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Maryland's Tournament Profile: Unpredictable Terps aren't the only frustrating NCAA Tournament team

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Maryland's Tournament Profile: Unpredictable Terps aren't the only frustrating NCAA Tournament team

Maryland will return to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 after missing the big dance in 2018.

A much-improved Terrapins squad, led by Anthony Cowan Jr. and Bruno Fernando, navigated through the brushes of the Big Ten and emerged as a team to contend for the league title. 

It also helps when your nonconference season was 9-2 with one of the losses to a future No. 1 seed, Virginia. 

Still, the Terps are inconsistent. Erratic play makes Bracketology projections difficult. There is no clear cut place for the Terps. Losses to Illinois and Penn State hurt to say the least and definitely dropped the team a seed line.

Good news from Terps fans is that there is not much to go but up the rest of the way.

Projected seed:

ESPN/ Joe Lunardi: No. 5 seed

CBS/ Jerry Palm: No. 5 seed

College BasketballTalk/ Dave Ommen: No. 5 seed

USA Today/ Shelby Mast: No. 5 seed

SB Nation/ Chris Dobbertean: No. 6 seed

Consensus is that Maryland is at the No. 5 seed line. Luckily for the Terps there really is nothing left on their schedule that could drastically drop them lower than the No. 6 that Dobbertean has them at. 

Quadrant I victories:

Minnesota (A) - NET: 56
Wisconsin (H) - NET: 17
Ohio State (A) - NET: 43
Nebraska (A) - NET: 71
Purdue (H) - NET: 11
Iowa (A) - NET: 41

The Terps are 6-7 against Quadrant I teams this season, 15-2 against everyone else.

Bad Losses:

Seton Hall (H) - NET: 63
Illinois (N) - NET: 92

One thing that benefits Maryland is that they do not have many bad losses. Really, the only one is the neutral site loss to the Fighting Illini, which still is a Quadrant II loss.

Comparable Teams:

Iowa State (20-9, 9-7 Big 12) - They have their fare share of big victories this season (vs. Kansas, @ Texas Tech, @ Kansas State), however they are consistent too. They also have a bad, neutral site loss against Arizona that drags them down. The Cyclones are also on the No. 5/ 6 seed line. 

Florida State (23-6, 11-5 ACC) - Some questionable losses to Pittsburgh and Boston College really killed a solid top 4 seed for the Seminoles. Florida State is not much different than the Terps, they're 5-4 in Q1 games and 18-2 against everyone else. No losses are below Q2.

Kansas State (22-7, 12-4 Big 12) - An early loss to Tulsa had many looking past the Wildcats this year but they could end up being Big 12 champs. Sure, the win against Kansas isn't exactly the same this year, but they've been impressive in marque matchups.

Villanova (22-8, 13-4) - Consistently inconsistent are the Wildcats this year. Just when it looks like Villanova could move into the top tier of the sport, they lose to Georgetown. That sounds oddly familiar (i.e. Maryland and Illinois).

Teams the Terps are competing against for seeding:

Marquette (23-6, 12-4)
Wisconsin (20-9, 12-6)
Kansas State (22-7, 12-4)
Florida State (23-6, 11-5)
Nevada (26-3, 13-3)
Virginia Tech (22-6, 11-5)
Mississippi State (21-8, 9-7)
Cincinnati (25-4, 14-2)
Villanova (22-8, 13-4)

Seed Ceiling: No. 3 seed

There are clear tiers during the 2018-19 season and already it has shaped for Maryland to be in the second tier of the Big Ten (behind Michigan and Michigan State). Even with Maryland running the table, and winning the Big Ten Tournament, the highest Maryland could climb in the NCAA Tournament is a No. 3 seed. That would also take some luck and other teams to fall.

No matter what madness may happen in conference tournaments, there is no way Maryland could go higher. They just simply do not have the wins and results that North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas Tech or even Kansas put up this year.

Realistically, if the team can win a Big Ten quarterfinal, perhaps a semifinal contest, they will climb to a No. 4 seed. Other than that they are locked into a No. 5 seed. 

