Maryland Terps

Quick Links

Who should Maryland fans root for between Belmont and Temple?

Who should Maryland fans root for between Belmont and Temple?

We now know where Maryland was seeded. We now know when Maryland will play their first game. We even know where Maryland will play.

What we still don’t know is *who* Maryland will face Thursday afternoon in Jacksonville, FL.

As a No. 6 seed, Maryland will go up against one of two potential No. 11 seeds. Belmont and Temple will face off Tuesday night in the First Four to determine who moves on to face the Terps.

So, which team should Maryland fans be hoping to see in the Round of 64? The Bruins or the Owls?

Despite not being in Power-6 conferences, both Belmont and Temple are very deserving of bids, and both represent quality opponents.

Belmont is offense-first. They’re a fast-paced team (31st in tempo on KenPom) who shares the ball (first in the nation in assists per game) while not turning it over. That’s led to the second-most points per game in the country, behind the 20th-most efficient offense on KenPom.

Their defense is a step behind, at 127th in efficiency, but the offense is strong enough to keep the Bruins hovering around the top 50 of KenPom’s overall rankings.

Temple is more balanced, though not quite as strong, with both their offensive and defensive efficiencies in the 80-90 range on KenPom. Their attack is led by three veteran guards, who combine to average nearly 50 points per game.

While either matchup would present its own difficulties, Belmont looks like the worse set-up for this Maryland squad. They are one of the few mid-majors with a player who can match Maryland’s height in freshman Nick Muszynski, though his health is a question mark. Their best player, Dylan Windler, measures at 6-8, and can score at multiple levels.

Windler’s too rangy for Bruno Fernando to guard out on the perimeter, and he’s probably too tall for Darryl Morsell to guard. Those are Maryland’s two best individual defenders, so it would require a team effort to slow down the Bruins star.

In terms of style, it’s a tough matchup as well. Belmont scores well in transition, an area of weakness in Maryland’s defense this season, and they don’t turn the ball over. 

Maryland’s turnover issues have been well-documented this season, and they don’t turn other teams over either. If Belmont winds up with more possessions in the game, and are more efficient (which they are, according to KenPom) it would spell major trouble for the Terps.

Temple’s three lead scoring guards, while a handful in their own right, look a little more manageable for Maryland to guard with Morsell, Anthony Cowan Jr., and the combination of Aaron Wiggins and Serrel Smith. Cowan, in particular, could still struggle on that end given each of Temple’s guards is 6-4 or taller.

No one else on the roster averages even as many as six points per game, so Maryland’s post defense shouldn’t be a problem.

Both teams would have a narrative behind their runs, as Temple is playing to extend Fran Dunphy’s career, and Belmont would have the momentum coming off their first win in NCAA Tournament history.

Mark Turgeon and the Maryland players will tell you it doesn’t matter who they play, and they have a point. If 'Good Maryland' shows up, they’ll almost certainly win handily over either squad. That’s no guarantee though, and matchups are always important in the tournament.

Of the two, the Bruins looks like a classic trendy upset pick, one that is almost perfectly set up to challenge this Maryland roster. Given that, Terps fans everywhere should be cheering for Temple come Tuesday night.

MORE NCAA NEWS: 

Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Wizards analysts Drew Gooden and Jimmy Patsos for a chance at great prizes.

Grand Prize: if you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win a 3-night trip for four people to Universal Resort, including round trip airfare, lodging, admission to Universal Studios and tickets to Blue Man Group.

Secondary Prize: If your bracket scores higher than both Drew Gooden and Jimmy Patsos, you win a coupon code for a free Jersey Mike's sub!

Quick Links

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

MORE NFL NEWS:

Quick Links

NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

tre-watson-maryland-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

MORE NFL DRAFT NEWS: