The Chatter

Terps Gear Up for Big 10 Tournament, March Madness

And other tops news from local sports this week.

By Corey McLaughlin | March 10, 2017, 11:09 am

-Courtesy of Instagram
The Chatter

Terps Gear Up for Big 10 Tournament, March Madness

And other tops news from local sports this week.

By Corey McLaughlin | March 10, 2017, 11:09 am

-Courtesy of Instagram

Terps get in early on March Madness.
How many times has Melo Trimble watched video of the shot? “A bunch,” the Maryland junior point guard said when asked about it Wednesday.

Can you blame him? The buzzer-beating, game-winning three-pointer he sank on Saturday against Michigan State sent the home Xfinity Center crowd into a frenzy—and set off a Mark Turgeon dance-infused locker room celebration. As far as the Maryland head coach is concerned, Trimble’s late-game moment hopefully set the stage for an equally exciting next few weeks, starting with the Terps’ Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game against Northwestern at 9 tonight at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

“It was a feel-good, fun day for all of us,” Turgeon said, “and hopefully that sticks with us.”

It also was an early taste of March Madness, the annual bracket-busting rite of (almost) spring that captivates sports fans and casual observers alike. The 68-team tournament gets going Thursday, so make your office pool picks by then. Do as much or as little research as you’d like, because as Trimble, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound 22-year-old from Upper Marlboro, even said this week, “Once you get into tournament time, anything can happen.” It’s theatre—on TV. In many cases, certain results, major upsets and heart-thumping plays can seem unpredictable, and leave viewers buzzing and asking questions. (Like, perhaps, James Corden wondering about how to actually pronounce Mary-land.)

This weekend’s Big Ten tournament in D.C. (arranged as part of the deal when Maryland left the ACC to join the Midwest-based conference), is a warm-up of sorts to this month’s big dance, but nonetheless important. The Terps, with a 24-7 record before Friday, will be in the NCAA tournament. They’ll look to keep their mojo going in front of what should be a partisan pro-Maryland crowd. If they win tonight, the Terps would play in the semifinals Saturday afternoon, and the final is at 3 p.m. Sunday.

All games are at the Verizon Center, where earlier this season Maryland won a crazy game against Georgetown in the final minutes. “That felt like a home game in their own building,” freshman Kevin Huerter said of Georgetown’s home arena. “[This] should be a really good atmosphere and we’re excited for it.”

Is Kevin Gausman the new O’s new ace?
In recent seasons, the Orioles have perpetually been “one or two pitchers away” from having a team that would be favored to win the American League East, instead of one pegged by some to finish last. “Who’s the ace?” has always been a question, and it’s relevant again now with spring training underway.

Chris Tillman (shoulder) is not 100-percent healthy and is already said to not be starting on Opening Day. That leaves an opening for . . . somebody. And that person could be Kevin Gausman, the 26-year-old right-hander entering his fifth year with the O’s.

In a Tuesday scrimmage against a Dominican Republic team that’s playing in this week’s World Baseball Classic—a roster that included his teammate Manny Machado and many other All-Stars—Gausman allowed just one hit in three innings at the O’s spring facility in Sarasota, Florida. He even got Machado, strangely playing against his own major league team (which he wrote about here), to ground out in the first inning. It was a bragging rights-type feat that Gausman said he’d kindly remind the O’s third baseman about during the season.

We don’t think it will bother Machado much, not when he’s still making plays like this one he made Thursday night.

Steve Smith, real news reporter.
It was a busy week of NFL news, with free agency underway and players moving to and from many teams. Go figure who was right in the middle of the reporting: former Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. Recently retired, Smith is now working for NFL Network as an analyst—and he’s gone ahead and started to break news.

Like anyone in the media, he’s put his relationships to work, and quickly, first reporting on Tuesday that the San Francisco 49ers were releasing his former Ravens teammate Torrey Smith, and following up Wednesday with the scoop that the Ravens were letting go pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil.

Smith even got a shout out from one of the biggest NFL insiders, ESPN’s Adam Schefter, for the first nugget of news, but not the second. Maybe he now considers Smith competition.

West Baltimore’s world champion boxer Gervonta Davis to fight next in London.
We’ve been following Gervonta Davis’ story for a little while now. The Sandtown native was brought up at Upton Boxing Gym on Pennsylvania Avenue and just two months ago the 22-year-old won the IBF junior lightweight (130-pound) title, beating Puerto Rico’s Jose Pedraza at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to become Baltimore’s fourth-ever world champion boxer. Up next for Davis (17-0 with 16 knockouts) is a title defense fight on May 20 in London against British challenger Liam Walsh (21-0 with 14 knockouts). Davis was across the pond this week, with his promoter Floyd Mayweather, for the official fight announcement.

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