Oh yes I am. Especially after yesterday’s almost-too-easy second half dismantling of the California Golden Bears.
So I’ll put it out there. Call me a homer, call me a fool, call me a Terrapin lover for life (which I readily admit to), but here’s tomorrow’s final score from Kansas City: Maryland 81, Memphis 74. Greivis Vasquez outplays Tyreke Evans, Eric Hayes hits a few timely threes, Cliff Tucker emerges from wherever he’s been lately to provide a spark off the bench, Dino Gregory’s confidence continues to build, and the Terps will head to Glendale, Arizona for the Sweet 16 next weekend. After all the craziness that has swirled around Gary Williams for the past ten months or so, it’s just plain destiny.
Who would have thought it even remotely possible after the debacle in Durham six weeks ago? Yet here they are, in a position that their Coach thrives on, being a decided underdog playing a #2 seed that has won 26 consecutive games. What I wouldn’t give to eavesdrop on their team meetings and pregame locker room conversations. You just know that Gary Williams is feeding them the “no respect, nobody believed in us” card. These are the moments when he, and his team, are at their most dangerous.
It’s crazy, I know, but somehow, someway, this current Terps team seems to be finding their comfort zone at just the right time. Nothing about the regular season or conference tournament matters now. Just the next possession, the next defensive stop, the next opponent. That’s the beauty of this NCAA Tournament; play your absolute best in it and you never know where you’ll wind up. And all “Turtle Soup” drinking aside, Maryland is playing with confidence, aggression and cohesion. They are not the kind of team Memphis hoped to find in a second round matchup.
So today, keep a close eye on the Marquette – Utah State and Missouri – Cornell games.
Because the Maryland Terrapins will be playing one of those four teams in Arizona next weekend in the Sweet 16.
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