that hadn't played in two weeks. But the Champs soon shook off the rust, and let the Crimson know that they'd be heading back to Cambridge with a lot more free time to study for their finals. Shay Doron once again led the team by example, playing as though the game could be her last . . . as indeed every game from here on out could be. Shay scored a game-high 21 points as the Terps cruised to an 89-65 victory.

The only surprise today was Brenda Frese's decision to start Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood instead of Kristi Toliver. For those of you who saw the game in person, Nancy Lieberman explained that Coach B had this in the works for a few weeks as a way to take some pressure off Kristi, and that she'd discussed it with Kristi, who was fine with the decision. As for KT's off-the-bench performance? 13 points and 9 assists! Not too shabby!

The BasketCases have only one question about today's game: how come Coach Walz was not wearing a suit? Did the airlines lose his luggage or, with Jim Foster out of the tourney, is Jeff now trying to lay solo claim to the sweater guy look?

* * * * * * * *
Next up for Maryland: a Tuesday night rematch against Ole Miss, which defeated another Maryland opponent, TCU, today 88-74. Although the Terps beat Ole Miss 110-79 in the Junkanoo Jam, the Rebels are playing better ball than they were in November, and so we look forward to a more interesting game on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A League of Their Own. With Maryland's upcoming NCAA Tournament game against Harvard, we thought our readers might like to know a little more about Ivy League sports. As the BasketCases know first hand (well, at least one of the BasketCases has first hand experience with the Ivy League), they do things just a little differently at the Ivies . . . particularly when it comes to sports.

First of all, Ivy Leaguers have a pretty interesting idea of what a sport actually is. It almost seems the fewer people who participate, the better. And the fewer who can watch, that's even better still. Squash, fencing, golf and crew! Major Ivy League Sports! Goodness, how do they contain their excitement?

And athletic scholarships . . . you can forget about them! Financial support as reward for athletic prowess? Tsk, tsk, how unseemly! The Ivy League schools would never stoop to that level. Athletic scholarships are no-nos. You get in because of brains, not brawn! (But don't feel too sorry for the student-athletes . . . these schools do have endowments that are greater than the Gross National Product of most countries, so if an athlete really does need financial assistance to attend one of these schools, you can be pretty sure she'll get it.)

And while they do play basketball in the Ivy League, there is no conference tournament! That's right: no long weekend in Greensboro or Hartford or Knoxville where all the teams and their most devoted fans gather for virtually round the clock games and great fun! Can you believe it? No doubt, that, too, would be considered unseemly. So as the only conference sending a team into March Madness without a championship tournament (at least that's what we've read), the winner of the Ivy League's regular season gets an automatic bid to the Big Dance! Somehow it just doesn't seem fair.

But that's the way they do things at Haaa-vad, Princeton (Go TIGERS!!!), and the rest of the Ivy League schools. They do it their way. But there's one thing they do have in common with the Terps and the other teams in this year's tournament . . . their team wants to win and their team will come to play. Just ask Tara VanDerveer.

* * * * * * *
Television coverage of the women's tournament starts today at noon on the ESPN family of channels, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. (The "U" stands for "U know it if you have it.") The Terps' game against Harvard tips off on Sunday at approximately 2:30pm. If you live in Maryland, you should get to see the entire game, thanks to ESPN's "home market protection." The rest of us will be treated to ESPN's famous whiplash whiparound coverage, as ESPN's attention-deficit-disordered producers take us on a veritable tour of the early round games, breaking in and breaking away, trying to find one that they think will keep viewers from switching to the Golf Channel give us "the best action from different games." (Memo to ESPN: look at a map. See how close northern Virginia is to College Park? Give us the Maryland game!!!!)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

No Grazing Allowed! Anyone who's been to a Mystics game these past two summers knows that owner Sheila Johnson is more than just a die-hard fan . . . she's the team's Number 1 Cheerleader!

But until reading this week's Q and A with Dr. J in the Minneapolis-St. Paul paper, the BasketCases didn't know she isn't simply content with cheering herself . . . no, she also sets some pretty tough ground rules for anyone she invites into her owner's box. They have to cheer for the Mystics or she kicks them out!! No freeloaders just there for the food and drink --- Uh uhh! As Sheila puts it,

I really get into the games, and there's no reason to come into the owner's box if you're not going to cheer. I don't want them to just graze their way through my food. I want them in there to cheer my team on. All the fans look up there, and they don't want to see people just partying. They want to see people rooting for the team.

