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Tom Penders vs. Maryland

(1998 photo by Michael Williamson - TWP)

If you're a George Washington fan -- the few, the proud -- this first round Maryland vs. Tom Penders matchup has to just about melt your brain. My sense is that GW fans despise Maryland more than any school except Georgetown, certainly more than longtime Atlantic 10 rivals Saint Louis and Charlotte, for example. And yet Tom Penders and his several scandals wrecked a fine period of GW basketball last decade; he doesn't have too many fans in Foggy Bottom. Root for a double disqualification, I suppose.

In any case, as the great Patrick Stevens noted, this will be the third match-up between Penders and Gary Williams, two coaches with 600+ wins and longevity rivaling that of Eric Maynor.

And it will be the second NCAA tournament meeting between the two; the first came in the second round of the 1995 event, when third-seeded Maryland stopped 11th-seeded Texas to advance to the Sweet 16. There were plenty of notable nuggets from that game; Gary Williams had spent the previous week in the hospital with pneumonia, current Terps assistant Keith Booth had a double-double, and Joe Smith tied Len Bias's school record for most points in an NCAA tourney game.

"Rasheed Wallace doesn't stop him, Tim Duncan doesn't stop him -- how can we?" Penders said about Smith after the game.

Here's Mike Wilbon, writing about a game that featured "nasty, nasty defense" by the Terps, in his words:

Against a smallish Texas team that has no real interior defense and goes up and down the court so much that one-on-one matchups are inevitable, Saturday's NCAA tournament West Region second-round game was as good a time as any for the Maryland Terrapins to throw it to Joe Smith. Particularly since he was upset with himself after a nine-point, on-the-bench-with-four-fouls performance in a first-round game. The result of throwing it to Smith was 31 points, 21 rebounds, 7 blocked shots and 4 steals for the first-team all-American, who said afterward, "I wanted to show the people of Utah what I'm made of."

That would be 24-karat gold, we conclude. The best NCAA tournament performance by an individual in Maryland basketball history shoved the Terrapins another several hundred miles west, to Oakland, Calif., where they will meet Connecticut on Thursday evening in the Oh So Sweet 16.

Maybe there's no No. 1 overall pick in this particular game, but I'm sure there's at least one Terp who'd like to show the people of Spokane what he's made of.

As for Penders and Williams, the coaches also met in consecutive BB&T title games, back when the BB&T had a title game. GW and Maryland split those meetings.

"I thought George Washington really outworked us," Williams said after the Colonials won the 1999 game. "You could tell in the loose ball situations and the way we turned the ball over early."

"I believe our kids showed this weekend they can compete with anybody in the top 25," Penders said after the Terps beat GW in 2000.

Anyhow, one of them will lose again this week, which will at least give the GW folks something to smile about.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 14, 2010; 8:44 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball , Terps  
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I must be a weird GW fan - I have always cheered for MD by afar (unless they were playing GW). But you are spot on about G'town - actively root against them.

But interesting game for me since I now live in Houston - will again be the only person at the bar rooting for a particular team since I will be cheering for MD.

Posted by: suzannepdc | March 14, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember Attila Cosby playing under Penders at GW? If you do, you must root hard for the Terps. (Yes, I'm a GW alum.)

Posted by: wolfelief | March 14, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Any particular history or reason why GW hates Maryland?

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | March 15, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Suzannepdc -

i was at MD in the mid-1980s and am STILL a fan of the the Hoyas. We had Bias & Branch; they had Ewing, Reggie Williams, Wingate and played in three NCs and esstablished Hoya Paranoia. Most folks at MD at the time were following Gtown as well. Rooted for GW as well when they were winning a few years back. No animosity towards any of the loacal schools here. The enemy is and will always be UVA (which is really not local as it is located in a 3rd world country with monuments to terrorists like Jefferson Davis and Robt. E. Lee). Don't get animosity among the local schools. I don't think either of us are weird, just perhaps a lot less vocal than others.

I completely get GW and JT3 (and JT2) not being the best of friends though.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | March 15, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

You have it all wrong, Georgetown takes top billing on the most disliked by GW students.

Posted by: amandadeegan | March 15, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the post-season nod to GW, Dan, but the tongue-in-cheek reference to "long-time" rivals St. Louis and Charlotte was a bit gratuitous. Granted the past few seasons don't add much fuel to the rivalry, but GW-X and GW-Richmond are a bit longer-standing rivalries within the A-10. Sometimes UMASS too.

Posted by: JohnRiedel | March 15, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Why would GW fans hate MD? Inferiority complex? Maybe just me but I always root for the local teams. I enjoyed some of those good GW teams from the early to mid 90s. Yinka Dare was great. R.I.P.

As for Friday night, I wouldn't get my hopes up Penders fans. MD will be ready after the loss in the ACC tourney.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Did my time in FoBo in the mid-'90s; never cared all that much for the Terps but certainly didn't hate them either. That is the attitude I recall prevailing on campus. Maybe times have changed, but Georgetown always drew the hate and always will. Within the A-10 our ire was reserved mostly for Temple, UMass, Xavier -- and Virginia Tech (due to their short-lived stint in the A-10 around that time). So I'm fine with Maryland beating Penders down. The man was a complete embarrassment to GW, and seeing his grinning mug on the selection show was intensely irritating ...

Posted by: gmg22 | March 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

What's this about GW fans hating Maryland? It's the first I've ever heard that, and I know a few people who go/went to GWU.

I'm first and foremost 101% Maryland Terp, but I usually root for local teams (when they're not playing MD), especially crosstown rival G'town. I watched every G'town game in the Big East Champ., and felt heartbroken when they lost the final. The biggest match of the tourney (locally) will happen if Maryland upsets Kansas and Gtown beats OSU so they can meet in the Elite 8.

I also followed the progress of every D1 basketball team in MD and DC last week to see if they could snag a bid. Alas, Morgan State (in addition to G'town and UMD) was the only other school to get one, which was sort of expected.

The only "local" school I hate is UVA in Methtown in the Confederacy, and at 2+ hours away isn't "local," but the confused media thinks it and 5-hrs-away VT (which I don't hate) are local. The only true local school on that side of the Potomac is GMU, which I'm totally indifferent about (except when they upset UMD in soccer) and don't follow at all.

Oh yeah, I'm also a UCONN fan since my family is from there, and my mom is an alumni. Anyway...


Posted by: TheMarylander | March 15, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

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