Coach Lefty Driesell said yesterday that if Maryland can defeat Clemson and Wake Forest on the road this week, the Terrapins should be invited to the NCAA championship tournament.
"If we can beat Clemson and Wake twice this season (Maryland has defeated each at home) we'll have an NCAA bid about sewed up," Driesell said yesterday at his weekly luncheon. "Of course, those games (Wednesday and Saturday) are both tough. We'll see what we are made of. I want to get in the NCAAs." Maryland is 14-8, 4-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
After Maryland's near-upset of second-ranked North Carolina on Wednesday, Tar Heel Coach Dean Smith hinted that the Terrapins would probably have trouble at Clemson, without senior center Charles Pittman, who suffered a fractured left foot last week.
"When you lose a star player you tend to play great for one game," Smith said Thursday night. "Usually, a team can band together and play out of its mind for one game. But the second game, they'll miss Pittman."
Driesell countered by saying yesterday, "I ain't never heard such a bunch of baloney before. That's just one of Dean's great basketball tidbits. I noticed where he said we'll have trouble with Clemson. Dean says we're lucky, we're gonna fold.
"Maybe we ought to get Adrian (Branch, the team's leading scorer) hurt just before the ACC tournament so we could band together again," Driesell said, as his audience laughed.