The Terrapins lost 4 of their 5 starters in the summer and added 3 freshmen to their starting lineup. That could have been a recipe for disaster, until Maryland finished the month of January sitting on a 20-2 record, was holding the lead in the Big Ten standings and a position in the AP top 25. And then, 5 losses in the next 7, probably a consequence of playing an inexperienced roster and of the season ending injury to Michal Cekovsky. The pressure is on for freshmen Anthony Cowan, Keving Huerter and Justin Jackson to deliver in the tournament. The frontcourt of Dodd, Gill and Bender will also have play better than what they did so far to give the team a chance. Melo Trimble, after a disappointing sophomore season, has been great, but he will not be enough in the tournament, just like he wasn’t in a loss to Northwestern in the conference tournament.
Melo Trimble is everything Maryland needs. He has been scoring like he never did and the bigger the game, the better he has been playing so far. His percentages are inconsistent but when his shots are falling he is an unsolvable puzzle for any defense. If he had to play at high level in the tournament he might sneak into the first round of the draft next June. The freshmen are an interesting trio as well. Cowan is an explosive point-guard who can attack the paint or stop on a dime for the pull-up. Huerter is a shooting guard smart enough to make himself useful on any play. Justin Jackson is the most interesting of the three, Nba-wise: a small forward with great physical tools and good defensive fundamentals who has been shooting 45% from behind the arc
The Terrapins might reach the Sweet 16, but only if they get back to their early season groove.