Maryland's high-octane offense scores 85.6 points a game and its pressing defense creates an average of 22.4 turnovers as the Terps try to turn every game into a series of wind sprints. Maryland's Achilles' heel is the torn Achilles tendon of center Obinna Ekezie, who was lost for the season on Feb. 9. Without his help on the boards, the Terps could struggle against slowdown teams with large front lines.
Coach Gary Williams
Team scoring 85.6 (FG%: 50.1) (3-pointers: 171-460, 37.2%)
Opponent scoring 66.4 (FG%: 38.9)
Rebound margin +3.7
Team FT% 69.9
Whom not to foul
Juan Dixon (84%), Terence Morris (83%)
Whom to foul
Lonny Baxter (55%), Laron Profit (67%)
UCLA 70-54, Stanford 62-60, at N. Carolina 89-76
Williams will sweat through a few more suits, but this is his breakthrough season as the Terps make the Final Four.
Player to Watch
Shortly after Lubos Barton of the Czech Republic enrolled at Valparaiso last August, coach Homer Drew asked him how he was doing. "I need to learn bag of words," he replied. Since then Barton, a 6'7" swingman, has considerably expanded his vocabulary—and his bag of basketball tricks. After leading Valpo in scoring (14.0 points per game) and steals (49) this season, Barton was voted the Mid-Continent Conference's newcomer of the year.
Is there any doubt that Drew is one of the best coaches in the business? The Crusaders lost four seniors from last year's Sweet 16 team, started three freshmen all year and still won their fifth straight league tide. With 6'10" Ivan Vujic and 6'11" Zoran Viskovic up front, Valpo has more size than a typical mid-major, and four players score in double figures. But the Crusaders also had 42 more turnovers than their foes.