Speaking of hearing things, I heard that the first six minutes and last three minutes of the game were quite compelling. And I emphasize "heard." As Maryland secured their victory, ESPN's video feed went kaput. Then the audio got spotty. Luckily, Mike Patrick knows Morse code, so we were able to follow the game that way. Thanks, ESPN. Also, the first several minutes were not shown as UConn and Villanova, both mired in down years, limped toward the conclusion of their own game. Of course, ESPN brought us every clock stoppage and missed free throw with crystalline clarity as meanwhile Maryland-Duke jumped out of the gate like...I don't know, some horse that's really fast out of the gate.
Welcome -- ssssssssss -- to this --- sssssss --- ES-P-sssssss
-- telecast -- ssssssssssss -- over.
Here's a thought, ESPN. Historically, you have been one of the priciest channels for cable providers to carry. That cost, of course, is passed along to the consumer, meaning ESPN raises cable bills. Where is all that extra money going? Apparently, not toward the equipment necessary to actually broadcast meaningful games in a reliable way. Maybe consider revisiting that.
A couple of other thoughts on the game:
-- As Pat Summitt did that cheerleader routine at the Tennessee-Florida game the other day, I was reminded of something. Although I couldn't put my finger on it at the time. Then last night, it came to me:
I know I'm not breaking new ground here, but Dick Vitale is such a Duke-licker it's insufferable. He has always been a Duke-ACC homer, but it's getting worse. When Maryland freshman Greivis Vasquez (13 points, 12 assists, 9 rebounds) got a bucket, he'd say something like "Nice player, all the way from Venezuela, he's got a big heart." And when Duke freshman John Scheyer (10 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds) hit a three, the reaction was "OHHHHH! OHHHHH! What a shot by the Diaper Dandy, he's gonna be such a special, special player for the Blue Devils, nothin but nylon, they're goin crazy, what an environment here at Cameron, his parents must be so proud..." It's like he actively wants people to notice he's no longer a serious broadcaster. Great job, Dick.
If you share these sentiments and wish to bring down this rampaging irritation monster before he can inflict more harm, you may want to check out this petition from the fine, fine folks at TruthAboutDuke.com. Clearly, he must be stopped by any means necessary.
-- Maryland now has a better overall record (23-7), conference record (9-6), and head-to-head record (2-0) this season than Duke (22-8, 8-7, 0-2, respectively). And yet, Duke is ranked 14th in the current ESPN/coaches poll, while Maryland is unranked. Can someone please explain this to me? I must be stupid. Meanwhile, hats off to Duke, the Notre Dame of college basketball.
-- This Maryland turnaround is reaching tremendous proportions. I don't think anyone predicted this just a month ago, when they seemed entirely rudderless. Vasquez, Jones, Gist, Strawberry, Ibekwe, Osby, Hayes...EVERYONE is playing well right now, in ALL phases. This is shaping up to be a VERY interesting late season, which may be deserving of lots of words typed out ENTIRELY in CAPITAL LETTERS. As March blossoms, this blog will become very basketball heavy. Best time of the year, baby.
-- On an unrelated note, Jarvis Hayes sucks. He sucks. He went 4-14 last night, including two consecutive air balls down the stretch. And shooting is his only job. I don't care if the Bullets can't get a half-empty can of Schlitz for him on the trade market. He's dead wood. Get him outta there.
- Sweep Success for Terrapins [Washington Post]
- Maryland-Duke: Still the Best Rivalry in College Basketball? [No One Appreciates Me]
- ESPN's Face-Off Over Fees [Business Week]
- Summitt belts out 'Rocky Top' and Cheers for Vols Men [SI.com]
- Anti-Dick Petition [Truth About Duke]
- Box Score: Heat 92, Wizards 83 [Washington Post]
Technorati tags: Goterps,Maryland basketball, Terps, Duke, ACC, Dick Vitale, ESPN
(Photo credits: AP, Truth About Duke)