Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

As 2011 draws to a close, Petey and the BCs wish all of our readers a very happy, healthy, and sparkling New Year!

If you're out celebrating tonight, and drinking, please do so in moderation, as too much alcohol can seriously impair your . . . driving spelling:

Stay Safe . . . and have a Great New Year's Eve!

And don't forget . . . the New Year also rings in the ACC season. The Terps play their first Conference game on Monday at 7 PM, on the road at Florida State. Fans should be able to listen live by following the FSU link found here.

Maryland will be back at home on Friday to take on Georgia Tech at the absurdly late time of 8:30 PM.

Go Terps! . . . Beat the 'Noles!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Champaign Champagne Credit: Veuve Clicquot

Sign Credit: High School Dropout

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Won and Done

Terps fans have seen more than a few cupcakes this season, but tonight, in the final game of the Terrapin Classic, with #5 Maryland playing #19 Delaware, there were no cupcakes in uniform . . . only some very talented basketball players. If you wanted cupcakes, the only place to find them was before the game, up in Heritage Hall, where the Terps hosted a holiday party for season ticket-holders, complete with a bake-off competition loaded with yummy entries. The BCs sampled plenty, so we can attest to their yumminess with full authority.

While we enjoyed the pregame treats, we didn't need any sugar to get revved up about this evening's contest. Two ranked, undefeated teams facing off in front of a big, enthusiastic crowd; nearly 9,000 fans (including Lang, KT, Riss and even Alana Beard) . . . most wearing red, but with a healthy representation of Delaware blue. And the game itself did not disappoint. It was forty minutes of exciting, hard fought basketball, played in an atmosphere similar to that of ACC-rivalry games. In other words, it was great!

Early in the first half, the two teams were separated by no more than one or two possessions. Finally, Maryland began to pull away, only to see the Hens battle back. At halftime, with the Terps up by one point, it was still anybody's game. Maryland, and Alicia DeVaughn in particular, had done a great job helping to contain Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, the nation's top scorer (and a fixture on everybody's All-American list). EDD was held to to just 8 points, while Maryland's Alyssa Thomas put up 17 points in those first 20 minutes.

For the Terps, the second half was truly a team affair. If the first half was fueled by Alyssa's offense, then the second belonged to Laurin Mincy and Anjale Barrett. Although the Blue Hens took an early second half lead, it was short-lived, as Anj helped her teammates remain composed, and Laurin's fireworks helped light up the scoreboard. The Terps regained the advantage and never looked back.

Superstars almost always get their points, and EDD truly is a superstar. After an 8-point first period, she scored 24 points in the second half (for a game-high 32 points). However, it wasn't quite enough to pull out a victory for her Blue Hens, as Maryland won, 85-76.

Delle Donne played all 40 minutes, as did the Terps' Alyssa Thomas. These two players are warriors. Seeing them both giving everything they've got for their teams . . . that's what makes basketball such an exciting (and fun) sport. Super Soph Alyssa finished with 23 points (and 9 boards) and was named tournament MVP, but the Terps' team-high scoring honors went to (another Super Soph) Laurin, who put up 25 points (a career high . . . including 3 of 4 shots from beyond the arc), while Anjale also finished in double figures (16) and dished out 8 assists.

With tonight's game, the Terps are now done with the non-conference portion of their schedule, and what better way to bring this part of the season to a close --a big win against a tough opponent, to remain undefeated (13-0) heading into the ACC season. Conference play will test the Terps night in and night out. (There are no cupcakes.) We loved how the team rose to the challenge presented today by the previously undefeated Blue Hens. The Terps have the toughest conference schedule of any team in the ACC this season. Let's hope this important win provides some momentum to help Maryland continue its winning ways, beginning Monday, when they travel to Tallahassee to begin conference play on the road against Florida State.

Go Terps . . . Beat the 'Noles!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Won and Donne

Today was the first day of the annual Terrapin Classic, a two-day, four-team holiday tournament hosted by Maryland. Testudo (world famous Maryland mascot) came appropriately dressed for the occasion. The entree on today's lunchtime menu featured the #5-ranked Terps facing off against the Lafayette College Leopards. For dessert, the BCs got to sample the #19/20-ranked University of Delaware Blue Hens tipping off against the East Carolina Pirates in the second game of the double-header.

