Maryland Terps

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March Madness 2019: What you need to know about No. 6 Maryland

March Madness 2019: What you need to know about No. 6 Maryland

The Maryland Terrapins rode behind a stellar duo in the paint and a talented point guard to guide them through the Big Ten. As a result, the Terps are in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons. 

From the onset of the year, the Terps had high expectations to perform with  potential lottery pick Bruno Fernando returning after his phenomenal freshman campaign. Some expectations were so high that many considered head coach Mark Turgeon's job to be on the hot seat if the team did not deliver. 

Fortunately for him and the program, it worked out. Not only did the Terps start the season strong, but they also won eight of their first nine Big Ten contests. 

The Terps were in line for their first double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament up until the final two weeks of the season. An inexplicable loss to a 14-win Penn State is what ultimately did them in. 

But, they've been successful this season, with multiple wins over ranked opponents, because they are an instant mismatch. Not many teams can match-up with 6-10 Fernando and 6-10 Jalen Smith at the same time. Both of them also have the option to kick it out to Eric Ayala (42 percent from three) and Aaron Wiggins (41 percent from three).

Needless to say the Terps are an inside-out type of team, but their Achilles heel is that they are young. Their starting lineup consists of a junior in Anthony Cowan Jr., two sophomores (Fernando and Ayala) and two freshmen (Smith and Andrew Wiggins). The next three on the depth chart? Three freshmen. 

In losses, they've turned over the ball at a horrible rate. On the year they average 13 turnovers a contest. 

Maryland has the talent to make a run and easily make it to the Sweet 16 in their own backyard with the East semifinals at Capital One Arena. They also only have one player in their rotation that has been here before.

We'll see how Maryland does on Thursday at 3:10 p.m. on TruTV when they play Belmont.

Maryland Terrapins 2018-19 Record: 

22-10 (13-7 Big Ten)

Maryland Terrapins 2019 NCAA Tournament Seed:

No. 6, East (At-large bid)

Maryland Terrapins First Round Opponent:

No. 11 Belmont

The Path to the Final Four:

No. 11 Belmont, No. 3 LSU, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 1 Duke

Top Players:

Anthony Cowan Jr. (16.0 ppg, 4.3 apg - Big Ten Second Team)
Bruno Fernando (13.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg - Big Ten First, Defensive Teams)
Jalen Smith (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg - Big Ten Freshman Team)

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Jalen Smith's double-double helps Maryland rout Notre Dame

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Jalen Smith's double-double helps Maryland rout Notre Dame

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Jalen Smith had 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds as No. 3 Maryland cruised to a 72-51 victory over Notre Dame on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Eric Ayala scored 14 points and Aaron Wiggins added 11 for the Terrapins (9-0), who are off to their best start since winning 10 in a row to open the 1998-99 season.

John Mooney had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Notre Dame (6-2), which had won six in a row since opening the season with a loss at North Carolina.

It took some time for the Terps' offense to get going, but their defense was sharp for nearly the entire first half. After falling behind 9-4, Maryland allowed just four points over the next 12:31.

Ayala scored seven points in a row to turn a one-point game into a 21-13 lead, and later delivered a tomahawk slam a minute before the break. Aaron Wiggins capped the half by getting the carom from his missed 3-pointer and slamming it home for a 32-20 lead.

Notre Dame never cut the deficit to less than 10 in the second half as Maryland snapped a six-game skid in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a streak that began when the Terps were still in the ACC.

Smith recorded his fifth double-double of the season, matching his total from all of last season.

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Terps close first half vs. Notre Dame with two emphatic dunks (WATCH)

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Terps close first half vs. Notre Dame with two emphatic dunks (WATCH)

The Maryland Terrapins, like they have many times in the Mark Turgeon era, started off slow Wednesday night against Notre Dame.

But the Terps closed the first half by making eight of their final nine shots, including two very emphatic dunks.

The first came from sophomore Eric Ayala, who took the lead pass from forward Jalen Smith following a turnover and finished with a right-hand tomahawk.

The latter came from guard Aaron Wiggins. The sophomore attempted a three-point shot with just a handful of seconds remaining in the half, but realized his shot was off as soon as his feet hit the floor. 

Likely making his AAU coach happy, Wiggins followed his shot perfectly, grabbed the rebound and threw down the putback dunk just a couple of seconds before time expired, giving the Terps a 12-point lead at the break.

If the No. 3 Terps can hang on to their lead, it will be Maryland's first time starting 9-0 in around two decades.

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