If there was any doubt about how Maryland would respond after dropping its first Big Ten contest of the season, the Terps erased it all after drubbing Ohio State 100-65.
So much for the wheels coming off after a shocking 70-67 loss to the Wolverines on Wednesday night. Instead, the Terps boat-raced the visiting Buckeyes squad that was nearly as hot as Maryland was before its loss earlier this week.
Ohio State came in having won eight of their last nine and included a win over Kentucky in that streak. The Buckeyes were winners of four of their first five Big Ten contests as well, but the record appears a bit more deceiving.
That brings us to the bigger question at hand… Just how big of a statement was this win?
Numbers just simply won’t lie in this one.
The Terps built an 18-point lead at halftime, going up 48-30. It then poured it on from there, leading by 30 with 16 minutes to play (63-33) and 40 with 11 minutes to go (77-37).
OSU came out poor on both ends of the court, shooting 1 of 13 from the field to start the second half and allowing Maryland to shoot 11 of 15 to build a 42-point lead with 10 minutes to play.
That was simply embarrassing for the Buckeyes, but it wasn’t just cold shooting either. Credit the Terps for some very hard work on the defensive end of the court as well.
Maryland frustrated the outside shooting effort of OSU, forcing them in to a 3 of 12 night from beyond the arc and countering with an impressive 11 of 21 effort of its own.
It was the first time since 2012 that a Maryland team put up 100 or more points on an opponent, and continue a streak of not losing two in a row since the 2012-13 season as well.
Most importantly, the Terps did it without much from star guard Melo Trimble, who had eight points on 2 of 5 shooting from the field.
Instead, former Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter Jr. poured in a career-high 25 points and former Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon added a season-best 22.
Carter and Sulaimon weren’t just jacking up shots either, instead the pair of transfers were lethal with their shots. Carter finished the game 10 of 13 from the field and Sulaimon was a crazy 9 of 10 on his own.
Star freshman center Diamond Stone came off the bench and added 15 points to the effort. He was also a massive catalyst in blowing open the game, as his three-point play ripped open a close game early in the first half and started a 13-4 run that eventually led to the blowout.
Things were so in hand that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon emptied out the bench with 7 minutes remaining and the score 91-47.
From start to finish, Maryland put on a clinic against one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten. If that doesn’t impress, not much else will this 2015-16 college basketball season.
2017 talking10 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Awards Special
The Big Ten may have its awards, but what is the point of watching endless hours of Big Ten basketball without putting our two cents in, right?
Welcome to the 2017 taking10 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Awards special. Our hope is to educate you on the names that dominated our conversations and the hardwood across the Big Ten this season.
So, sit back and enjoy our special for your viewing pleasure.
Who has the edge in race for Big Ten basketball title?
We’re just a few weeks away from the end of the college basketball regular season. We’re also exactly back to where we started in the Big Ten race — all square.
After Wisconsin’s 64-58 loss to Michigan on Thursday it brought up a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings.
It truly is an amazing feat considering just two weeks ago the Badgers looked like a team running away with it. A few games later and Wisconsin is on a two-game losing streak and no longer has a stranglehold on the B1G title.
We’ve got the preseason favorites of Wisconsin and Purdue in the mix, while afterthought Maryland also sits atop the B1G with a 10-3 conference record.
As we wind down the season, exactly which one of those three teams will end up winning a conference that no one seems to want to win? Could we even see a free-fall that allows Northwestern in the mix at
Let’s examine each teams chances…
The Case for Maryland:
Three of the final five games of the season are at home for the Terps. That’s a huge advantage in this scenario. In fact, the three most difficult games on the schedule — Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan State — all come at the Xfinity Center.
Maryland’s case is also helped by seeing Melo Trimble go off for a career night against its biggest recent competition — Northwestern. He went off for 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting in a 10-point Terps victory.
Seeing Trimble starting to play his best basketball down the stretch has to be good news for Terps fans.
The Case Against Maryland:
It’s biggest remaining game is against Wisconsin, and it is at the Kohl Center. That hasn’t been good news for a whole host of teams throughout the years. Even if Wisconsin has been literally limping around as of late, UW at home is always dangerous.
Additionally, this is a team that needs more than Melo Trimble to be successful. Trimble is averaging 15.6 points per game in the three losses in conference play, yet is averaging 17.2 points per game overall on the season.