Before today's games, the Terps and the Blue Hens were among just a handful of undefeated D-I teams, and that was still the case after today's games as well. The two matches unfolded in similar fashion, as Maryland and Delaware each put their games away early (in the first half) against their weaker opponents. At halftime, the Terps led the Leopards, 51-13, while Delaware, at the break, was up 35-10 on the Pirates. The final scores, respectively, were 84-36 and 60-40, setting up tomorrow's expected -- and much anticipated -- showdown between Maryland and neighboring Delaware.

Every Terp played today, and every Terp scored, five of them in double figures. We were especially impressed, as we have been all season, with Tianna Hawkins, who's really elevated her game this year, on both ends of the court. In only 21 minutes today, T-Hawk finished with another double-double -- 10 points and 13 rebounds (as well as three steals, a block, and no turnovers). It's pretty well known that T-Hawk (a Criminal Justice major) aspires to join the Secret Service after college (and we think the President's security would be in excellent hands!), but as Coach B recently said in this ESPN article , if Tianna ". . . continues to work, she's going to put a lot of options on the table for herself." Secret Service? WNBA? A tough choice!

For the BCs, one of the most interesting parts of the afternoon was getting to watch Delaware's Elena Delle Donne. (We weren't the only ones watching . . . the Terps' coaching staff was sitting courtside, while the entire Maryland team was sitting in the stands with notepads in hand . . . not to mention sandwiches, water and boxes of Wheat Thins.) No doubt many of our readers will recall that Delle Donne was the #1-ranked high school superstar who committed to UConn but left Storrs after several days to return home to Delaware. She then enrolled at the University of Delaware, where she played volleyball for a year, a sport she'd also excelled at in high school. After a year of spikes and blocks, Delle Donne opted to join the school's basketball team. This year, her third back on the court, she's led her mid-major team to a national-ranking. This past summer, Elena and Lynetta Kizer were teammates on the USA World University Games team, which won a gold medal in China. Today, in the game against East Carolina, Delle Donne (to no one's surprise) led all scorers, with 22 points.

The last time Delaware played at Comcast (November 2007 in the pre-season WNIT), it was no contest. As we reported at the time, Maryland "sliced, diced, braised, broiled and fricasseed the overmatched Blue Hens." Tomorrow, the BCs are expecting a very different game. Two undefeated, nationally ranked teams going head-to-head. What happens when a Turtle meets a Chicken in a holiday tournament? Sounds like the opening line of a very funny joke. But tomorrow's game is no joke. Tomorrow's game (which tips off at 7 PM) is very likely to be one of the Terps' three toughest matches on their 2011-12 non-conference schedule. At the end of that game, we can say with certainty, there will be one less undefeated team left this season in D-I of the NCAA. Obviously, we hope (and believe) that remaining undefeated team will be Maryland.

Don't miss this one!

Go Terps . . . Beat the Hens!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Canes Not Able

The BCs arrived at McDonough Arena this evening with every intention of cheering for the Miami Hurricanes in their game against the Hoyas. We are, after all, ACC fans, and we don't much like the Hoyas in any event. We were anticipating a good game, and a rare opportunity to cheer for a Conference rival.

But frankly, the 'Canes didn't give us much to cheer about. You know how every now and then, a team has a game in which absolutely nothing goes right? Well, that's the game Miami had today. Open jump shots that never made it to the rim, turnovers, uncontested layups that caromed off the glass. For most of the game, the 'Canes simply

Miami's style of play is very similar to Georgetown's -- lots of pressing, a high-speed run & gun offense . . . not much post play. Today, the Hoyas did a much better job of executing their game plan, and did a much better job at maintaining their composure; as a result, they easily won, 71-46.

The 'Canes shot a breathtakingly low 21% today! The BCs are betting that won't happen again, particularly in the just-around-the-corner ACC season. In fact, we're certain that when the Terps play the 'Canes in Miami on January 12th, the 'Canes will look like a very different team. And you can be certain, on that night, the BCs won't be cheering for Miami.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bo Knows Christmas!

(A White Chocolate White House!)

This afternoon, the BCs were extremely privileged to have been invited to a Holiday Reception at the White House. Now, we know that basketball is President Obama's favorite sport. And of course, it's the BCs' favorite sport, too. Do we think that's why we were invited to the reception? Well, in a word, NO. Quite frankly, we aren't exactly sure how we made the guest list, but when you receive an invitation from the President and the First Lady to come to their home, you say YES. We always do. (That makes us 1 for 1.)

