Late charging Terps hit AP Top 25

January 17, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- For the first time in more than eight years, the University of Maryland men's basketball team has been nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll of writers and broadcasters.

With a late charge similar to the one they made last Saturday at Wake Forest, the Terrapins climbed into the final spot in the Top 25 early this morning by knocking out one of coach Gary Williams' former employers.

Maryland (10-3) slipped past Boston College to become the fourth Atlantic Coast Conference school ranked. But while being in the Top 25 is familiar territory at North Carolina, Duke and Georgia Tech, it is far from that around here.

After starting the 1985-86 season at 19th in what was then a Top 20 poll, the Terps reached No. 17 before losing to Ohio State -- a future employer of Williams' at the time on Nov. 30, 1985. Little did anyone know that Maryland would fall into oblivion.

Though they made the NCAA Tournament in 1988 and the NIT in 1990 -- Williams first season -- the shackles of a three-year NCAA probation and a two-year tournament ban eventually wore down the Terps, who had losing records in each of the last years.

Call it going from being rank to being ranked.

"What happens here is that after awhile, the people around school develop a negative attitude -- you can't compete with the North Carolinas and Dukes," Williams said today. "The players start thinking that too. You had to get it through their heads that we could. There were some times we couldn't. But I think this shows we can."

Said athletic director Andy Geiger, "The ranking is nice, but I'm really excited about the process. We're well coached. The team plays extremely hard. Getting ranked is

another step, but the goals here are higher."

There were some who thought that the Terps would get ranked earlier this season, after opening with an 84-83 overtime upset of then 15th-ranked Georgetown. They got close, but an 88-85 defeat at Oklahoma kept them out, and they fell to as low as 58th among the vote-getters as recently as three weeks ago.

But a 91-88 upset of then 12th-ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta Jan. 4 started Maryland on its long climb back. That victory, and a five-point loss to then second-ranked North Carolina at home four days later, brought the Terps up to 28th. Then came last week's victories over Florida State and the Demon Deacons, who were coming off an upset of then No. 2 Duke in Durham.

"When you haven't been up there in a while, it's hard (to be ranked)," said Williams, who becomes one of a handful of Division I coaches to have their teams ranked at three different schools. "Hopefully, it's a way to tell your players that they can do it, that when you work hard good things can happen."

AP POLL

The top 25 teams in The Associated Press college basketball poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Jan. 16, total points and previous rankings:

-- -- -- -- -- -- Record -- -- -- Pts -- -- -- -- Pvs

1. Kansas (29) -- -- 16-1 -- -- -- 1,552 -- -- -- 3

2. UCLA (26) -- -- -- 11-0 -- -- -- 1,514 -- -- -- 5

3. Arkansas (3) -- -- 12-1 -- -- -- 1,458 -- -- -- 4

4. UNC (1) -- -- -- 13-2 -- -- -- 1,425 -- -- -- 1

5. Duke (2) -- -- -- 11-1 -- -- -- 1,393 -- -- -- 2

6. UMass (4) -- -- -- 13-1 -- -- -- 1,360 -- -- -- 7

7. Kentucky -- -- -- 13-2 -- -- -- 1,226 -- -- -- 8

8. Indiana -- -- -- 10-2 -- -- -- 1,160 -- -- -- 11

9. Arizona -- -- -- 13-2 -- -- -- 1,050 -- -- -- 6

10. Connecticut -- -- -- 14-1 -- -- -- 949 -- -- 14

11. Temple -- -- -- 9-2 -- -- -- -- 917 -- -- -- 13

12. Purdue -- -- -- 14-1 -- -- -- 879 -- -- -- -- 9

13. Louisville -- -- -- 12-2 -- -- 843 -- -- -- 15

14. Wisconsin -- -- -- 12-1 -- -- -- 788 -- -- -- 12

15. Michigan -- -- -- 11-3 -- -- -- 787 -- -- -- 10

16. Syracuse -- -- -- 10-2 -- -- -- 536 -- -- -- 16

17. Georgia Tech -- -- -- 10-4 -- -- 524 -- -- -- 18

18. Ala.-Birm. -- -- -- 13-1 -- -- -- 413 -- -- -- 22

19. Cincinnati -- -- -- 12-3 -- -- -- 384 -- -- -- 20

20. Minnesota -- -- -- 11-4 -- -- -- -- 318 -- -- -- 17

21. California -- -- -- 10-3 -- -- -- 316 -- -- -- 19

22. Xavier, Ohio -- -- -- 11-1 -- -- -- 256 -- -- -- 25

23. Saint Louis -- -- -- 14-0 -- -- -- 254 -- -- --

24. West Virginia -- -- -- 10-2 -- -- -- 172 -- -- 23

25. Maryland -- -- -- -- 10-3 -- -- -- -- 130 -- --

Others receiving votes: Boston College 124, Oklahoma St. 74, Florida 66, Illinois 56, New Mexico St. 43, Missouri 42, Nebraska 21, Marquette 20, Mississippi St. 14, LSU 11, Virginia 9, W. Kentucky 7, Michigan St. 5, Penn 5, Seton Hall 4, Alabama 3, DePaul 3, New Orleans 3, Wake Forest 3, George Washington 2, Providence 2, Tn.-Chattanooga 2, Vanderbilt 2.

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