Although both teams got off to slow starts in their opening round games, Texas and Maryland eventually joined the majority of the first round winners in the tournament by blowing out their opponents by 18 and 38 points respectively. But things are sure to be tighter when the No.4-seeded Terps welcome the No. 5-seeded Longhorns to College Park on Tuesday night for a chance to advance to the round of 16 in Louisville.
Texas trailed by seven at halftime to Penn in their first game, but eventually took care of the Quakers pretty handily, thanks to their 6-foot-7 center Imani McGee-Stafford's 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The Terps trailed the No. 13-seeded Army by three with nearly 11 minutes off the clock in the first half of Sunday's game, before going on a 29-2 run to end the half, which eventually led to an overwhelming 90-52 victory.
Neither team can afford a slow start in this one against a much better opponent than they each faced in the first round. But at least Maryland will be within the friendly confines of Comcast Center, where they have thrived this year and in tournaments past.
The Terps are 15-2 at home this season and 17-3 all time in NCAA tournament games in College Park (11-2 in Comcast Center). However, the last time they lost in the tournament was to another five seed, Georgetown, in 2011.
Texas has struggled on the road this year, boasting a 4-7 record in such games. And they are an abysmal team when it comes to turnovers, ranking 297th in Division I with 18.3 per game. They committed 18 in their first round game, which if repeated would give them little-to-no chance to defeat a Maryland team that locks up on defense, holding opponents to 61.8 points per game, and turns the ball over much less frequently.
Texas may not enjoy the same potent offense (69.6 ppg) as Maryland does (83.2), but it does get after it defensively like the Terps, stifling their opponents to just 59.7 points per contest.
But they don't have to play against Alyssa Thomas every game, who with her 13 points passed Juan Dixon to become Maryland's all time leading scorer for men or women in Sunday's game.
This is the three-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of year's last chance at a national title and if her and the rest of the Terps can get past this game, they will find themselves in the round of 16 for the second straight year, possibly against another No. 1 seed, Tennessee. Last year's team saw its season end at the hands of then-No. 1 seed and eventual national champion UConn.
The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m., and can be seen on ESPN2 or streamed on your computer at WatchESPN.