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College Basketball: Maryland Heads to First Final - 2002-04-01

The University of Maryland men's basketball team will be playing in its first-ever national collegiate tournament title game Monday night when it faces Indiana. Maryland has won a school record 31 games this season against only four losses, but unless they win one more, the players say it will be a huge disappointment.

That's because this is their second straight trip to the Final Four. Last year Maryland blew a 22-point lead in the semifinals and lost to eventual champion Duke. All but one of the eight regulars played on last year's team, and the starting five features three seniors.

They have all indicated they have a strong desire to take care of unfinished business. Expectations have been high, and Maryland coach Gary Williams believes his players have handled it very well. "I knew that we weren't satisfied with what happened in the Final Four last year," he said. "It's hard as you get older in the program to regroup after something like that, but these guys never wavered. And you could tell from the first day of practice, the intent of this team. There are no guarantees that [after] you put all that time in that things are going to work out this way, but these guys were willing to do whatever it took to get here."

Maryland beat a strong Kansas team in the semifinals and is favored to beat Indiana here for the school's first-ever men's national college basketball title Monday night.