The Washington Times - December 6, 2009, 11:14AM

D1SCOURSE HEADQUARTERS, GLEN BURNIE – You may wonder why that ridiculously long and fairly needless dateline (topped in ridiculousness only by a missive from the Clara Barton Service Area along the New Jersey Turnpike earlier this year) is sitting in this entry.

Well, before getting to the info at hand, I just thought it would be nice to provide a little lesson in how newspapers work (or are supposed to work), since I know some loyal readers have an interest in such things.

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Basically, datelines indicate, at the very least, where a writer did much of his reporting for a particular story. It doesn’t always mean the writing occurred there. But it does suggest there was active participation in securing the information used to produce an article in the town or city or area listed in the dateline.

(According to the Associated Press style guide, “a dateline should tell the reader that the AP obtained the basic information for the story in the datelined city.” That would seem to match up closely with my definition.)

So, in short, it would be wrong for me to put a “College Park” or “Annapolis” or “Vatican City” dateline on this entry, since I collected the information and did the writing from the comfort of my living room. Just so you know.

Now that that this tutorial from Journalism 101 is concluded, it’s time to get to the task at hand, which is looking at how Maryland’s done against ranked teams in the BB&T Classic.

Why is this relevant? Well, the Terps are playing No. 3 Villanova this evening in the event at Verizon Center, and there’s a 14-year history to fall back on to see how Maryland has done in the tournament in that stretch.

Needless to say, there’s some interesting games here, including:

1995: No. 5 Massachusetts 50, No. 19 Maryland 47

1997: No. 23 Maryland 86, No. 2 Kansas 83

1998: No. 2 Maryland 62, No. 5 Stanford 60

1999: No. 24 Maryland 69, No. 16 Illinois 67

2003: No. 17 Gonzaga 82, No. 25 Maryland 68

2005: No. 19 George Washington 78, No. 17 Maryland 70

And that’s it. Maryland is 3-3 against ranked teams in the event, and 15-9 overall since the tournament began in 1995.

What’s intriguing is this will be the first time Maryland plays a ranked opponent as an unranked team in the BB&T.

In short, the Terps have been underdogs at Verizon Center – at least based on the polls – before, but probably not to the degree it will be perceived to be tonight.

Patrick Stevens