By Harvey Hoffman
Maryland is 20–4, 10–3 Big Ten, good enough for the top spot in the country’s toughest conference.
Before a narrow win over Nebraska on Tuesday, the Terps had started playing to their potential in their current seven-game winning streak, thanks to the starring turn of Jalen Smith, the steady hand of Anthony Cowan and the nation’s fifth-most efficient defense, per KenPom, where the Terps check in at No. 10 overall.
Maryland’s biggest issue is shooting, ranking 245th nationally in effective field goal percentage.
Its title chances likely depend on decent perimeter shooting and getting at least two of Darryl Morsell, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala going offensively every night.
A defense that shines without fouling is the main reason that 1) the Terps’ four losses have all come in Quad 1-A (i.e. top-tier) games and 2) they’ve suffered just one double-digit defeat while playing a top-12 schedule. In March, being comfortable winning ugly can be an advantage.