Looking deeper than just Trimble, Maryland also is a team that struggles to get it done at the line in its losses. The Terps shot just 68.9 percent from the free-throw line in the three conference losses. Additionally, they sit just eighth in the B1G from the free throw line in conference games.
While not as bad as the Badgers are at the free throw line, those are points left off the board that would’ve been the difference between winning and losing. Could it be that when the pressure is on, this young team cracks a bit?
Well, the pressure of a Big Ten title is squarely on their shoulders. Let’s see how they react to that.
The Case for Purdue:
When you are looking at schedules, Purdue may have the best of the bunch going forward. It gets both Michigan State and Indiana at home and two its remaining three road games are not hostile environments. Going to Penn State and Northwestern? I think I’d take that road slate, any day of the week.
Oh, and if Purdue just holds serve it will be a two-team race against the winner of Maryland-Wisconsin on Sunday. Guess what? Purdue owns wins in the lone matchups against both teams this season.
Talk about the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed, huh?
That speaks nothing of having the monster that has become Caleb Swanigan. He leads all scorers with 19.1 points per game in conference play, leads all players with 13.1 rebounds per conference game and is shooting 50.3 percent from the field in conference games alone.
Few teams have the firepower up front to combat that kind of production, and if you do then Isaac Haas can light you up from the inside as well. That one-two punch is about as deadly as it gets in the Big Ten this season.
This team is built to withstand big challenges thanks to its frontcourt strength, and that will be put to the test in the final weeks.
The Case Against Purdue:
All of that is well and good, but the Boilermakers do have three road games in their final five games. One of them is the black hole that is the Bryce Jordan Center, while there is also the red-hot Wolverines to face and Northwestern’s formidable bunch to play at Welsh-Ryan arena.
Sure, Purdue owns a blowout win over Northwestern, but that was at home. Purdue’s true road record is not a good one, at just 4-3 on the season.
There are certainly games that can be pitfalls for Purdue’s hopes of a Big Ten title. Navigating what is a tough road schedule will be key to Purdue’s chances of getting a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
The Case for Wisconsin:
Up until the injury bug hit the Badgers, they were the clear-cut favorites to take the conference crown. Missing a healthy Koenig certainly wasn’t helpful on the road at Michigan, and the sooner this team gets him back to 100 percent the sooner things are going to click once again.
Additionally, few teams in the Big Ten have as efficient and dangerous an all-around player as Wisconsin does with sophomore center Ethan Happ. He is deadly around the basket on offense (22 points on 10-13 shooting on Thursday alone), but he also leads the team in rebounds, assists, blocks and steals in conference play.
Stopping Happ is more than not allowing him to score at will. You have to play well against him at both ends of the court.
The question that seems to be facing Wisconsin right now is if it can find more than one person to carry this team across the finish line. What made Wisconsin dangerous earlier on this Big Ten season was its ability to have three or four players scoring in double digits and stretching defenses because of it.
That is no longer the case, as teams double and triple-team Happ down low and dare the Badgers to beat them any other way. if Wisconsin finds its swagger from earlier in the season this team can and will beat anyone in front of them. Will they find that swagger though?
The Case Against Wisconsin:
Great teams are just hitting their stride heading in to the final weeks of the season. Wisconsin is stumbling and stumbling bad as of late. Blame injuries all you want, but this team was having major offensive troubles before injuries really hit.
While Wisconsin is averaging 73.2 points per game on the season it has hit rock bottom in conference play. It was once the deadliest of offenses, but is now 12th in the Big Ten during conference games — scoring just 68.4 points per game.
Inconsistent offense, uncharacteristic turnovers and no bench help outside of D’Mitrick Trice is not a good recipe for success. That’s especially true with Michigan State, Iowa and Minnesota still on the schedule.
Of the three big contenders, no team has more unanswered questions or are playing on the back foot like Wisconsin is. That’s not good news down the stretch, but we’ll see if they can pull it all together for Sunday’s all-important matchup against Maryland.
Who Wins Big Ten Regular Season Title?
We’re going to rock with Purdue taking the Big Ten title. Not only does it have a nicer path to the title with its five remaining games, it also owns the wins needed to break any tie at the top of the standings.
I’ll also rock with Caleb Swanigan at any point in time, and he seems to be the one player who can be consistent for the three top contenders.