Well, Sheila, all we can say is that if you invite the BasketCases up to your box for a game this summer, you won't have to remind us to cheer -- although with the MCI Center's new rules against bringing in outside food, we surely will do some grazing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Date with Dayton. Okay now, don't accuse the BasketCases of looking past this weekend's opponents in Hartford . . . we're not! We remember how tough St. John's played the Terps last year in the second round. Any team is capable of pulling a major upset . . . just ask Stanford about their #1 vs #16 match-up with Maryland's upcoming opponent, Harvard, in the 1998 tourney! Talk about upsets . . . that was the mother of all upsets! Or, more recently, ask Boston College how their game against the Crimson turned out earlier this season --- would you believe a 10-point victory for the ACC Ivy League team? You'd better believe it --- because it happened!

So, even though we're not looking ahead, we do think it's time for Terps fans to PLAN AHEAD. And that means that you need to book your flight, or order your AAA triptik, and reserve your hotel room in Dayton NOW! If you don't think that the Lady Vols fans aren't already grabbing up every available room in the Dayton area, you're kidding yourself. So let's not allow the Orange Crush to squeeze out the Turtle Nation . . . make your plans now for the Regional of the Century (Terps, Vols, Sooners, Buckeyes, if the seeds hold!) so you will be ready to support your Terrapins, once they've successfully finished up their two games in the Nutmeg state.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Selection Monday

The Rebounders gather with the Terps (they got the best seats up front) for the ESPN broadcast

The team seems happy with their bracket!

And then on to the interviews . . . Marissa . . .

Shay . . .

Crystal . . .

And Sa'de seems particularly happy to be in Tennessee's bracket!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

The Road to Cleveland . . . It's hard to believe that an entire year has gone by since the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Incredible as it may seem, however, today is Selection Monday for this year's Big Dance. Sometime between 8PM and 9PM this evening, watching ESPN, the Terps and their fans will learn where Maryland will be playing on the road to Cleveland.

Last year, there was an air of excitement and anticipation as the Terps expected to be a Number One seed -- which they surely deserved to be and as they later proved -- only to see themselves disrespected by the Selection Committee. This year, most prognosticators are forecasting a Two Seed for the defending Champs. The really big questions are: where will the Terps start play, and who will be the One Seed in their region? So get your popcorn ready and be at your TV at 8PM . . .

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Behind Every Good Woman . . .

Being the Head Coach of a Division I women's basketball team is a tough job, even under the best of circumstances. The demands are enormous, particularly for the Head Coach of a top team.

Recruiting, practice, recruiting, strategizing, travel, coaching games, recruiting, talking to the press, bad hair days, recruiting . . . long long hours! No doubt it helps to have a supportive spouse or partner. And no doubt it has to be stressful for the coach's significant other as well . . . a point driven home earlier this week by some news out of Florida that an "MSU Professor Bites Officer."

It turns out that this alleged policeman-chomping professor is none other other than the husband of the Michigan State Spartans' Head Coach, Joanne P. McCallie! After the McCallies landed at the Sarasota airport, a lost luggage episode reportedly led to Professor McCallie's dumping a trash can, throwing it at an officer, wrestling with the policeman on the ground and then biting the officer's finger. McCallie was arrested (mugshot above) but later released on bond. Well, it seems like the stress of being a head coach's spouse really got to him!

Meanwhile, the BasketCases are pleased to report that Coach B's husband, Mark Thomas, to the best of our knowledge, has never been arrested for biting anyone. Keep up the good work, Mark!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Seeds Seats of Dissension. Conference tournaments have just got to be the best thing that happens to a basketball junkie all year. You've heard it from us already, and now our favorite sportswriter Mechelle Voepel, in her latest column on, echoes our sentiment (have you been sneaking peeks at our blog again, MV?) saying
"I love it all, but especially the first day or two of most tournaments, when the bracket is still big. It's so awesome to have games all afternoon and all night. I almost wish this happened every single day. Of the entire year. For the rest of my life."
We agree . . . up to a point. Perhaps we should consider taking a break for Christmas and Yom Kippur.

As much as we love the whole tournament experience, there is one major problem with the ACC Tournament in Greensboro --- the seating. Yesterday, our Rebounders buddy, Fred, wrote on his website about his "gripes" with the Maryland-fan seating arrangements. We want to give Fred a big BasketCases shout out and let all our loyal readers know that Fred (normally the most positive guy we've ever met in the world of women's hoops if not any world any where) was not being overly critical . . . uh uhh, the treatment of the reigning National Champions' fans really was that bad! The Maryland fans' seats _ _ _ _ _ _ (6-letter word for something you did with a straw).

The problem with the ACC Tourney is this: it seems that the North Carolina teams (Duke, UNC and State) get the premium seating . . . meanwhile, the rest of the ACC teams get what's left. Maryland's 400+ fans got shoved into a corner, many of them unable even to see the scoreboard, and many more were stuck in seats in the upper level . . . and not even directly above the rest of the Maryland contingent! The BasketCases spent some time in that nosebleed section, and believe us when we tell you that the "fan experience" up there was pathetic! You almost got the feeling that the seating coordinators were still a little miffed that the Terps had the audacity to send two North Carolina teams home from Boston without any hardware last April. OK, maybe we're getting a little close to the Grassy Knoll here, but the Maryland seating was so bad that it actually led to this kind of conspiracy theory speculation among Terps' fans.

