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R-E-L-A-X: The reality of Maryland's loss to Michigan

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R-E-L-A-X: The reality of Maryland's loss to Michigan

We knew that this was the type of team that could beat Maryland. Rider flirted with it. Georgetown flirted with it. Illinois State flirted with it. It was the reason Wisconsin was able to tie the game late before Melo Trimble’s heroics bailed his team out.

Stretch the floor and shoot well from the outside and you’ll have a chance to beat the Terrapins. Michigan is the most talented team to do that so far this season against Maryland and that combination of skill and executing a game plan earned John Beilein's team a 70-67 upset in Ann Arbor on Tuesday night.

The Wolverines shot 41 percent on 29 three-point attempts. That shakes out to 12 makes, the most converted three-point attempts versus an AP Top 5 team in the last 20 seasons, per ESPN.

Did an early lack of execution on the perimeter defensively hurt Maryland? Absolutely. Michigan’s ability to start 3-of-4 from deep, along with 12 first-half points (all on threes) from 6-foot-8 guard Duncan Robinson set the tone and got the crowd into it.

Michigan was able to endure a second-half drought because they came out of halftime still firing and pushing their lead to 13 with 16:38 to go. That was enough of a cushion to sustain them.

Yes, Maryland has things it needs to fix. It starts with perimeter defense. There should be serious questions about the bench beyond Diamond Stone. But take a look at the positives that Maryland now knows about itself.

MORE TERPS: BEILEIN COMPARES TRIMBLE FOR FORMER NBA LOTTO PICK

1) Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon can combine for 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting with 5 assists and seven turnovers and they still only lose a game by three points on the road to a Top 35 KenPom team. And they had a chance to tie it on the last possession.

2) Diamond Stone is still an unstoppable force inside and a card that Mark Turgeon can keep up his sleeve for when he needs it. Just as he did versus Penn State, Turgeon started Stone in the second half and he fueled the furious comeback, erasing a 13-point deficit to end up with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.

How much of a luxury must it be to have a five-star guy off your bench who can be thrown into the game whenever and completely change the momentum’s trajectory?

3) The reports of Jake Layman’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, Layman has endured criticism in the past for fading into the background offensively in big games. But he was the only thing keeping Maryland afloat in the first half today.

He was confident, strong on the glass, and active defensively. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. At the very least, Layman has progressed to the point where at the very least he earns a spot on the floor because his defense is a cornerstone for the team and he will attack the boards.

Some nights, you get this offensive alpha dog, too.

So look at it this way.

A number of things went wrong for Maryland on Tuesday night, some the result of playing a subpar game and some the result of the basic ebbs and flows of basketball.

Maryland falls to 15-2 over the past two seasons in games decided by six points or less.

Fifteen. And. Two.

And that comes in the second half of as close to a true road back-to-back as you’ll get in college basketball, only days after beating Wisconsin in Madison. The Terrapins were again on the road in Ann Arbor. They ran into a hot-shooting team and a wild crowd and they took a loss.

No. 1 Kansas lost on the road Tuesday night, too. North Carolina lost earlier in the year to Texas in Austin. It happens and Maryland will be just fine.

R-E-L-A-X.

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NBA Draft 2019: Maryland teammates Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan to declare for NBA Draft

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NBA Draft 2019: Maryland teammates Bruno Fernando, Anthony Cowan to declare for NBA Draft

Maryland hoops in College Park could look drastically different next winter. Sophomore Bruno Fernando and junior Anthony Cowan have declared for the 2019 NBA draft, the team announced Monday

Declaring during the early entry period and signing with an agent, as both players intend to do, makes both Fernando and Cowan eligible to return to school should they have other ideas before the draft. 

Fernando, the 6-foot-10 forward from Angola, popped off for 22 double-doubles during the 2019-19 season while finishing with averages of 13.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. The 20-year-old is expected to be a first-round draft pick. 

Fernando is reportedly being represented by Priority Sports, per NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig. 

Cowan led the way for Maryland last season, finishing with his team-leading 15.6 points and 4.4 assists per game. 

The Bowie, Md. guard currently ranks t-10th in program history in assists (437) and 23rd in points (1376). He's started in every game since arriving in College Park for the 2016-17 season. 

Although the 21-year-old isn't expected to draw serious NBA attention, he's still testing the waters for professional reasons. 

