Maryland Terrapins Gain Deserved Top 10 Ranking


The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team is finally get the top 10 respect they so rightly deserve. They received this ranking today, moving ahead of Northern Iowa, Notre Dame, Utah and the Baylor Bears who are now in Maryland’s former position. The top 10 respect in the rankings is long overdue, even as Maryland has had a roller coaster-like season. They finished the month of February 6-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes, 71-55.

The Terps are riding a five-game winning streak after recently beating the Michigan Wolverines 66-56 on Senior Day behind another great day by the freshman Melo Trimble. The Terrapins are on a roll and in light of the news of their top 10 ranking, here’s what the legendary former head coach of the Terps, Gary Williams, had to say about it:

Mark Turgeon has done a great job with this team. If you think about it, should they have won those away games against the Illinois Illini and Indiana Hoosiers? Yes, they certainly should have. If they did, those wins would have surely helped their cause in the AP Poll rankings. As the old saying goes, you can’t cry over spilled milk.

The Terps certainly did a great job of putting that roller coaster month of January behind them and they pulled off arguably the biggest win of their regular season against the Wisconsin Badgers, 59-53. In that game, size played an integral role and as always, the home court advantage the Terps have is a big factor.

More good news according to  In a new bracketology update, the Terps are a three seed in the eastern bracket. That could be depending on if they win their last two games while the two teams ahead of them, the Virginia Cavaliers and Kansas Jayhawks, lose any of their remaining games this season. 

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They can’t worry about any of that right now because they have a game with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights tomorrow at 7 pm. The Terps won the first of two meetings between these teams, 73-65 at home. Now they go on the road looking to close the series out. The Scarlet Knights now have two components of added motivation if you will: their earlier loss on the road and the prospect of ending the Terps’ five-game winning streak.

Players To Watch:

1. Myles Mack: This senior guard has averaged 13.8 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game and 4.2 assists per game up to this point in the season. But he has struggled shooting the ball  in the last three games, even though he was able to get double-digit point totals in that span. It would be wise for the Terps to press him on defense.

2. Kadeem Jack: The junior forward averages 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Scarlet Knights’  92-85 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers. The Terps’ big men will have to be aware of his ability to score and rebound.  

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Keys to the Game:

1. Use Size Inside and Dominate: With Michal Cekovsky injured, the Terps are one big man short, but as we’ve seen over the course of this run that this Terps team is on, that doesn’t bother them too much. Demonte Dodd, Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman may carry the load in that department. It’s important that they use their bigs to score inside early and often. Remaining physical offensively will be a key component. Dominating the glass will give the Terps extra possessions and allow them to get second-chance points offensively and turn defense into offensive by pushing the ball in transition.

2. Attack the Basket: Maryland’s M.O. this season and what’s gotten them most of their wins is going right into the heart of the defense. It’s allowed them to get to the free-throw line and get easy points. They need to do that if they want to win this game. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

3. Control the Tempo: Maryland getting off to slow start is synonymous with bad results, so they absolutely have to get going early and control the pace of this game. They can do this by getting the ball out in transition and having constant ball movement in their half court sets.

Game time for Rutgers is 7 pm and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

The Maryland Terrapins now have had their first top 10 ranking in 12 years. Twelve years is a long time to be out of the top 10, but they’re back now; and fans, coaches and players are excited to see what the future holds for this team as the conference and national playoffs are not far off.

Next: Terps women's basketball ready for Big 10 Tourney