The NCAA basketball regular season is coming to a close. This is the time of year that teams want to be turning things into overdrive. Conference tournaments are right around the corner. Right behind that will be the big tournament that all of these teams are striving to reach: The NCAA Tournament.
But there is one ranked team that has not been able to turn their jets one. In fact, they are falling. And they are falling fast. That team, the 24th ranked Maryland Terrapins. Saturday saw the team drop their third straight game, dropping their record to 2-5 in their last seven.[Kenny]
The Terrapins simply have not been playing good basketball as of late. That is evident by their home loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes, who aren’t exactly tournament quality this season. The team was simply not able to put the ball in the hoop at an efficient rate, from all areas of the court.
During their current three-game losing streak, the team has scored 60, 75 and 69 points. But the problem comes when you look at the scoring margins. In those games, Maryland lost by 11, 14 and 14 points. Those are cringeworthy numbers for a team that is headed to the NCAA Tourney.
The team simply relies too heavily on junior guard Melo Trimble. He cannot do it all on his own if they want to win anything moving forward. He averages over 30 minutes a game, dropping over 17 points per game while also getting his fair share of assists and rebounds. No one else on the roster averages 11 or more points a game.
As a whole, the team is one built on defense. Offensively they are average at best in terms of putting the ball in the basket. But defensively, they rank 41st in field goal percentage defense and 44th in three-point field goal percent defense. But that defense certainly has not done much in the last three game streak.
Going forward, they have two regular season games left. One game at Rutgers and one at home against Michigan State. Neither of those teams should present a major challenge, although the Spartans are a bubble team. If the Terrapins struggle in those, then you can certainly bank on an early exit in the NCAA Tournament, as well as the Big 10 Tournament.
Speaking of the Big Dance, Maryland had been as high as a four seed in projections earlier in the season. Prior to their game on Saturday, they were projected to be a 6 (ESPN) or 7 (CBSSports). Following this loss, they can certainly expect to drop once again.
So this Terrapins team could very well be looking at an 8/9 matchup when they reach the Big Dance. As a result, they will be looking a number one seed square in the face, if they can manage to beat their first opponent (which I would not be counting on right now).
This is a team that is going to have very little chance in keeping up with the likes of Villanova, Gonzaga or Kansas. But if they keep looking like they have been, they will be lucky to even get the chance to face one of those teams.