The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team had to wait until the very last matchup was announced when the NCAA revealed it’s tournament bracket Sunday night. The Terps found out they will play Xavier, Thursday in Orlando, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“My heart was coming through my sweater,” said Terps head coach Mark Turgeon. “You never know. There’s no guarantees.”
“When we were finally called we were just so happy and blessed to be in the situation that we’re in now and be in the tournament,” said Terps guard Melo Trimble.
“When they called the name a bunch of people just jumped in the air,” added Terps guard Kevin Huerter. “I know I threw a big fist pump. I think Melo tackled Coach Turgeon. People were just really happy.”
A surprise to many, the Terps (24-8) drew the No. 6 seed in the West region of the 68 team tournament. It’s a reward for their play away from their home floor, says Turgeon.
“We were 8-2 on the road. It’s the hardest thing to do in college basketball is win on the road and we did it,” said the head coach.
Maryland will face No. 11 seed Xavier on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. at Orlando’s Amway Arena. The Musketeers are 21-13 on the season and lost to Creighton in the Big East Conference Tournament semifinal. But, before the Terps attempt to beat Xavier, they need to beat mother nature.
“Because there’s a potential snow storm coming in and we tend to overreact to weather, we’re working on trying to get out of here Monday night,” said Turgeon.
“Orlando’s one of the featured places (in the NCAA Tournament) I think. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun,” said Huerter. “Obviously it’s going to be warmer there with the snowstorm coming up here. The location will be fun but you have to take care of business too.”
“March Madness is a different breed of a tournament and this is where it counts,” said Trimble.
Next stop: N-C-A-A in F-L-A.