Perhaps there was a time (in the not too distant past) in Greensboro when, if the North Carolina teams' fans weren't seated in the premium center sections, the TV audience would get the impression that teams were playing in an empty arena. Perhaps that's how the North Carolina teams' seating preference developed. But that's no longer the case . . . Maryland, Virginia and other schools sent hundreds of their fans to Greensboro last weekend. Times have changed and it's time for the North Carolina seating preference to end.

So to plant some seeds for ways to address this problem, here are a couple of simple suggestions: 1) divide up the Coliseum into fan "zones" and then let representatives of each team (not the tournament committee) pick the seating section they want from the available choices in the order of the previous season's ACC regular season standings; and, 2) develop a set of rules for negotiating "trades" of zones or blocks of seats among the teams that's fair to all ACC teams and does not favor teams or coaches that have existing deals or relationships . . . give every team looking for additional seats a fair shot at those not being used by others. While there's nothing that can be done about the home-court advantage that the three North Carolina teams enjoy in Greensboro (and they surely do), there is something that can be done about the seating arrangements, and the 2008 ACC Tournament is the time for that something to begin.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Red Upsets Blue.

Today in Greensboro, the BasketCases had the privilege of witnessing one of the most emotional and thrilling upsets in women's basketball, as Kay Yow's NC State Wolfpack defeated Duke, 70-65. There are no longer any undefeated teams in women's D-I basketball. But it was much more than that . . . It was watching a team inspired by its coach's incredible courage rise to a level that few thought they would attain this season. Not long ago, the Wolfpack defeated the Tar Heels when Carolina was ranked second in the country, and today they knocked off the unanimous top ranked team in the nation. They had to come from behind and play a good part of the game without their 6' 7" senior post, Gillian Goring, who was in foul trouble much of the second half, and fouled out with a little over two minutes left. But it didn't matter, because the whole team stepped up and never gave up, and now have given Coach Yow a shot at tomorrow's ACC title.

In the second semi-final, however, the Red team, unfortunately, did not prevail over the Blue. While Maryland showed an intensity, focus and toughness that they hadn't shown consistently throughout ACC conference play, they nevertheless fell short in a tightly contested battle against the Tar Heels, losing 72-78. Speaking of toughness . . . very late in the game, Shay Doron crashed face first into the Carolina bench. But despite the very obvious damage to her face that could be seen clear across the court, Shay returned a few minutes later and gave everything she could to try to pull out the win. She truly is the heart and soul of the Terps. Even though Maryland won't be playing tomorrow, the BasketCases think that the team's play here in Greensboro showed that they are ready to do some damage in the NCAA Tournament.

Before we sign off from Greensboro, the BasketCases would like to share an observation about the intra-state dynamics surrounding the ACC Tournament. Although Duke and Maryland are rivals, as are Carolina and Maryland, nothing matches the hatred that the fans of those two North Carolina schools appear to have for each other. Which means that when Duke was playing NC State today, everyone in the arena, including Tar Heel fans, was rooting for the Wolfpack. And it also means that when Maryland played Carolina, all the Duke fans were rooting for the Terps. (One Duke fan sitting near us put on a shirt that said "Anybody but Carolina" before the Maryland-UNC game.) In fact, it sometimes seemed to be the Dukies who were the most vocal in their disdain for Ivory Latta and her on-court antics and drama.

While it was, of course, disappointing to see Maryland lose, seeing Kay Yow's team gut out that win today was unforgettable.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (the scene on court after NC State upsets Duke)

It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This.
Some reflections on Friday at the ACC Tournament

Just think about it. If you're women's basketball junkies, as we are, you can hardly beat Day 2 of the ACC Tourney! (Well, okay, there was last year's Final Four . . . ) But for a single conference, a single day, in a single place, you get to see some of the absolutely best basketball teams in the country . . . and it happens every year! Of course, that includes our own beloved Terps, plus the country's number one (and only undefeated D-I) team, Duke, not to mention you get to see a whole latta of Carolina's starters (they were still in the game in the late minutes yesterday when the Hokies were down by thirty). Then throw in a few other quality teams like NC State and Florida State, and it's simply an unbelievable day!