Seed Floor: No. 7 seed

Falling to a No. 7 seed would be a crazy scenario. It would require the Terrapins to lose to Minnesota in the regular season finale and also lose to a bottom four team in the league tournament. 

Cincinnati would also need to win the American, Louisville and Auburn make a run in the ACC and SEC tournaments and no other team on the No. 5-6 line fall to a bad team.

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

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Houston QB D'Eriq King reportedly transfers to Miami over Maryland

Just one week after announcing that he had entered the NCAA transfer portal, University of Houston QB D'Eriq King has reportedly chosen Miami over Maryland.

The Athletic's Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro reports that King has informed Canes coaches of his decision and intent to start classes Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

At the same time, Mark Berman of Fox26 reported that King has not made a final decision but did indeed like Miami.

 

King was scheduled to visit Miami Friday night and Maryland on Saturday, but Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports reports that King may have cancelled his visit to second-year head coach Mike Locksley and company last minute after liking Miami. Berman reports that King is still "planning" on visiting College Park.

The Terps struggled to finish 3-9 with Josh Jackson and Tyrell Pigrome under center, combining for 16 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Under first-year head coach Manny Diaz, Miami went 6-7 over 2019.

King redshirted this season after playing the maximum four games allowed under new NCAA rules in order to preserve eligibility and transfer for  his senior season. In those four games, King tallied 663 passing yards and six touchdowns. 

The sought-after QB is also just one of three in FBS history that have recorded at least 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a single season.

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Hot start propels No. 17 Terps over Purdue

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Hot start propels No. 17 Terps over Purdue

Jalen Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds, freshman Donta Scott scored 13 and No. 17 Maryland held off Purdue 57-50 on Saturday to remain unbeaten at home.

The Terrapins (14-4, 4-3 Big Ten) scored the game's first nine points, led by 16 at halftime and managed to stay in front after Purdue closed to 52-47 with 6 minutes left.

Aaron Wiggins scored 12 points and Anthony Cowan had seven assists for Maryland, now 11-0 at home. The Terps were coming off two straight losses on the road, where they're 0-4.

Nojel Eastern scored 14 points for the Boilermakers (10-8, 3-4). Looking for an encore to its 71-42 rout of Big Ten leader Michigan State last Sunday, Purdue instead fell to 1-5 on the road -- its lone win at Ohio last month.

The Boilermakers trailed by 18 in the first half but outplayed the Terrapins over the final 20 minutes. The deficit was 10 points before Trevion Williams hit a jumper and Isaiah Thompson connected from beyond the arc to cut the margin to 5.

It was 53-50 before Smith followed a Purdue miss with a resounding dunk with 2:06 remaining. A series of missed shots and turnovers followed before Cowan made two free throws with 12.5 seconds to go.

Maryland won despite shooting 28 percent in the second half, including 0 for 9 from 3-point range.

The Boilermakers went scoreless over the final 3 minutes, 52 seconds. They were 8-0 this season when holding the opposition to 59 points or fewer.

The Terrapins held Purdue scoreless over the opening 4 1/2 minutes and took a 20-4 lead while getting assists on each of their first seven baskets. Five of those field goals were 3-pointers, including two apiece by Smith and Wiggins.

Minutes later, Scott hit a jumper and a pair of 3-pointers to make it 28-10. At that point, the Terps were 7 for 10 from beyond the arc.

On the other end, the Boilermakers shot 29 percent during the first 13 minutes and misfired on all four 3-point attempts.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers just don't seem to have the same intensity or shooting touch when on the road. That's how it is for most Big Ten teams, but this defeat is hard to fathom immediately after a rout of Michigan State.

Maryland: If the Terrapins are going to struggle on the road, which seems to be the case, they've got to excel at home. And fortunately, that's exactly what Maryland has done in College Park.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Terps hope this victory offsets their disappointing 56-54 loss at Wisconsin on Tuesday and enables them to move up a notch or two in the Top 25.

UP NEXT

Purdue hosts Illinois on Tuesday night. The Boilermakers were blown out by the Fighting Illini 63-37 on Jan. 5.

Maryland's quest for its first road win continues Tuesday night at Northwestern, the cellar dwellers of the Big Ten.

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