No. 3 Maryland (24-7) vs. No. 14 Gonzaga (21-8) NCAA TOURNAMENT THE ROAD STARTS HERE


What: First round, NCAA West Regional

Where: Salt Lake City

When: Tonight, approximately 10:30

TV/Radio: Channels 13, 9/WBAL (1090 AM)

How they got here: Maryland received an at-large bid after finishing tied for first in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season. In their last game, the Terps lost in the ACC tournament semifinals to North Carolina, 97-92, in overtime. Gonzaga won the West Coast Conference tournament, beating Portland in the title game, 80-67.

Conference record: Maryland 12-4 in ACC; Gonzaga 7-7 in WCC

Ranking: Maryland 10th; Gonzaga unranked

NCAA tournament record: Maryland 15-11, including a record-tying 11 straight opening-round wins. This is Gonzaga's first appearance in 37 years in Division I.

Coach: Gary Williams is 101-74 in six years at Maryland, 308-202 in 17 years overall. Dan Fitzgerald is 218-147 in 13 years, all at Gonzaga.

Outlook: The Terrapins will be looking to break an NCAA record by winning the school's 12th straight opening-round tournament game without a defeat. Unless Gonzaga gets extremely hot from the outside -- the 'Zags shot 41.2 percent from three-point range -- it doesn't look like much of a game. But there's a chance that Gonzaga could be to Maryland what Clemson was during the regular season: More of a pest than a threat. Gonzaga has some height to counter Joe Smith, Exree Hipp and Keith Booth inside, but Paul Rogers, Jason Kinloch and Jason Rubright don't have any bulk. The most interesting matchups will be in the backcourt, where Johnny Rhodes will try to cool off bald-headed John Rillie and Duane Simpkins must keep Kyle Dixon from getting the 'Zags in their half-court game.

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