Duke, UM likely will be kept far apart in NCAA tourney

After today where will Maryland go? Not East


Acc Tournament

March 12, 2000|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After the NCAA tournament field is announced tonight, what travel plans will Maryland be making?

Participation in a school-record seventh straight tournament has long been a given for the Terps, who are ranked No. 20 in the nation and were No. 15 through Friday's games in replicas of the Rating Percentage Index. That's the strength of schedule-based formula the NCAA uses as a comparative tool during the selection process.

Duke, Maryland's foe in today's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship, is expected to be the No. 1 seed in the East Region, and open in nearby Winston-Salem, on Wake Forest's home court. The East champion will meet the South winner in the NCAA semifinals, so Maryland will probably end up in the other half of the draw.

The opening week sites in the Midwest are Cleveland and Minneapolis, and in the West they are Salt Lake City and Tucson, Ariz. The South's opening sites are Birmingham, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn.

Maryland was the No. 2 seed in the South last year, and No. 4 in the West two years ago. It was last in the Midwest Region in 1994.

With so many favorites falling in conference tournaments last week, Maryland might have locked up a No. 4 seed yesterday, when it scored its 12th win in its past 14 games. If the Terps beat Duke, their resume would probably warrant a No. 3 seed, but it might come too late for the NCAA to move them up in the bracket.

Mississippi State was a surprise Final Four participant in 1996, when it was given a No. 4 seed. The men's basketball selection committee said it merited a higher seed, but its Southeastern Conference tournament final victory over eventual national champion Kentucky came too late in the process.

Dry spell

It will be Maryland's first ACC tournament final since 1984. The last time Terps coach Gary Williams worked a conference tournament championship came in 1983, when he was in his first year at Boston College.

BC lost to St. John's in the Big East final. That was the first of Williams' six Sweet 16 teams.

Shooting woes

Maryland scored an historic 98-87 win over Duke on Feb. 9, when it broke the Blue Devils' record 31-game winning streak over ACC teams in regular-season games. Duke had won 46 straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and saw the nation's longest winning streak stop at 18 games.

That run included an 80-70 win at Cole Field House Jan. 9, when Maryland had its worst shooting game in years. The Terps made 34.1 percent of their field-goal attempts and 47.1 percent of their free throws, and their work at the line has slipped here.

Maryland made 69.7 percent of its attempts in the regular season, third best in the ACC. The Terps were 13-for-22 against Florida State and 10-for-23 yesterday, a season-low 43.5 percent. The combined 23-for-45, 51 percent, is the second-lowest two-game total in tournament history.

The Terps' teamwork remains evident, however. They have assisted on 42 of their 57 baskets, the highest two-game assist total in the tournament's 47 years.


The possibility of an NCAA matchup between the Miller brothers, Maryland's Danny and Delaware's Greg, ended when the Blue Hens lost the America East final to Hofstra. Freshman Steve Blake has 203 assists, the fourth-best total in school history.

Sun staff writer Jamison Hensley contributed to this article.

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