For most of the season the University of Maryland has been one of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten. But, of late the team has stumbled including two home losses last week.
If you think there’s panic in the locker room, you’re wrong. The Terps are defiant in defeat as they search for the solution to their losing streak. Overall, Maryland has lost three in a row and reside in a tie for third place in the conference. They are just a game behind the Wisconsin Badgers who have lost two in a row themselves. The big difference is perception. While most think of the Badgers as a veteran team who has had tournament success of late the Terps don’t get the same benefit of a doubt.
Youth has served the Terps well as freshmen Anthony Cowen, Kevin Heurter, and Justin Jackson all play major roles. With youth come mistakes. Of late, the Terps have gone through long stretches without scoring especially when they settle for jump shots. At times, Melo Trimble looks like he gets lost in the offense. Defensive lapses and rebounding has also hurt the Terps during their current losing streak.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, when they run their offense through two passes, they generally get any shot they want. In the losses to Minnesota and Iowa, there wasn’t a lack of good looks. What was lacking was knocking down the shots.
The defensive struggles hurt the Terps in different ways. In their 89-75 loss to Minnesota, the Gophers were able to dominate both in the paint and on the perimeter. This allowed the Gophers to shoot an impressive 50% from the floor. Usually on defense, you want to take one of the strengths away.
In the Iowa loss, the Hawkeyes were 16-25 (61.5%) from the 3 point line. Many of the three pointers came as a secondary option to a fast break. Sharp shooter, Jordan Bohannon was 8-10 from the 3 point line as Maryland seemed to concentrate on stopping Peter Jok.
The Hawkeyes also throttled the Terps on the offensive boards with 15 offensive rebounds that led to 30 second chance points.
The positive thing is there is plenty of ground that can get made up in the last two games. They can still get a share of the Big Ten regular season title with two wins, one loss by Wisconsin and two losses by Purdue. Seems far fetched but for a team that has accomplished as much as they have this season, getting some momentum will be key going into the Big Ten tournament.
Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut. Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook. Member: USBWA, FWAA