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Maryland

Record: 20-13

Coach: Gary Williams (20th season)

Conference: ACC

Starters Pos Yr Pts

Adrian Bowie G So. 8.9

Greivis Vasquez G Jr. 17.2

Sean Mosley G Fr. 5.3

Landon Milbourne F Jr. 11.6

Dave Neal F Sr. 8.3

Defining moment: The Feb. 21 overtime upset of North Carolina did wonders for Maryland, which transformed itself from any other also-ran into a legitimate NCAA tournament contender. Toss in the ACC quarterfinal defeat of Wake Forest, and the Terps produced two significant reasons to warrant inclusion.

The draw: The Terrapins got a favorable first-round game against California, a team that has lost four of its last six. The Golden Bears are undersized and could allow the vertically challenged Terps to stay close on the boards. The second round would provide a tougher test for Maryland; it probably would face second-seeded Memphis, a team that ran to the title game last year and is in the midst of a 25-game winning streak. The good news for Maryland is that the West bracket opens up a bit after that if it can pull off the second-round upset.

Reason for optimism: Vasquez. The Venezuelan demonstrated the ability to control games like an orchestra conductor, driving, dishing, rebounding and shouting his way to several critical performances throughout the season. His all-around game probably isn’t fully appreciated, but it is the reason the Terps have a chance to win a game in this tournament.

Reason for pessimism: Interior offense. Like it was going to be anything else? The great question all season isn’t going to go away now. Landon Milbourne, while scrappy, isn’t an ideal power forward, and Dave Neal remains a much more dangerous presence on the perimeter than in the post.

Final Four chances: 3. The Terps have the veteran coach, the dynamic offensive presence (Vasquez) and a group that has maximized its talent over the course of the season, and a tournament berth is a just reward when pretty much no one thought it was possible. But it’s still a flawed team that didn’t win more than two straight games once conference play began.

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