Some Big Ten fans might not know too much about the history of the Maryland Terrapins, since the team just joined the conference in 2014. But the Terps have a very respectable history, and that included success at the NCAA Tournament. Maryland has appeared in the big dance 25 times, the Sweet Sixteen 13 times, Elite Eight four times, Final Four Twice and of course, won a national title in 2002 under head coach Gary Williams.
The team clearly had its most successful stretch under Williams, who coached the team for 22 years from 1989 to 2011. But they also had plenty of success with Lefty Driesell (1969-1969) and current head coach Mark Turgeon (2011-present). Overall, Maryland has a 39-24 record in the NCAA Tournament. Here's a look at some of the highlights.
Back-to-Back Final Fours
There's no doubt the best stretch of basketball in Maryland history is 2001 to 2002, when the Terrapins made two straight final fours and captured their only championship the second time around. Going into the 2000-'01 season, the Terrapins had made the tournament seven straight seasons under Williams but never made it past the Sweet Sixteen. They didn't have a dominant regular season, going 21-10 and losing in the ACC semifinals to Duke, but they still managed to grab a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It was then that they got hot, winning four straight and beating No. 1 seed Stanford by 14 in the Elite Eight to reach their first Final Four. But Maryland's prize was a rematch against Duke, which beat the Terrapins by 11 on their way to winning the title.
The Terrapins would prove their run was no fluke the next season. With stars Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter returning for their senior seasons and point guard Steve Blake continuing to improve, Maryland went 26-4 and grabbed a No. 1 seed before rolling through the tournament. They beat another No. 1 seed in Kansas in the Final Four before downing fifth-seeded Indiana, 64-52, in the finals as Dixon captured the tournament's MVP award. While the Terrapins never reached the same level of success under Williams, those two years are worth celebrating.
Other Strong Stretches
This is an interesting question. The Terrapins made the Elite Eight twice (1973, 1975) in a three-year period under Lefty Driesell, but the NCAA Tournament was only a 25 and then 32 team contest those years, so it wasn't quite as big an accomplishment. Other than that, the team's strongest stretches have been 1980-1986 (six tournaments in seven years), and 1994-2004 (11 straight tournaments). William's tenure as coach has obviously doubled as the school's best era of basketball.
Bob Wade's tenure as head coach from 1986-'87 to 1988-'89 was a major disappointment, as the Terrapins missed the tournament (and postseason all together) two times in three seasons. Williams took over the following season, but it wouldn't be until his fifth season that Maryland would make the tournament. That adds up to six seasons in a seven-year span with no NCAA Tournament. Williams would of course turn things around, but the end of his tenure and the beginning of Mark Turgeon's didn't get off to a good start, with Maryland getting left out four straight seasons for 2011 to 2014.
After some rocky moments his first three seasons, Turgeon helped Maryland qualify last season as a No. 4 seed and this season as a No. 5. But the Terrapins lost in the second round in 2015, and struggled at times down the stretch this season. While Maryland seems to be in a good hands right now, this year's NCAA Tournament will prove a lot about the program. Turgeon's crew is too talented to go home early.