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A more relaxed scene at Comcast Center this time around

A short while before the NCAA tournament selection show, senior forward Landon Milbourne and senior guard Eric Hayes discussed possible first round sites to which Maryland might get sent. The Terrapins already knew they were a lock to make the Field of 65. Tonight was simply about formalities, which is to say it was nothing like last season's Selection Sunday, when the Terrapins sweated it out until their name was called.

"I was just hoping that we didn’t go back to Buffalo," Milbourne said, referring to the first round site Maryland was sent to in 2007.

"Spokane was probably next in line to Buffalo," Hayes said of the first round sites to which he and Milbourne preferred not to get sent.

"I don’t know if where we’re going is any better, but, you know, we’re not really worried about place," Milbourne said. "We just got to make sure we advance and get some wins in this tournament."

The Terrapins (23-8) earned the No. 4 seed and will face No. 13-seed Houston (19-15), the winner of the Conference-USA tournament, on Friday in Spokane, Wash. Maryland's game likely will tip-off around 10 p.m. eastern time, as it will be played at the conclusion of the first round matchup between Michigan State and New Mexico State (7:20 p.m. EST).

Last season, Maryland advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament after defeating California in Round One. At that point, Hayes said, the Terrapins became complacent, as they had been happy just to have earned a bid in the first place. Maryland lost to Memphis in the second round.

"This year, you know, we’re more focused and we know we can do damage in the tournament and we can get far if we play as well as we can," Hayes said. "So I think just the mind-set may be a little different."

I'll put up a much more extensive post on Houston tomorrow, but for now, here's a primer:

  • The Cougars would not have made the NCAA tournament had they not upset Texas-El Paso in the Conference-USA title game.
  • By leading Houston to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 18 years, sixth-year Coach Tom Penders likely saved his job. Speculation lingered nearly all season that Penders's job was in jeopardy.
  • Cougars senior guard Aubrey Coleman led the nation in scoring, averaging 25.6 points per game. Coleman also ranked No. 7 in the nation in steals (2.7 spg).
  • It would appear Houston knows how to take pretty good care of the ball, which will make for an interesting matchup against Maryland's pressure defense. The Cougars ranked No. 1 in the country in turnover margin (+7.8) and only gave up an average of 9.1 turnovers per game, which ranked No. 2 in the country.
  • The Cougars aren't shy from three-point range. They attempted an average of 8.3 three-point field goals per game, which ranked No. 18 in the nation. They made 35.6 percent of those shots.
  • Houston's defense, by and large, has been pretty weak (74.6 ppg allowed), and the Cougars have not rebounded well at all (-8.1 rebounding margin).

By Steve Yanda  |  March 14, 2010; 9:53 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Maryland to play the late game Friday night
Next: Houston's Coleman an accurate shooter, stomper


The Terps better wear helmets for the game:

Posted by: McBride33 | March 14, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Maryland's draw is perfect in the sense that it will definitely mean something if they make the regionals. Defeating both a Penders team that won their conference tournament and (probably) an Izzo squad that was co-Big Ten champions would be a substantial accomplishment to go along with the ACC Co-championship. Difficult but doable.

It they accomplish that, personally, the memory of the result of the 2002 de facto NC game will take the sting out of what would likely follow. (Recently rewatched that one on the crack-for-basketball-junkies site with all the old tournament games.)

Next up: Revenge for the loss to Phi Slamma Jamma back in the day. (Said with great melodramatic intensity.) Oh those compelling storylines!)

Posted by: jake177 | March 15, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Jake -

You were the first to bring up the Phi Slamma Jamma game. Tough draw for MD - as four seeds go, theirs is the toughest road from what I can tell. Izzo in the second round? Ouch. Hope for the best.

I hope that MD fans represent in the stands on Friday. We're counting on you Poopy to be loud. After the too short performance in the ACC tourney this draw has me nervous.

The above said, what a great regular season for our guys. The Big 10 co champ vs. the ACC co champ.

When our team is firing on all cylinders, they can play with and beat anyone. Its in GV we trust, but we need the team to step up and deliver. Look for GW to sweat through his suits within the first 10 minutes of each game as he ratchets up the intensity. Beat Houston. Remember Phi Slamma Jamma.

I am officially taking this year off from filling out brackets so I can enjoy the tournament as it progresses. Aside from MD, I will root for the ACC generally speaking as well as Gtown to do well.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | March 15, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse


I thought Moses was supposed to make his descision Sunday night? Did he end up committing to Georgetown or Indiana? Is his committment still up in the air? Also can you please explain the part in your article about Gary not meeting with him? Is this something that you confirmed with the several sources including Gary?


Posted by: lavar609 | March 15, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

jake177 -- Do you have a web link for that crack-for-basketball-junkies web site? I couldn't find it via Google. Do you have to pay a fee to watch the games? I'd love to see UMD-KU from 2002 again, and for that matter UMD-UConn in the regional final.

Posted by: JamWhitt | March 15, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse


Check it out here. Just choose MD and the year.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 15, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, thanks!!!

Posted by: JamWhitt | March 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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