Trip Down Memory Lane
The last time Gary Williams led a Maryland squad into the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, he left with a national championship trophy in tow. In 2002, the Final Four was held at the Georgia Dome, where Williams and a squad of once-unheralded players cut down the nets after defeating Indiana in the title game.
"Yeah," Williams said yesterday, "I think about that once in a while."
Today, Williams and the Terrapins return to the Georgia Dome for the first time since then. They'll take part in a brief practice this afternoon in anticipation of tomorrow night's ACC tournament first round match-up against N.C. State.
While nearly all of Williams's focus from now until about 9 p.m. (or whenever the game concludes) tomorrow night will be on trying to beat the Wolfpack, yesterday allowed for a brief moment of nostalgia.
"It was funny; we went in there with the idea of just that we were playing well. We didn't play great," Williams said of the 2002 title team. "But we just played our game, and I think that's the key to any tournament. The ACC tournament, the NCAA tournament, just play. If you're a good team and you play well, then usually that's good enough. Very few teams play, you know, a great game in a pressure game situation. So you want to play. You just want to play your game."
For this year's Maryland bunch, a crucial component to playing well against N.C. State -- and any other opponent the Terrapins face the rest of the postseason -- will be improving its offensive sets against zone defenses. It's been a topic of much discussion in College Park of late, among players, coaches and observers, alike.
The Terps know they've been exposed in recent outings against Wake Forest and Virginia as a team that struggles against a zone defense. They know opponents, such as N.C. State, will see that on tape and try to exploit it against Maryland. They say they've been addressing it in practice and expect to perform better as a result, starting Thursday night. We'll look at this in more detail later today.
But as far as competing in the Georgia Dome goes, Williams said it won't bring a flood of warm memories rushing back to him. Those sensations, it seems, are not confined to a particular location.
"I don't have to go back there to have memories of that," Williams said. "I'm able to do that driving my car."
Posted by: petecard | March 11, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse
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