The Maryland men’s basketball team suffered a setback against Michigan.
However, there’s no reason to panic about the Terrapins even with the latest loss.
Maryland certainly had some lofty expectations prior to the 2015-16 season. The Terps were coming off a very successful season in which they compiled a 28-7 record and won an NCAA Tournament game.
In non-conference wins against Connecticut and Georgetown, it was very clear that those preseason expectations were warranted. Maryland has arguably one of the deepest rosters in the nation.
Big Ten play has supplied the Terps with increased competition and some of their closest games of the young season.
Both Penn State and Wisconsin gave Maryland all they could handle. If it wasn’t for the heroics of center Diamond Stone and guard Melo Trimble, the Terps may have three conference losses at this point.
Now with two closes calls and a loss on Tuesday evening, is there reason for Maryland fans to be concerned?
First of all, it should be noted that the Big Ten is arguably the toughest conference around in all sports, especially men’s basketball. This is a group that possesses several powerhouse programs and has a ton of talent from top to bottom.
If you’re looking at the lesser teams in the Big Ten, there’s Minnesota (6-11) and Rutgers (who has been bit by the injury bug). These are the only two teams that are below .500 while Wisconsin currently stands at 9-9 in a year where coach Bo Ryan has retired.
The Big Ten has the potential to have anywhere from six to eight teams in the NCAA Tournament field come March. Five teams have 14 wins or more up to this point in the season.
Just based on statistics, Maryland has one of the most efficient offenses in the conference.
The Terps are in the top five in the Big Ten in scoring margin (+13.8), free throw percentage (76 percent), field goal percentage (50.5 percent), and three-point field goal percentage (37.7 percent). The team also possesses two top 20 scorers on its roster in Trimble (14.8 points-per-game) and Stone (13.1).
Maryland typically shoots very well from beyond the arc. However, the Terps only shot 25 percent (6-of-24) from behind the three-point line. Three of those makes came from forward Jake Layman, who had his best game of the season with 18 points (7-of-10) and 10 rebounds.
Trimble, who shoots 39.7 percent from beyond the arc, couldn’t find his shot as he only made one of his seven field goal attempts. The Bishop O’Connell (Va.) product also drew iron on all three attempts from long-range.
It was a perfect storm of sorts for the Terps.
Maryland wasn’t hitting their three-point shots, while Michigan couldn’t seem to miss. The Wolverines shot 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from behind the three-point line, including guard Duncan Robinson‘s team-high five three-pointers.
It was just one of those nights where things didn’t go Maryland’s way.
With as much offensive firepower as this team has, these types of performances should be few and far between. Coach Mark Turgeon should take comfort in knowing that his upper classmen (forward Robert Carter and Layman) shot a combined 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the field.
No. 1 Kansas also proved on Tuesday evening that top-ranked teams are very vulnerable on the road. These types of games may happen from time-to-time.
The good news for Maryland is that this is only the second time this season that result wasn’t in their favor. After all, this is a team that was built for March, not January.