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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hokie Hi, Retriever low

There are some inconvenient truths in the world of college sports. For example, if you play in the America East conference, you can reasonably expect to lose to an ACC team in college basketball. Those odds increase astronomically if your team is 1-9 and your opponent is 9-1. But I can’t say I expected to catch quite the whooping I witnessed live and in person as UMBC played Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the Hokies prevailed, 71-34..

While I'm sure it's not a stat that's kept anywhere, allow me to note one that I think is fairly telling about the game as a whole: It was with 2:41 remaining in the first half that UMBC's offense finally broke into double digits. We were extremely turnover-prone and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Surprisingly enough, though, our defense wasn't too bad, all things considered, but giving them the ball for myriad opportunities certainly didn't do us any favors in that regard. By the end of the game I was hoping we'd either break 30 or break records for our performance--at least then I could say I was there when...

I can't speak much to the Virginia Tech experience, although I wouldn't mind going back. Before making the trip, I talked to a high school friend of mine who is an alum to find out where to grab a bite to eat when I got to town. He recommended several places, and I went to a Champs Sports Bar on Main Street, half expecting to rub elbows with the Hokie faithful and take some good-natured ribbing for being in black and gold. Instead, we arrived around peak dinner time and were the only patrons in the whole place. The food was delicious and it seemed like it would be a hopping establishment, but of course it's three days before Christmas.

The Cassell Coliseum is about half the size of the Dean Dome, and from what I can tell (from my vantage point in the very last row) there's not a bad seat in the house. Again, I can't really judge the audience based on the timing. But I was disappointed that there were no pep band, dance team, or cheerleaders present. I recognize the timing, but even UMBC was able to pull together the key players for the games over break. I know--I was the one on the road from Wilmington to Baltimore on many a December or January evening.

All in all, I think if there's anything we can take away from this game, it's that you can't take anything away from this game. It was horrendous on UMBC's part, but I think, despite our current record, this was truly a fluke on the part of the Dawgs. Here's hoping they pick it up when they get into conference play.
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