In a span of three years between 1973 and 1975, Maryland brought two national championships back to College Park. Since then, nothing.
If the Terps hope to end the drought, they will do so away from the friendly confines of Byrd Stadium. They will open the upcoming tournament on the road against No. 7 seed Lehigh, the Patriot League champion that is 14-2 thus far.
It’s a daunting task for a Maryland team that concluded the regular season on Saturday by dropping a 13-11 decision to Colgate, the team that Lehigh beat for the Patriot League crown.
“Given the craziness of the season, I think the committee did a really good job and has a really difficult job,” Terps coach John Tillman said of taking to the road for the first round. “There are so many really good teams out there, and there’s so many different ways to kind of gauge whether it was RPI or wins or strength of schedule. I know some people like [Loyola coach and selection committee member] Charley Toomey and Charley Toomey is just one of those great people and great character guys. So I know he did everything he could to try to be as fair as possible. So I think they did a good job. The fact that we’re in, we’re obviously excited to have a chance to be in the tournament.”
Much like last season when they advanced to the national title game before falling to Virginia, the Terps’ fate was impacted by the setback to the Raiders, who upended Maryland in last year’s final contest of the regular season. Tillman suggested that going on the road could serve as inspiration for the players and coaches.
“For us, we’re going to have to use that as a rallying point where we can get on the road together and spend more time together and bunker in together,” he said. “We always prefer playing at home because we love Byrd and we love playing in that venue. But you get what the committee gives you and make the best of it.”