Terps have protected their home court

Maryland hopes good luck continues vs. Clemson tonight

February 24, 2010|By Jeff Barker | jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK — - With four regular-season games remaining, the Maryland Terrapins are closing in on a pair of milestones.

With a win over Clemson here tonight, the Terrapins (19-7, 9-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) would push their home record in conference games to 7-0.

Only a contest with Duke next Wednesday would stand between the Terps and a perfect ACC season at Comcast Center.

Maryland - second in the conference behind the Blue Devils - is also in position to secure a first-round bye in next month's ACC tournament. Maryland has not had a bye since the conference expanded five years ago. The top four regular-season finishers are awarded byes.

Despite their success at home, the Terps remain out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, a fact that coach Gary Williams bemoaned Tuesday. "We should be ranked," he said.

Williams told fans before the season that the team hoped to go undefeated at home. An 83-77 loss to nonconference foe William & Mary ended that goal Dec. 30, but the Terps have won their ACC games in the building by an average of 16 points.

The team's home success seems to be self-perpetuating. The more the team wins, the greater the local fans' excitement - and noise. The heightened volume levels have made Comcast Center a more intimidating venue for opponents as the season has progressed.

"I thought we could be a good team this year and if that translates into home-court victories, that's great," Williams said. "Our fans have been tremendous. They've stayed with us through some tough times early in the season. I think our players know when they walk on the court, they've got a lot of people there with them."

Remaining unbeaten in league play here is a point of pride for Terps players.

"It's big for us because anytime you stay undefeated at home and protect your home court it's good," freshman center Jordan Williams said. "I think it intimidates other teams, too, a little bit. So they know it's going to be a tough place to play."

Neither Gary Williams nor his players would talk about the push to obtain a bye in the ACC tournament. They said it was premature to discuss the tourney, which begins March 11 in Greensboro, N.C.

"When the time comes, we'll probably talk about it then," Jordan Williams said.

The bye would mean skipping the opener Thursday, when eight of the 12 teams are in action.

Since 2000, teams that obtained byes have a 56-31 record in tournament games.

Playing without a bye, the Terps had lost four of five tournament games until going 2-1 last season. The Terps had to play three games in three days, losing to Duke in the semifinals.

Notes: Clemson (19-7, 7-5) has won four of five games, including a 62-53 victory over the Terps at Clemson on Jan. 31. The Terps committed 26 turnovers and were hurt by the Tigers on the boards.

ACC men's standings
Conf. OverallTeam W-L W-LDuke 11-2 23-4Maryland 9-3 19-7 Virginia Tech 8-4 21-5Wake Forest 8-5 18-7Clemson 7-5 19-7 Florida State 7-5 19-7Georgia Tech 6-7 18-9Virginia 5-7 14-11Boston College 4-8 13-13Miami 3-9 17-9N.Carolina 3-9 14-13N.C. State 3-10 15-13
Today

Florida State at N.Carolina…7

Virginia Tech at Boston C.…7

Clemson at Maryland…9

Thursday

Tulsa at Duke…7

Saturday

Boston C. at Georgia Tech…noon

N.Carolina at Wake Forest…2

Maryland at Virginia Tech…4

N.C. State at Miami…4

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