This one didn't determine whether Maryland did or did not get a double bye in the Big Ten tournament. It was simply to improve an NCAA tournament resume that has not had many crowning achievements on it over the past few weeks.
But the Terrapins could not get a victory on the road in Bloomington, pulling within single digits late in the second half before ultimately falling to Indiana, 80-62. Troy Williams led the way for the Hoosiers with 23 points. Senior guard Yogi Ferrell had 17.
Three Maryland players scored in double figures, led by 17 from Melo Trimble. Diamond Stone had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Maryland finishes the regular season 24-7 and 12-6 in the Big Ten. Here are 5 things you need to know.
1) Hot start for first time in a long time
It’s atypical for Maryland get out to a strong start against a quality opponent. They much more often will have to work from behind, as they did the last time they went on the road and played Purdue.
Sunday was a different story. Maryland got out to a 12-4 lead and looked like it had good control of the pace by working the ball inside to Diamond Stone to start and drawing an early foul on fellow freshman Thomas Bryant.
They peppered in some small ball at the 12:41.
2) The three will always keep Indiana alive
Even when Maryland had that 12-4 lead, Indiana simply turned up the heat from the outside and ripped off an 8-0 run to tie it. Maryland counter with a 6-0 run. Indiana swung back with a 12-3 run after taking their first lead with 9:25 to go in the first.
It all started with the ability of Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell to create off the dribble. When he got into the lane, Maryland’s defense was forced to react and collapse. Because he is surrounded by so many shooters, he can kick it out to any one of a handful of players with confidence.
Six Hoosiers hit at least one three in the first half.
3) Offensive drought strikes at bad time
Maryland began the game 9-of-15 from the floor. They were then 2-of-13 for the rest of the half, which paired with Indiana’s hot shooting from deep resulted in a 23-6 Hoosier run to head into the break.
In the final 11:18 of the first half, the only player outside of Melo Trimble to score points for the Terrapins was Robert Carter, who hit two free throws.
4) Even when there’s a Maryland punch, there’s an Indiana counterpunch
Troy Williams scored 10 of first 12 Indiana points of the second half. The Terrapins struggled to get back defensively on a number of possessions, especially after scoring a basket themselves. What that created was a cycle of good offensive possessions and bad defensive possessions that ultimately created little for the Terrapins.
Indiana was careful with the basketball. After turning it over at the 7:52 mark of the first half, they did not turn it over again until the middle of the second half. That was a buffer against any sort of Maryland advance.
The Terrapins cut it to nine points with 6:55 to play on a three by Jaylen Brantley. It could never really break through from there.
5) Even in a lot of categories, but two stick out
Maryland was actually on the plus side of the rebounding battle. They finished -5 in turnovers, but that margin was closer than that before there was some unraveling at the end. The two teams made the same number of three-pointers.
The two differences? Shooting percentage is the obvious one. Maryland shot 10 percentage points lower than Indiana on Sunday, coming in at just 41 percent. The root of that is likely from some broken offensive possessions that resulted in late-clock heaves.
The other? The free-throw disparity. Indiana made 20-of-25 from the stripe. Maryland made 6-of-8. Part of that is the way Maryland played. They settled for jumpers when they should have gotten to the basket. Indiana got to the rim to take advantage of a scrambling Maryland defense and drew contact.
But surely there were also calls that Mark Turgeon would have liked to have. It’s part of life on the road in college basketball. Purdue’s free throw disparity was massive vs. Maryland when they came to College Park and Matt Painter made sure to point it out postgame. It happens.
Indiana is the type of team that has given Maryland issues the entire season. The Hoosiers can play small and shoot the basketball. That reveals the truth about Maryland’s fate in March -- and, really, the fate of many other teams.
The NCAA tournament is about matchups. It always has been, but that will be accentuated this year. If Maryland meets a scrappy, small, shooting team in the Round of 32, they could risk getting eliminated. They could also face three teams that they match up well against and end up in the Elite 8.
In a year like this, you just don’t know.