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Maryland-Iowa Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Iowa Preview: 5 things you need to know

No. 8 Maryland faces No. 3 Iowa in the first matchup between Top 10 teams ever at XFINITY Center. Not only that, but it could go a long way toward shaping the race in the Big Ten.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) What Thursday night’s game decides

Head coach Mark Turgeon said he won’t call a January game a “must-win” and in certain ways he is right. This is an NCAA tournament team (obviously) and a Big Ten title contender and, yes, still a national title contender in a wide open field.

But games like Thursday’s showdown shape NCAA tournament resumes.

How? Maryland has a number of nice wins, like against Georgetown at home, Connecticut on a neutral floor, and Wisconsin on the road. But what about signature wins? Winning Top 10 matchups are the games that separate No. 1 and No. 2 seeds from No. 3 seeds and No. 4 seeds.

Maryland has no bad losses, but it also has not gotten signature wins on the road against North Carolina and Michigan State. Thursday is a big opportunity to make a national statement.

2) Back home

Maryland has not lost a game in College Park since joining the Big Ten. Coming back home after a road loss to Michigan State, the Terrapins will be greeted by the return of students on campus -- who have now returned to classes.

That should make for a raucous environment in what is obviously a big game.

Turgeon said Wednesday that it was clear the crowd at Michigan State gave the Spartans a bump. Terrapins fans have aided in comebacks against Penn State and Rider earlier this year. Against the Hawkeyes, making the arena hostile for the opposition will help.

MORE TERPS: MAYBE NOT 'MUST WIN' -- BUT STILL IMPORTANT

3) Jarrod Uthoff’s ascent continues

Jarrod Uthoff has gone from Iowa’s best player to the possible Big Ten Player of the Year to a legitimate contender for National Player of the Year.

He is averaging 18.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from three. He has scored in double digits in every game this season and is a true inside-out threat. Put a smaller defender on him and he will go into the post. Put a bigger defender on him and he will make you chase him around the perimeter.

Which leads to the next point...

4) Defensive responsibilities fall to Layman and Carter

Jake Layman and Robert Carter, Jr. will be the two most important pieces of the overall game plan for Maryland. Uthoff and Peter Jok are the offensive engines for Iowa and they will likely be the responsibility of Carter and Layman, respectively.

This has been Maryland’s weakness -- playing small lineups when they have so much size. They can play small, but not for extended time because of the lack of backcourt depth. That is why Carter and Layman will be relied upon to slow down Iowa’s two best offensive weapons. They have the size, but still the versatility to play against the Hawkeyes’ varying lineups.

5) Finish. Possessions.

Maryland has played good enough defense over the last two games, but struggled often to finish possessions by getting a defensive rebound. It was the dagger late against Michigan State. It was part of the reason that the Northwestern game went to overtime.

Against a team like Iowa, which ranks 12th in the nation in offensive efficiency, giving the Hawkeyes more chances to score could be deadly. Not only does it get reflected on the scoreboard, but 30 seconds of defense can be wasted, forcing another 30 seconds of defense and risking fouls and fatigue.

Over the course of 40 minutes, that takes its toll.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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USA Today Sports Images

Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

MORE NCAA: BEST BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.