CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- University Hall has always been one of Maryland's favorite places to play since Gary Williams became the Terrapins' coach. Today, the Terps hope to revive some of those recent memories -- as well as themselves.
Looking to beat Virginia on its home court for the third time in Williams' four years, and end this disappointing regular season on a positive note, Maryland will take on the Cavaliers this afternoon at 4.
"In this business, you have to get ready for every game," Williams said yesterday. "As a coach, I owe it to my players to prepare for this game as if it was for an NCAA Tournament bid. Just think about, if we beat Virginia, we'll be feeling good about ourselves going into the ACC Tournament."
From the standpoint of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings, the game is meaningless for Maryland (11-14, 2-13). The Terps are tied with North Carolina State for last and will play the Wolfpack -- a team they have beaten twice this year -- in the preliminary game of
next week's ACC Tournament in Charlotte, N.C.
Virginia (17-8, 8-7) has secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but needs to win today to lock up the fifth-place seed at the Charlotte Coliseum. The Cavaliers struggled to beat the Terps 70-68 last month in College Park.
"Coming off the disappointing week we had last week, the Maryland game is very important" said Virginia coach Jeff Jones, whose team has lost three straight ACC games.
Maryland's confidence took a severe pounding Wednesday night at Duke. The Terps started slow, found themselves down by 24 at halftime and didn't start playing well until they were behind by 27 early in the second half. They outscored the sixth-ranked Blue Devils by eight in the second half and lost, 95-79.
"We want to take the way we played the second half against Duke and build on that," said Williams. "We shot 64 percent against the sixth-ranked team in the country. Especially for the young players, it's good to know that if they play at that level, we can win this game."