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John Feinstein: Terps Place in NCAA Tournament Is Secure

Duke wins the 2009 ACC men's basketball tournament in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, defeating Florida State in the final, 79-69.

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Then he paused. "You know as you get older, you understand that this is the way it works. Winning teams make fans good fans. They care. They want their school and their team to do well. Sometimes they go too far when they get frustrated, but when you do what I do, that's part of the deal."

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There were no boos Friday night. Even Vasquez, who has been snappish at times with members of the media, was in a good mood. He said he wasn't sure if this was his finest moment at Maryland but admitted that hugging his coach at the end was a moment of pure joy.

"I love the guy," he said. "He's like my stepdad. I'm a big fan of his; it just happens that I'm out on the court playing while I'm being a fan."

This building has been very good to Maryland and to Williams. The locker room they occupied Friday was the same one they were in seven years ago when they beat Indiana for the national championship. Williams's pregame talk Friday wasn't much different than it was that night.

"We're playing Indiana," he said then. "Don't worry about the national championship; worry about beating Indiana."

Friday, it was about Wake Forest.

"Don't worry about the NCAA tournament," he said. "Worry about beating Wake Forest. The rest will take care of itself."

On all counts, he was right. From start to finish, Maryland was the better team, the tougher team, the smarter team, the team that wanted to win more. Early in the second half, after a 12-2 run had extended Maryland's halftime lead to 48-33, Wake Forest Coach Dino Gaudio called a timeout to settle down his team.

On the ensuing possession, Wake was called for a shot-clock violation; there were just no holes in the Maryland defense.

The team that had come here to win two had won two.

"I've got T-shirts back at the hotel that say, 'win three,' " Williams said.

He always wants more, which is why Maryland is still playing this weekend -- and will be playing when it matters most next week.


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