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[1] Maryland vs. [3] Louisville

Raleigh (N.C.) Region final

RBC Center, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maryland coach Brenda Frese vs. Louisville coach Jeff Walz: Preparation will go a long way in this Elite Eight matchup. As Frese’s top assistant for five years at Maryland and one at Minnesota before that, Walz is intimately familiar with Frese’s style. His tenure on her staff also overlapped with the freshman and sophomore years of Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman. Walz is as equipped as any coach in the tournament to devise a game plan to slow down the high-octane Terrapins. Likewise, Frese knows Walz’s preference for fullcourt pressure and his defensive schemes. The contrasting styles bring an interesting dynamic to this game.

X-FACTOR

Louisville forward Candyce Bingham: Production from do-everything forward Angel McCoughtry is a given; in Louisville’s Sweet 16 win against Baylor, she had 22 points and 12 rebounds. Like Coleman for Maryland, McCoughtry’s presence will be felt all over the court. But the Cardinals need a counter for Toliver, and Bingham is the most likely candidate. She only had seven 3-pointers entering Saturday, but she hit two critical 3s as the Cardinals pulled away. Louisville will try to win with defense, but someone will have to share the scoring load with McCoughtry.

PREDICTION

With the teams so familiar with each other, proper execution will be magnified. It figures to be a physical, close contest that comes down to a battle of wills. Can Louisville’s fullcourt press disrupt Maryland’s attack, or will the Terps be able to get shots they like? There will be three dominant players on the court, but expect each team’s supporting cast to play a big role. That is until the closing minutes, when the stars probably will have to go shot for shot to determine the winner.

Maryland 75, Louisville 72

- Mike Fratto

[1] Maryland Terrapins

PROJECTED STARTERS

No. Player Pos Ht. Yr

20 Kristi Toliver G 5-7 Sr.

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