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Dance Card: Maryland, ACC at-large

Always fear the turtle. No matter how few of them there are.

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Who? The Terrapins of Maryland.

What? The diamondback terrapin is the state reptile of Maryland. Testudo's name comes from the Latin. Somehow. (With all the debate about team names, I assume Maryland has a very good debate team...)

Where? College Park, Maryland, built around the B&O Railroad (it's not just a Monopoly piece).

When? March 23rd, in College Park, Maryland.

Why? Because, admit it, you want to see Brenda Frese test the patience of the officiating crew.

How? They were an at-large selection.

Surprise? Predicted to finish second in the conference by both the coaches and the Blue Ribbon Panel, they tied with North Carolina for second.

RPI: 12

SOS: 33

Record: 24-7 (14-4 Atlantic Coast)

Good wins: North Carolina. At Delaware.

Bad losses: At St. Joseph's.

Who's running this show? Brenda Frese, since 2002. Comes from a basketball family.

Extra, Extra! The Washington Post. But let's not forget the DC Basketcases.

All things considered, it's pretty amazing what Brenda Frese has been able to do with such a short roster after three torn ACLs in the early part of the year left Maryland without their projected starting backcourt and a frontcourt reserve. Of course, it helps when one of the players left is senior forward Tianna Hawkins, a sure-fire first-round draft pick who scores 18.3 points and pulls down 9.5 rebounds per game. It definitely helps when one of the others is the ACC Player of the Year, junior forward Alyssa Thomas (18.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists). Thomas has been called upon to do everything short of driving the team bus, and she's answered the call admirably.

But Maryland's talent can get worn down by their lack of depth, and both Hawkins and Thomas have had foul issues late in games- Hawkins has fouled out seven times in 31 games. How long can the Terrapins keep up with the tournament grind?