Allegany Communications Sports

It’s ACIT time. Again. Finally! Whew, did we miss you!

Doing a little this, that and the other here today, before we hit the ACIT running, but we’ll just start today with this reminder …

ACIT: Paul VI, the top team in the Washington, D.C. area, champions of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA), as well as three teams from the top conference in the country, make their return to the 60th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament March 10-12 at Bobcat Arena on the campus of Frostburg State University after the tournament’s two-year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus.

Paul VI, ranked No. 22 in the country last week by USA Today, will vie for the crown along with fellow WCAC members McNamara, DeMatha Catholic and Gonzaga.

The first ACIT game in three years, Thursday, March 10, 4 p.m., will feature St. Frances (33-7) and Bishop McNamara (21-4) of Forestville, runner-up of the WCAC. At 5:45 p.m., DeMatha Catholic (18-7) of Hyattsville, the reigning ACIT champion (2019) and 25-time tournament champion, will take on host school Bishop Walsh School of Cumberland, the Spartans (7-12) having finished their first season in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference.

In Game 3, 7:30 p.m., the No. 25 team in the country, according to USA Today, Long Island Lutheran (18-5) of Glen Head, N.Y., makes New York’s first ACIT appearance since 1977 when it takes on seven-time ACIT champion Gonzaga (18-9) of Washington and the WCAC. The final game of the opening night, scheduled to tip off at 9:15 p.m., will pit the Baltimore Catholic League champion Gaels of Mount St. Joseph (31-5) and former ACIT champion Paul VI (29-4) of Chantilly, Va., the WCAC champion.

Following ACIT first-round games on Thursday, March 10, championship and consolation semifinals will be Friday, March 11 starting at 4 p.m. On Championship Saturday, March 12, games begin at 3 p.m.

Tickets each day are $10 for adults and $8 for students and will be available at the door of Bobcat Arena. All games will be broadcast on Magic 100.5-FM and online at cumberlandsmagic.com.

CAPTAIN LOUIS RENAULT: Both #NFLTheTVShow and Major League Baseball, as corporate entities, are now so far into bed financially with casinos and sports betting services that they don’t even know they have toes. I don’t know … Maybe they don’t.

For instance, the NFL announced last April, “The NFL today announced its first-ever U.S. sports book partnerships as Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel have reached agreements to become Official Sports Betting Partners of the NFL.”

Just proud as punch, right? Yet when Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, while inactive as a player at the time, is outed for placing a bet on the NFL, using the same services that flood millions to the league, #NFLTheTVShow is “Shocked, SHOCKED to find that gambling is going on in here.”

What did they expect? They want you and me to do it, because it’s now legal (which, of course, takes the fun out of it), and it is a corporate partner; but it’s a heinous crime when one of their employees does it? These people are cretins from Mars (Neil Simon, “The Goodbye Girl”). You wonder why I don’t take it seriously?

The same thing is going to happen to MLB … If they ever let the players actually play again.

Ah, you say: Pete Rose! Yes, Pete Rose. But Pete Rose was and for the moment is a different matter. He received and is receiving what he deserved; what he earned. Although, the more MLB and The Weasel Manfred continue to cuddle corporately with gambling, that could and should change.

As the one and only Dick Bittner once said, “It is not good.”

MARYLAND: The Terps were down by 20 to Michigan State right out of the chute on Sunday. But, as we felt they would, they battled back (to their credit, they do not quit) and cut Sparty’s lead down to four, before eventually losing by 10.

Thus, this poor little team that never had a chance missed out on finishing the regular season with a winning record, which is understandable, particularly as you watched Michigan State storm to the big lead that Maryland was unable to overcome.

This year’s Spartans have their flaws, to be certain, more than a Michigan State team normally has. Yet you saw on Sunday that this is still a top-tier college basketball program that has players in it who can do things on the court that Maryland players are unable to do anywhere other than, perhaps, in their dreams.

That’s not a knock on Maryland’s players; these guys have fought and battled every game this season. For Terps fans, there’s a lot to be proud of there. But Sunday’s game was an out-in-the-open view on national television of how former Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, who quit on this team eight games into this season, failed to actively recruit for at least the last two seasons.

The difference between the teams was that striking. And it shouldn’t be.

The Maryland decision-makers need to make this right, unless they want to continue to throw their good Big Ten money after all of the bad Big Ten money they’ve already blown.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected] and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT