With a record of 13-2 and their best win (from an RPI standpoint) coming at the expense of Stony Brook, the Maryland Terrapins entered Sunday night’s game at Miami in need of the win not only to move to 2-1 in the ACC but also bolster their resume.
What ensued was a game that was far from a masterpiece offensively, and some timely defensive stops and scores on the other end pushed Miami to the 54-47 win and their first 3-0 conference start as an ACC member.
The Terrapins shot 31.6% from the field and 3-of-15 from beyond the arc, with Dez Wells (18 points) and Alex Len (16 points, nine rebounds) being the only players able to get going offensively.
With Maryland, who has seen that close season-opening loss to Kentucky lose some luster due to the Wildcats’ struggles, failing to add a quality win to its currently meager resume there’s the following question: should there be concern in regards to the Terrapins’ resume and their chances of making the NCAA tournament?
There should be concern and not simply because of their own struggles. Taking a look at the Terrapins’ schedule their hopes of picking up quality wins will rely on two things: taking advantage of three games against NC State and Duke (they play Duke twice) and teams such as North Carolina and Florida State reversing their fortunes (Maryland visits FSU on January 30 and has two meetings with the Tar Heels) as the season wears on.
But the bigger issue for Mark Turgeon’s squad is the recent play of guards Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard. Over the last six games Faust is shooting 36.1% from the field (13-of-36) and averaging 5.8 points per game, and Howard is averaging 4.7 ppg on 28.7% shooting over that same stretch.
Howard was replaced in the starting lineup by Seth Allen against Miami and neither played particularly well (combined four points, all by Allen, on 2-of-13 shooting), and Faust shot 1-of-8 from the field.
Maryland has the talent to play their way into position to grab a bid to the NCAA tournament with Len and Wells leading the way. But if Faust and Howard don’t turn things around the Terrapins’ resume will become far more bothersome than the nuisance it currently is.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
This post will be updated throughout the night.
Butler (KenPom: 41, RPI; 67) at Seton Hall (KenPom: 31, RPI: 37), 6:30 p.m.
LSU (KenPom: 53, RPI: 76) at South Carolina (KenPom: 45, RPI: 28), 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (KenPom: 51, RPI: 62), 7:00 p.m.
Saint Joseph’s (KenPom: 48, RPI: 30) at George Washington (KenPom: 71, RPI: 34), 7:00 p.m.
Missouri at Vanderbilt (KenPom: 35, RPI: 58), 9:00 p.m.
No. 14 Iowa State at Texas Tech (KenPom: 59, RPI: 51), 9:00 p.m.
Michigan (KenPom: 46, RPI: 56) at Minnesota, 9:00 p.m.
Washington (KenPom: 80, RPI: 57) at Utah (KenPom: 44, RPI: 16), 9:00 p.m.
San Diego State (KenPom: 65, RPI: 47) at Fresno State, 11:00 p.m.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: LSU at South Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
LSU attempts to stay atop the SEC standings when they travel on the road to face South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very tough at home this season and they’re trying to form a potential four-way tie in the conference standings if they’re able to win this one (and Texas A&M wins tonight). It will be intriguing to see how Ben Simmons fares against South Carolina’s stingy defense.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: Saint Joseph’s at George Washington, 7:00 p.m.
An important game in the Atlantic 10 as Saint Joseph’s heads to the Smith Center to play surging George Washington. The Colonels have won three straight games as they try to stay with VCU and Dayton and make a move to tie the Hawks in the league standings. CBT’s Rob Dauster will be in the building for this one, so make sure to follow him on Twitter for updates.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- No. 21 Baylor will have a tough one in the Big 12 when they go on the road at Kansas State. The Wildcats just knocked off Oklahoma and the Octagon of Doom is a very tough place to play, even if Kansas State is struggling in the standings.
- No. 16 SMU will try to stay in the lead in the American as they host Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane could really use a road win like this for its postseason chances.
- An intriguing Pac-12 contest tips as Washington heads to Utah. The Pac-12 standings are a mess right now, but these two teams still have a chance to make one final move for the regular season title if they start building momentum now.
- In the SEC, Alabama hosts No. 15 Texas A&M, a team that has lost three of its last four games. The Aggies will be favored in this road contest, but this one could be interesting because of Avery Johnson’s unique connection to Texas A&M. Avery Johnson Jr., a transfer guard sitting out this season at Alabama, played for the Aggies last season, so he could have some useful tips for his dad on slowing down Texas A&M’s potent offense.
- No. 20 Providence will be looking for revenge when they head to Milwaukee to face Marquette. The Golden Eagles currently sit eighth in the Big East standings, but they did win on the road by a point over the Friars earlier this season.