For the first time since 2003 the Maryland Terrapins are in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Now it was up to former point guard for the Jayhawks, Mark Turgeon, to lead the Terps to a win over his alma mater Kansas. After a first half that saw the Terps play some of their best basketball in months, fans were optimistic for a second half upset bid. Maryland was far from that as they got blown out by the number one overall seed. Melo Trimble struggled again, the offense was atrocious, and rebounding was again optional. It might not be a disappointing season, but Maryland did not take full advantage of their talent by falling 79-63 to Kansas.
Maryland Basketball: Terps lay an egg in the second half, end season in embarrassing fashion to Kansas
The only thing stopping the Maryland Terrapins from reaching the Sweet 16 were the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Jake Layman emphasized that the Terps did not want to get outworked by the mid-major opponents who were able to upset California with their defense. After a “nervous” start according to Mark Turgeon, Maryland hung around with Hawaii until their offense woke up. A 14-0 run midway through the second half fueled by transition opportunities helped the College Park school put things away. The Terps will advance to their furthest point in the tournament in the last 13 years with a 73-60 victory over Hawaii.
Maryland Basketball: Terps survive the Jackrabbits and advance to Round of 32 for the second year in a row
The Maryland Terrapins would have probably been disappointed with a five-seed to start the year, but it is time to forget about the past and do your best and surviving and advancing. Seeding clearly does not matter in March as the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans lost to No. 15 Middle Tennessee in embarrassing fashion. Mark Turgeon said prior to the game that if the Terps lose it will not be because they overlooked the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
The Terrapins came out ready to play in the first half by shutting down the Jackrabbits on the defensive end. With an 18 point lead with 8:49 to play, it looked like Maryland would easily survive the 5-12 upset scare that had already claimed Baylor and Purdue yesterday. But in typical fashion the NBA talented squad was unable to put their foot on South Dakota State’s throats and allowed them a chance to force the game into overtime. A end of game turnover saved the Terps in the first round of the NCAA tournament, again, as Maryland advances with a 79-74 victory.
The Maryland Terrapins’ (25-8) disappointing regular season came to an end when given a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament’s South Region. Following the early offseason hype of Final Four or bust and desires for a number one seed in the Big Dance, reality has hit that the Terps did themselves in by not fully utilizing their volume of talent. There is still time to make amends for the lackluster end of the regular season by making a deep run in the March Madness festivities.
Mark Turgeon believes the Terps brutal end of season schedule and the Big Ten tournament will prepare the group well for another NCAA tournament run. Despite the close loss to the Michigan State Spartans, a snubbed potential one-seed, the Maryland team is still a confident bunch.
Maryland Basketball: Terps play great defense, but Melo Trimble struggles in semi-finals loss to No. 2 Spartans
When the Maryland Terrapins upset the then No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes everyone thought it would be the Terps best win of the season. At that point in time it looked great but the Hawkeyes have been struggling more than Maryland recently by losing six of their last eight contests. With the Terps being projected as a five speed in the NCAA tournament, a would-be huge disappointment, With the second best team in the country, Michigan State, next up in the Big Ten tournament, Maryland had a chance to climb up the seed line.
Unfortunately, it looked like the Terps would get embarrassed early because of lack of transition defense. In the second half it was the “best we [Maryland] guarded in a longtime” according to Mark Turgeon which gave the Terps a chance, but a field goal drought of over 10 minutes doomed the upset hopes. With a drop in shooting percentage by a whopping 30 percent from yesterday’s record breaking performance, Michigan State squeaked past Maryland 64-61.
Maryland Basketball: Terps set Big Ten tournament record in route to winning quarterfinals bout over Nebraska
The Maryland Terrapins caught a break in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament when Nebraska, an eleven seed, upset Wisconsin, a six seed, in the second round despite playing the previous night. The downside is that they lost an opportunity to pick up a top-50 win against the Badgers while also avenging their only Big Ten conference home loss. If there was any question where Maryland was ready to start the postseason they quickly answered the bell to start the game on their way to a record breaking offensive performance. Mark Turgeon put it best after the game, “we did a lot of great things offensively tonight. First of all, we followed the game plan. We played inside out.” Despite a late scare, the Terps used their Big Ten tournament record 97 points in a game to get to the semi-finals with a 97-86 victory over Nebraska.
