Live from College Park: No. 4 Maryland to play Houston in brutal Midwest

March 14, 2010 | Luke Jones

9:15 p.m. — The Terps and Cougars have played each other twice, including once in the NCAA tournament.

Top-seeded Houston defeated No. 8 Maryland in the second round of the 1983 tournament, 60-50. Of course, that was the Phi Slama Jama team that included Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler—and lost to N.C. State in the championship game in one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.

In the schools’ first ever meeting, Maryland won 69-68 in the Sugar Bowl Tournament in 1965.

Again, the winner of the Maryland-Houston game will face either fifth-seeded Michigan State or No. 12 seed New Mexico State on Sunday in Spokane.

The Midwest Regional semifinals will be played the next weekend in St. Louis.

The postseason appearance will be the 17th straight for the Terrapins. Maryland has won nine straight NCAA first-round games, dating back to 1998 and has reached at least the Sweet 16 in four of its last nine NCAA appearances.

The Terps have now reached the NCAA tournament in three of the last four years after failing to earn bids in 2005, 2006, and 2008.

9:00 p.m. — This marks the fourth time the Terps have been designated as a No. 4 seed, the others coming in 1998 (losing in the Sweet 16 to Arizona), 2004 (falling in the second round to Syracuse), and most recently in 2007 (a second-round casualty to Butler).

Maryland will try to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.

8:55 p.m. — Williams clearly had kind words for Houston head coach Tom Penders who became the eighth coach to take four different schools to the NCAA tournament. Other notable names on the list include Rick Pitino, Lon Kruger, and Eddie Sutton.

Penders also took George Washington, Rhode Island, and Texas to the Big Dance.

8:30 p.m. — Gary Williams also spoke to the media following the news of Maryland being selected as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest.

Opening Statement:
“To make the NCAA tournament is always a great honor. It’s a great feeling as a team because you know you’ve worked very hard to get to the tournament. To be the 4th seed, which means the selection committee felt you were one of the top 16 teams in the country. That is something our players should be proud of.”

“We’re looking forward to playing, and it’s a great opportunity for us.”

On what he said to the team after learning their fate:
“I told them I was proud of the team for what they did. It’s so difficult now, as you see the teams that didn’t make the tournament. To make the tournament is significant.”

On his reaction compared to the seniors’ subdued reaction:
“It’s never subdued for me. . .In my first year (1989-90) during the week of the ACC tournament, we found out we couldn’t go to the NCAA tournament for the next two years and couldn’t play on live television [due to NCAA sanctions], so I’ve never forgotten that.”

On Tom Penders and Houston:
“I really haven’t seen them, but obviously we do a good job of taping games during the year. We have plenty of tape, and we’ll get more tape. Tom Penders has done a good job wherever he’s been. Obviously, he knows how to coach.”

Williams also explained his assistant coaches will focus on preparation for potential second-round match-ups with Michigan State or New Mexico State. He will be responsible for preparing for Houston.

On whether he’s been to Spokane:
“Yes, I have. Mark Few has a big Coaches vs. Cancer dinner. I was out there one year. It’s a beautiful place.”

On going out west:
“In 2001, we got to the Final Four going out west. The tough thing is for the parents of the players. It’s very expensive to get out there on short notice, and our fans. In terms of playing, we’ve done well out west before, so we’ll look forward to it.”

On the selection committee’s job:
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever seen to do.”

On Virginia Tech being left out of the field of 65:
“Yeah, I was surprised. I don’t know the reason. I thought Virginia Tech was a good basketball team, but I’m not in [the room with the selection committee].”

Williams also attributed the struggles of defending champion North Carolina as the main reason for the perception of the ACC being a “down” conference. “That was the picture that was created.”

On Maryland’s chances in the tournament:
“Once you get into the tournament, those seeds don’t mean anything.”

“You go in there with a positive attitude, and [the momentum can] snowball very quickly.”

On where this rates compared to Maryland’s bids earlier in his career:
“As you get older, you appreciate it more. You don’t worry about where you’re being sent.”

On Houston star Aubrey Coleman:
“You get 25 [points] per game, you’re doing something right.”

