Maryland-North Carolina Preview
North Carolina took a big step toward securing a No. 1 seed in
the NCAA tournament by winning their second consecutive ACC
An impressive showing in the conference tournament would likely
help them lock one up.
Coming off a first-round bye, the fourth-ranked and top-seeded
Tar Heels open tournament play Friday seeking a fourth straight win
over eighth-seeded Maryland.
North Carolina (27-4) concluded its regular-season schedule
Saturday with an impressive 88-70 rout of then-No. 4 Duke on the
road to claim the ACC title. All five starters scored in double
figures for the Tar Heels, who seem to be finally living up to
their No. 1 preseason ranking.
“In the beginning of the year, we kind of just expected it to
happen,” senior Tyler Zeller said. “We expected, not necessarily to
be where we were last year, but we knew how good we could be and we
weren’t making the necessary steps to completely get there.”
North Carolina has outscored opponents by an average of 15.1
points during a seven-game winning streak – including an 88-64
thumping of Maryland (17-14) on Feb. 29 behind Zeller’s 30
Zeller, fellow big man John Henson and leading scorer Harrison
Barnes (17.4 points per game) all received first-team All-ACC
honors – marking the first time North Carolina has ever had three
“We are ecstatic about this announcement,” coach Roy Williams
told the school’s official website. “I have always felt the teams
that win should get the awards, but it’s driven by great player
performances and that’s what they have done. To go 14-2 in the
league against what proved to be the most demanding schedule is
really a great accomplishment for our players. I’m happy for them,
and hopefully they will be hungrier to do even more.”
The Tar Heels are surely looking to get off to a better start in
this year’s tournament after coming out sluggish last season.
After overcoming a 19-point, second-half deficit to defeat Miami
in the quarterfinals, North Carolina rallied from 14 down to beat
Clemson in overtime in the semifinals before ultimately losing to
Duke in the title game.
“I think you have to be able to pick up your focus, your
concentration, your effort, just your play in general,” Zeller
said. “You lose, you’re done. And for me, that’s the end of my
The Terrapins ended the regular season in the midst of a
three-game skid but got back on track with Thursday’s 82-60
first-round win over Wake Forest. Sophomore Terrell Stoglin – the
ACC scoring leader (21.3 ppg) – had a game-high 25 points, seven
rebounds and four assists.
Stoglin wasn’t happy about only being an all-ACC second-team
“I’m always going to have a chip on my shoulder, but once the
voting came out I had a bigger one,” said Stoglin, who’s totaled 36
points on 30.8 percent (12 for 39) shooting in two meetings with
the Tar Heels this season.
In addition to Stoglin, freshman Nick Faust also came up big
Thursday with a season-best 19 points.
Maryland outrebounded the Demon Deacons 39-24 and shot a
season-high 54.4 percent from the field.
“That’s the best, most complete game we’ve played all year. We
defended. We rebounded. We executed. We shared the ball,” coach
Mark Turgeon said.
“We talked about just about dialing in and also having fun. I
think the guys tried to have fun (Thursday). More importantly, they
trusted their teammates on both ends of the floor. That’s been a
hard thing for us this year but (Thursday) we did it.”