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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.

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AP Top 25: Terps bounced from rankings following Temple loss, Cavaliers move up the charts

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AP Top 25: Terps bounced from rankings following Temple loss, Cavaliers move up the charts

California and Arizona State moved into the AP Top 25 college football poll to give the Pac-12 six ranked teams, the most for the conference in almost four years.

A weekend filled with blowouts left the top half of the AP media poll presented by Regions Bank mostly unchanged.

Clemson remains No. 1, with 57 of the 62 first-place votes, as the top nine held their spots Sunday. Alabama was No. 2, receiving five first-place votes, followed by Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Auburn and Florida.

The ninth-ranked Gators were the only top-10 team to play a competitive game. The others won by a combined 428-97.

Utah, the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, moved up to No. 10. The last time the Pac-12 had six ranked teams was Nov. 8, 2015.

POLL POINTS

The Pac-12 took a fair amount of grief the first week of the season after it suffered a few upsets to Mountain West teams and Oregon let a potentially big victory slip away against Auburn.

Now the conference has had a mini-resurgence, despite issues with some of its typically strong teams.

Stanford started the season ranked, but is 1-2 after getting dominated by UCF on Saturday. Southern California had a brief stay at the bottom of the rankings last week, falling out after losing in overtime at BYU on Saturday.

Overall, the results were OK this past weekend for the Pac-12. The conference went 8-4 in nonconference play, including Arizona State's victory at Michigan State and Arizona beating Texas Tech. Though Colorado's loss to Air Force put the Pac-12 at 4-4 against the Mountain West this season.

Utah is in the top 10 for the first time since November 2015.

IN

No. 25 TCU also joined the rankings this week for the first time this season. The Horned Frogs beat Purdue 34-13 in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Saturday.

OUT

--Michigan State fell from the rankings after its 10-7 loss to Arizona State. The Spartans were swept in a home-and-home by the Sun Devils the last two seasons by a combined 26-20.

--Maryland is out after one week. The Terrapins went from scoring 63 in a victory against Syracuse to losing 20-17 to Temple.

--The next three games for USC are against Utah at home, at No. 22 Washington and at No. 7 Notre Dame.

CONFERENCE CALL

For a second straight week, the Southeastern Conference has three top-five teams and half of the top 10.

SEC -- 6 (Nos. 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 17).

Pac-12 -- 6 (Nos. 10, 16, 19, 22, 23, 24)

Big Ten -- 5 (Nos. 6, 11, 13, 13 (tie), 18).

Big 12 -- 3 (Nos. 5, 12, 25).

ACC -- 2 (Nos. 1, 21).

American -- 1 (No. 15).

Mountain West -- 1 (No. 20).

Independent -- 1 (No. 7).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 3 Georgia. Return match from Georgia's 20-19 victory in South Bend, Indiana, two years ago.

No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin. Fox's first Big Noon game which is both big and starting at noon.

No. 8 Auburn at No. 17 Texas A&M. The whittling starts in the SEC West.

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7 Terps whiff on loose fumble before Maryland finally recovers

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7 Terps whiff on loose fumble before Maryland finally recovers

After Maryland scored 142 points over its first two games, things didn’t come as easily for the Terps in their Week 3 matchup with Temple.

Late in the third quarter, Terps defensive back Jordan Mosley forced a fumble at the expense of Owls running back Jager Gardner. What ensued once the ball hit the grass was sheer madness.

Marcus Lewis was covered with the recovery, but there were six other Maryland players who had the opportunity to secure the football before the redshirt senior defensive back finally pulled it in.

The Terps ultimately didn’t take advantage of the turnover, mustering only six plays on the ensuing drive before being forced to punt.

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