Maryland, Kansas have lot in common

NCAA notebook

Both have scoring, depth

Nicholas sees toughness ruling

Holden: pay players

College Basketball

Ncaa Tournament

March 29, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA - Maryland junior backup guard Drew Nicholas looks at the Kansas Jayhawks and sees a reflection of the Terrapins.

Nicholas looks at tomorrow night's Final Four meeting with Kansas as a game in which two forces with a similar look and philosophy will collide on the Georgia Dome floor.

"There are a lot of similarities between us," Nicholas said. "They play seven or eight guys, we play seven or eight guys. They've got a great inside-outside game, we've got a great inside-outside game. They love to get out in transition. We love to run, too."

It goes further. Both teams are uncommonly unselfish. Coming into the NCAA tournament, only Kansas was averaging more assists per game (21.5) than Maryland (20.4). Coming into the tournament, Kansas led the nation in scoring with 93.2 points a game. The Terps were tied for fourth with an 85.3-point average.

Kansas has a first-team All-American in junior forward Drew Gooden. Maryland answers with senior guard Juan Dixon. Kansas has a heavyweight frontcourt in Gooden and Nick Collison, with a solid freshman in Wayne Simien coming off the bench. The Terps have the not-too-shabby starting tandem of Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox, with the Tahj Holden/Ryan Randle tandem offering bench support.

Both coaches are named Williams. The Terps' Gary Williams took over in 1989, and would soon be hit with NCAA sanctions for violations that largely occurred under Bob Wade, his predecessor.

Roy Williams inherited NCAA sanctions upon taking over at Kansas in 1988.

"I think it's going to come down to the intangibles. The stars obviously are going to come out, but it's going to be the little things [that decide it]," Nicholas said. "Who gets the most loose balls? Who gets the big rebound? We're looking to be the toughest team Saturday."

Pay to play

As the president of Maryland's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the vice chairman of the Atlantic Coast Conference committee, Holden is supposed to be the voice of his peers.

But the junior forward said that basketball players should be compensated directly by the NCAA, and he didn't hold back when asked why.

"There definitely should be some sort of compensation," Holden said. "This is a full-time job, and a lot of people who have full-time jobs don't travel around the country every week playing basketball. A stipend would be nice. Just a little bit to get by with on the weekends, when you're trying to get a pizza or something.

"The NCAA is saying we could get $2,000 if we work. I'm saying this is work. Why don't they just give us the $2,000? A lot of stuff we do doesn't get taken into account. Dealing with the media, getting taped before practice, the weight lifting we have to do, going on the road for those 9 o'clock games in the middle of the week.

"You dream about getting [to the Final Four]. You don't dream about all of the time you're going to have to put in to get there."

Hoosiers' Coverdale iffy

Indiana point guard Tom Coverdale is off crutches but is still questionable for the semifinal tomorrow night because of his sprained ankle.

The team won't make a decision on whether he plays until game time, Hoosiers spokesman Jeff Fanter said. Coverdale, a starter, sprained his left ankle last Saturday in the Hoosiers' 81-69 victory over Kent State.

He rode a stationary bicycle for the second straight day yesterday.

If Coverdale can't play, he would be replaced by freshman Donald Perry.

Coverdale, the MVP of the South Regional, is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 points a game. His 172 assists are almost double the next best total on the team.

Hinrich encouraged

Kansas' Kirk Hinrich says his sprained left ankle looks and feels fine.

His conditioning remains a concern for Kansas coach Williams, though. Since Hinrich sprained his ankle in the first round of the Midwest Regional, he hasn't missed any games. But he has missed considerable practice time.

"He's not 100 percent by any means," Williams said earlier this week. "He gave me more tired signals in Madison than he has all year. He went nine days without much conditioning."

Hinrich admitted to being tired after Sunday's 104-86 win over Oregon in the regional final, but said he feels rested and ready to go tomorrow in the Jayhawks' NCAA semifinal against Maryland. Oklahoma plays Indiana in the other semifinal

"I think it's a lot better, almost back to normal," he said.

Hinrich, who sprained the ankle two weeks ago, said he'd like to shed the brace before the Maryland game.

"I tried talking to Mark Cairns, the trainer, trying to get him to let me play without this brace," Hinrich said. "It doesn't look like it's going to happen."

Foul trouble limited him to three points in 17 minutes in a 73-69 win over Illinois, but he played 31 minutes in the regional final and finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and five steals.

"It felt as good as it has in a long time against Oregon," Hinrich said. "All the discoloration is out, and the swelling is out."

Et cetera

Maryland senior center Baxter achieved a career high in both categories by making 15 free throws in 18 attempts in last week's 90-82 victory in the East Regional final over Connecticut. ... No coach in NCAA history has ever won as many games in his first 13 years as Roy Williams (355) has at Kansas. ... Gooden has amassed 25 double doubles this season. ... Senior Kansas guard Jeff Boschee is the school's career leader in three-point field goals (333) and three-point attempts (830). ... Kansas has lost once since Jan. 12; the Terps have lost once since Jan. 17. ... Since 1990, Maryland is the eighth team to return to the Final Four in consecutive seasons. ... Maryland, Kansas and Duke are the only teams to remain in the top 10 from start to finish this year. ... Maryland's free-throw percentage in the 2002 NCAA tournament (.857) is second best all time.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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