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March Madness: 100 games, 86 teams later

One writer who wasn’t left loopy from months of college hoops

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St. John’s God’sgift Achiuwa

When your boss tells you to keep doing what you’re doing, well, you keep doing it.

In this case, it meant continuing to cover college basketball games. There were an even 100 of them in the soon-ending season, to be precise.

It started with an overtime thriller in Fairfax on Nov. 11. It ended with an NCAA tournament round-of-32 doubleheader in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month.

In between, there was more basketball than a person with a remotely balanced life could handle and a total of 86 teams witnessed in person. That’s exactly a quarter of the 344-school Division I membership.

There was plenty of Maryland, of course. That meant plenty of Terrell Stoglin, usually with plenty of well-intended if not always wise shots hoisted along the way. The list includes all but four of the Terrapins’ 32 games, their three in Puerto Rico, as well as their home finale against Virginia.

Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin

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Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin more >

The CAA tournament beckoned that day. But maybe it shouldn’t. Both Drexel and Virginia Commonwealth led their semifinals from the first basket, with the latter uncorking a 22-0 run on George Mason that served as one of the most blistering stretches seen all year — by anyone, anywhere.

There actually were two games in the mix where a media credential was not involved. One was a Jan. 21 showdown at the Palestra between Penn and Saint Joseph’s. The other was a March 14 College Basketball Invitational meeting between Pittsburgh and Wofford.

Note for future reference: Friends don’t let friends go to CBI games. Apparently, 1,448 others didn’t get the memo beforehand, either.

The last game of the season for Maryland was in the mix. Same goes for Georgetown, George Mason, Loyola and Towson, as well as others seen at the ACC, CAA and NCAA tournaments.

There was a triple-double (Michigan State’s Draymond Green against Long Island on March 16). There was an ejection (Maryland’s Mark Turgeon at Miami on Feb. 1). There were parts of a pair of long losing streaks, one that mercifully ended (Towson) and another that lives into next season (Navy’s 22-game skid).

There was a buzzer-beater, thanks to George Mason’s Sherrod Wright, in arguably the most memorable game of the 100. Wright’s 25-footer sunk Virginia Commonwealth, 62-61, on Feb. 14.

There was an eventual Final Four team, but just one. That came deep in the night March 15, when Ohio State slogged its way through a defeat of Loyola.

And, of course, there was Karl Hess. Even without an ACC tournament appearance, the season-long journey crossed paths with the referee with a knack for making headlines eight times in addition to an exhibition game. Where in the world is Karl Hess? Plenty of times it was within visual range this season.

There was a chance to see guys named Humpty and Staats and Orion and God’sgift. The most explosive performance of all came from Jamal Wilson, who came close to tripling his career-high with 38 points on the first night of the season; he was dismissed from Rhode Island’s team by the end of December.

Without a trip to New Orleans on the horizon this weekend, that’s a wrap on this season. Guess it’s time to find something new. That’s what happens when the time finally comes when it’s impossible to keep doing what you’re doing. At least for seven months and change, anyway.

About the Author

Patrick Stevens

Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at 64plus4@gmail.com.

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