COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Tournament time. It’s what dreams are made of.
"You know everybody is watching. As a child you grow up and you watch March Madness. You see March Madness everywhere," said Maryland Terrapins guard Eric Ayala.
"You get your juices going. You’re excited to be a part of it," added Terps Head Coach Mark Turgeon.
"When you get to March it’s win or go home," said Terps guard Aaron Wiggins.
The University of Maryland men's basketball team enters the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 8 seed. They face No. 9 Michigan State Thursday morning in Indianapolis. Coming off back-to-back losses to Northwestern and Penn State the Terps are ready to turn the page.
"It’s like a new season," said Wiggins. "Guys have moved on. Guys are excited and ready to go."
The Spartans (15-11, 9-11) are the last team the Terrapins topped. They beat them 73-55 back on February 28. Sparty ended their regular season with a win over Michigan, who was ranked No. 2 in the nation.
"I can imagine that they’re pretty confident," said Ayala of Thursday's opponent.
The Terps (15-12, 9-11) are also confident in their NCAA Tournament chances. Do they think they’re a lock for the big dance already or do they need a win Thursday to secure a spot?
"Our body of work kind of speaks for itself," said Ayala. "I feel like we put ourselves in a good position."
"I feel like we’re in, no matter what happens. [We're in] the best league in the country. We won nine games, beat four top-25 teams, beat a No. 1 seed and Purdue could end up being a three or four. So, do I think we’ve done enough? Absolutely. But I'm not on the [NCAA Tournament selection] committee.
"I think we’re clearly in, to be quite honest with you. But I’m not on the committee."
"I think we're clearly in. I feel like we've done enough." #Terps Head Coach Mark Turgeon's full answer after I asked him if he thinks his team is in the NCAA Tournament field as an at-large right now or if they need to win a game in the Big Ten Tournament to secure the bid: pic.twitter.com/ARhy2aKPh4— Shawn Stepner (@StepnerWMAR) March 10, 2021
Tip-time on Thursday is 11:30 a.m.
After the game, no matter the result, the Terps plan on staying in Indianapolis. This year’s entire NCAA Tournament will be played in the state of Indiana.