Maryland faces Illinois on Thursday, both celebrating Senior Night and playing their home finale.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the matchup.
1) Out of the Big Ten title race
Indiana has clinched the Big Ten title outright, meaning Maryland and all others are eliminated from the race. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to do. The Terrapins need a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament, not only to get the most rest possible but also to put them in the best position to win the tournament.
Brackets project the Terrapins to be a No. 4 seed right now in the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament.
2) The rebounding issue
Mark Turgeon was as blunt as blunt can be after his team’s loss to Purdue when asked about the team’s persistent rebounding issues. He ultimately said that at some point it comes down to the players’ will because the staff has addressed it in almost every way it could.
The Terrapins were -19 on the glass against the Boilermakers, though Robert Carter, Jr. and Diamond Stone accounted for as many rebounds as A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas. That means it comes down to the wings and guards, who were badly outrebounded by their counterparts in Saturday’s loss.
The facts for Thursday against Illinois? The Illini are 321st in the country in rebounding rate. If Maryland can’t rebound against this team, they may just have to accept the fact that this is their glaring weakness.
3) Senior Night
Turgeon talked a great deal about his four seniors -- Varun Ram, Trevor Anzmann, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Jake Layman. Ram gets his second Senior Day. Anzmann, Turgeon said, will do great things off the basketball court. Sulaimon, in just one season in College Park, has made an immense impact. Layman stuck around during the most trying time of Turgeon’s tenure.
An added benefit of Senior Night? Maryland has struggled with starting games strong this season. Will the boost of the occasion help them to fix that?
4) Steps the right direction for Melo
Maryland’s back-to-back losing streak coincided with the deepest slump of Melo Trimble’s career. In the win over Michigan and loss to Purdue that followed, Trimble has taken steps in the right direction getting back to being himself.
The shooting from the field is still an issue, but he is starting to get to the free throw line at the rate that made him such an efficient scorer in the past. Those numbers (and the rate at which he hits his free throws) are a positive indication that could show a true turnaround is around the corner.
5) Not looking ahead (because they need this)
It should be easier for Maryland to take these final two regular-season games one-by-one because the possibility of a Big Ten title is off the table and they’ll be playing only for seeding in the Big Ten tournament.
But this is almost a must-have for the Terrapins. Indiana on the road in Bloomington will be a tough place to play. In addition, they simply cannot afford another bad loss.