At one point this season the Terps were ranked No. 2 in the country. Led by sophomore point guard Melo Trimble, Maryland was hot and Trimble was unstoppable.
Lately, the Terps have barely looked like a Top 25 team, much less top 5. They lost four of their last six games – all in conference – including losses to unranked Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Maryland has lacked spark, they look lethargic and uninspired. Trimble has continued to play his heart out, but how much can one man do?
In last week’s contest at Indiana, the Terps looked like they couldn’t wait for the game to be over. They couldn’t keep up with the Hoosiers fast-paced offense. In fact, in the second half, there wasn’t much effort to try defend Indiana. The offense was just sloppy, forcing outside shots.
Despite the disappointing performance, Maryland earned the three-seed in the Big Ten tournament, giving them a two-round bye.
And the Terps might have caught a break Thursday night. Underdog Nebraska defeated Wisconsin, so the Terps will square off against the Cornhuskers Friday night.
Regardless of Maryland’s performance Friday, we know they’ll make the NCAA tournament. As far as seeding, it’s important for Maryland to get past the quarterfinal round.
The Terps were a four-seed in last year’s tournament. They fell to fifth-seeded West Virginia in the third round, but had they advanced they would have had to face No. 1 Kentucky. Ideally, Maryland’s hoping for a three-seed, but I’m not sure their play lately justifies one. A big performance in the conference tournament could make some noise.
The Big Ten has been a dominate powerhouse in the NCAA tournament the past few years. The conference could very easily send the most teams to the Big Dance.
Maryland moved to the Big Ten in 2014 after 61 years in the ACC. I think it’s interesting to note since 1954, the ACC tournament has been played north of Virginia all of four times. It’s only been hosted outside of the state of North Carolina 10 times.
Interestingly enough, the ACC tournament is in Washington, D.C. this year and the next two years will be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. So in the past 62 years, less than 20 percent of the conference tournaments were hosted outside of North Carolina and now there’s three in a row. My guess is it’s an effort to boost recruiting efforts in the northeast.
Maryland’s move to the Big Ten has proved a fruitful venture. The team’s success has resulted in national recognition and growth in recruiting. The Big Ten tournament will be at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. next year.
Here’s to hoping for a big performance from the Terps – all of the Terps Friday night. It could just enough to push some March Madness momentum.