Maryland's Jake Layman talks about what made this year's team special. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun)
No. 4 seed Maryland and No. 13 seed Valparaiso play today at 4:40 p.m. in a first-round NCAA tournament game. Here's a look at the projected starting lineups:
Melo Trimble, 6-3, 190, FR: Having established himself as one of the top point guards in the country, and his team's leading scorer (16.3), the stage will only get bigger for a player who doesn't seem bothered by the bright lights.
Dez Wells, 6-5, 205, SR: Regardless of who leads the Terps in scoring, Wells leads Maryland in swagger. He has expanded his game this season beyond the rim-shaking dunks that remain a nightly staple. After finally recovering from the after-effects of his fractured wrist, Wells carried the team down the stretch.
Richaud Pack, 6-3, 185, SR: Expected to be a bench player after being a fifth-year graduate student transfer from North Carolina A&T, Pack makes little plays into big ones by hitting shots, making an extra pass and going into traffic for rebounds.
Jake Layman, 6-9, 205, JR: He was Maryland's second and sometimes first scoring option when Wells missed a month, but the pounding Layman has taken as an athletic, light, power forward seems to have taken its toll of late (averaging under 10 points, three rebounds his last six games).
Damonte Dodd, 6-11, 250, SO: After a stretch of 14 games in which he barely scored more points (35) than he drew fouls (33), Dodd has been more consistent the past few games. Though he fouled out of Saturday's Big Ten semifinal loss to Michigan State, Dodd had six points and three rebounds in 19 minutes.
Darien Walker, 6-3, 215, JR: Walker was hit in the nose in his team's championship game victory in the Horizon League tournament over Wisconsin-Green Bay and scored just three points in 20 minutes. How long he can go – and whether he can adjust to wearing a mask – could be a key.
Tevonn Walker, 6-1, 195, FR: He will have the enviable job of staying in front of Trimble Friday – with a bad foot. He played just four minutes in the championship game and if he can't go, junior transfer Keith Carter might – with a bruised toe.
Victor Nickerson, 6-8, 195, JR: He sort of set the late-season injury tone last summer when he underwent a double-hip operation. Not only did he recover, but actually wound up as the team's starting point guard for a while. His length could force the Terps to go with bigger lineup, including 6-7 Jared Nickens.
Alec Lewis, 6-9, 225, SO: Lewis might be the difference between this being a close game – and a possible Valpo win – and a blowout for the Terps (though they haven't done that in awhile). The first-team all-Horizon League player leads Crusaders in scoring (16.2), rebounding (6.8) and 3-point shooting (46.2).
Vashil Fernandez, 6-10, 245, SR: He plays internationally for Jamaica but came to U.S. and finished high school in Maryland at Prince George's County-based Princeton Day. Fernandez was the Horizon League defensive player of the year.