To the dozens of readers, we are back with part 6 of this series. Please know that I appreciate all of you even if you won’t write a comment. Today we get to talk about the Maryland Terrapins who have had an intriguing season to date.
8-3 (1-1 in B1G play) - Torvik rankings as of Sunday evening (Maryland is 33)
Wins: 23 Illinois (H), 62 Miami-FL (N), 76 St. Louis (N), 276 Niagara (H), 278 Coppin St. (H), 295 Louisville (A), 311 Western Carolina (H), 342 Binghamton (H)
Losses: 2 UCLA (H), 4 Tennessee (N), 38 Wisconsin (A)
Maryland started out 8-0 before losing their three most recent games. The Illini win is the star of Maryland’s resume, but although there is an argument that Illinois is the best team in the B1G, they are also 0-2 in B1G play. Neutral site wins over Miami (FL) and St. Louis were decent (and the margins more than decent), but don’t look quite as impressive as they did at the time.
Against UCLA and Tennessee, Maryland was blown out of the gym in the first half. Tennessee let Maryland make a game out of it with a second half comeback that fell short while UCLA gave the turtles their largest loss in Xfinity Center history. Other than that, Maryland is headed straight to a diabetes diagnosis from eating too many cupcakes.
Things I’ve Liked
Julian Reese is playing at a high level in the paint. He’s making 73.5% of his shot attempts and pulling in a lot of rebounds. I’m a little concerned about him keeping that up once he faces the Edeys, Dickinsons, and Omoruyis of the world, but so far he’s been great for Maryland.
Kevin Willard did a good job building some depth on the roster with transfers. The stars are guys that were already in the Maryland program, but they needed some assistance around them and Willard found some good role players to support them.
The defense has dramatically improved from last year. The Terps are no longer giving up wide open looks and as a result their opponents have been shooting much worse compared to a year ago.
Things I Haven’t Liked
The Terrapins are shooting just 31.8% from three despite a bunch of games against subpar competition. They haven’t been facing the greatest defenses in the world and they still aren’t getting shots to fall.
Because the Terrapins aren’t making threes, a lot of their points have come near the basket where they have shot really well (56.1% on 2 point attempts). I’m concerned that with their tallest rotation player being 6’9”, their offense won’t translate against high major competition with length in the post.
Maryland does not have a lot of assists on made field goals (bottom 50 in the country). Although there is talent on this roster, I don’t think they are good enough to consistently go get buckets without good ball movement.
Julian Reese injured his shoulder right before halftime against UCLA. It is not believed to be serious, but he did sit out the second half against the Bruins.
Schedule and What’s Left
Maryland finishes up non-conference play with the Peacocks of St. Peters and then UMBC. Some people actually like these upstart underdog programs. This will bring the number of non-conference sub 200 games to 7. If I was NCAA commissioner, this would automatically disqualify you from an at-large bid.
As we get into B1G play, Maryland has double plays against Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin (road game already lost), Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Michigan. It’s not the hardest path in the Big Ten but there are plenty of challenges.
BoilerUp89’s Final Thoughts
The defense is much improved from a year ago and that will keep Maryland in a lot of games. I have concerns about the offense as we transition into the Big Ten schedule but Maryland shouldn’t have matchup issues with Penn State, Minnesota, or Nebraska and they get all three of them twice.
Some of the optimism from the hot start is gone following a three game losing streak, but this is a team capable of making it back to the NCAA tournament. That we are even talking about that after last season is a tremendous accomplishment by Kevin Willard and bodes well for the future. A run at the B1G regular season crown looks unlikely with the three point shooting being what it is.
We should have a good read on how the season is going to shake out for Maryland early in the Big Ten grind. Their next 7 B1G games: Michigan (Away), Rutgers (Away), Ohio State (Home), Iowa (Away), Michigan (Home), Purdue (Away), Wisconsin (Home). That stretch is almost certainly season defining.
A 10-10 B1G record puts a lot of stress on the St. Louis and Miami (FL) wins and those could easily not hold up. The A10 has had an awful start to the season and almost any loss in A10 play outside of Dayton is going to tank St. Louis’s computer numbers. Similarly the ACC is filled with teams Miami really doesn’t want to take a loss to. 11-9 probably gets the Terps in the field of 68, but that’s the median expected record for them right now. Consider Maryland a bubbly bubble team.
Other Expert Opinions
larry31: Willard has reenergized the program and the fan base. Maryland currently sits at 27 in Kenpom. They started the year in the 50s. No shame losing to Wisconsin on the road or Tennessee in NYC. Maryland’s trademark high energy under Willard was nonexistent against UCLA at home. I think the gas tank was empty for the UCLA game. Of Maryland’s 3 losses, UCLA was the only bad one.
My preseason predictions had Maryland being a bubble team. I think they are now a legitimate NCAA tournament team. I had them finishing 8th to 10th. I’ll hedge up to 6th to 9th. They play hard and aren’t deep, so the conference grind will take its toll.
misdreavus79: At the beginning of the season, I thought Penn State could split and keep the series even*. After the first few weeks, I assumed Maryland would extend the series lead. After the last three games, I’m feeling Penn State can take the series lead instead!
Which Maryland is the true Maryland? Well, probably a combination of them all, but if the Maryland that showed up against UCLA can be the one that shows up against Penn State, twice, that would be pretty good!
*Maryland leads Penn State 15-13 overall, but is 6-6 against Penn State as Big Ten members.
Which is the real Maryland?
This poll is closed
The one that started out 8-0 with a win over Illinois?
The one that is 0-3 in its last three and just took the biggest loss in Xfinity Center history?
Maryland finishes the regular season
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On the outside of the bubble looking in
On the inside of the bubble, hoping it doesn’t burst
Comfortably in the field
Watching lacrosse scores
What are your thoughts on the Maryland flag?
This poll is closed
MY EYES ARE BURNING!
The Maryland flag is a gift to humanity and must be treasured.
I have no strong opinions but like to participate in polls