Here are upcoming dates to be on the lookout for: 

April 21 - Early Entry Draft Deadline

May 14-19 - NBA Combine

May 29 - NCAA Withdrawal Deadline

June 20 - NBA Draft

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Maryland women face off against UCLA for spot in Sweet 16

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Maryland women face off against UCLA for spot in Sweet 16

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eight invitations to the Sweet 16 have been delivered and the other eight will be decided Monday night.

UConn's back in the regional semifinals for the 26th consecutive year. The Huskies had to work for it as pesky Buffalo rallied from a 24-point, third-quarter deficit to get within eight in the fourth before the Huskies won by 12. It was UConn's closest game in the second round since a two-point victory over Xavier in 1999. The next-closest was a 15-point win over TCU in 2003.

"It's been kind of that type of year for us, where things just don't naturally happen the way they have before, and for us that's good preparation," UConn senior Katie Lou Samuelson said. "That shows that when things go wrong, when things happen, we can always pick up what we need to do and pick up from the next person down."

While reaching the Sweet 16 seems to be a rite of spring for the Huskies, other teams will be trying to make it there for the first time in a long time. The last time Missouri State advanced to the regional semifinals, assistant coach Jackie Stiles was leading the Lady Bears to an incredible Final Four run in 2001. For the team to get to the next round, they'll have to contend with Iowa State and a rowdy crowd at ISU's Hilton Coliseum.

Arizona State and Texas A&M needed big plays in the final few seconds to reach the next round in wins over Miami and Marquette, respectively.

Oregon had a little easier time advancing to its third consecutive Sweet 16. Sabrina Ionescu was a big reason why, getting her 18th career triple-double and second in the NCAAs. She became the second player to do it multiple times in the tournament, joining former Stanford great Nicole Powell.

Ionescu got her 10th rebound to reach the stat milestone in the final few minutes when she rebounded her own miss.

"I knew exactly where it was going to go," she said. "Let me add a little more rotation on this shot so I can get it back."

STILL UNBEATEN

The Pac-12 has yet to lose in the postseason, improving to 8-0 after wins by Arizona State and Oregon. Throw in two victories by Arizona in the WNIT and the conference is unblemished.

"I was able to tell the team yesterday, there's nothing that this team can show us that we haven't seen and the conference hasn't prepared you for this. How many close games has this group been in down the stretch of the year?" Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "You have the confidence to get the stops and to score and to execute."

HOME SWEET HOME

Baylor has been dominant at home -- during the regular season and in the women's NCAA Tournament.

The California Golden Bears know all too well the difficulty of playing the perennial Big 12 champion Bears in Waco during the postseason. They are 0-2 there, with those losses by significant margins.

For the third time in six years, the Golden Bears won an opening-round game in the Ferrell Center to set up a matchup against the host team -- they overcame an early 12-point deficit and beat North Carolina 92-72 on Saturday. Cal lost by 19 to Baylor in 2014, the year after an NCAA Final Four appearance, and two years ago ended their season with an 86-46 loss in Waco.

"We were very, very young when we came the last time, and I think that's a huge difference, just players having been here before, having gone through a lot of different experiences in the life of a basketball player," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

After overwhelming NCAA Tournament first-timer Abilene Christian 95-38 in the first round Saturday night, Baylor has won 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament games at home since 2011 and won those games by an average margin of 37 points.

The Lady Bears are 16-0 at home this season, and have won 38 in a row overall in Waco. They are 148-3 in non-conference home games in coach Kim Mulkey's 19 seasons, and have won 48 in a row since losing in January 2014 to UConn, which was the No. 1 team in the country when losing at Waco this season.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Monday's game will be played exactly 41 years after UCLA beat Maryland 90-74 to win the AIAW national championship, a precursor to the NCAA Tournament.

"That's pretty amazing," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "I think it's really good to pause and say thank you to the people that were involved in those games, thank you to the people that really lived out Title IX in an amazing, courageous way. Now we get opportunities that would have never been there without their sacrifice."

GROWING THE GAME

Rueck spoke about how the NCAA Tournament allows women's basketball to attract more fans -- even in Corvallis, which is known for its support of the sport and the home team.

"That's what I've loved about our community. They've embraced us," he said. "I always joke, I know we've got the women's basketball fans, and we're going to do great things for them.

"I want the football fans," he said. "I want the men's basketball fan that maybe has never given us a chance. Give us a shot, and be careful because you're going to get hooked."