Terps In Search Of Better Mental Approach
Prior to Saturday's game against North Carolina, senior forward Dave Neal relayed something Gary Williams had told the Terps during practice that week: "We are one of the luckiest teams in the country," Neal said.
The reason, presumably, was that Maryland has in front of it several remaining opportunities to prove themselves in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee. The Terps already made a mark Saturday by defeating the Tar Heels. Tonight, they host No. 7 Duke. Next Tuesday, they host No. 13 Wake Forest.
"It's not a regular game, but it's a game that will help us to be in a better position in terms of the tournament, getting into the tournament," junior guard Greivis Vasquez said yesterday about tonight's matchup against the Blue Devils. "Obviously, we got to payback and let them know that we played a horrible game when we played them at their place."
Williams and the Terps have tried hard to forget the last time these two teams met. Duke smothered Maryland from the opening tip and came away with a 41-point victory.
But given the chance to play a team a second time this season, Maryland has demonstrated marked improvements. After blowing a sizable second-half lead and losing at Miami, the Terps responded with a win over the Hurricanes at Comcast Center. After giving up 108 points in a loss at North Carolina, the Terps got a crucial win at home over the Tar Heels a few weeks later.
Yesterday, Williams was asked what, specifically, Maryland needed to do to show the same improvement during round two against Duke.
"Specifically, I'm not getting into any specifics," he said. "I think we have a mental approach to this game where we feel we can be very competitive and I think that's the key going out there, and in terms of what offenses or defenses you use, you know, that's something that we do as a team and that's not for anybody else. But just the mental approach, we have to be a lot stronger than we were in the first game."
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