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Maryland women's basketball looks to defend Big Ten Tournament title

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This week's Testudo Times Roundtable.

Sammi Silber/Testudo Times

Testudo Times Roundtable

Week of 2/29

Q: Let's talk about Maryland men's basketball loss to Purdue. What were your initial thoughts on the game?

Bartley: Where do I begin? With all of the talent on this team, one would hope that when one player is having a bad game, someone else would pick up the slack. Can't say that happened in this game. To me, it appears there is fault on many levels, from head coach, assistant coaches and the players. I hope it gets worked out for the Illinois game.

Thomas: I'm back at the table! Yippee! Anyway, my initial (and lasting) impression from the Purdue game is how inexplicably poor the Terps are at rebounding. A team with as many talented bigs as this shouldn't be getting embarrassed on the glass by anyone, even Purdue. I also loved the press and hope to see it more going forward.

Todd: I'm with Thomas on the rebounding issue. I was stunned when I saw the disparity in this number. Think about this number: Three rebounds. That could have been the difference in this game. Maryland gave up 24 second chance points on 19 Purdue offensive rebounds. If the Terps simply pick up three rebounds on which Purdue scored, Maryland doesn't even have to score on those three additional possessions to win by two.

Brian B: I unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, was unable to view this game live and once aware of the final score I was not able to bring myself to watch a replay of it. Flexing my box score journalism muscles, I would have to say Maryland's rebounding was quite frightening.

Noah: Man, they could have used that press in the first half? Thomas hit the nail on the head. I'm struggling to come up with reasons why this team gets embarrassed on the offensive, and on many nights defensive, glass. There simply are no excuses. The Terps aren't playing to their potential.

Q: With just two regular season games left, do you think Maryland men's basketball will figure out their various problems (i.e. rebounding) before the NCAA Tournament starts?

Bartley: Since rebounding has been an issue all season, I don't see this suddenly being fixed, but hope I am wrong.

Thomas: Probably not. Rebounding isn't something that players drastically improve at in a short time frame. It's safe to say none of the Terps' weaknesses will be completely eradicated in the coming weeks, but they're talented enough to beat anyone so long as they don't get in their own way.

Todd: Make it three for three. I can't see any panacea to cure the Terps rebounding issues. Some of the other unspecified issues, such as Melo's shooting woes, could clear up if he is getting healthier.

Brian B: Just have the whole team do wall sits at practice for about two hours. Afterwards, they may be unable to shoot effectively... or run, but their box out fundamentals should be on point.

Noah: Shout out to Todd for his excellent and appropriate use of the word panacea, which means "a cure-all". I think the answer is no. This team isn't going to change in a week or two. Melo could pull a Kemba Walker and catch fire, but I think we know what Maryland can and can't do at this point. Rebounding and perimeter defense were supposed to be strengths going into this season. Now, they're liabilities.

Q: After winning the Big Ten for the second straight year, No. 5 Maryland women's basketball will try to defend its Big Ten Tournament title this week as well. The Terps have lost to second-seed Ohio State twice this season. If these two teams meet up in the final in Indy, is it a must-win game for Maryland for both seeding and confidence?

Bartley: Yes and no. Confidence in that they can really beat Ohio State,s and it wouldn't hurt to help them get a better seed. However, it's not imperative.

Thomas: It's absolutely imperative that the Terps win the Big Ten. They're currently slated as the No. 8 overall seed, which would place them in UConn's regional. Nobody wants to be in UConn's regional. If Maryland wins the conference tournament, my guess is that they'll be either the No. 5 or No. 6 overall seed (behind UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Baylor and perhaps the Pac-12 champion). If they don't, then they could fall behind the likes of Ohio State, Texas and the Pac-12 runner-up. So it's a huge weekend for the Terps.

Todd: Nothing the Terps do this weekend will elevate their seeding above a two seed and, I'm not sure it would move them from their current spot as the last two seed. As a two seed, they might require three wins against top seeds to capture a national championship. Coach Frese has stated that she cares more about the matchups than her seeding so, if that's the case, this weekend isn't terribly important from that aspect.

Brian B: Building on what Thomas said, if Maryland has aspirations of winning a national championship, they are probably going to have to play UConn at some point anyway. Would winning the Big Ten Tournament be helpful? Certainly. Is it a must-win scenario? I don't think so.

Noah: Thomas and I are in agreement on this. The Terps HAVE to win the Big Ten Tournament in order to give themselves the best chance to win a national championship. A two seed potentially puts them up against UConn or Notre Dame. If you are Maryland, you want to play those two teams in the Final Four or national championship game, not before.

Q: What do you think of Nick Saban and Alabama hiring former Maryland offensive coordinator and interim head coach Mike Locksley as an offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide?

Bartley: Hope it works out for Locksley.

Thomas: Looks like he'll get to work with Trevon Diggs, Terrell Hall and all the other DMV guys that were too good to go to Maryland. Best wishes to him.

Todd: Good for Mike Locksley. Maybe it saves Maryland a few dollars, but I don't think it has much impact on Maryland other than that.

Brian B: I'd be more interested to know what ‘Special Projects' Randy Edsall is cooking up in Detroit as the Director of Football Research-Special Projects Division. However, that does seem like an appropriate fit for Mike Locksley, given his talent set.

Noah: Nick Saban is the King Midas of college football. The rich just got richer. This was a nice pick-up for Alabama; a skilled offensive mind that can recruit really well in a hotbed of football talent.

Q: Through three road trips and 15 games, Maryland softball has yet to win back-to-back games. Will the Terps finally win two or more in a row this week at the District Invite?

Thomas: I actually think so. Their first three opponents this weekend: 2-10 Georgetown, 1-3 Monmouth and 2-5 George Washington. With Madison Martin starting to find a groove in the circle, I'm sure Maryland expects to win those three games. There's also something to be said for not having to fly several hours south for the tournament like they've done in the past three weeks.

Todd: The Terps certainly have winnable games this weekend, but I wouldn't have expected them to lose twice to Columbia last weekend. Despite Martin's showing last  weekend, I've been concerned about the pitching circle since the fall and I still am. Lindsey Schmeiser sat out most of the games last weekend, so the Terps were absent one of their biggest bats.

Brian B: Given the state of the competition it appears to be a distinct possibility.

Noah: I talked to head coach Julie Wright earlier this week, and she said that his team has been struggling with consistency. I still don't think the Terps have put it together yet, but the level of their competition might allow them to make some mistakes and still put a winning streak together.

Q: Maryland men's basketball has lost control of their own destiny in the race for the Big Ten title after losing three of their past four games. How do you think the Terrapins will fare in their final two games (at home vs. Illinois and at Indiana) of the season?

Bartley: A win over Illinois and a close loss to Indiana.

Thomas: I expect them to beat Illinois, but probably fall to Indiana. It's incredibly difficult to beat good teams on the road, if you haven't figured that out by now.

Todd: Put the kryptonite back in the lead box, Noah. Maryland will finish the regular season by going 1-1. Or 2-0. Or 0-2.

Brian B: If they lose to Illinois, it will be sad. If they beat Indiana, it will be not-sad.

Noah: Maryland sneaks by Illinois because the Terps are allergic to blowing teams out, with the exception of Ohio State at home. As for the Indiana game, Yogi Ferrell has Maryland's number. He is not going to allow the Hoosiers to lose on his senior day.