- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. — Maryland’s one-hour workout at St. Pete Times Forum was filled with light banter — and a discussion about what was missing on the Terrapins’ trip to the ACC tournament.

Junior forward James Gist usually brings his Xbox on road trips, an extension of plopping a console in the team’s lounge at Comcast Center and taking on all comers at March Madness 07. But he left it back in College Park as the fifth-seeded Terps (24-7, 10-6 ACC) prepare to meet Miami this afternoon.

“I didn’t really have a lot of room in my bag, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like doing all the hook-up and everything and then having to deal with people getting mad because they’re losing,” Gist said. “I didn’t want to break anybody’s confidence on the trip.”

Gist would be the one to do it. He crowed during the practice session about his dominance that prompted freshman Eric Hayes to quit playing and said later in the locker room how he had used a variety of teams — Virginia Tech, Florida State, Texas, Michigan State and Wisconsin — to overwhelm most of his teammates.

“I’m going to start going to the mid-majors soon,” Gist said. “If I beat people with them, they’re not going to be able to play anymore. I’m going to have to kick them off the game.”

‘Canes’ learning experience

Miami has endured easily the roughest season in the conference, losing players to injuries and suspensions on a seemingly regular basis.

The Hurricanes (11-19, 4-12) planned to be a post-dominant team, but senior forward Anthony King suffered a wrist injury eight games into the season. Reserve Adrian Thomas played only four games, forward Jimmy Graham broke his hand in January and forward Fabio Nass injured his knee a few weeks later, eliminating any frontcourt depth.

February brought a six-game suspension for forward Ray Hicks, then point guard Denis Clemente’s suspension for the rest of the season.

“We’re a young team, and we’re a hurt team,” Miami coach Frank Haith said. “Those are two qualities you don’t want to have in the ACC. We had to go through that this year.”

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year anyway for the Hurricanes, but it proved even more trying than expected. Haith relied on counsel from his former boss, Texas coach Rick Barnes, as he worked to keep Miami competitive.

“I believe as a coach I got better from this, and I think as a team we’re going to be better for this,” Haith said.

Williams superstitious?

Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry believes the most superstitious person in the Terps’ locker room is coach Gary Williams.

And Williams’ response?

“Part of it is what they think is superstitious is what I think is a schedule,” Williams said. “They don’t understand what eating exactly four hours before a game means or meeting four-and-a-half hours and two hours before a game. It’s the same every time. If that’s a superstition, then I’m guilty. Now, I do like certain ties for certain teams.”

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