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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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Mike Locksley reportedly makes big addition to Terps staff with former Tennessee head coach

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Mike Locksley reportedly makes big addition to Terps staff with former Tennessee head coach

When Mike Locksley was hired to become the University of Maryland's newest head football coach earlier this month, it was expected that his biggest impact would come on the recruiting trail. Locksley has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best recruiters of talent in the DMV, and his hometown connections were a major draw for the university and its boosters.

His recruiting acumen doesn’t just apply to players, it seems. He’s begun putting together a coaching staff at Maryland, and many of the rumored candidates would represent major “gets” for a school of Maryland’s stature and reputation.

Former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has accepted a position as tight ends coach and associate head coach for the Terps, Jeff Ermann of InsideMdSports reported on Tuesday.

Jones was a head coach for a decade prior to spending 2018 as an offensive analyst for Alabama, an off-field position. In the years prior, he spent time at Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and most recently Tennessee. He holds a career record of 84-54, and is 4-2 all-time in bowl games. He had a winning record at each school.

The title of associate head coach is a nice addition for Jones, but a former SEC head coach who experienced some success would seem to be somewhat overqualified for a position coach. Jones, similarly to Locksley, was attempting to rehabilitate his reputation under Nick Saban at Alabama, and is likely aiming to return to head coaching one day.

There are some conflicting reports. Rivals is reporting that while an agreement could be coming soon, it is not yet a done deal.

It would be a nice coup for Maryland, as Jones would come to College Park with a reputation as a good offensive mind and a stellar recruiter. Jones signed multiple top-10 recruiting classes at Tennessee, and while coaching in the SEC has certain advantages, his recruiting acumen fits in well with Locksley.

It remains unclear how much of an overhaul Maryland’s coaching staff will undergo under Locksley, though it stands to reason there will be some turnover. 24/7 Sports is also reporting that Locksley will be bringing on John Papuchis to coach special teams and linebackers, and Cory Robinson, a former director of player personnel at Maryland under Randy Edsall. Robinson’s role is not yet specified, though based on his experience it is assumed he’ll be working with defensive backs.

Elijah Brooks, longtime head coach at local powerhouse DeMatha, has also been rumored to be joining the Maryland staff, though it has not been reported at this time.

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Anthony Cowan highlights an ugly Terps start, hits historic milestone against Loyola Chicago

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USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Cowan highlights an ugly Terps start, hits historic milestone against Loyola Chicago

BALTIMORE -- Anthony Cowan scored 17 points and No. 23 Maryland overcame a sluggish start to beat Loyola of Chicago 55-41 on Saturday.

Cowan became the 55th player in Maryland history to score 1,000 career points, hitting the milestone with a free throw in the first half. He has 1,010 for his career. Aaron Wiggins added 10 points for the Terrapins (8-2).

Cameron Krutwig scored 12 points for the short-handed Ramblers (5-5), who have lost four of five.

Maryland won despite getting modest contributions from its imposing frontcourt. Sophomore Bruno Fernando and freshman Jalen Smith each picked up two fouls in the first half, and the pair combined for two points and two rebounds in 10 minutes as the Terps carried a 24-20 lead into halftime.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Fernando, who was averaging 14.7 points and 10.3 rebounds coming into the game, finished with eight points and five rebounds. The 6-10 Smith had one point and three rebounds in his first college game in his hometown.

Cowan and Fernando scored on Maryland's first two possessions of the second half, and Cowan added a 3-pointer to make it 31-22 with 17:03 to go. Loyola never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

The game was the second half of a doubleheader in the Charm City Classic. Morgan State defeated Towson 74-69 in the opener.

BIG PICTURE

Loyola of Chicago: The Ramblers dressed only eight scholarship players because guards Bruno Skokna and Lucas Williamson remain out with injuries. Loyola has lost both of its games against power conference teams this season (Boston College and Maryland).

Maryland: Two days after sputtering down the stretch in a loss at Purdue, the Terps needed time for their offense to emerge from the doldrums. Maryland improved to 3-0 under coach Mark Turgeon in games played in Baltimore.

UP NEXT

Loyola of Chicago enters a week-long exam break and won't play until Dec. 16, when it entertains Norfolk State.

Maryland hosts Loyola (Md.) on Tuesday in the teams' first meeting since 2003.

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