The Maryland basketball team has lost three of their last four games.
With only two games left, what’s left to accomplish before the NCAA Tournament?
The Terrapins have accumulated losses to the likes of Minnesota, Purdue, and Wisconsin over the past two weeks. Coach Mark Turgeon has also seen his best player struggled quite a bit in guard Melo Trimble.
Maryland did show a significant amount of fight against Purdue this past Saturday, but were severely outrebounded throughout the game. The Terps also trailed by double digits in both the first and second halves.
Now Maryland must shift their focus towards Illinois and Indiana over the next five days.
First of all, Indiana topped Iowa on Tuesday evening to win the Big Ten regular season title outright. Now how does that affect Maryland?
With the Hoosiers’ latest victory, the Terps just need to win one of their final two games to clinch a double-bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament. Illinois should be Maryland’s best chance for that win as the Fighting Illini have accumulated a meager 5-11 mark in the Big Ten during the 2015-16 season.
Despite a guard-heavy lineup and four players averaging in double figures, Illinois has seen their fair share of struggles during Big Ten play. The Illini haven’t won consecutive contests in league play and are coming off of a win over Minnesota.
There’s still quite a bit of uncertainty pertaining to what seed Maryland will have in Indianapolis. If the Terps win both games, they could still be a No. 4 seed. If they split both games, they could still end up as the No. 2 seed, depending on what happens with some of the other teams.
Aside from the double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament, there’s plenty more for the Terps to fix over the final two games.
One of the biggest issues for Maryland has been the struggles of Trimble.
Over the last four games, Trimble has connected on 11 of his last 47 shots (23.4 percent). His poor offensive execution has certainly been one of the reasons for Maryland’s poor play.
In Saturday’s loss to Purdue, Trimble was a little more productive as he hit four of his 12 shots and continued to be aggressive in multiple facets of the game. He didn’t show any fear in shooting from the perimeter and many of his seven three-point attempts nearly went down.
Trimble also was able to get to the free throw line frequently. The former Bishop O’Connell (Va.) star attempted 10 free throws (making nine) and continued to find his way into the lane for the Terps.
Despite his struggles, Trimble is going to have to continue to hoist up shots and not be afraid to miss. While he is only shooting 33.1 percent from beyond the arc on the season, Trimble still has the ability to hit shots with regularity.
Maryland also needs work on their rebounding after an abysmal performance against Purdue.
The Boilermakers outrebounded the Terps 41-22 and Maryland still nearly won the game. However, Maryland just has too many talented bigs in their frontcourt to put up pedestrian numbers like that on the glass.
Maryland does rank fourth in the conference with 26.7 defensive rebounds per contest, but the offensive glass has proved to be a significant problem for the Terps. Turgeon’s group ranks 12th in the 14-team league with just nine boards.
This is a group that has so much talent and it’s really just going to come down to executing on the glass. The Terps need to play with more energy and not allow other teams to outwork them.
With the final week of the regular season in full swing, this is when we’re going to find out what this Maryland team is made of. There is a ton of talent on this team at every position and they weren’t tabbed as a preseason favorite to win a national title by accident.
Closing out the regular season strong could go a long way in determining the amount of success that Maryland will have in the Big Ten and even the NCAA Tournament later this month.