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What Sulaimon learned (the hard way) about lower-seed threats

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What Sulaimon learned (the hard way) about lower-seed threats

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Rasheed Sulaimon has been in three very different places in March during his college career.

As a freshman at Duke, he went to the Elite 8 before losing to eventual national champion Louisville. Then as a sophomore, his Blue Devils lost to No. 14-seeded Mercer in the first round in one of the tournament’s biggest upsets.

He was dismissed from last year’s Duke team before getting a chance to see March, instead watching from home as his former teammates won a national title without him.

Now Sulaimon is at Maryland with the Terrapins, a No. 5 seed, as they prepare to take on 12-seed South Dakota State in Spokane on Friday. Two 12-seeds will have already won their first-round games this year by the time Maryland takes the floor.

If there’s anyone who knows the mindset of a double-digit seed in the NCAA tournament and the sting of losing a game to one, it’s Sulaimon.

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“They have nothing to lose, you know? A lot of people, especially publicly, might count them out and expect them to lose anyway so they go in and they play free,” he told CSN on Thursday. “They play with a chip on their shoulders as well.”

They are essentially playing with house money. Twelve-seeds are often small-conference tournament champions with talent, but may be undersized or feature less interior muscle or perimeter speed than a high-major.

That will be South Dakota State against Maryland on Friday. That was Mercer in 2014 against Duke.

“Just thinking about the one loss that I had and an early exit, the mindset of our team we knew we were better and kind of overlooked them and it bit us in the butt,” Sulaimon said.

“That Mercer team that beat us, they were hungry, they played a tremendous game and if we play 100 times, that’s probably the only time they beat us but on any given day if you don’t show up you can exit in this tournament and we realize that. And from my experience that’s one of the main things that I try to express to the guys is don’t take anything for granted and play humble because you don’t want any game to be your last.”

Maryland is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. Eastern tip against SDSU.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

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Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.