RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | MARYLAND INSIDER
RECORD: - REGION: South SEED: 6|
COACH: Gary Williams CONFERENCE: Big Ten
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
The Terps are experienced and deep with good guards
and solid interior players. Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas are veterans who
can handle, pass and score. Both are tough competitors. Tahj Holden,
Jamar Smith and Ryan Randle are good scorers and rebounders. Nik
Caner-Medley and John Gilchrist are very good freshmen. Maryland is capable
of beating anyone, but also capable of dropping a game they should win. The
keys will be Blake and Nicholas. When those two play well, Maryland is
tough to beat.
|Player to Watch|
Role hasn't changed much in 12 months: Guide Terps to promise land. Why should it. He helped the Terps to the title in 2002.
How They Got Here
The Terps may have been the defending national champions, but they were wobbly coming out of the gates -- dropping from a preseason ranking of No. 12 to No. 24 by late December.
To that point the Terps had played a tough overall schedule but hadn't beaten any of the toughest teams on it, losing to Indiana, Notre Dame and Florida, with George Washington their top victory. The rotation was starting to take shape, though, with freshman Nik Caner-Medley providing some energy at the small forward, complementing an otherwise all-senior lineup of Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas at guard and Ryan Randle and Tahj Holden in the post.
By mid-January the Terps were rolling, winning 10 of 11 games -- a streak that put to rest any ideas that Maryland would go from NCAA champion to NIT entrant. Among Maryland's victims in that time were Georgia Tech (back when a victory against Georgia Tech meant something), Duke, N.C. State and North Carolina.
At their apex, the Terps reached the No. 8 ranking in the country, and looked every bit of that in dismantling ACC leader Wake Forest 90-67 in one of the most impressive ACC games of the season. But, then in the ACC tournament, the Terps bowed out in the quarterfinals to UNC.
If possible, Maryland can look even better than last year (see: consecutive whippings of lower-tier ACC foes North Carolina and Clemson). Maryland beat those teams by a combined 79 points at the new Comcast Center, where the Terps look to be every bit as imposing as they were in their old home, Cole Field House.
What We Like
NCAA Tournaments are usually dominated by teams with experienced backcourts, and Maryland has experience -- and ability -- galore at guard.
Blake and Nicholas have played in every one of Maryland's 134 games and had helped the Terps go 101-33. Blake is one of the country's most underrated players, a guard who can score but only does it when he has to, while Nicholas has done a passable impersonation of inimitable Juan Dixon.
The Terps can start five seniors, with rugged Calvin McCall replacing Caner-Medley on the wing.
What We Don't Like
Maryland's defense has been awesome at times -- we should have mentioned it in the previous category -- but most of those times have been at the Comcast Center, where the Terps won't get any of their NCAA Tournament games.
Away from home, Maryland has been scorched for 80 points by Indiana, 79 by Notre Dame, 82 by George Washington, 81 by Wake Forest and 90 by Georgia Tech. That's a potentially bad sign considering the Terps ought to see a potent offense by the second round, at the latest.