Terps make themselves at home on road

Team happy it decided to stay out west all week

West Regional notebook

Ncaa Tournament

March 22, 2001|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Not only are the Maryland Terrapins happy to be out west, they are glad they stayed here all week.

Instead of flying home after advancing past the NCAA tournament's first two rounds in Boise, Idaho, the Terps continued on to Southern California. They have been in Orange County since Sunday. The team even made a trip to Disneyland on Monday.

The fact that the school is on spring break explains part of coach Gary Williams' decision to remain on the road. Then there is the matter of jet lag. Had the team flown back east, they would have been on a westbound plane two days later, then played tonight's game against Georgetown two days after that.

Three years ago, Maryland advanced past the NCAA's first weekend in Sacramento, returned home, then flew back west -- to play at Arrowhead Pond, where they lost in the regional semifinals to Arizona, 87-79.

"I don't see how this can hurt us. When you go back, you have to deal with family and people telling you how good you are," said Terps backup center Mike Mardesich, who was born in nearby Long Beach.

"We've been enjoying ourselves. I have a ton of [school] work I have to make up when I get back, but I'm not even worried about that right now. We're focused on this game and nothing else."

Firings peeve Esherick

A number of winning coaches have been fired lately, and Georgetown coach Craig Esherick had something to say about it.

What particularly galled Esherick was the ouster of Tennessee coach Jerry Green, who was canned on Tuesday after leading the Volunteers to the NCAA tournament and finishing with a 22-11 record.

Green, who replaced Kevin O'Neill in 1997, took Tennessee to the NCAAs four years in a row and had a record of 89-33 (.730) in Knoxville.

"Maybe he was penalized because he didn't go undefeated," Esherick said. "The expectations are so high. I feel relatively secure with myself, but not in my profession, because of what has happened to guys like Jerry Green.

"I'm not going to say because you don't have a best seller or haven't won a Pulitzer Prize, that you're not a good writer. I'm certainly glad I have a finance degree and a law degree. I'm married to a lawyer. In this profession, I need that."

Friendly rivals

Georgetown point guard Kevin Braswell has lost track of the number of times he and Juan Dixon have played basketball together. But Braswell is sure he and Dixon have never squared off against each other in an organized game.

Until tonight, that is.

"We've had a lot of fun competing against each other over the years, days we've gone one-on-one against each other, played on the same AAU teams," Braswell said.

"We met in the sixth grade through basketball. We went to the same middle school, always competing, and really grew on each other. After his parents passed away, he was staying with his aunt, and I would go over there and stay with him, and he would stay with me. We would get up early and go play basketball.

"Tomorrow will be an emotional time, but once that ball goes up, we both know we have a job to do."

Et cetera

Since 1994, only Kentucky (six trips) has more Sweet 16 appearances than the Terrapins. Maryland, Arizona, Connecticut, Duke, Kansas and UCLA have each been there five times. ... Williams is three victories away from tying his own former coach, Bud Millikan, as the second-winningest coach in Terps history.

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