Late Sunday night, Maryland outlasted Hawai’i to advance to the NCAA South Regional in Louisville, Thursday night against top seeded Kansas. The game promises to be the Jayhawks’ toughest test as they continued their quest for the team’s sixth national championship.
A victory over the heavily talented Terrapins would put the Jayahwks in a position to play for their first Final Four trip in four years. It’ll be the first time the two programs have met in the tournament since the 2002 Final Four, when Maryland took down Kansas en route to the national title.
“Maryland is without question one of the most talented teams in the country,” head coach Bill Self said Sunday night. “They are very strong on the perimeter and play through both bigs. They have been ranked nationally in the top-10 for the majority of the season. We know how talented they are and certainly it will be a great test.”
The biggest storyline, however, may be the confrontation with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, who is one of Kansas’ favorite sons. Turgeon was a highly decorated high school player in Topeka, before starring at Kansas from 1983-87. He later became a graduate assistant and was on Larry brown’s staff when Kansas captured the title in 1988.
“Our fans will be very familiar with their coach because Mark (Turgeon) was one of the beloved Jayhawks during his time in Lawrence,” Self said. “I was a graduate-assistant coach at Kansas when Turg was a junior. He has had a great coaching career and has really got that Maryland program on a very solid foundation.”
Thursday’s affair will be the late game with Villanova and Miami taking center stage first inside the KFC Yum Center.
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