Normally, visitors are not permitted to bring cameras into the White House, but for today's reception, that rule was waived . . . so the BCs and the other guests could take photos of the holiday decorations.

Naturally, then, we brought our camera along with us to 1600 Pennyslvania Avenue, and we'd like to share a little of our wonderful afternoon with you:

Our visit to the White House began on the Ground Floor, where guests were treated to the beautiful voices of the Wilberforce University Choir from Wilberforce, Ohio. And we had our first sighting of Bo, who figured prominently in this year's holiday decorations.

Here's Bo again, in the Library. If you are on the Obamas' holiday card list, you'll recognize this homey scene.

Lady Bird Johnson looked down over the hearth in a small ground floor room containing portraits of other presidential wives. We don't know the official name of this room, but given the portraits, and given the fact that there was a women's room directly through this room, we think a good name might be the First Ladies Room.

Also on the ground floor, the appropriately named China Room. We were told that's Mrs. Calvin Coolidge.

From the Ground Floor, we made our way up the marble stairs to the State Floor, where parties, formal dinners, and receptions are held.

The first stop on the State Floor was the magnificent East Room, which was beautifully decorated. There were also tables filled with delicious food.

The desserts were yummy, too!

In fact, in keeping with the festive spirit, there were plenty of spirits on hand, and appropriately, they were "Made in America," including one of the BCs' favorite domestic sparkling wines, Domaine Chandon. We don't normally drink at two in the afternoon, but we were in the White House, after all, so how could we not? And see that egg nog? It was delicious. After sampling it (for research purposes only, of course), we concluded it was 1 part egg nog, 1 part vanilla ice cream, and probably 3 parts bourbon!

The beautiful White House creche and one of the (several) Christmas trees in the East Room.

Although there were Christmas trees virtually everywhere, this is the official White House Christmas tree, in the Blue Room.

Just in case guests hadn't had enough to eat in the East Room, there was plenty more food and drink to be had in the State Dining Room, presided over by Abe Lincoln.

A Marine Band played in the Entrance Hall, suitably decorated with a portrait of Bill Clinton, former Saxophonist-in-Chief.

Of course, every successful party needs a good host. And today's hosts, POTUS and FLOTUS, stopped by to welcome their guests. They made quite a grand entrance, hand in hand, down the stairs from the White House Residence.

The BCs wish all our readers could have been there this afternoon. It was a very lovely, enjoyable, and unexpected treat. We hope that all of you are having fun this holiday season as well.

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Sunday, December 11, 2011

House Guest

On a cold but sunny afternoon, the BCs, and plenty of other Maryland fans, made the trip around the Beltway to the Patriot Center to see the Terps take on the George Mason Patriots. Upon our arrival, we gave the smaller, older (compared to Comcast) Patriot Center the once over. And one of the first things we noticed was that the Patriot Center's scoreboard is too ancient low tech to show the actual name of the visiting team, so this afternoon Maryland was the "Guest" in the house.

We have to confess, however, that in the first half, the "Guests" were quite impolite to their hosts . . . dominating the Patriots by a score of 44-20 at the break. The Guests were somewhat kinder to their hosts in the second 20 minutes. The Terps played a somewhat lackadaisical second half, but more than enough to emerge with the lopsided win, 78-50.

Alyssa Thomas led all scorers with 18. Three other Terps also scored in double figures -- Laurin Mincy (15), Lynetta Kizer (14), and Anjale Barrett (13) -- while Tianna Hawkins (11) and Alicia DeVaughn (10) had double-digit rebounds.

Super Frosh Brene Moseley had an uncharacteristically low output today, nailing only one shot . . . a beautiful lay-up in transition. And since we caught it on film digitally, here it is:

Today's first half of basketball was just great fun, but the highlight of the second half -- for the BCs at least -- was a vocalist in the Green Machine (the GMU band) singing one of our favorite songs, Empire State of Mind (Part II). She may not have been as talented as Alicia Keys, but she did a heck of a job during a basketball game, and it was an enjoyable bit of entertainment during one of the seemingly endless number of (mostly media) timeouts.

This afternoon's final buzzer ended the game, but for the Terps, it also signaled the start of a 17-day break for exams and holidays before they resume play. Their next match-up isn't until December 28th -- at noon -- when they take on the Lafayette Leopards (from Easton, PA) on the first day of the annual Terrapin Classic.

