Friday morning, the Maryland Terrapins addressed the media and went through an open practice at the Xfinity Center. They are hosting the first two rounds of the tournament on their home court, they’ll play against Iona Saturday at 1:30 pm Eastern on ESPN2.
Unlike their opponent, who is making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in school history, this is the norm for Maryland. It’s what is expected, this is a program coming off of back-to-back Final Four runs. Despite it being a team with several new faces, the Terps are just relaxed. They didn’t seem to up or too down on Selection Monday and the vibe when being around them today, is that they are just focused on themselves and ready to make a run. Taking it one game at a time, the Terps just want to play to their standard, the Maryland standard for six games and hope that it’s enough to come back home with the trophy when it’s all said and done. That starts tomorrow, against 15 seeded Iona.
After addressing the media, Maryland conducted an hour-and-a-half long practice. It wasn’t heavy on scheme, but they focused on the little things. Focused on the the little things that make them the strong team they are.
They did work on defending a few Iona sets at the start, before getting up and down the court. Maryland focused on the two man game between a big and a wing. As well as what they’re known best for, their transition from defense to offense. It was impressive to see just how hard their bigs sprint the floor both for rim runs and quick seals. It started slow from an energy stand point, but they quickly picked up the chatter and energy, filling the mostly empty arena with encouragement.
One of my favorite parts of the practice was the defensive drills, I believe it was 4-on-4 in which the communication was evident. The bigs all did a good job of directing their guards around various types of screens. It was a joy to watch, there’s a reason that Maryland is in the position they’re in and it has a lot to do with talent that works hard.