Best- and worst-case scenarios for Morgan State and Maryland in the NCAA tourney

I showed off my basketball expertise in today's issue of b when I talked about Syracuse's vaunted "3-4" zone defense. Yes, I realize there are only five players per team on a basketball court. No, I never stop thinking about football, thus the awful error. Sorry, folks.

But assuming my hardcourt cred isn't totally shot, allow me to (or humor me while I) take a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for the two hometown teams in the NCAA tournament.

Morgan State
First round: v. West Virginia (Friday @ 12:15 p.m.)
Second round (should they advance): v. Clemson-Missouri winner (Sunday)

If things go wrong: The Mountaineers work the Bears like the Oklahoma Sooners did a year ago, winning by more than 30 points.
If things go right: Morgan State star Reggie Holmes is lights-out from behind the arc, connecting on more than half of his 3-point attempts (like he has over his last six games combined). Sophomore big man Kevin Thompson is an absolute monster on the glass. And West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler goes ice cold, missing all 37 of his shot attempts, as the Bears become the fifth No. 15 seed in tournament history to pull off a first-round upset. Bob Higgins cries on his track suit.
Totally unrealistic dream scenario: Morgan State is late showing up for its first-round game Friday, arriving 20 minutes before tip-off. But when the Bears arrive in Buffalo, they find out that every other team in the East region has somehow contracted Measles (a la “The Mighty Ducks”) and are unable to play their games. (I don’t care if most of the teams aren’t in Buffalo this weekend. It’s a dream scenario, OK?) The Bears automatically advance to the Final Four, where they give Baylor or Villanova (or any team not named Duke) a run for its money before losing in overtime.

First round: v. Houston (Friday @ 9:40 p.m.)
Second round (should they advance): v. New Mexico State-Michigan State winner (Sunday)

If things go wrong: Maryland comes out flat against Houston like it did against Georgia Tech in the ACC tournament, falling behind by a large halftime margin. Sensing that he needs to take charge with the Terps in a serious jam, Bad Greivis shows up, hoisting up terrible fall-away shots, heaving left-handed runners off the backboard and turning routine passes into flashy, but crippling turnovers. Vasquez and the Terps come up short in crucial game again.
If things go right: Good Greivis shows up and Jordan Williams and the rest of the Terps’ bigs continue their strong play as the Terps easily handle the Cougars. In round two, Vasquez outduels Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas as Maryland advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
Totally unrealistic dream scenario: The Terps pull off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament by beating the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the Sweet 16. They then go on to beat the Georgetown Hoyas in a juicy regional showdown to get back to the Final Four. Once they’re there, all bets are off.

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