8:05 p.m. — Here are some highlights from this evening’s press conference. Again, check out the WNST.net Audio Vault for the full press conference.

Greivis Vasquez

On whether there was a difference between this year and last year on Selection Sunday:
“Absolutely. It was fun. You don’t have to worry if you’re in or not.”

On this being his last trip to the Dance:
“It’s time to go. We want these types of games. We want to be on this stage. It’s going to be fun. It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to work extremely hard this week and get ready to win games.”

On moving on from the Georgia Tech game:
“In order for us to be a good team, we have to have a short memory.”

Eric Hayes

On the team’s demeanor during the Selection Show:
“We were definitely more relaxed this year. Last year, we were jumping up and down. We all know we were getting in; just anxious to see where and what seed we got.”

On the aftermath of losing in Greensboro:
“I’m sure we’ve probably already forgotten about Georgia Tech already. Seeing how we’re the 4th seed, one of the top 16 seeds, is a pretty good honor for us.”

On whether he’s ever been to Spokane:
“Never been. This is probably the only situation where I’d ever go also.” (This caused the media room to erupt in laughter. That Hayes is quite the dry comedian.)

Landon Milbourne

On the Terps’ familiarity with Houston:
“We don’t know much. Coach explained a little bit about their coach [Tom Penders], saying that they might shoot a lot of threes and play on the perimeter well. We just have to prepare like we normally do and work on our perimeter defense.”

On the need to start strongly:
“The focus has got to be there. Us three seniors have to take a big pride in that, coming on the court when the jump ball goes up everybody’s on the same page.”

7:50 p.m. — Go to the WNST.net Audio Vault right now to hear from Gary Williams, Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne. Hayes also checked in with Glenn Clark and Chris Bonetti during this evening’s live tournament selection show. It’s all there, so check it out now.

6:38 p.m. — All four regions have been revealed. The ACC sends six teams to the tournament with Duke (1), Maryland (4), Clemson (7), Florida State (9), Wake Forest (9), and Georgia Tech (10).

The Hokies can thank a MISERABLE out of conference SOS for being left out of the field of 65.

6:31 p.m. — Here is my quick reaction to Maryland being a No. 4 seed.

Clearly, a 13-3 record and share of the ACC regular season championship looked very impressive in the eyes of the committee. The quarterfinal loss to Georgia Tech could not have hurt the Terrapins too much in terms of seeding.

That being said, the Midwest is an absolutely BRUTAL region. Kansas, as the No. 1 seed overall, is rewarded by being placed in a region with the likes of Ohio State, Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Tennessee, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Georgia Tech, and Maryland.

Easily the toughest region in the field.

WOW.

6:27 p.m. — Morgan State is the No. 15 seed in the East and will take on No. 2 West Virginia.

6:20 p.m. — As the first two regions are in, it sure looks like Virginia Tech is going to be on the outside looking in. Minnesota and Florida were both on the bubble and received bids in the West region.

6:13 p.m. — Maryland will play as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest, taking on No. 13 Houston in Spokane on Friday. If the Terps can move to the second round, they will take on the winner of No. 5 Michigan State and No. 12 New Mexico State.

6:03 p.m. — Kentucky, Duke, and Syracuse are the other three. Very surprising to see Duke move ahead of Syracuse. I suppose the injury to Arinze Onuaku—and the loss in the quarterfinal—moved Syracuse down a spot.

6:01 p.m. — Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. No shock there.

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Happy Selection Sunday from College Park as we’ve finally reached the day everyone has been waiting for over the last four months.

Most pundits have played the Terrapins in the No. 4 to 6 range for their tournament seeing, but all of the speculation will be over soon, and we’ll see where Maryland will travel later this week for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

We’ll have reaction from Gary Williams and the Terrapins immediately after they learn their NCAA fate. It’s certainly nice to be comfortably awaiting the news this season after sweating out the verdict over the past few seasons.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) and tune to AM 1570 WNST or live on the web at WNST.net as Glenn Clark and Chris Bonetti are currently hosting WNST’s tournament selection show. Coverage will run until 8 p.m.

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