CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four years ago and about 90 miles to the north, a sophomore point guard who was alternately praised for his talent and criticized for his temperament led a Maryland basketball team on the NCAA bubble to a magical weekend that ended with the school's third Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship.
John Gilchrist is long gone from College Park but not completely forgotten. Several times this season, fans on Internet message boards have likened Maryland's current point guard, 6-foot-6 sophomore Greivis Vasquez, to Gilchrist. Mainly because of the way Gilchrist's college career ended, the comparisons have not always been favorable.
Maryland vs. Boston College ACC tournament first round, tonight, 9:30 (approximate), Charlotte, N.C., chs. 54, 20, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM Records: Maryland (18-13, 8-8 ACC); Boston College (13-16, 4-12 ACC) Line: Maryland by 5 1/2
Site -- Charlotte (N.C.) Bobcats Arena
When -- Today through Sunday
Web site -- theacc.com
TV -- Chs. 54, 20, ESPN
Favorite -- North Carolina (29-2, 14-2)
State entry -- Maryland (18-13, 8-8)
Outlook -- Although the top-ranked Tar Heels come in as the defending champions and the league's hottest team, with an eight-game winning streak that culminated against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, this tournament has belonged to the Blue Devils in recent years. Duke has won seven of the past nine. Most figure Sunday's championship game will match the league's signature programs, but the Blue Devils have shown vulnerability down the stretch. It's hard to pick a dark horse because the league has been pretty balanced below the top two, and the No. 3 seed, Clemson, finished last in the ACC in free-throw shooting, something that is needed in a tournament setting. Maryland, which has lost four of its past five games and five of its past seven, probably needs to reach the final to get an at-large NCAA berth. Aside from North Carolina and Duke, Clemson and Miami should receive NCAA bids, and Virginia Tech likely will have to win at least two games.