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Terps, Horns meet for Sweet 16 bid

Texas hopes it is moving back up in national esteem. Maryland knows it is moving on from the ACC. And one of the two will be moving into the Sweet 16 on Tuesday.

The matchup between the fourth-seeded Terrapins and No. 5 seed Longhorns could be one of the highlights among Tuesday night's NCAA tournament second-round games (continued coverage begins on ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 at 7 p.m. ET). Maryland has a definite edge because the Terps are playing on their home court.

But Texas' speed, height and defense could challenge Maryland. The Longhorns finished tied for third in the Big 12 this year at 11-7 with Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls did on Monday what the Horns will try to do Tuesday: win as a No. 5 seed on the No. 4 seed's home court.

Oklahoma State did that to Purdue. Few would argue, though, with the point that the Terps (25-6) are a stronger 4-seed than the Boilermakers were. Purdue ended its season 22-9.

Maryland is led by All-American senior Alyssa Thomas, who has been one of the all-time ACC greats but has experienced some crushing NCAA losses the past two years. In 2012, Notre Dame throttled the Terps in a regional final 80-49. Last season, Maryland went out in the Sweet 16 against eventual national champion UConn, and wasn't very competitive in the 76-50 loss.

This season, eight ACC teams made the NCAA field, and three remain. League champion Notre Dame, an undefeated No. 1 seed, is already in the Sweet 16 and will be hosting a regional.

North Carolina, the No. 4 seed in the Stanford regional, is lucky to still be in the tournament after escaping UT Martin in the first round. The Tar Heels will have their hands full trying to win their second-round game against No. 5 seed Michigan State on Tuesday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET).

The rest of the ACC is done, including No. 2 seed Duke, which was upset by No. 7 DePaul on Monday.

Maryland beat Duke in the 2006 national championship game, and that year was a showcase for the ACC women with three teams -- UNC was the other -- in the Final Four.

However, starting in the 2014-15 season, Maryland will move to the Big Ten, a league that hasn't had a Women's Final Four participant since Michigan State's 2005 appearance.

The Terps haven't exactly been treated like personae non gratae by the ACC office this season ... but not that far from it. At this point, though, Maryland is still an ACC school carrying that league's banner.

After going 12-18 last season, Texas missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. The Longhorns made the NCAA field all five seasons Gail Goestenkors coached there -- 2008-12 -- but never advanced past the second round.

Karen Aston's Longhorns are back in the Big Dance in 2014 and should be one of the top teams in the Big 12 next season. This year's tournament could be a great chance to build momentum for Texas' future. But do the Longhorns really have the talent this year to challenge Maryland tonight?

On paper, yes. Texas doesn't have one dazzling player who is the caliber of Maryland's Thomas. But the Horns have strong post play -- led by starters Nneka Enemkpali and Imani McGee-Stafford -- that could hamper Thomas getting to the basket. Senior guard Chassidy Fussell leads the Texas perimeter.

The Big 12 already has two teams in the Sweet 16, and both are in the Notre Dame region: No. 2 seed Baylor and fifth-seeded Oklahoma State. Two more can join the Sweet 16 in the Louisville Regional with wins Tuesday: Texas and No. 2 seed West Virginia. The Mountaineers will have to beat No. 7 seed LSU -- which made the Sweet 16 last season -- on the Lady Tigers' home court.

The team that was upset at LSU last year -- Penn State -- is one of three Big Ten teams in action Tuesday after a brutal Monday that saw the league lose conference tournament champion and regional host Nebraska. The Lady Lions meet No. 11 seed Florida, which could be a challenge for Penn State even though the game is in State College, Pa.

Iowa, a No. 6 seed, is also at home and will face third-seeded Louisville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Cardinals will get the chance to play in a regional on their home court if they win tonight.

And, as mentioned earlier, Michigan State will try to finish what UT Martin started: topping the freshmen-led Tar Heels.

There might not be any games Tuesday that produce results that could bust brackets the way two of Monday's games did, with No. 12 seed BYU over fourth-seeded Nebraska and DePaul over Duke.

But there are at least some potential giant-slayers out there Tuesday. We mentioned Florida earlier. There's also No. 11 seed James Madison, which meets No. 3 seed Texas A&M. The Aggies are the 2011 NCAA champion and are playing on their home court, but JMU has been very scrappy.

On a neutral court in Seattle, No. 1 seed South Carolina, which looked a bit nervous in its opening win over Cal State Northridge, must take on No. 8 seed Oregon State, a team that has nothing to lose and made a run to the Pac-12 tournament title game earlier this month.

The giant that almost certainly will not be toppled? No surprise: That's undefeated UConn, playing on its home court against No. 9 Saint Joseph's.