Everyone knows what happened to Maryland basketball Saturday. It wasn’t good. The Terps turned a one-point lead into a 30-point deficit in 13 minutes. They watched Michigan unlock beast mode and immediately folded back into their shells. They got booed back to their own locker room on Senior Day.
For a team that had won four of six entering that game, including two straight, the blowout served as a wake-up call. Maryland had a team meeting Monday and ramped up competitiveness in every aspect of practice over the next two days. Right now, the Terps are about as confident as a No. 8 seed in a 14-team single-elimination tournament can reasonably be.
“I just feel like there’s no quit in this team,” sophomore point guard and Third Team All-Big Ten selection Anthony Cowan said Tuesday. “Obviously it’s been a rough season, but I just saw it today and yesterday in practice, how we just kept going hard and just keep getting better.”
For Maryland to reach its fourth straight NCAA Tournament, it’ll need four wins in four days. With nine healthy scholarship players and a core rotation of just seven, such a hot streak will require contributions from across the board.
“We’ve got to play really well all four days,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We have to have a lot of different guys step up, and we have to catch guys on good days. It’s going to be hard.”
The Terps will first have to beat Wisconsin, which enters the postseason having won four of its last six contests after falling to Maryland on Feb. 4. It’s a team that can’t be overlooked, even though a win would mean another shot at top-seeded Michigan State, and the Terps would still need two more wins after that. But No. 8-seed Michigan won last year’s tournament, and the Terps hope they can follow in the Wolverines’ footsteps.
“You hope it becomes magical,” Turgeon said. “You hope that guys play at least up to the way they’re capable of playing but maybe a little bit more, some guys step up and then the building gets electric for you, and who knows?
“There’s no pressure on us. There really isn’t. We’ve just got to go up there and stick together and play well.”
In other news
Testudo is already in New York, as he and several other Big Ten mascots visited the Empire State building yesterday. (Media were invited to this, but I had school.)
Empire State of Mind. pic.twitter.com/NRWGzWkHN5— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 27, 2018
I wrote about Mark Turgeon’s ties, and why he should wear one for the conference tournament. This subject has fascinated me all season, so thanks to all who put up with a lighthearted post in these troubling times.
Assuming Maryland ends up in the NIT, there will be some experimental new rules in effect.
Justin, meanwhile, looked at which teams besides Maryland can affect whether or not the Terps host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s Alex on Maryland baseball’s bullpen, which has been a pleasant surprise early in the season.
From the Cumberland Times-News earlier this week, Ty Johnson’s stay-or-go decision was a long and hard process, but he’ll be back for his senior season on the gridiron.
And we’ve discovered Reddit’s college football all-name team. Congratulations to starting quarterback Max Bortenschlager and safety Qwuantrezz Knight!