With 10 games left in their Big Ten regular season schedule, the University of Maryland Terrapins are 13-8 overall, and 5-5 in conference play.

Maryland has won 4 of their last 6 games, with the two losses being by a combined 5 points at Northwestern and vs. Michigan State.

Via KenPom, Maryland is now 53rd overall (159th Adjusted Offense, 7th Adjusted Defense).
The Terps are just 81st overall in NET rating, but 8 of their 10 remaining regular season games are vs. Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents – giving MD a number of opportunities to continue to improve their resume.

At 5-5, MD is tied with Nebraska (for 5th in the Conference, but now have the head-to-head win).

The Big Ten is currently 2nd overall in Conference NET rankings.

CBS Sports’ Jerry Pam currently has 6 Big Ten teams making the NCAA Tournament, including Nebraska who’s a 9 seed.
The Cornhuskers are 60th in NET rating.

This is all lead-up to say MD is still on the outside of the bubble; but there is now a plausible path for the Terps hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.

What would it take?

I’ve been saying on our message board, that I think a 7-3 finish here in the regular season, would have MD in good shape heading to the Big Ten Tournament.
That would have MD finishing the regular season 20-11 overall, and 12-8 in Big Ten play before the conference tournament.

Here are the remaining 10 regular season games:

Feb. 3rd @ Michigan State
Feb. 6th Rutgers
Feb. 10th @ Ohio State
Feb. 14th Iowa
Feb. 17th Illinois
Feb. 20th @ Wisconsin
Feb. 25th @ Rutgers
Feb. 28th Northwestern
March 3rd Indiana
March 10th @ Penn State

Maryland has beat Iowa (on the road), Illinois (on the road), and Penn State already.
The Terps lost by 2 vs. Michigan State, 12 at Indiana. and 3 at Northwestern.
Maryland has yet to play Rutgers, Ohio State, or Wisconsin.

If MD can win the 5 home games (Rutgers, Iowa, Illinois, NW, and Indiana); I think you would feel pretty good about them finding 2 road wins (@Michigan State, @Ohio State, @Wisconsin, @Rutgers, @Penn State).

In those road games, ESPN’s Match-up Predictor gives MD these percentage chances of winning:

@Michigan State 16.6%
@Ohio State  35.9%
@Wisconsin 12.7%
@Rutgers 48.3%
@Penn State 57.5%

A 12.7% chance at Wisconsin is basically MD being given a puncher’s chance, with the odds stacked against.
It would represent an opportunity to significantly boost the overall resume.

Given the start to this year, talking about a possible Tournament here at the end of January is fun.
Give credit to Coach Willard, and the young Terrapins for continuing to work and improve.
In the win Saturday, you could see the overall team energy improve when a few shots started to fall.
I imagine in-general the overall vibe is up in practice and with the program as a whole when they start to see their efforts off the court, start to carry over to the games.
MD can’t get back the losses they had earlier this year.
What they can control is their effort, preparation, and focus.
If they lock in over this remaining stretch, they have an opportunity to play their way into a tourney birth.

A few keys on the stretch run:

1) One reason MD has played better in recent weeks, is that Donta Scott turned his 5th year Senior season around. You can see his intensity got turned up. I prefer the Scott that plays like an undersized 4 and attacks the basket – but his shooting has been important. MD has obviously struggled shooting as a whole, but Scott is now making 37% of the 4.4  3 point attempts he’s taking per game.  Can’t be any regression here, he has to continue to show up each night.

2) Jahmir Young is up over 20 points per game. He’s got as much speed and athleticism as any PG in the conference. He’s making 90% of his FT attempts. With a team that often looks like they can’t score, there is pressure in each game for Young to put points on the board. He’s at the top of the opposing scouting reports. Young can’t make his teammates make shots, but with all of the attention he’s garnering, he can create good looks for them. I love Young’s mentality. He wants the ball. He goes to the basket. You can see he cares. He’s playing at an All-Conference level, and he’s good enough against equal or worse competition to win games on his own. I think the challenge for him these remaining games, is to utilize his abilities to put his teammates in the best positions to help.

3) Julian Reese is averaging 11.7 boards per game in his last 6 games.  That’s huge. In those 6 games, only one game with 4 fouls.  He’s staying on the court, which is tremendously important without real front-court depth behind him. It’s the second half of his Junior year.  He’s a very capable / good college player.  Against Nebraska, you could see Reese knew he had an athletic advantage vs anyone the ‘Huskers put on the floor. That’s true for him most nights. It’s within him to go from above-average to star. How consistent can he be? He should show up each night thinking he’s going to be a problem for whoever he’s facing.

4) Jordan Geronimo was just 1 for 7 vs. Nebraska, and I still loved his game Saturday. He contributed with his 8 boards, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.  That’s what this team needs for him.  You can see he has the ability to be a very strong defender when he commits to that. Jahari Long is up to 38% from 3 (2.4 attempts per game). Over his last 3 games (Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State) he’s averaging 8.6 ppg.  That’s perfect.  Geronimo and Long are Seniors. There are only so many games left in their careers.  Show-up each night, and continue to provide something.

5) After four successive games with zero points, Jamie Kaiser burst out with 14 points vs. Nebraska, going 4 of 5 from 3.  Somewhat lost in Kaiser’s breakout, was that DeShawn Harris-Smith also had 9. Can’t say I’m expecting these two to have a combined 23 points each time out. They absolutely have to contribute each night though. Defend, rebound, bring energy. Get to the line. Take shots with confidence. Fill-up the stat-sheet. Development isn’t linear. If shots do start falling for these two, Maryland’s obviously a different team.

Chris Stoner
Chris Stoner


Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.