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UMBC to 'play our game'

RALEIGH, N.C. — RALEIGH, N.C. -- Brian Hodges said UMBC has watched the tape of Pittsburgh's 74-65 win over Georgetown in the Big East tournament "two or three times" to find some clues. But guard Jay Greene insisted yesterday the Retrievers will do more of what got them here.

"We're just going to play our game, look to get out and run out there," Greene said. "We can definitely push the ball."

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Greene also said UMBC isn't awed by being here, playing today against one of the national powers.

"This is the stage we want to be on. ... It lets us know where we stand. We're not going to back down," he said.

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Zoning Hibbert

How UMBC elects to defend Georgetown's 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert inside will help determine how long the Retrievers can hang with the Hoyas.

Hoping to avoid foul trouble, they're likely to play their matchup zone defense. Even then, it's going to be difficult avoiding fouls. The Retrievers will have their hands full trying to find an answer to both Hibbert and 6-8 DaJuan Summers.

The job will fall to 6-8 Cavell Johnson, 6-9 Justin Fry and 6-4 Darryl Proctor.

"A big part of guarding [Hibbert] is team defense," Johnson said.

Proctor said he can stay out of foul trouble and thinks "we can match up inside."

Hibbert averaged 13.6 points and 6.5 rebounds this season.

Reminder on books

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Ever since UMBC made the tournament, school officials have been eager to emphasize academics. It's not that school president Freeman A. Hrabowski III isn't excited about the team; it's just that he wants the world to know about more than UMBC's athletics.

"What we have worked to create is balance," Hrabowski said in an interview.

Athletic director Charles Brown also has talked often about academics, highlighting Hodges, who is studying graduate economics.

Brown said he didn't intend to disparage the University of Maryland when he was asked last weekend about differences between the schools' programs and noted that "UMBC players graduate."

Said Brown: "We apologize for any hard feelings."

Williams frowning

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Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't openly criticize the NCAA tournament selection committee's work in setting up the brackets, but he certainly didn't endorse it, either.

Williams said he was surprised Tennessee was placed in his region, saying the Vols "have got to be the No. 2 team." He also called the game between Indiana and Arkansas "the toughest by far" of the 8-9 matchups.

When it was suggested that the committee might have been trying to balance out the East bracket because Carolina had, in effect, four home games leading to the Final Four, he allowed that could have been the reason for the tougher matchups. "But a building doesn't win you a game," he said.

Local ties

Summers, a sophomore forward, came to Georgetown from McDonogh, so he's familiar with UMBC.

"Everybody knows about the school if you're from the area. but they weren't the same team then that they are now," Summers said.

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This is UMBC's first winning season since 2001-02.

ken.murray@baltsun.com jeff.barker@baltsun.com



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