Not every game is going to be a runaway win like Saturday’s victory over Ohio State, but where do the Terrapins now rank in the conference?
On Sunday, CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb said he thinks Mark Turgeon’s team is still at the top.
“I still think Maryland is the best team in this league,” he said. “Michigan State, I think eventually they’ll figure it out as now all their personnel -- with the exception of Tum Tum Nairn -- is healthy.
“And then the question is Indiana. Are they the team we’ve seen now beat up on the bottom of the Big Ten -- there’s a deep bottom of the Big Ten -- or are they the team that lost to UNLV, the team that lost to Wake Forest, the team that looked awful against Duke. They have a lot of talent to score, but will they defend against the elites of this conference? And Iowa, I agree, is among the elite.”
This upcoming stretch may be telling for Maryland.
Michigan State awaits the Terrapins on Saturday in East Lansing. Iowa back at home in College Park after that, then a second round against Ohio State, this time on the road.
There is no questioning what Maryland’s ceiling is. The loss to North Carolina on Dec. 1 showed that. You could count on one hand the teams who could have beaten the Terrapins on that night. The Tar Heels just happened to be one of them.
Now it is about consistency.
Where was the 100-point offensive machine we saw on Saturday on Tuesday night? To that same point, where was the lockdown defensive team we saw Tuesday night in some other games like the road loss to Michigan?
Maryland is as talented on paper as almost any team in the country. The question now is how consistently they can put it all together. But give them credit, on nights when only one half of the equation seems to be clicking, they have often found a way to win.
We will learn a lot, though, over the next week.