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Earning Some Praise

Gary Williams says he doesn't mind his team being underestimated by outside observers, and with the way the Terps have been playing under such circumstances, that's understandable.

But after last night's win over No. 5 Michigan State, the pendulum will begin to swing in the other direction. The Terps might not be considered world beaters quite yet, but they've definitely earned themselves more respect than they originally were afforded.

Later this afternoon, Maryland will take on No. 9 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are incredibly balanced on offense (six players average at least nine points per game) and rebound very efficiently. The Terps have another chance to prove their mettle against a top 10 opponent, not that early season rankings resonate much with Williams.

"In terms of underestimating us, that’s fine," Williams said following last night's victory. "We have to earn it just like everyone else does. But the poles early are interesting. They’re probably based on last year and what the expectations are. So until teams start to get good wins, you really can’t have a legitimate top 25, but this is certainly a statement for us."

For the record, Gonzaga finished last season 25-8 and in first place in the West Coast Conference. They were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Tenth-seeded Davidson. The Bulldogs are expected to be capable of reaching the Elite Eight of this year's tourney.

After last night's performance, what are your expectations for the Terps tonight against another high quality opponent? Who all sees Maryland pulling off a second upset in a row? And does anybody want to take the opposite view, that last night was merely a fluke?

I'll be back in a little while with some pregame notes. Until then, please discuss the Terps' newly-shaped outlook amongst yourselves.

By Steve Yanda  |  November 28, 2008; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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