That's a long layoff. We don't know about you, but that's just too long for the BCs to go without seeing some live basketball. So, in the meantime, we expect to visit (one of our least favorite venues) McDonough Arena on Wednesday, December 21st. On that date, another ACC team will be making a very rare non-conference appearance in the DMV, as Miami faces off against Georgetown, at the early tip-off time of 5 PM.

The 'Canes have been picked to finish first in the ACC this season, so this will be a good chance for the BCs to "scout" this formidable opponent, who the Terps will meet (on the road) just a few weeks later (January 12th to be exact). As our astute readers have figured out by now, we're not big fans of the Hoyas. So the game on December 21st also provides a chance for us to root for another ACC team, Miami, for a change.

Go 'Canes . . . beat the Hoyas!

Go Terps . . . beat the Leopards!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Thursday, December 08, 2011

It's Well Known that, at some point during each Maryland player's career, Coach B tries her best to schedule a game in or near the player's hometown.

But what about the local players? Like Marissa Coleman, for example. Did Coach B just load the team on a bus, circle the parking lot a few times, then announce, "Marissa, you're home!"? We've always wondered about that.

This year's Maryland roster sports four "homers" who live only modest distances from Comcast . . . Lynetta Kizer (Woodbridge VA, 34 miles), Tianna Hawkins (Clinton MD, 22 miles), Brene Moseley (Burtonsville MD, 9 miles) and Sequoia Austin (Occupy College Park Greenbelt MD, ~3 miles).

However, if there is such a thing as a special hometown game for any of these four, then tonight's Terps v. Delaware State game was definitely "it" for Tianna. Tonight, all four locals had friends and family in the stands, but Tianna actually had family on the court . . . her twin sister, Tierra!

6'3" Tianna (aka Big Twin) and 6'2" Tierra (aka Little Twin) are fraternal twins; Tianna is a few minutes older. Little Twin is a redshirt freshman for the DSU Hornets and leads her team in scoring and rebounding. Tianna and Tierra played together in high school at Riverdale Baptist, are very close, and before this evening had rarely faced off against each other on the court. In this pre-game article in The Diamondback by Josh Vitale, the twins shared their excitement about tonight's game. (**Fact check note to Josh: DSU competes in NCAA Division I, not II as stated in the article**)

In the Hornets' Media Guide, when Tierra was asked to name her favorite basketball team (excluding DSU, naturally), unlike most of her teammates who chose teams like the LA Lakers, Tierra listed her favorite team as the "Maryland Terps." Good choice.

After tonight's game, in which the Terps drubbed the over-matched Hornets, 108-33 (ouch!), we hope that Tierra will still list the Terps as her favorite team in next season's DSU Media Guide.

Next up for the Terps is an "away" game at George Mason on Sunday at 2 PM.

Go Terps . . . beat the Patriots!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Going to the Dogs!

The 2012 ACC season hasn't even begun yet, but the BCs figure it's never too early to get excited about the Terps' 2012-13 non-conference schedule! Or at least one game in particular.

A short time ago, ESPN announced that Coach B's Terrapins and Coach Geno's UConn Huskies will participate in the 11th annual Jimmy V Classic on December 3, 2012. This game, which will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2, will take place in Connecticut (Hartford or Storrs, TBD). Road trip!

The 2012 Jimmy V Classic will be the first half of a Maryland home-and-home against the Huskies. Great news!

So the Terps are going to the dogs next season (2012). And then sometime in the 2013-14 season, the Terps will let the dogs in, playing host to the Huskies at Comcast.

We've heard from many Maryland fans that they'd like to see the Terps play a tougher non-conference schedule. Well, those fans just got their wish. UConn is currently ranked #2 in both polls and has the #1 ("historic") recruiting class in the nation arriving on campus next fall. So, yeah. Playing the Huskies definitely qualifies as a tough assignment. And we think that's just terrific!

Maryland is loaded with young talent and has a pretty remarkable 2012 recruiting class of its own. Huskies-caliber competition will challenge the Terps and make them better. And that's what it's all about.

Beat UConn . . . we kinda like the sound of that! You'll be hearing this refrain from us -- many times -- in the next couple of years. You can count on it.

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Bagel and a Schmeer

The BCs were in the mood for a really good bagel this weekend, and if there's one thing you can't find in D.C., that's it. At least, not that we've ever found. Oh, we've sampled some round brown things that resembled bagels here in the DMV, but they just didn't measure up to the (high) standard we set for a really good bagel. Mostly they are missing that perfect chewiness. You know it when you've had it, and we pretty much haven't had it anywhere close to home.

