Big Ten Tournament Presents a Hopeful Time for the Terps

Will the Terrapin’s trip be one to remember?


Written By Zachary Wilson 3/10/19

With the 2019 Big Ten Tournament looming ahead, I wanted to go over all the potential matchups that Turgeon`s Terrapins may face in Chicago.

As the 5th seed the Terps hold a first round bye and play the winner of Nebraska and Rutgers, 13th and 12th seeds respectively.  Maryland has a perfect record against both teams this season.

Nothing is easy in Terpland. Last year Rutgers went on a run in the B1G tourney. Maryland had a slow start at Rutgers earlier this year. Maryland woke up and routed the Scarlet Knights 77-63. But sometimes the Terps seem to overlook the opponent, so don’t take beating Rutgers for granted.

A game between the Terps and Nebraska`s Cornhuskers is also not set in stone as a win either. While both prior matchups ended in a Maryland W, their first game was a 74-72 thriller where UMD had to set their heels and play from behind, utilizing stellar play from the starting five to secure a 39-33 second half. Who’s to say that affair on a neutral court would have been the same?

Throughout the year this Maryland team has been prone to slow starts and no game is a certainty. Lowly teams like Penn State and Illinois have beaten Maryland on a poor day, but on the other hand this team has beaten Purdue when victory seemed inconceivable. You can never truly “figure out” this team.

In the likely event that Maryland advances past the second round they stare down the throats of 4th seeded Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s forward Ethan Happ and Maryland`s Bruno Fernando will be battling again. Bruno handled Happ in the first game.

The 2nd time around, in February, was marked by a second half meltdown as the Terrapins gave up a five point lead after the first half. In that match Happ added 18 points but it was the Badger`s guard Brad Davison with 21 points who lead Wisconsin to  the win. Maryland`s bench would only muster 7 points in the loss, showing a lack of depth. Friday’s potential bout will be won by an above average performance by the non-starters if the Terps expect to pull out victoriously.

I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I want to go over one more possible game in the event that Turgeon leads this team past Wisconsin. Besides any upsets (Indiana has beaten MSU twice this season), the Terps opponent would be 1st seeded Michigan State, a team that demolished them in a 69-55 clobbering back in January.

This game was highlighted by the Spartan`s huge forward Nick Ward playing effective defense on Bruno Fernando, leaving Fernando with a just 12 points to finish the night. Ward is out with an injury now, but may be back for the B1G tourney. Statistically, a dance with Michigan State is very scary, but with Maryland there is always potential for something incredible to happen.

Overall, Maryland is one of the most inconsistently good teams in the NCAA field. Their performance in this Big Ten Tournament can create a new aura around the Mark Turgeon era.

Personally, I hold a hopeful view for their tournament outcome beyond my criticisms and questions, because, as a Terp, we all would love to see a Maryland win at the bottom of the stat sheet.

Zach

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