Maryland - Kansas Matchup Talk of the Final Four

Even though Roy Williams Kansas Jayhawks may be the fastest team in the nation, and have two big men in Gooden and Collison to handle the rebounds, there is one thing this Jayhawk team does not have that Maryland does - experience from last year's Final Four. In a matchup between two top seeds in both the East and Midwest, regular season Big 12 and ACC champions will face up in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome in the second of two national semifinal matchups.

Kansas' coach recognizes that despite his squad's determination to win the national championship, the Jayhawks will be facing a driven team. Wisconsin's head coach, who has played both Maryland and Kansas in his career, picked the Terps to win the national title because "they just seem more determined."

"The toughest thing to understand is that those guys were all there last year and their goal was not just to get back to Atlanta," Williams said. "I think they're probably mad about what happened last year and they're going to be so much more focused to go there and get it done.

"That's a tough situation to play a team that's thinking about that, and how mad they are about what happened and how focused they are, especially as talented as they are."

In their first Final Four in school history last year, Maryland blew a 22 point lead in the first half only to fall to the eventual national champion Duke.

"The advantage of having played in the Final Four last year is knowing how this week works. We're not overwhelmed by returning to the Final Four," Gary Williams said. "Getting to the Final Four had been a goal for a long time, and we finally made it last year, which makes it easier to comprehend everything this year. Hopefully that will help us."

In the Jayhawk's last Final Four, they lost to North Carolina 78-68 in the national semifinals.

PREDICTION: Honestly, I see the Kansas-Maryland game as probably the game of the year. If Maryland holds the score down, they'll win but if Kansas can score at will like they did with Oregon, they'll win. I definitely don't see Kansas dominating the boards like they did against the Ducks...that was flat out a mismatch, Kansas was 1st and Oregon was 2nd to last among the Sweet 16 teams in rebounding. Maryland probably has the better players but I like Kansas' depth a little more. Both teams are on a mission but I think it will be Maryland that will prevail...I believed they would we make the finals from the beginning and seeing their games this weekend won't sway me away from that pick.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Maryland - F Wilcox (11.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg), F Mouton (11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg), C Baxter (15.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg), G Dixon (20.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Blake (8.0 ppg, 8.0 apg). Kansas - F Gooden (20.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg), F Collison (15.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg), G Hinrich (14.9 ppg, 5.1 apg), G Boschee (13.3 ppg, 2.4 apg), G Miles (7.0 apg, 6.7 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Maryland - At-large bid, Atlantic Coast Conference; beat No. 16 Siena 85-70, first round; beat No. 8 Wisconsin 87-57, second round; beat No. 4 Kentucky 78-68, East Regional semifinal; beat No. 2 Connecticut 90-82, regional final. Kansas - At-large bid, Big 12 Conference; beat No. 16 Holy Cross 70-59, first round; beat No. 8 Stanford 86-63, second round; beat No. 4 Illinois 73-69, Midwest Regional semifinal; beat No. 2 Oregon 104-86, regional final.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Maryland - 27-17, 18 years. Kansas - 65-30, 30 years.

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