Spartans and Maryland Both Have Focus On Sunday Rather Than Friday's Big Wins!

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Spokane, WA

Spokane Arena

 

As great as last night’s win for the Spartans was against NMSU, it is now time to move on. They will square up against Maryland at 2:30 EST (changed from 2:40 by the NCAA today) with the all-time series tied at 2-2.

 

The Spartans won the only previous meeting in the NCAA tournament in the 2003 sweet sixteen when Paul Davis hit the winning hoop with 4.7 seconds left. If the past is any indicator with two future Hall of Fame coaches who don’t change much, Sunday’s battle will be a similar nail-biter.

 

Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams knows the Spartans and Tom Izzo well. “When I was at Ohio State, Tom was on the bench with Jud Heathcote at Michigan State, so I've known Tom a long time and what's done at Michigan State, I don't think he's got enough credit for it. I think they have been to five Final Fours and the National Championship within the last 11 years, something like that. So that speaks for itself. Tom's teams always play. It doesn't matter who the players are, they come after you, they execute very well. And you have to match their intensity and passion for the game. And that's what you get when you play Tom.”

 

Kalin Lucas said about the Turtles, “I can’t take no time to enjoy the New Mexico win now. It is all business about Maryland for me.” Those same sentiments are being shared by the Terps. Senior guard Eric Hayes said, “We’re a little familiar with their personnel, but they’re a good team and a Big Ten team so it’s not going to be easy.”

 

The Spartans will take the court for practice at 4:35pm EST today. They are fortunate in that in many ways they are a similar team to the Terps. Both teams can grind it out. Both can run and both can shoot the three.

 

After practice Tom Izzo and the players will talk to the media at about 6pm EST. I will have updates then on the health of Chris Allen and other news and notes preparing for the second round on Sunday.

 

One name to keep in mind is Jordan Williams. The true freshman forward demolished the Houston Cougars last night for 21 points and 17 rebounds. In my scouting report and prediction that will be up first thing in the AM I will address how the Spartans attack the Terps and beat them.

 

Point guard Greivis Vasquuez gets the bulk of the attention, but I don’t see him as the key to the game. I will explain why in the scouting report and prediction column.