ANNAPOLIS- March Madness has settled into the Statehouse sort of. With the University of Maryland preparing for a showdown with St. John’s Thursday night in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament round of 16, many delegates and senators said they will make time to watch the Terps. Others said they are too busy.
Maryland tips off with St. John’s around 7:30 p.m. on CBS. The Terps defeated Valparaiso University in Indiana and Creighton University in Nebraska to reach the Sweet 16.
“I have a Democratic National Committee meeting on Thursday evening, but I plan to excuse myself around 7 p.m. so I can watch the game with my wife and kids,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Prince George’s, a Maryland alum.
Sen. Paul G. Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, represents College Park and is an avid Terps fan, his secretary said. “I’m sure he’ll catch the game if he possibly can.”
But while Delegate Virginia P. Claggett, D-Anne Arundel, has been wearing her Terps pin regularly, she won’t be able to watch.
And a secretary for Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, D- Charles, said that with the capital budget under review, he does not have time for dinner, much less basketball.
Speaker of the House Casper R. Taylor, D-Allegany, said he has no plans to watch the Terps.
Their bosses may be busy, but Statehouse staffers say they won’t be following their example. Terps stickers and pins dotted desks throughout Annapolis. And some of the policy wonks said they have heard rumors that Assembly members will bring televisions into the office so as not to miss any of the action.
There are a few heathens – touting another team in the bracket – lurking in the Capitol, but none would go on record against the Terps.
Sen. John J. Hafer, R-Allegany, said he has to be careful rooting for Maryland, because his wife went to North Carolina. One time, when she was out of town, he wore a “Go Terps” tie. Had she been there he wouldn’t have been so bold.
“It’s a friendly rivalry,” he said.
Other members of the General Assembly are not basketball fans, but said this game is too big to miss.
“I don’t watch a lot of basketball games,” said Delegate Elizabeth Bobo, D-Howard.
“It’s the one that doesn’t have pointy ends,” teased her husband, Lloyd, who was sitting in her office.
“But seriously, this game might be interesting enough to pull me in,” said Bobo, a Maryland graduate.
Her response was fairly typical. Many legislators laughed at the idea of themselves as basketball fans and related stories to demonstrate their lack of sports knowledge.
Bobo, for example, said her husband used to ask her to watch games with him, until she turned on the Major League Baseball All-Star game and asked why Orioles players were playing in it.
“After that, he said, `Honey , that’s OK, you don’t have to watch anymore,'” she said.
Another delegate, Darren M. Swain, D-Prince George’s, said he is not a big college basketball fan but will watch the game if he has time. “I can be a Terps fan, especially when they’re winning,” he said with a laugh. “I think it’s a really good, exciting thing for the community right now, and I’m getting excited in that sense.”
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a one-time professor at Maryland, will definitely watch the game, though he has no special plans, a spokesman said.
Other Assembly members said that no matter how well Maryland does, they can’t get excited about basketball.
“Any basketball game coming on TV is a good excuse for me to take a nap,” said Delegate Shane E. Pendergrass, D- Howard. -30-