Maryland Terrapins basketball had a lot of tradition behind them coming in to the Big Ten, however its recent history wasn’t so good. Just like its football team, the Terps basketball team was thought to likely not be a contender.
However, as we enter the third week of play the Big Ten was still longing for a big win in non-conference play. Michigan State swung and missed in a loss to Duke in the Champions Classic, Minnesota lost the battle of the Pitino’s and Iowa went 0 for the 2k Classic.
After Tuesday night, the Big Ten can long no longer (that’s a thing, right), as Maryland took the championship of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic over No. 13 Iowa State. The Terps not only won but looked dominant in the 72-63 result.
The combo of senior guard Dez Wells (14) and hyped freshman guard Melo Trimble (11) combined for 25 points, but were topped by team-high 15 point performances from freshman Jared Nickens and junior Jake Layman.
Finally, the conference that had dominated the college basketball landscape over the past three years came up big in the 2014 season.
The fact that it came from a team that was thought of as just a mid-pack Big Ten team at best in the preseason should speak volumes to the potential that this conference possesses in 2014-15. If the Terps can go in to a hostile situation, lean on their freshman and pull out tough wins this team may be better than most thought entering this season.
The Terps were No. 8 in our preseason power poll, 10th in the Big Ten media poll, 10th by Athlon Sports and 7th by The Sporting News just to name a few. It all pointed to a team that was full of youthful potential, but weren’t on the level of the Big Ten.
After all, this was a team coming off an ACC season in which it went 9-9 and 17-15 overall.
Yet, here we are in the third week of the season and the Terps are tied at the top of the Big Ten with Northwestern (5-0) and are owners of the most impressive win the conference can lay claim to.
If Maryland isn’t ranked after this week, it will be a surprise and that wasn’t something most were thinking of when prognosticating this season.
The Big Ten is hoping this is just the start of big things to come. Maryland starting the winning certainly can’t hurt.
Next up for the conference are opportunities for Minnesota (NIT Season Tip-Off), and Wisconsin (Battle 4 Atlantis). Winning those three tournament titles and the Big Ten is back in its rightful spot at the top of the college basketball heap.
For now though, Maryland can lay claim to the biggest win the Big Ten has had this early season and look to build on that with this young roster heading in to the deep end of conference play.