Before I get into the match up, I want to emphasize for the 1,000,000 time that this little exercise is for players in the Gary Williams era only. Hence, players like Len Bias aren't going to appear in the tournament, so please don't make comments complaining about the tournament being ridiculous because Juan Dixon was higher than Bias; Bias wasn't eligible for this tournament. I came up with the idea to do it because it was a great way to reflect back on Gary's career, since he just retired.
The next match up is between former point guard Steve Blake and the recently departed center, Jordan Williams.
The #5 Seed - #25, Steve Blake, PG, 1999-2003
Blake was a dominant force on both the 2001 and 2002 Final Four teams and also on the team that went to the Sweet 16 the following year, which is the last time Maryland made it to the Sweet 16. He is arguably the best point guard to ever put on the Maryland uniform and his ability to run Gary's offense and still score when he had to was amazing. He is Maryland's all-time leader in assists with 972 (200 more than the next closest person, which is Vasquez), and averaged 7 assists per game over his career. He is also #4 in the Gary Williams era in steals, was a great rebounder for a guard, and scored over 1,100 points in his career. But Blake's biggest attribute, in my opinion, was how well he ran the flex offense and by doing so, how much better he made players like Dixon, Baxter and Wilcox. I sometimes think you have to watch Blake in order to get a full appreciation for what he was able to do running the point.
While Blake is known for his fantastic point guard ability, one of my favorite Steve Blake moments happened my freshman year at Cole Field House against Duke, with time running down in the first half. Jason Williams was dribbling out the clock so Duke could get one last shot before the half and turned around to get a play from Coach K. Blake saw Williams turn around, stole the ball from him and took it to the house for a layup as time expired. The best part about being at that game was hearing the crowd go "Oooooooh!" as they saw Blake sprinting to pick Williams' pocket. And the irruption of applause after was amazing. I miss Cole.
Oh He Steal (via icecoldfrapman)
The #12 Seed - #20, Jordan Williams, C, 2009-2011
Jordan Williams blossomed into a dominant force inside for Maryland in both rebounding and scoring during his time at Maryland. He wasn't a highly regarded big man when he was recruited; many thought he was too slow and not athletic enough to compete in a conference like the ACC. But Jordan quickly proved his doubters wrong. He broke Len Elmore's consecutive double-double streak and instantly became a dominant force inside his freshman year when he helped the Terps secure their first regular season ACC title since the 2001-2002 season. Jordan was arguably the best inside player Maryland has had since Lonny Baxter and while he was only here for two years, he put up some impressive numbers in that time. His 10.2 rebounds per game is second only to Joe Smith. In the Gary Williams era, he is the 8th leading rebounder, despite only being here for two seasons. This past season he averaged a double-double with 16.9 ppg and 11.8 rebounds per game, something few other Maryland players have ever been able to accomplish. Had Jordan stuck around for even one more season, he probably would have climbed higher on this list. But as it stands now, he's still one of the best inside players of the Gary Williams era.
And who could forget this awesome moment, when Jordan destroys Duke's John Scheyer as he dunks over him on a fast break. Word is Scheyer made a ridiculous face and cried after.
So there you have it. Who moves on in this latest match up?