The Maryland Terrapins are participating in their 26th NCAA Tournament and are still alive in their quest to reach the third Final Four in program history.
The fifth-seeded Terps will take on top-seeded Kansas at 9:40 p.m. ET on CBS for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. If Maryland wins tonight, it will be the farthest the program has advanced in the NCAA Tournament in 14 years.
Fourteen years ago was 2002, which is also the last time Maryland reached the Final Four. The Terps also made it to the Final Four in 2001, but were cut down by ACC rival Duke in the national semifinals.
In 2002, they did more than just get to the Final Four though. They cut down the nets in Atlanta, beating Kansas in the semifinals and Indiana in the championship game.
Seeded No. 1 in the East Region, the Terps ripped through No. 16 seed Siena, No. 8 seed Wisconsin, fourth-seeded Kentucky and second-seeded UConn to reach the Final Four. They were led by Most Outstanding Player Juan Dixon, who averaged 25.8 points per game in the tournament.
Dixon was aided by future NBA players Steve Blake, Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox. Those four teamed up with Byron Mouton, Ryan Randle, Tahj Holden and Drew Nicholas to form an incredibly consistent eight-man rotation.
Since that national title under head coach Gary Williams, Maryland has qualified for seven NCAA Tournaments, but has only advanced to the Sweet 16 twice, including this year. The Terps have the talent and athleticism to knock off Kansas. We'll have to see if they can get it done.