The Maryland Terrapins have already clinched a double bye in the Big Ten tournament, but Mark Turgeon does not want to play with nothing to lose against Indiana because you “set yourself up for embarrassment.” Whether the Terps were looked ahead or not we will never know, but what we do know is that they did get embarrassed on national television. After giving up a 23-6 run to end the first half, Maryland was not competitive for the rest of the bout. Their offense was mind-numbingly atrocious, while their transition defense was not much better. The Terrapins might be one of the coldest teams in the country for their talent as they drop four of their last six; this one 80-62.
The Maryland Terrapins are clearly not playing their best basketball; luckily they have a couple of short weeks to try and get back on track. After losing to Purdue on the road, their third loss in the past four games, bracketologist Joe Lunardi has dropped the Terps to a four seed, a would be huge disappointment given the pre-season hype. Following an emotional senior day presentation for starters Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon as well as reserves Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann it was pedal to the metal for Maryland. The Terps lead for the entire game, made a season-high 14 3-pointers, and saw all four of their seniors get playing time. The 81-55 victory was a “fun night” for the Terps according to their head coach in what could be a taste of what is to come.
With Diamond Stone in foul trouble, Mark Turgeon opted to go small
The highly touted freshman big only played nine minutes in the first half and sat the final five minutes after picking up his second foul. Instead of Damonte Dodd taking over as the Terps center, Turgeon opted to go small. Robert Carter Jr. slid to the rim protector position, while Layman moved to his future NBA position as a stretch-four power forward. With Jared Nickens returning back to non-conference form by hitting a couple 3-pointers, Maryland’s offense became more efficient. Turgeon continued to do the same in the second half, which clearly allowed more driving room from guards into the paint.
Putting their foot on Illinois’ throat to start the second half ended things early
As a part of the 3-point festivities, Maryland had a stretch where they came away with three triples after three possessions. Trimble started things off, Layman hit one after grabbing an offensive rebound, and then Nickens continued to look like his old self by burying one from deep to force an Illinois timeout. Maryland led by double digits the rest of the way. In a year where Maryland as narrowly escaped with victories against inferior teams, it was good to see them take care of business on their home floor. Turgeon explicitly credited Terp Nation, “I want to thank the fans” for the one-loss home record in back-to-back seasons.
Terps return to form from beyond the arc with best performance of the year
For only the second time during conference play Maryland shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range. With the recent struggles of Nickens and Melo Trimble, the Terps have had to rely on their defense to win games. Today was a completely different story as the home team drained a season-high 14 shots from the bonus-sphere. Nickens tied his season-high with four 3-pointers as he was freed up with cross court passes when Maryland bigs were doubled.
Jake Layman “stuck with” Maryland making him one of Turgeon’s favorites
When the Wrentham, Massachusetts native signed with the Terps nearly five years ago, Mark Turgeon frankly admitted that the team was not very good at the time. Although it is not right to have favorites, “Jake’s one of my all-time favorites … because he stuck with me” Turgeon revealed after the game. “Most proud of his development as a player … he’s become a more complete player” Turgeon elaborated on what he thinks is a first-round pick. Nickens told the stretch-four that he loved him after his final home game of the year. Layman did not call an 18 point, 7 rebound, and 3 assist game the story book ending, but it is as close of one as you are going to get. Going forward, his versatility to play power forward might be the key to the Terps making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
How many of the Terps played their last game at Xfinity?
Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Varun Ram are all out of Division-I eligibility and obviously will not step onto the Xfinity hardwood next season. The next question is how many out of Melo Trimble, Diamond Stone, and Robert Carter Jr. will be lost to the NBA draft. The entire starting five lineup have the potential to be first round picks and the latter three are probably more likely than not to go pro. As Trimble came off the court for possibly the final time, students chanted “one more year.” I doubt any of the three have decided their future already because a lot of the way this season ends might affect their decisions.
Maryland will finish their 2015-16 regular season by traveling to Bloomington to face the Big Ten regular season champion Indiana Hoosiers. The Terps have already clinched a double-bye in the conference tournament next week but can help their seeding with a road victory against a Top 25 school.
