In regards to collegiate and professional sports, my emotional connection to the State of Maryland is nil. However, since I do live here, and because I went through the trouble of previewing the chances of the major and mid-major Illinois NCAA Division I school’s chances for the Men’s Basketball Tournament, it’s only fair that I assess the opportunities for Maryland’s Div. I reps to make it to March Madness.
University of Maryland (12-5 Big Ten, 21-7 overall). Sports Illustrated.com’s Bubble Watch has the Terrapins as near-locks to grab an at-large bid to the Tournament. Home losses to Seton Hall and Illinois are question marks. The Terms have a home win against #15 Purdue and road losses to #7 Michigan and #10 Michigan State. Forcing a season split against Michigan, sweeping their other two regular season games (at Penn State, vs, Minnesota), and a deep run in the Big 10 Tournament should get them a good at-large bid (9 to 12 seed, maybe).
Maryland-Baltimore County (10-4 America East, 18-11 overall) The Terriers were the first #16 seed to beat a #1 seed in NCAA Men’s Tournament history. They’re third in the AE but have already swept league leading Vermont and have a home win against Stony Brook, so they should not fear them come AE tournament time.
Towson (6-10 Colonial, 10-19 overall). The Tigers do compete, to their credit. They were swept by league-leading Hofstra and split with Northeastern, and lost at home to Charleston. There is nothing to suggest that they will be an easy out in the conference tournament, but unless the Tigers find an extra gear, they will be an out nonetheless.
Coppin State (6-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic, 6-22 overall). The Eagles have become a tougher out as the season has progressed. They had a tough loss at Notre Dame just before the New year, and pulled off an away win at second place North Carolina Central. If Coppin State gets a few bounces going their way, the may be able to steal a march on some of the MEAC’s betters. However, they are 3-15 on the road for a reason. They haven’t been able to finish all year, and that may nor change during the conference tournament.
Morgan State (3-9 MEAC, 8-17 overall). Lost a thriller at home to Norfolk State, but that’s their fifth straight loss. The Bears are trending in the wrong direction thought you could say the same thing about them as I did Coppin. Sorry, no.
Maryland-Eastern Shore (3-11 MEAC, 5-24 overall). Just playing for the love of the game at this point.
Mount St. Mary’s (3-11 Northeast, 8-21 overall). A home win against third place Robert Morris…so? There’s a reason they’re tied for last in the conference.
Loyola University Maryland (6-10 Patriot, 10-19 overall). The Greyhounds lead a logjam of 6-10 teams behind another logjam of 7-8 teams. That being said, there is nothing to suggest that LU will finish any higher than seventh, maybe win a their play in game, then go down fighting in the Patriot quarterfinals. And as much as this old Marine will be “Go Navy! Beat Army!” the Midshipmen (6-10 Patriot, 9-18 overall) are riding the same boat as the Greyhounds.
To paraphrase an old but somewhat recent commercial, there’s not a lot of March Madness, but plenty of March Sadness.
To brighten up the mood, my Songs of the Day come from Swing Out Sister.
First is the defiantly happy “Breakout,” followed by the double cover of “Am I the Same Girl?” Lead singer Corrine Drewery was so much fun in the video for “Breakout,” and helped revive the 1968 song by Barbra Acklin (“Am I…?”) while her bandmates set a good foundation for Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Soulful Strut,” which backs up Drewery’s excellent vocals.
Is Barbara the same girl? Is it the same song? Should I stop jamming out to care?
Back at it tomorrow…