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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dawg Days of Near Spring

So if my activity here hasn't been enough testament to the fact, today was a big day for the Dawgs in both basketball and lacrosse. Let's start with the good news:

University of Maryland's Best Campus traveled to the University of Maryland's Rough Draft to battle in the state's official team sport. I'm not gonna lie, I was just a little trepidatious about this matchup. For one, the turtles wouldn't be happy facing the prospect of losing to little brother for the third year in a row, so I thought surely they'd bring it. For another, they were the #5 team in the country and much early talk spoke of the road to Foxborough running through College Park.

I had a few other fears that didn't pan out. Tales of Terrapin size were greatly exaggerated. I though surely Will Yeatman and the rest of the Terps attack would consume us with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse. With all the talk of their team size, I was expecting a size differential not unlike the NCAA tourney last year when UMBC matched up with Georgetown, but that's not what we were dealing with at all.

I ranted before about our team's black helmets, and I'll go on record again saying I'm not a big fan, though I like them a bit better on our away yellows than our home whites. This is the first UMBC game I've actually gotten to see on TV, but that combined with the pictures I've seen from the season leads me to believe they're here to stay. This wasn't the only new look for the Retrievers, however. In a move reminiscent of USF pulling veteran kicker Delbert Alvarado in favor of freshman Maikon Bonani, putting Justin Radebaugh in at the face-off X seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for our biggest weakness. He took 50% from the X, which is a good deal better than the 9 for 41 we had in the previous two contests, both losses. The prowess at the faceoff position was certainly a key factor to the third consecutive victory over the boys from College Park.

Let me take a moment to tell you how I took in both of today's games. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings in High Point, which was the plan for the lacrosse game before I even knew we were finals for basketball. This morning, I did the Stride 'n' Ride walk for the Muscular Dystrophy Assocation, and I headed off to B-Dubs after that. During the time the two games overlapped (B-ball started at 11, while lax started at noon) I was watching both games, playing trivia, and eating. It was a glorious sensory overload. Towards the end of that time, however, after the basketball game was over and I was still watching lacrosse, it was getting increasingly hard to keep a screen on the lax game. As I've mentioned before, college basketball is a religion in North Carolina, and with Carolina about to play, it was clearly blasphemy to worship a false idol like lacrosse. Luckily our waitress was looking out for us and I was able to keep it on one of the small TVs near us. And you know those commercials for B-Dubs where an entire restaurant full of people are going crazy for a televised game? That was definitely this place as Carolina was playing. I didn't stick around long enough to see the abject disappointment when they lost, though.

On to the basketball game that mattered to me. I had heard tell of the passionate fans at Binghamton, but I must say, they are who we thought they were--the whiteout was impressive, and the crowd looked extremely in it, even with no sound. Obviously, I wish I could have heard, if for no other reason than the Down and Dirty Dawg Band, but there's no doubt in my mind they represented well. And I think I saw a close-up of my bass drum head once before they headed to a commercial break. I've got the game on DVR; I'll have to go back and look.

I was all geared up for a Dawgs win, but I do have to admit we were on borrowed time. We had emerged from a 6 seed and were playing #1. But that didn't scare me, and I was ready for us to go in there and repre-damn-sent. We trailed all game and showed some intensity late, but the Bearcats were too much for us. Congrats, and represent the AE in the tourney. And of course, I'm a proud Dawg as always. GO BIG DAWGS!!
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