The Maryland Terrapins barely survived a home-scare against Michigan last weekend to end their worst stretch of basketball of the season. With six days without a game, Mark Turgeon was hoping that this three-game stretch to end the season would prepare his team for post-season play. Unlike Maryland who controled their destiny to win the Big Ten regular season, Purdue is playing simply to improve their bracketology seeding following a road loss to Indiana on Wednesday. Rebounding issues reared their ugly head against early and often for Maryland. Purdue had 19 offensive rebound on their 29 missed field goals for 24 second chance points. Despite a flurry from Maryland at the end with full court press, it was too little too late as the Terps dropped their 19th straight against ranked opponents on the road, 83-79.
Mark Turgeon did not believe today was a must win game, but it was clear that a third straight loss would be devastating to the Maryland Terrapins tournament seeding. After seeing their 27-game home win streak snapped at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers and giving Minnesota their first conference victory of the season, the Terps delivered the first blow against Michigan. Maryland weathered the storm while the Wolverines made it rain from deep to secure a thrilling 86-82 victory against a tournament team.
Terps play their best basketball in “4 or 5 weeks”
Maryland came out a little sloppy to start the game in the turnover department but their efficient offense was keeping they in it. Five minutes into the game things were tied at 10 a piece. The Terps bursted through with a 14-0 run, while Michigan went over seven minutes without a field goal. Turgeon believed it was the best stretch of basketball the program had played in “4 or 5 weeks” since the dismantling of Ohio State. Unlike the Ohio State game, the Michigan Wolverines fought back with 3-point shooting that cost Maryland the game in Ann Arbor.
Wolverines end the first and start the second half with impressive runs
After taking control of things with a game high 16-point lead, 33-17, with 5:47 left to play in the first half, Michigan quickly went on a 13-2 run in the next three minutes. Maryland’s perimeter defense has been suspect for most of the year and it nearly cost them again today. The Wolverines finished 13 of 27 from beyond the arc and were killed by Michigan’s small stretch-four lineup while Turgeon wanted to stay big. The traditional Maryland bigs had a tough time guarding the likes of Mark Donnal and Kameron Chatman on the perimeter allowing 5 of 6 combing shooting. Michigan was still down five at halftime, but put together a 15-7 run after the break to take their first lead of the game since the opening minute.
In a heavyweight bout, both sides land equal blows midway through the second half
The usually raucous Xfinity Center crowd was stunned at the 13:55 mark with Michigan retook the lead. They were soon given something to cheer for as Melo Trimble hit a patented driving layup before Jake Layman drilled his third 3-pointer of the game off a loose ball situation. In less than a two minute stretch Maryland blitzed the Wolverines with an 11-2 run, but they could not quite close things out yet. Following a fade away Rasheed Sulaimon jumper, Maryland got cold from the field missing five of their next six shots with three turnovers sprinkled in. While Michigan was getting easy layup looks from Mark Donnal, repeatedly wide open under the basket following defensive rotations, they took their largest lead of the game (3) thanks to a 14-2 run.
Finishing late against a “good team that played really, really well” bodes well for March
When Robert Carter Jr. cleaned up his own missed jump shot with a putback dunk, Maryland took a 76-75 lead and did not look back over the final 4:46 of the game. Carter, on his way to a team-high 17 points, made all of Maryland’s last four field goals. Before Duncan Robinson hit a desperation three late for Michigan, the Terps had clamped down on defense by forcing six of seven missed shots as well as three turnovers. Maryland’s Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble calmly knocked in their set of free throws, the former under the pressure of one-and-one, to secure an 86-82 victory. Mark Turgeon said it was a “great win” and it was “great to play well” because they “beat a good team the played really, really well.”
Maryland receives unexpected boost from Damonte Dodd and bench
In the past three conference games combined, the Terps have only gotten eight points from their bench unit forcing the starters to play extended minutes. Today 18 points was good for the most points from the second unit in conference play since Diamond Stone joined the starting lineup. Damonte Dodd led the way with seven points, six rebounds, and two blocks, while Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens combined for 11 more points. Dodd had back-to-back blocks during the early 14-0 Maryland run in the first half and told me that the guards are confident that even if they get past them he can erase their mistakes at the rim. Brantley’s defense was superb with three steals, while it was nice to see Nickens knock down a couple of triples. In a game that Trimble would like to remember with seven turnovers, the bench arguably one this game.
The Terps will have a nice six days of rest before having to travel to Purdue for a rematch with the Boilermakers. Maryland got a nice resume victory by beating Purdue two weeks ago and hope to repeat their success on Saturday, February 27th.