No one anticipated this Maryland team to be better than last year’s group. Well, with fewer talent and a very productive freshman class, the ‘Terps have proven they can compete in the Big Ten and be able to capture a win in close games.
Maryland has gotten a tremendous boost from their freshman class. Guard Anthony Cowan and forwards Justin Jackson and Kevin Huerter have offered timely scoring and leadership to go along with star junior guard Melo Trimble. Jackson and Huerter have shown they can shoot the ball at a high rate combining for 90-220 (41%) on the year from 3-pt land.
While the underclassmen have gotten a lot of notoriety this year, it should also be noted that Maryland boasts one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten with Trimble and Jaylen Brantley. Brantley, a 5-foot-11 junior, has stepped up when Trimble has struggled and has done a fantastic job of controlling the offense during those stretches.
Although they rank 43rd in terms of offensive efficiency according to Kenpom, Maryland struggles with turnovers where they are 212th in the country in offensive turnover percentage. It also doesn’t help their cause that they don’t force turnovers on the defensive end where they sit at 232th in the land in defensive turnover percentage.
Maryland has one of the tallest frontcourts in the Big Ten but the loss of Michael Cekovsky hurts them. The ‘Terps will need more production out of big men Damonte Dodd, Ivan Bender, LG Gill, and Jared Nickens if they want to make a deep run without the presence of Cekovsky in the middle.
Another area where Maryland has struggled has been playing down to the level of their weaker opponents. The Terrapins have suffered a home loss to Nebraska and a road loss to Penn State, two of the teams that make up the lower tier of the Big Ten this year. It also must be noted they have suffered recent losses to Wisconsin by 11 at the Kohl Center and an embarrassing 14 point loss to Minnesota at home after beating them earlier in the year at the Barn. Granted these teams are very talented and rightfully so deserve to earn an at-large bid come Selection Sunday, but these games have shown the lack of experience and maturity as a team which could cause issues in March.
Photo via The Diamondback