Maryland takes center stage

March Madness: Terps' historic trip to Final Four completes one journey and starts another.

March 27, 2001

IS THE Final Four enough?

The University of Maryland men's basketball team made history Saturday when it reached the Final Four - the first time a Terrapin team has gotten this far.

This year's players could have been another talented bunch that had to watch college basketball's biggest weekend on TV.

They lost games, they lost confidence and they lost fan support. The experts who made the team early favorites backed away.

But the long season leaves time for redemption. Coach Gary Williams and his players found strength in their "abyss," as Ravens coach and unofficial Terps counselor Brian Billick might call the dark days. They found will and imposed it on other teams. Center Lonny Baxter exemplified that against Stanford University, a big-

ger and higher-rated team, whom he bashed with mammoth kinetic force.

The Terps' victory over Stanford gave them the NCAA Western Regional Championship and a spot in the Final Four.

But is that enough?

Yes and no.

Yes - because the Terps have earned a place among college basketball's elite.

And no - because the next foe is Duke, the bitter rival that dumped them into the abyss. Only two things would be sweeter than reaching the Final Four: winning the national championship and beating the pants off Duke.

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