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Maryland's Looks to Break Trend of Third Round Losses

Since its 2002 NCAA Championship victory, Maryland has only made one trip to the Sweet 16.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The month of March is unpredictable. A coach can prepare his team as much as possible, but there is never a true telling as to which teams are going to show up when it comes time to step up on the big stage. The month is labeled with Madness for a reason. Upsets, underdogs and last second shots seem to be more likely. Some teams consistently thrive on the big stage, while others tend to freeze up and for some reason cannot make it past the first few rounds.

Its 27-6 run in its first Big Ten season has earned the Maryland Terrapins a fourth seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Mark Turgeon's team will face No. 13 Valparaiso in the opening round. Freshman Melo Trimble has shined bright in his debut college season. However, many bracketologists are still careful not to put too much down on the Terps headed into the postseason.

Although Maryland has made 24 previous Tournament appearances, this will be the Terps first trip to the Big Dance since 2010.

Most recent trips have displayed a trend of 1-1 records for the Terps, who have lost each of their third round matchups in the past four appearances. However, success for Maryland is not too far off in the past as it was the National Champion in 2002. Before that, it had lost to Duke in the Final Four. But since its National Championship, Maryland has only made it to the Sweet 16 once.

In 2010, Maryland was again a fourth seed facing No. 10 Houston in the opening round. The Terps entered its eighth NCAA tournament appearance since 2000, while it was Houston's first appearance since 1992. Although most of the Terps season was led ACC player of the year, Greivis Vasquez, the real story for Maryland was the burst it received from freshman Jordan Williams, who set career highs with 21 points and 17 rebounds, as Maryland handedly took down their opening round opponent.

The next game, however, would be a different story for Maryland, facing No. 5 Michigan State. The Spartans, who have historically been a successful Tournament team, allowed Maryland back in the game after blowing a 16-point second half lead. This was after Michigan State's star guard Kalin Lucas left the game with a leg injury. With six seconds left, Vasquez hit a basket to give Maryland a 83-82 lead. But it was Lucas' replacement, Korie Lucious, who ended Maryland's hopes of a Sweet 16 banner with his last second shot to give Michigan State the 85-83 win.

In 2009, tenth seeded Maryland defeated the University of California in the opening round, before falling in a 89-70 blowout to No. 2 Memphis in the round of 32.

Entering the 2015 Tournament, Maryland can blow-up at any time and make a run. However, it has also proven to be the type of team that just falls short even against teams that they clearly outshine talent-wise. But that is what puts the Madness in March. There is no telling which Maryland team will show up. Fans would hope it would be the dominant team that it has teased them to be at points during the season. But if Maryland mirrors what it has shown in recent years, that dominance may turn into disappointment.