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Maryland-Penn State Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Penn State Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland opens its Big Ten schedule on Wednesday afternoon in College Park against Penn State at the atypical time of 5 p.m.

Here are 5 things you need to know about the matchup.

1) Entering league play

After an 11-1 finish in the non-conference slate, Maryland now opens the Big Ten portion of its schedule against Penn State. Despite being a highly ranked team, there is a good deal of internal progress that has been made so far this season.

Diamond Stone has taken big strides, now in a new role as the team’s sixth man. Jaylen Brantley has gained confidence in himself and instilled confidence in the coaching staff and his teammate to make himself a good backcourt option. Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon have become elite complementary pieces.

Now comes the night-after-night test in the Big Ten.

2) Battled-tested now

The way Maryland structured its schedule was key. By having games against Georgetown, North Carolina, and Connecticut, the Terrapins have had to play on three national television stages in three close games to begin the year.

Trimble even went so far as to say that the Terrapins were “glad” they lost to the Tar Heels because in doing so they learned just how high their ceiling might be this season.

MORE TERPS: GARY WILLIAMS ON THE PROGRESS OF DIAMOND STONE

3) A versatile Penn State lineup

Maryland has struggled against smaller lineups this season that force Terrapin bigs to chase guards around the perimeter. Penn State can give you a little bit of that, though head coach Mark Turgeon said he expects them to try to match his team’s size.

Brandon Taylor is the team’s biggest threat, averaging 16.2 points per game as an undersized but powerful 6-6 power forward. He can step out toward the perimeter, too, which will test Robert Carter, Jr., who will likely defend him.

Fortunately for Maryland, DJ Newbill has graduated. He torched the Terrapins last year. Now the backcourt focus is Shep Garner, who is second on the team in points while leading the Nittany Lions in assists and steals.

4) The Melo Switch

Melo Trimble has been much more able to flip the offensive switch this season. By that, I mean he can be a dominant, takeover scorer when he needs to be, but he can also sense when others are hot and find ways to get them the ball.

Part of that development is thanks to Sulaimon, who is such a good distributor off the bounce that it has rubbed off on Trimble.

The fun part is, you never can really know which Trimble will come out of the gate, but you tend to get a feeling over the first few minutes which way he will lean.

5) Production from the alternative bigs

Diamond Stone has been terrific, as has Robert Carter, Jr. Where Maryland needs some supplementary production -- in some form -- is from Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky. It does not need to be offensive. The Terrapins have plenty of scorers for that.

But Dodd and Ceko are averaging a combined 4.7 rebounds and one block in 28.7 minutes per game. Does it begin to shift into gear tonight?

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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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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.