Maryland basketball took down Michigan 77-70 in Ann Arbor on Jan. 17. It looked like a pretty good win at the time, and it looks even better in retrospect, looking at how both teams finished out the season.
Maryland went into the contest needing a win to get back on track — though this was way too early to call a must-win game — after a home setback. Looking back at the season, this is probably the Terps’ best win on their 2017 resume.
It was impressive at the time
This win took the Terps to 14-2. It followed up a catastrophic 67-65 meltdown at Xfinity against Nebraska. For a Terps team that started three freshmen, this bounceback win was huge. It set up Maryland’s run through Big Ten play and set in motion a seven-game win streak that would take the Terps to 20-2.
Let’s not forget, the Michigan win came in enemy territory. It helped the young Maryland team start to find its own identity. This is a team that wound up playing its best basketball on the road, a contrast to the last couple seasons.
The Terps would wind up going 4-7 down the stretch to end the season at 24-9, but this win was the springboard that allowed Maryland to finish tied for second in the conference. They’d flame out after two poor postseason games: a loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament, then an opening round NCAA Tournament upset at the hands of Xavier.
Michigan has validated it further since
Michigan has done all it could since to make this win look better for the Terps. This loss took the Wolverines to 11-5 on the season. They’d finish the regular season 20-11, tied for fifth in the conference. Michigan went under the radar due to average conference play, but the postseason is where they’ve really put in work.
Derrick Walton and co. were given a No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and, as you’ve surely heard by now, their plane slid off the runway. In practice jerseys a day later, they started a run that the country is still watching.
Michigan would leave Washington, D.C. with the Big Ten tournament championship, and ride that high into the NCAA Tournament. Now, after an upset of No. 2-seed Louisville, John Beilein’s squad finds itself in a Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday, while the Terps are done for the season.
The Wolverines have looked like a sharper team since their runway mishap. They’re shooting around 48 percent from beyond the arc during the NCAA Tournament, and went 16-of-29 from distance in a 92-91 opening round win over Oklahoma State.
Michigan’s next game will come against No. 3 seed Oregon on Thursday at 7:09 p.m. ET on CBS. The longer they continue this run, the more impressive Maryland’s win over them looks.