Look for Matt Painter’s crew to find a way to get the job done in a season in which anything and everything has already happened.
Maryland Terrapins 2016-17 Basketball Preview
Last season was supposed to be the crowning moment in Maryland basketball’s return to the national spotlight. After all, it was loaded with future NBA talent and raced out to a 15-1 start. The key word is supposed to.
Instead, that 15-1 start to the season ended without Maryland making much of a true wave. It failed to win a Big Ten championship of any kind and was bounced in the Sweet 16 by Kansas. No doubt that finish left a lot of bad tastes in the mouths of those who are back for another go in 2016-17.
With Melo Trimble making the decision to stay in school over try the NBA route, the Terps have plenty of hope left that it can be a Big Ten force once again this season.
Can that hope be equalled by production and trophies in the case? Let’s explore the 2016-17 version of the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball program.
Burning Question: Who Is This Team?
As we’ve said, Melo Trimble is back. His return gives this program a mighty boost. But, there are also four other players that have to fill out the starting roster..none of which are returning starters from last season.
That means this is a team full of a lot of questions, but chief amongst them is how they are going to find leadership and an identity when so much has gone. One can’t underestimate the help that was Rasheed Sulimon and his leadership along with his clutch play at times. Diamond Stone’s ability down low and the ability to play inside-out basketball was the identity of the Terps team last season.
What is this version of the Maryland basketball program’s identity? It’s the most glaring question and one that likely won’t be answered until the Big Ten season gets going thanks to that soft schedule we talked about above.
Most likely, the identity of this team is going to be one of immense talent but wholly inconsistent thanks to the youth that will be present. A five play recruiting class comes to College Park, with three 4-star players (Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, Justin Jackson) leading the group.
Their ability to grow and find their own identity is what will likely drive this team to success some don’t see coming or heartache once again. Either way, there may not be a more interesting team to watch this season than Maryland.
Biggest Strength: Melo Trimble
Simply put, this team is going to go as far as Trimble can take them. It is his chance to shine bright on a team that is filled with players few outside of the program have really heard of. That’s not to say they aren’t talented and potential stars, but few have the experience and the game that Trimble has.
He has shown the ability to take over games in the past and that will be needed more this season than ever before. So will his off-court leadership, of which he never has been tested on as much as he will be this season.
Maryland had the talent to be an exceptional team last season and it all fell apart. How does Trimble get this team over the finish line in his final season in College Park?
Biggest Weakness: Frontcourt
This should be an obvious weakness, as the team lost both Robert Carter and Diamond Stone, not to mention senior Jake Layman who was crucial to this team off the bench last season and likely would’ve been a starter for any other team in the conference last season.
How do you replace all that scoring (34.6 points per game), rebounding (17.6 rebounds per game) and talent when they also combined to play an average of 67 percent of the available minutes a game last season?
It likely means relying on names like Damonte Dodd and graduate transfer L.G. Gill are going to have to be the guys leading the way. Gill has experience, transferring in as a graduate from Duquesne, but can he step up in the rough game that is Big Ten post play?
*2015 stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
G: Anthony Cowan, Fr. — n/a
G: Melo Trimble, Jr. — 14.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.9 apg, 41% FG
F: Jared Nickens, Jr. — 5.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.5 apg, 36.7% FG
F: LG Gill — 10.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 43.9% FG *at Duquesne
C: Damonte Dodd — 2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.3 apg, 63.1% FG
This is likely to be the group that Maryland goes with to start the season. It also is likely to be a lineup in flux as the coaching staff tries to figure out a starting five and rotation that works best to get this team to be competitive at the highest level possible.
Don’t be surprised to see Kevin Heurter and Justin Jackson get cracks at starting at some point in time if things aren’t going well.
This is a team with a senior leader, but a lot of moving parts. It also is a team that has continued to recruit well and that means a lot of talent is coming and going from this program on a nearly annual basis. Can Trimble be the glue that gets this team to play together in 2016-17?
One look at the Terps schedule this season tells us that Turgeon and Co. put together. There a few challenging matchups to point to in the non-conference season. Only games against Georgetown, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State really will challenge this team (unless something really strange happens).
Will the easier slate allow this team to grow enough confidence to match its talent at the same time? At the end of the day, this team is going to likely struggle to be a top contender in the Big Ten. Look for this team to contend for the NCAA tournament, but don’t expect them to be a player in the regular season B1G title race.