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Maryland gymnastics goes south for NCAA Tournament

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Maryland athletics success continues as the GymTerps flip, tumble and vault their way to a seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

The GymTerps react to their NCAA Regional selection
The GymTerps react to their NCAA Regional selection

Well, the men's basketball team lost their second round NCAA Tournament game Sunday. Here's my advice. It's Tuesday. Get over it. If you consider yourself part of TerpNation or some such appellation, look around. There's plenty to be excited about. There are plenty of places to show your Maryland Pride.

Don't believe me? The women's basketball team will soon be on their way to Spokane to appear in their seventh Sweet 16 under coach Brenda Frese. The baseball team is living up to preseason expectations and has put up a 17-4 record, are 3-0 in the Big Ten and are ranked in the top 25 in nearly every poll. Maryland softball looks resurgent under first year coach Courtney Deifel. They are 19-12, 2-1 in Big Ten play and, before the weekend is out could more than double last season's win total barely halfway through this season.

Still not convinced? How about the men's lacrosse team. They've won six of seven and are currently ranked third in the country. The defending national champion women's lacrosse team is a perfect 9-0 and looking like a team with the potential to win back to back titles. Individual Terrapins athletes are racking up stacks of Big Ten weekly honors.

And here's one more reason for Maryland Pride: The GymTerps will make their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The NCAA announced the brackets Monday afternoon and the Terps are headed south to Auburn, Alabama where the will be seeded fifth.

The team gathered in the men's basketball film room to watch the announcement and before the broadcast engaged in a little friendly competition to see who could predict which of the six regions would be their destination. Even Athletics Director Kevin Anderson joined in the fun incorrectly choosing West  Virginia on Leah Slobodin's hand drawn map.

Gymnastics Keven Anderson prediction

Senior Stephanie Giameo was one of only two to correctly predict Auburn as the Terps' destination.

The other teams in the region are top seeded Alabama, the host school and second seed Auburn, two familiar B1G foes in Iowa and Minnesota and local rival and erstwhile EAGL foe George Washington. "I think that's a great bracket," said Terrapins head coach Brett Nelligan. "It's a good mix of some teams we know and some teams we don't know. That's what makes it fun. We're excited to get in there and mix it up."

Nelligan thinks his team will be able to take some confidence going into this regional. The GymTerps beat Minnesota in a dual duel early in  the season, tied George Washington the second time the teams met, and have been "real close" with Iowa twice - once in Iowa City and most recently at the Big Ten Championships.

Nelligan  thinks the familiarity will help his squad particularly after their performance at the B1G Championship. "Going to Big Tens and putting up a big 196, [actually 196.075] I think we showed ourselves that we can hang with these teams. We can get  in there and mix it up with Iowa and Minnesota. We haven't seen Auburn and Alabama but I think we'd love to put our gymnastics up against theirs."

On April 4th, Nelligan and his squad will have precisely that chance.