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Will Maryland’s long break prove to be more rest or rust in their first game of the NCAA Tournament?

Will Maryland’s long break prove to be more rest or rust in their first game of the NCAA Tournament?

By the time Maryland tips off against their to-be-determined first round opponent Thursday at 3:10 p.m., it will have been a full week since they last played in an actual game.

Not only will it have been seven days since their last outing, but they’ll have played just one game in the last 13 days, and two in the last 18 days.

The question now is just how valuable that time off will end up being for the Terps. It’s a classic question of rest versus rust, and the implications are heightened considering Maryland’s opponent will be coming off a win just two days prior.

With Temple and Belmont tipping off late Tuesday night, it will only have been roughly 40 hours between games for whomever Maryland ends up facing, a stark contrast to the Terps’ long break. One narrative says that might help Maryland. Another says the lack of momentum, for a young, streaky team reliant on momentum all season long, could be devastating.

It’s a fair question to ask. The only comparable stretch earlier this season came during winter break, a time most teams face long breaks due to the holidays. Maryland faced Loyola (MD) on December 11, then Seton Hall on December 22, and played again on December 29 against Radford.

Maryland blew out Loyola, capping a 9-2 start to the season, with their two losses coming at the hands of Purdue and Virginia. Momentum appeared to be on their side.

Then, 11 days later, an unranked Seton Hall team came into College Park and beat Maryland on their own court.

Not only did the Terps suffer a rare home loss, but they looked slow and sloppy during the game. Maryland shot 8-for-25 from 3-point range, and went down 14-3 right off the bat. They ended up battling back to lose by four, 78-74, but the slow start was too much to overcome.

History repeated itself a week later.

Maryland played host to Radford after another week off, and again came out slow. Facing the 125th-ranked team in KenPom, again on their own court, Maryland went down 19-10 in the first six minutes, despite outclassing their opponent in talent and size.

Mark Turgeon has admitted in the past that he tends to save his best, most fiery, motivational speeches for halftime, not pregame. But Maryland has shown that with time off, they can struggle to show up at tip-off.

Against a quality, NCAA Tournament-worthy opponent, that likely wouldn’t end well.

There are plenty of ways to preview their matchup. It would make sense to analyze individual matchups, scout out other teams' tendencies, or point out how much of an X-factor Anthony Cowan has become. Ultimately, though, the Terps’ chances in this year’s Big Dance may prove to be quite simple. 

Will the time off, and accompanying extra rest and practice time, prove helpful? Or will they come out slow, putting themselves in a hole out from which they may not be able to dig?

The answer will likely determine whether they make a run, or face yet another too-early March exit.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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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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