Defensive stops start UM's revival

March 09, 2006|By HEATHER A. DINICH | HEATHER A. DINICH,SUN REPORTER

Greensboro, N.C. --He was dressed down in a red Maryland T-shirt and black warm-up suit for a quick shoot-around session yesterday at the Greensboro Coliseum, but on his right hand, Maryland coach Gary Williams wore his flashy gold NCAA championship ring.

He left the Atlantic Coast Conference championship ring at home.

Maryland vs. Georgia Tech ACC tournament first round, tonight, 9:30, Ch. 54, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM Line: Maryland by 3

Tournament preview

ACC men

What -- Atlantic Coast Conference men's tournament

Where -- Greensboro (N.C.) Colise um

When -- Today through Sunday

2005 champion -- Duke

2006 favorite -- North Carolina. The No. 2-seeded Tar Heels are peak ing at the right time, having ended the season with a win at Duke on the Blue Devils' senior night. North Caro lina hasn't lost since it first played Duke on Feb. 7. There's a reason Roy Williams was named ACC Coach of the Year, and Freshman of the Year Tyler Hansbrough earned unani mous All-ACC honors. It's the Tar Heels' surrounding cast, though, that makes them good.

Dark horse -- Florida State. A win against Duke gave the Seminoles the No. 5 seed in the tournament, and a legitimate shot at making the NCAA tournament. Only the Blue Devils have a better field-goal percentage, and the Seminoles have a legitimate NBA prospect in junior Al Thornton. Should Florida State beat 12th-seeded Wake Forest at 2:30 p.m. today, the Seminoles would play North Carolina State for a chance at a rematch with Duke.

Player to watch -- Sean Mar shall, Boston College. The Eagles' top defender, who got in the face of Duke senior J.J. Redick, can also swing the momentum with a timely three-pointer.

Outlook -- Both Maryland coach Gary Williams and Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said two previous meetings between the teams are ir relevant, and both teams have im proved since the last time they met. Maryland's perimeter defense needs to be sharp, as the Yellow Jackets have shot 47.1 percent from three-point range in their past seven games.

Heather A. Dinich

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