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What to watch for from Maryland's potential NCAA Tournament first round opponents

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What to watch for from Maryland's potential NCAA Tournament first round opponents

March has arrived, and with it, the NCAA Tournament.

After missing out on the big dance last season, the Maryland Terrapins have returned to the postseason. Their seeding was announced early this Selection Sunday, as they were revealed to be the 6-seed in the first region.

For their 13-7 Big Ten record, the Terps earned an opportunity to face either Belmont or Temple, as the two 11-seeds will face off in the First Four Tuesday night, with the winner traveling to Jacksonville, Fl to take on Maryland on Thursday.

The First Four doesn’t always provide the most interesting games, but Maryland fans have plenty of reason to tune in this year. Here’s what Terps fans should watch for as the Belmont Bruins take on the Temple Owls.

Belmont Bruins

Record: 26-5 (16-2 in OVC)
2018-19 finish: Tied for first in regular season, fell in OVC tournament final to Ja Morant and Murray State
History: 0-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament
Location: Nashville, Tennessee (6,569 undergraduates)
PPG: 87.4 (2nd in nation)
Points Allowed Per Game: 73.9 (241st in nation)
Notable Statistic: Leads nation in assists per game (19.9)

Temple Owls

Record: 23-9 (13-5 in AAC)
2018-19 finish: Tied for third in regular season, fell to Wichita State in quarterfinals of AAC tournament
History: 33-32 all-time in NCAA tournament
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (29,732 undergraduates)
PPG: 74.8 (116th in nation)
Points Allowed Per Game: 70.9 (168th)
Notable Statistic: Three guards averaging at least 13.3 PPG

For any Maryland fans hoping to scout out their opponent, Belmont and Temple will tip off late Tuesday night.


3 Key Storylines

#1 - Clash of Styles

As noted above, Belmont runs a high-octane offense. Part of it is their firepower, especially in the form of Dylan Windler. But part of it is their pace of play.

According to KenPom, Belmont’s tempo ranks 31st in the entire country. Yes, their offense is prolific, but the nation-leading numbers in scoring and assists stem partially from the number of possessions they have per game.

Temple, on the other hand, is middle of the pack in tempo (109th). They’ve also found balance in terms of offense and defense, though neither is an area of strength for the Owls. They rank 86th in offensive efficiency and 90th in defensive efficiency. 

In contrast, Belmont is much more one-sided. The Bruins sit at a remarkable 20th in the country in KenPom on offense, but 127th on defense.

#2 - Great Guard Play

This is a game that will certainly be determined in the backcourt, as both the Bruins and Owls have stars at the guard position.

49.5 of Temple’s 74.8 points per game come from their top three scorers, all of whom play in the backcourt. Shizz Alston, Jr. (the only Owl with NCAA Tournament experience) leads the squad with an impressive 19.7 PPG, followed by Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis at 16.5 and 13.3 PPG respectively. Alston also averages 5.0 assists per game and 1.5 steals.

Temple has a player who just missed averaging 20 and 5 this season, and yet the best player on the court might be in Belmont’s backcourt. Dylan Windler leads the Bruins with 21.4 PPG, shooting 43% from 3-pt range and 84.6% from the free throw line. He also averages 10.7 rebounds per game as a guard.

Belmont’s second-leading scorer, Kevin McClain, also plays guard, where he averages 16.3 PPG and 4.1 APG.

#3 - Making History?

Belmont has already been picked by a few national pundits to upset both Temple and Maryland in this year’s tournament. It’s feasible thanks to their strong offense, but would also be historic. The Bruins have never won an NCAA Tournament game in seven tries.

Temple also has a strong narrative behind their potential cinderella one. Head coach Fran Dunphy has led the Owls since 2006, but announced prior to the season that he would be stepping down after 2019.

Dunphy is a coaching legend in Philadelphia, and is looking for the school’s first tournament win since 2013 during his swan song this postseason.

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Top 40 recruit Shyanne Sellers commits to Maryland

Top 40 recruit Shyanne Sellers commits to Maryland

Sunday afternoon was very exciting for the Terps women’s basketball team.

Top 40 recruit Shyanne Sellers announced on Twitter that she has committed to The University of Maryland. 

“First of all, I would like to thank my parents, Coach Carlos, Smac family, and all the coaches that have recruited me throughout the years, without them I would not be in the position I am in today. Lastly, would like to thank Coach Frese and the whole Maryland staff for giving me this amazing opportunity to continue playing the game that I love. I am excited to announce that I have decided to further my academic and athletic career to The University of Maryland, Go Terps!” Sellers wrote on Twitter. 

Sellers is the first commitment in the 2021 recruiting class. 

The 6'0 guard is ranked by ESPN as the No. 34 player in the 2021 class and No. 12 player from the state of Ohio.

This past season as a junior at Aurora High School in Aurora, Ohio Sellers averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, 2.3 steals and two blocks.

Her father Brad Sellers played at Ohio State and was selected as a first round draft pick by the Chicago Bulls. As a member of the Bulls he has the opportunity to play alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. 

Her father took to Twitter to express how proud his is of his daughter. 

"Today, I want to say how proud of my daughter Shyanne Sellers and her verbal commitment to attend and play b-ball for the University of Maryland. We all are very thankful for the opportunity that she has been given! From rec league in Aurora, to SMAC Ballers, and now the Big 10!" he wrote on Twitter. 

Brad Sellers currently serves as the three-time mayor of  Warrensville Heights, Ohio.

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Report: Yale grad transfer Jordan Bruner considering Maryland among final three

Report: Yale grad transfer Jordan Bruner considering Maryland among final three

With the Terps facing the potential losses of two key scorers to the NBA Draft, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Yale is considering joining the Maryland roster for his final season of NCAA eligibility.

According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Bulldogs power forward Jordan Bruner has narrowed down his list of preferred transfer destinations to Maryland, Alabama and Baylor. ESPN ranked Bruner the third-best graduate transfer in the country following a season in which he led the Ivy League with 9.2 rebounds per game to go with 10.9 points and 3.7 assists.

The Terps are expected to lose Anthony Cowan Jr. (graduating) and Jalen Smith (NBA Draft) after claiming their first share of the Big 10 regular-season title in program history this season. Forward Ricky Lindo Jr. also entered the transfer portal. Smith started 30 games as a forward and led UMD with 10.5 rebounds per game.

Bruner originally declared for the NBA Draft on March 13 but reconsidered his position after the coronavirus pandemic put the sports world at a standstill. Five days after announcing his intent to go pro, he put his name in the transfer portal.

Per the Yale Daily News, Bruner received calls from 25 different programs within three hours of having his name in the portal. He reportedly trimmed his original list of 50 schools down to six—Maryland, Arkansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Alabama and Louisville—before narrowing it down to the three Tuesday.

Injuries hit Bruner hard throughout his Yale career, including two meniscus tears—one of which forced him to miss all of his sophomore season. However, the 2020 All-Ivy First Team selection finally stayed healthy this year and only sat two games due to injury.

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