Maryland looking forward to brief respite
No. 6 Maryland will have 13 days between capturing its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament crown since 2005 last Sunday and wrapping up the regular-season finale against Colgate on May 7.
Normally, that kind of layoff would concern coach John Tillman, but he said the time off could benefit the Terps.
“We hate to get out of rhythm,” he acknowledged Wednesday. “You kind of get into a routine, you kind of get into a rhythm, I think the kids have some confidence, and maybe we can continue going on that. But I think given how hard we’ve been going and the fact that we had two games [last weekend], Ryan’s situation and that we’re hitting exams in a week-and-a-half, we kind of feel like this is coming at the right time for us. This allows us to take a little bit of a deep breath and step away a little bit. … We’re going to rest up a little bit, get our legs back and kind of get mentally refreshed and recharged, and I think we need that right now.”
Maryland began the week by traveling to New York to attend the funeral of Maria Young, the mother of senior attackman Ryan Young who died on April 17 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The entire coaching staff wore purple shirts during the team’s 11-9 win against No. 7 Duke in the tournament final to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, and almost every Terps fan and parent also wore purple to honor the memory of Maria Young.
“Sunday was kind of whirlwind with getting back sometime after midnight and then making sure that everybody was dressed and ready to go at 7 a.m.,” Tillman said. “It was a fast turnaround, and I think everybody was pretty tired. But everybody wanted to be there to support Ryan and his family, and nobody thought twice about it. … The Young family did an excellent job, and I think that’s what Maria Young wanted, to make sure that it was a celebration of Maria’s life. The whole experience was very positive. I think we were able to acknowledge what an incredible person she was and the sacrifices that she had made and the courage she had shown. I think she had inspired every single person that was there.”
Despite the Terps’ victorious run through the ACC tournament, a projected bracket (or two) for the NCAA tournament has suggested that the team might not get one of the top eight seeds, which guarantees a first-round game at home. But Tillman shrugged off that possibility.
“I kind of learned a long time ago that the committee is going to be really qualified and that they will take all of the information and make the best decision possible with that information,” he said. “We had an opportunity to win every single game on our schedule, and we didn’t. I’m very pleased that we won the last two, and I think our kids deserve the credit for that. Whatever the committee gives us, we’re going to do. Any time that we spend trying to figure all that stuff out is time that can be spent making our team better. That’s sounds like a real generic, politically correct answer, but no one has any idea what’s going to happen. We feel like there’s a strong chance that we’re going to be in it, and if you get in it and you can win four games, you can do something incredibly special. So as long as we get in there, whatever happens, happens.”