Which is why it was no surprise to see so many WNBA Coaches and General Managers in the stands, checking out the talent as the April 4 draft approaches. Among the folks we spotted were: our very favorite GM -- the Mystics' Linda Hargrove (looking fashionable in a Terrapin-red jacket . . . she claimed the color was just a coincidence!), Jenny Boucek -- the new head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs, and Paul Westhead -- head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, the team that has the enviable task of picking first overall in next month's WNBA draft. Coach Westhead made it clear that was the reason he was here in Greensboro --- Latta? Harding? Bales? or a big surprise? The Basketcases also spotted Brian Winters and Lin Dunn of the Indiana Fever. (Dunn's hair is so distinctive, you can spot her across an entire arena, no matter how crowded it is!) We heard that the Liberty's Patty Coyle was in town (but haven't spotted her yet ourselves) and we expect there are several more pro scouts enjoying Greensboro's southern hospitality this weekend. One fun thing about the Tourney is getting to chat with these folks from some of our favorite WNBA teams.

Gettin back to Day 2 . . . there were four games. Count 'em, four. At 11AM, 3PM, 6PM, and 8PM. Even for the BasketCases, that was a latta a lot of basketball to watch. And pretty exhausting. (It's hard work being a fan!) We also managed to squeeze in some time to take in the Fan Fest, held in a separate building. As expected, it's mostly shooting games for kids, but we did get to have our picture taken with the Chick-fil-A cow, truly a highlight of our trip to Greensboro! Eat Mor Chikin!

Millions of local school children were bused in for yesterday's first game of the day (and Thursday's). Okay, maybe not millions, but it sure sounded like millions! It was kinda like "I Scream for Ice Cream" . . . all game long! The various groups were attired in color-coded tee shirts, no doubt to make it easier to re-load the buses. We had a bunch of lime-green clad kids sitting behind us. The boy directly over our shoulder, who was about ten years old, actually kept up a pretty good running commentary during the game. We particularly loved the fact that each time a player got loose on a fast break and was headed full tilt for the basket, the kid screamed out, "Slam it!" We gave him an ACC tee shirt that we snagged during one of the periodic tee shirt tosses into the crowd. You have to reward a kid like that.

For pure emotion yesterday, nothing even came close to NC State Head Coach Kay Yow's appearance on the court, and the inspired play of her Wolfpack team. We didn't envy Florida State's Sue Semrau having to face Yow's team in a North Carolina arena. To say that the crowd was one-sided would be an understatement. The Wolfpack's prize for their victory yesterday is getting to play undefeated in-state rival Duke this afternoon. Now that will be an interesting time for the crowd. The BasketCases predict that everyone not wearing Duke blue will be a State fan today. We surely will.

Kay Yow being greeted by her sister, Maryland AD Debbie Yow, just before the NC State-FSU game.

The rest of the day consisted of three top-ranked teams and an inspired NC State beating four good teams and advancing to today's semis --- Duke, Carolina, Maryland and State --- all we're missing for an encore of last year's final four is LSU! What a day! What a tournament! It really doesn't get much better than this!

Photo credits: DC BasketCases

Friday, March 02, 2007

Georgia Tech-Maryland II. You know how the first show ended when these two teams met in the regular season . . . with the Yellow Jackets victorious. [If you don't want us to spoil the ending of the sequel for you, then stop reading now.] This time, things played out quite differently. A focused, aggressive, Maryland team exacted payback on GT tonite in Greensboro, beating GT by 16, 75-59. Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne in particular were on fire. Marissa had a double-double (16 points and 11 boards), while Lang was just one board short of notching one as well (18 points, 9 boards). Tonite the Terps looked like they wanted to send Tech a message . . . It's March and that means it's a whole new season . . . One down, eight to go.

It was a long day today. . . four games! Plus the Fan Fest . . . more blogging tomorrow. . .

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases (billboard, Greensboro, NC)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Eat Mor Chikin. Greensboro, N.C.

While most of the fans at the ACC Tournament today left the arena long before the conclusion of the Georgia Tech/Miami game, the BasketCases (and most other Maryland fans) stuck it out, despite the lateness of the hour and the 300-mile drive that preceded it. We were all there "scouting" the team that had managed to upset the Terps during the regular season, and we've all sent our game plans for tomorrow's re-match over to Coach B's hotel.

Frankly, apart from a few minutes in the first half when the 'Canes closed the gap to three points, the rest of the game was a yawner (or maybe we were just really tired from the drive). In any event, the crowd seemed more interested in the periodic appearance of the Chick-fil-A cow-riding blimp, which sent little cows parachuting to three or four lucky fans on each pass around the arena. Even some of the Maryland players, who were in the stands for part of the second half while waiting for their practice following the game, were trying to get the attention of the blimp operator to snag a cow.

Maryland-Georgia Tech the Sequel will be played at 8PM on Friday, the fourth in a long day of games for the BasketCases. But check back here late tomorrow night for our on-the-scene report.

Photo credit: DC BasketCases