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Terps prepare to face George Mason

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Terps prepare to face George Mason

Maryland impressed in their last game, a 77-57 victory over Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terps simply outclassed the Wildcats in a dominant second half.

Even in a season opening loss to Kentucky, the Terps have looked sharp for most of their non-conference schedule, running to a 5-1 record through November. On Sunday, Maryland should face its last true non-conference test, with a neutral court game against George Mason.

Though Mason plays in the CAA and Maryland the ACC, DC locals and college basketball fans need no introduction to the Fairfax, Va., school. George Mason made its name known across the country in 2006 with a run to the Final Four that included wins over college basketball bluebloods like UConn., Michigan State and North Carolina.

Mason's success came under former coach Jim Larranaga -- who bolted to the University of Miami prior to last season -- but Mason coach Paul Hewitt has plenty of NCAA experience.

As coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hewitt led his 2004 Jackets team to the NCAA championship game. Last season Hewitt led the Patriots to a 24-9 season, though the team was left out of the NCAA Tournament.

This game will be key for Hewitt and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon as they work to guide their teams back into the NCAA Tournament. Non-conference wins play a key part in tournament selection, and a win for either squad would be a boost for their resume come March.

After playing arguably its best 20 minutes of basketball in the second half at Northwestern, the Maryland team has momentum.

Center Alex Len continues to garner serious NBA Draft buzz, while sophomore transfer Dez Wells really showed his capabilities with 23 points against the Wildcats. The Terps look to have depth and frontcourt size befit of a Top 20 team, and a win over an always-pesky Mason squad could show that to poll voters.

Led by junior guard Sherrod Wright, Mason will be a tough opponent for the Terps.

Wright averages almost 15 points on the season, not to mention the 6'4" guard hauls in about five rebounds a game. Mason already registered a win over an ACC opponent earlier this year, beating UVa. in the season opener.

Mason will not come into this game intimidated by the Terps, and it will be interesting to see how Maryland’s young team responds to the challenge.

Maryland should enjoy a noticeable size advantage over the Patriots, who are led down low by 6'8" big man Eric Copes.

With Len at 7'1" and three big forwards in James Padgett, Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, the Terps can play an aggressive style around the basket. A key to Maryland's early success has been winning the rebounding battle; something the team has done in impressive fashion every game this season.

Mason will have to make outside shots early to free up space in the middle, otherwise Maryland's big men could take over. With Wright at the helm Mason could have the advantage from the outside, though Maryland guard Pe'Shon Howard has been playing improved defense this season.

With a vocal crowd expected and fans of both schools on hand at the Verizon Center, the game could resemble an early-round NCAA Tournament matchup. A preview of a postseason experience both teams would like to achieve. 

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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.

RELATED: HOW STEFON DIGGS CONVINCED RAKIM JARRETT TO PICK MARYLAND OVER LSU

Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.

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Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

The No. 1 prospect basketball in the class of 2022 Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State on Monday. 

The five-star small forward is considered the best high school prospect in more than a decade and will be taking his talents to the Big Ten.

Bates had offers from four other schools: DePaul, Florida State, Kentucky and Michigan. The Michigan native announced his commitment extremely early in the recruiting process –– so early that the top eight recruits in the 2021 class have not even announced their decisions yet.

The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward became the first commit of Michigan State’s class. He is also the first five-star to become a Spartan since Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2017 and the first No. 1 prospect to sign with the school since ESPN began its recruiting database in 2007.

His commitment came at a crucial time for the Spartans who lost significant talent at the end of last season in 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, who graduated, and 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Xavier Tillman Sr., who declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season.

Maryland will now have to face Bates at least twice a year in Big Ten play. The Terps have two commits in their class of 2021 – four stars Julian Reese and Ike Cornish – but have yet to add a member to the class of 2022. 

Last season, Maryland and Michigan State each won one matchup against the other. The two teams tied alongside Wisconsin as co-Big Ten Champions. All three teams posted a 14-6 conference record before the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments were cut short or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the final AP Poll, Michigan State finished ninth while Maryland finished 12th.

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