Maryland-Houston: Notes from Spokane

March 18, 2010|By Jeff Barker | Baltimore Sun reporter

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Barker's latest notes on the Terps heading into tomorrow's NCAA tournament first-round game against Houston.

*I arrived in Spokane yesterday. Saw the Terps milling around the team hotel in their sweat suits. They looked only a little sleepy (it was about 8:30 in the evening in Spokane, which means 11:30 ET). I don't see jet lag being much of a factor in Friday night's opening-round NCAA tournament game against Houston. These are college kids, after all, and the effect is negligible. They are all about staying up late. Going the other direction -- west to east -- would be far more challenging. Just ask the Cal Bears football team that made that journey to College Park two seasons ago.

*The Terps have a media availability today beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then they have an "open practice" at 8:10 p.m. If the "open practice" is like the one at the ACC tournament, it will be basically a shootaround and dunking session. The real practices are closed and come far from the prying eyes of the media. We'll have a report after the media session.

*Baltimore police officer Dino Gregory Sr. received a number of kind offers yesterday to pay his air fare to Spokane so he can watch his son play Friday night. I don't know yet if he has accepted any of the offers, or if his shifts would allow him to get away. Either way, that was a kind response from Terps fans after I wrote a story on how he and some other team parents wouldn't be able to watch their sons play.

*Here some things to know about Spokane:

--Gonzaga is here (the school, not the team), The team is playing Florida State in Buffalo, N.Y.

--The city is in eastern Washington near the Idaho border and is a couple hour's drive from the Canadian border. It doesn't yet feel like spring here the way it did when I left Maryland.

--It still has the feel of an old western outpost. It has a rustic charm.

--I asked a Spokane resident on the plane where to eat, and she said her favorite restaurant was "Chili's." I did not take this as a positive sign. I do sense there are other options.

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