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Maryland-Illinois Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Illinois Preview: 5 things you need to know

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.

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lamar Stevens feels like he's playing his most consistent basketball right now, a bad omen for upcoming opponents considering Penn State expects its hybrid forward to do a little bit of everything.

Just like he did on Wednesday.

Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 in the second half to lift Penn State over Maryland 74-70.

RELATED: UPDATED DMV POWER RANKINGS

"Lamar really stepped up for us," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We needed every one of those points that he had tonight."

Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins added 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under Chambers.

"The best teams always find ways to win," Stevens said. "We locked down when we had to, got huge stops, huge rebounds and I think that's a huge step for this team."

With Maryland (16-10, 5-8) up 20-14 midway through the first half, Stevens nailed his first of two 3-pointers to spark a quick 9-0 run that helped Penn State take control.

He rolled layups off his fingers and sank midrange jumpers on multiple back-to-back possessions in the second half, where he scored 11 of his team's first 20 points.

"He made some incredible, incredible shots," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was terrific, he was so efficient."

Stevens added four rebounds, two assists and was 3-for-4 on free throws with all three makes coming in the final 5:48 as Maryland threatened.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND STILL CONSIDERED BY MANY BRACKETOLOGISTS

Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece.

Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.

"I didn't think we competed in the first half defensively," Turgeon said. "I thought in the second half, we were really trying hard."

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins' disappointing season continues and they have dropped to 7-7 since stalwart forward Justin Jackson's season was ended by a torn shoulder ligament in late December. Although they shot better than their season average, the Terrapins were badly outplayed in the paint, getting outscored 32-22 and outrebounded 27-23.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing an exciting brand of basketball as of late. They have a combined 22 dunks over their last three home games and opponents are finding it hard to play fast against a team that thrives on speed.