Maryland leaving the ACC has been a lot like Michael Corleone in the third Godfather movie: Just when we thought they were out, they get pulled back in. Whether it's the hardwood or the diamond, we just can't seem to get rid of these guys! With the OmaHoos set to square off with the Terps again this weekend, we reached out to Testudo Times, SB Nation's Maryland blog, to answer some of our questions about this oh-so-familiar opponent.
STL: What was the most pleasantly surprising element of Maryland's regionals win (aside from the result, of course)? Which player or players showed you the most in the opening round?
TT: The most pleasant surprise was how Maryland won a do-or-die game with a freshman pitcher. Taylor Bloom was outstanding in game three. Of course, the Regional MVP was LaMonte Wade.
STL: Who is the player who absolutely has to have a big weekend for Maryland to make it to Omaha? Who is a potential sleeper that the Hoos need to watch out for?
TT: Brandon Lowe has been in a slump of late, both at the bat and on the field. He needs to revert back to the All-B1G player he was for most of the season. The sleeper is probably Kevin Smith. The freshman shortstop is someone you need to see every day to appreciate just how good he is.
STL: Any thoughts on the charter airplane debacle?
TT: Murphy's Law. Let's hope both teams don't show any residual effects from it.
STL: Stepping back to the big picture, the Big Ten isn't the baseball powerhouse conference that the ACC is (even with the ACC's long national title drought). Will changing conferences affect Maryland's standing in the national baseball scene?
TT: Actually, the top 6 teams in the B1G are equal to the top six ACC teams. The biggest difference between the two leagues is the talent drop-off after those six teams: the ACC's drop-off is much less than in the B1G. But you raise a valid point concerning RPI, and thus Maryland needs to schedule a competitive non-conference slate.
STL: What element of Virginia's game gives Maryland fans the most hope of advancing past Super Regionals this year?
TT: The biggest difference between the two teams is the depth of quality in the bullpen. If Virginia can't get solid outings from their starters then this could be a quick series.
First pitch is at 4 PM today and will be televised on ESPNU. Go Hoos!