We've also noticed that people selling "bagels" in D.C. ask if (or worse yet, assume) you want them toasted. No! No! No! A genuine fresh bagel should never be toasted. Never! It's like ordering a steak at Morton's and asking for ketchup. People do it, the restaurant obliges, but it's still just wrong!

So on Saturday, the BCs hopped a plane to Chicago in search of a good bagel. We could have gone to New York, of course, but since dear friends of ours happened to be getting married in Skokie (a Chicago suburb) that day, we decided on the Windy City for our bagel hunt.

We're pleased to report that the weekend -- including our bagel hunt -- was a complete success. First and foremost, the wedding ceremony was moving and beautiful. It was a perfect celebration of our friends' love and commitment, in front of their families and friends. It doesn't get any better than that. We are so grateful that we could be there. Thank goodness there was no early season Chicago blizzard to stand in our way!

The wedding was Saturday night, so that left all day Sunday for our search for that perfect bagel. We scoped out the area around Skokie, and zeroed in on a place called Bagel Country. It was located in a strip mall. The exterior was nondescript. There was nothing about it from the outside that screamed "perfect bagel." So we were a little skeptical. But when we walked in, all it took was one glance and we knew we had chosen well. Here's a tip: when you enter a bagel establishment and notice not only that it's crowded but also that every male customer is wearing a yarmulke with a hair clip, you know you have come to the right place. And indeed we had! So we ordered a couple of bagels with cream cheese and couldn't wait to try them. All it took was one bite into that perfect chewiness, and the BCs were in bagel heaven.

As we were finishing up, an elderly gentleman named Neil who appeared to be the owner was making the rounds with a tray of chocolate chip cookies, stopping at every table to talk to the patrons and offer cookies. (Free cookies . . . on top of perfect bagels!) When Neil got to our table, we saw that he was wearing a name badge proclaiming him to be the "Chief Schmoozer." He was aptly titled, and we thoroughly enjoyed our good long schmooze. We told Neil how much we loved the bagels, and tried to convince him to open a second location in D.C. -- a city not only in need of a good bagel -- but one that also values a good schmoozer. Neil looked at us with a twinkle in his eye and told us it would be much easier if we would just move to Skokie. Those bagels were so good, we're considering it!

Unfortunately, our Midwest bagel wedding sojourn did cause us to miss a Maryland game this weekend. In fact, while we were busy eating our bagels and a schmeer, the Terps were busy schmeering the Eagles at American, 76-42. But that's yesterday's news, and so we presume you already know it. In case you missed the AP story, it's here. The Washington Post couldn't even bother sending a reporter to cover a game between two local teams. (Shame on them.)

The Terps' next victim opponent is Delaware State, on Thursday at 7 PM at Comcast. The Hornets of Delaware State should not be confused with the #22-ranked Blue Hens of the University of Delaware, who Maryland will be playing on Dec. 29, the second day of the annual Terrapin Classic (assuming no upsets on day one).

Go Terps! . . . Schmeer the Hornets!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

ACC/B1G Challenge

The basketball gods were much kinder to the ACC on Day 2 of the annual inter-conference Challenge. On Day 1, the ACC spotted the Big Ten a 5-2 lead . . . Maryland and Ga Tech being the only winners for their conference.

But Day 2 was a different story. Duke won. UVA won. Miami won. And the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest seriously kicked some Golden Gopher glutei maximi. Except for Clemson's 11-point loss to Illinois, today was All-ACC!

Unfortunately, Thursday's big ACC day couldn't completely erase the B1G Ten's Day 1 margin.

When the CPAs tallied the results, the final score was: ACC 6, B1G Ten 6. So, the bad news is that for the first time in the 5-year history of the women's Challenge, the ACC did not win. But the good news is that for the 5th time in the 5-year history, the ACC did not lose! Or to say it another way, this year's Challenge ended in a tie.

The BCs consulted a couple of their basketball experts about the tie-break rules. Expert #1 told us that, in the event of a tie, the Commissioner's Trophy (is there such a thing?) is simply kept by the prior year's winner . . . that would be the ACC! Meanwhile, Expert #2 told us the tie was broken by Rock, Paper, Scissors. (LOL!)

In any event, the ACC made a great Day 2 charge. The ACC didn't lose. We can live with that. (Well, we have no choice, do we?)

See you next year, B1G!