Terps Head to the Big Apple

Maryland travels to Madison Square Garden to take on Pitt in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic

After starting 3-0, the Maryland Terrapins face their first challenges of the young season when they travel to New York to take part in the 2010 edition of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The Terps take on No. 5 Pittsburgh in one of the semi-final games on Thursday at 7 p.m., and if Maryland wins, the team will play the winner of No. 13 Illinois and Texas, in the championship game Friday night. A loss would mean that the Terps face the loser in the consolation game.

After opening the season against three lesser teams, the tournament in New York will give the Terps a chance to gauge themselves against top-notch opponents.

“It's a great opportunity for us to see where we are against quality teams, so we're looking forward to that,” said head coach Gary Williams.

The tournament will be the first time that Maryland has played at Madison Square Garden since it won the event in 2006, and none of the current Terps have played at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in their college careers.

Coach Williams is excited that his players will have the chance to do so. “If you're a college basketball player you enjoy the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden,” said Williams. “I never got to when I was in school but it certainly is a great place to play basketball."

Sophomore Jordan Williams said that Coach Williams stressed that it’s a privilege to play at the Garden. “If you can't get up at Madison Square Garden than you might as well play archery as Coach Williams says,” said the center. “We're all really excited about it."

Pitt has been picked by many experts to finish first in the Big East, and the unit is led by junior guard Ashton Gibbs who has averaged 19.3 points in the Panthers’ first three games.

The team has the size and strength in the frontcourt to dominate the Terps on the glass, who at times have looked shaky rebounding.

Despite the stiff competition they’ll be facing, the Terps are looking forward to the challenge.

“Anytime you play against a top five team in the nation, that's what you work hard for,” said senior guard Adrian Bowie. “You do all the work in the summer and preseason to play against a great team."

Regardless of the result against Pitt, the Terps will face another tough opponent in either Illinois or Texas. The Illini are one of the favorites in a very deep Big 10 this year, while Texas looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2009-2010 campaign, in which they rose No. 1 in the country before finishing the season going 7-10.

As they look to take a bite out of the Big Apple, the tournament will serve as a valuable opportunity for the revamped Terps squad to prove themselves in front of a national audience.

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