SPOKANE, Wash. -- When the 2016 NCAA tournament bracket was released, this was a clear possibility. Now it is a reality. Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon will face his alma mater, Kansas, in the Sweet 16 after his team’s win over Hawaii on Sunday, one day after the Jayhawks took care of Connecticut to advance themselves.
“My deal is of course I love Kansas from ever since I can remember. I wish it wasn’t Kansas,” Turgeon said after Sunday’s win. “I’m just glad we’re in this game. We’re playing the best team in the country in Kansas on Thursday so we’ll get to see where we are.”
Turgeon went to the Final Four with Kansas as a player, then was a graduate assistant on staff in Lawrence when the Danny Manning-led Jayhawks won the national title in 1988.
Thursday in Louisville will not be the first time Turgeon has ever faced Kansas as a head coach. He saw them in conference play during his time at Texas A&M from 2007-11.
But he has never beaten the Jayhawks. He is 0-6 against them all-time in his head coaching career, per CSN statistician Rich Goldberg.
A win Thursday would not only be his first ever against his alma mater, but it would vault his team into the Elite Eight. At the moment, though, that’s not even Turgeon’s first worry.
“My whole thing right now is we got to get home,” he went on to say. “We got to travel all the way across the country, stay another night, we’ll get home [Monday], get these guys back on East Coast time zone, get our legs underneath us, and try to prepare for a great basketball team.”