Maryland Up to #22 In The AP Poll, Gets Ready For A Tough Stretch
The Maryland Terrapins Men’s basketball team are now ranked #22 in the country and have started with a 7-0 record in their first season under Coach Kevin Willard. Willard is the first coach in Maryland history to be undefeated through his first 4+ games at the school.
The team has been lead by senior forward Donta Scott, senior guard Jahmir Young, and sophomore forward Julian Reese. Smith is averaging 15.9 points and 6.4 rebounds, and has become the clear leader of the team. Young is averaging 13.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. His command of the offense at the point guard position has been great so far. Reese has averaged 13.7 points and 7.9 rebounds.
The Terps won the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament with a 95-67 win over St. Louis in the semifinals and a 88-70 win over Miami in the finals. Both teams were considered top 30 teams, but the Terps handled both with ease. Then last week Maryland beat Coppin State 95-79, who are coached by former Maryland great Juan Dixon. For their 7th win, the Terps beat Louisville 79-54 as a part of the ACC/Big10 Challenge.
Now the schedule starts to get tougher. The Terps open up Big10 play on 12/2 against #16 Illinois. The Illini are currently 6-1, with their only loss coming to #3 Virginia. Their size and strength will be a good test for the Terps. In the first four games of the season, Maryland struggled to out rebound low level competition. Since then, the rebounding numbers have improved and will have to stay that way for the Terps to beat Illinois.
Maryland will then have their first true road game of the season in Madison on 12/6 against Wisconsin (5-2). Wisconsin can be a tough place to play, and it will be good to see how Coach Willard’s system works in a road environment. The Terps will then head to Barclays Center take on #13 Tennessee (5-1), and then come home to play #21 UCLA (5-2).
Maryland has shown a lot of promise in these early season games, and fans could not have asked for a better start for Coach Willard. Another good sign has been the the Terps have looked their best against their toughest competition to this point. With three ranked opponents and a tough road game in the next two weeks, we will be able to get a better idea of where this team stands heading into conference play.