The Maryland basketball team is considered a lock for the NCAA Tournament.
However, what could a strong performance in the Big Ten Tournament do for their resume?
The Terrapins learned on Thursday night that they’ll be facing Northwestern on Friday. The Wildcats are the No. 6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and handily defeated No. 14 Rutgers 83-61 to get to the quarterfinals.
Maryland already has a win against Northwestern in their back pocket. The Terps defeated the Wildcats 74-64 back on Feb. 15 in Evanston.
Much like the Terps, the Wildcats are also viewed as a lock to make the NCAA Tournament field. This is a group that won 22 games and was one of the more impressive teams in the Big Ten this year.
Maryland got a boost on Thursday evening when Kansas State knocked off Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. The Terps had beaten those Wildcats in the title game of the Barclays Center Classic back in November.
Another victory against Northwestern would bolster Maryland’s NCAA Tournament resume even further. This is a team that defeated Wisconsin and played Purdue extremely tough over the last month of the regular season.
If Maryland beats Northwestern, a matchup with Wisconsin could await them on Saturday. The Badgers face Indiana on Friday evening in a game that many expect Wisconsin to win.
If the Badgers do indeed win, it’s a chance at redemption for the Terps.
Wisconsin beat Maryland 71-60 on Feb. 19 in Madison. Star guard Melo Trimble scored 27 points, but he was the only one that had his shot falling on the afternoon.
Despite losing three of their last four games, beating the Badgers would be huge for the Terps. Wisconsin won 12 conference games and can look like a Final Four contender at times.
This is a veteran team that really exposed Maryland’s freshmen trio at the time. Part of the reason for that could’ve been just tired legs.
The Terps haven’t played since last Saturday’s last-second win over Michigan State. Simply put: the double-bye was a perfect reprieve for Maryland.
If Maryland gets to Sunday’s Big Ten final, it’s very possible that Purdue would be their opponent. The Boilermakers face Michigan on Friday and if they win, they would play the winner of the Minnesota/Michigan State game on Saturday.
Whether it’s Minnesota or Purdue, both are locks for the NCAA Tournament. Maryland split with Minnesota this season and were defeated by Purdue in College Park.
When the weekend is over, if all goes according to plan, the Terps could have a chance to add three wins over NCAA Tournament teams to their resume. Even if some say the Big Ten had a down year, these are still three very good teams that certainly can get to the second weekend of the tournament and beyond.
A loss isn’t going to hurt Maryland much, but multiple wins could improve the Terps’ standing on Selection Sunday.