Maryland was one of many closing groups referred to as in the course of the choice present. Turgeon mentioned he felt assured his workforce can be included, however throughout every industrial break, he paced behind his gamers of their assembly house at an Indianapolis resort. As soon as the Terrapins heard their matchup, Turgeon mentioned a few gamers cried. Final 12 months’s cancellation, adopted by an uncommon 2020-21 season due to coronavirus protocols, magnified the emotion.
“It positively took a little bit bit too lengthy, man,” senior guard Darryl Morsell mentioned. “… It was only a relieving feeling amongst us as a result of we all know how a lot we’ve been by this 12 months and all of the adversity we needed to overcome. It was an amazing feeling to know we’re nonetheless alive combating for an opportunity to play for one thing particular.”
Your complete event might be held in Indiana, with a lot of the video games in downtown Indianapolis. All video games from the second spherical onward might be staged at one of many 4 Indianapolis venues. Groups will keep in considered one of 4 accommodations which are linked through skywalks to the Indiana Conference Heart, the place gamers will observe and every workforce may have a devoted assembly house. If the Terps win their first-round recreation, they’ll face the winner of No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 15 Iona. That second-round recreation might be held Monday.
That is the primary time Turgeon’s workforce at Maryland has entered its first-round matchup because the decrease seed. All 4 of his previous event squads have landed at the very least a No. 6 seed. Turgeon, in his tenth season as Maryland’s coach, has reached the Candy 16 simply as soon as since he got here to School Park, together with his 2015-16 workforce. He additionally made it to the second weekend of the event in 2006 with a Wichita State squad that misplaced within the Candy 16.
When requested just lately whether or not it was honest for groups to be judged so closely on their success within the postseason, Turgeon mentioned: “Sure and no. As a result of I decide myself in March. Everyone needs to do properly in March. I do suppose the journey is what you in the end needs to be judged on, however we’re not dumb. We perceive that there’s extra to it.”
After Maryland received solely 4 of its first 13 Massive Ten matchups, the workforce had fallen out of event projections and into the decrease tier of the convention standings. However the Terps improved as their schedule eased, and a five-game profitable streak ensued.
Regardless of a disappointing finish to the common season — back-to-back losses towards Northwestern and Penn State, which had been each bottom-four seeds within the convention event — Maryland picked up a confidence-boosting win to start out the postseason. The Terps handily defeated Michigan State, a workforce on the rise after it struggled early within the season, on Thursday within the Massive Ten event. Maryland then stored tempo with top-seeded Michigan, constructing a 12-point lead within the first half of the quarterfinal matchup, earlier than the Wolverines powered forward.
The power of the Massive Ten challenged Maryland all season. Throughout a stretch of about six weeks, starting with a loss at Purdue on Christmas Day, the Terps performed seven video games towards groups that earned at the very least a No. 4 seed within the NCAA event. Two Massive Ten groups, Michigan and Illinois, earned No. 1 seeds, and Ohio State and Iowa every secured No. 2 seeds. Maryland managed to beat Illinois on the highway in January regardless of lacking main scorer Eric Ayala due to an damage, and the Terps additionally defeated No. 4 seed Purdue final month. The Massive Ten leads all conferences with 9 groups within the NCAA event subject.
“The league made us higher,” Turgeon mentioned. “There’s little question about it. Typically you may win since you’re gifted and also you’re actually not figuring it out. We had to determine the best way to play to present us the most effective probability to win.”
After exiting the convention event Friday, the Terps stayed in Indianapolis reasonably than return to School Park. A loss towards the Spartans wouldn’t have dashed Maryland’s event hopes, however the win within the Massive Ten event allowed the Terps to take pleasure in Choice Sunday from their resort with out as many nerves.
“We’re pleased to be within the event,” Turgeon mentioned, “however we wish extra.”