Dec. 3 | Indiana-Maryland POSTGAME | ESPN.com's ACC/Big Ten Challenge page
What a special environment and incredible game at Conseco Fieldhouse on Tuesday night! It's only early December, but the intensity for the Indiana-Maryland matchup was truly special.
In the end, senior guard Tom Coverdale would not allow the Hoosiers to lose to the defending national champs in a rematch of the 2002 NCAA title game. He willed Indiana to the winner's circle (80-74 in OT) by making big play after big play, tying his career high with 30 points as the Hoosiers rallied from a 14-point deficit.
The game had so many great performances. Coverdale and Maryland senior point guard Steve Blake were brilliant. Blake almost won the game at the end of regulation, but his 55-foot shot was ruled as coming just after the buzzer. That was as close as a call gets, baby!
Indiana (5-0) got a key performance off the bench from freshman forward Sean Kline (10 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes). Another key for the Hoosiers was their ability to control the ball, turning it over just four times in 45 minutes -- amazing!
Senior forward Ryan Randle has really improved for Maryland (3-1), showing an ability to to step outside and hit the jumper. He was tough inside as well, posting a double-double (20 points, 16 boards). He has to be one of the most improved players in America.
For those who wonder if early-season games have meaning, get a copy of the tape of Indiana-Maryland. It had all the emotion and intensity of an NCAA Tournament game.
Both coaches -- IU's Mike Davis and Maryland's Gary Williams -- lost key players from last year's title game. Jared Jeffries, Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox are all in the NBA, but you couldn't tell the two coaches that this game meant any less because of their absence. The current players and coaches gave it their all. What a tremendous matchup!
These two programs rely heavily on pride and emotion. You could see it early on when Maryland jumped out to a big lead. But Indiana fought back, led by Coverdale.
I'll tell you, these two teams will have superb seasons.