When we entered the season many people thought that Maryland would struggle to win games early with a young cast around Melo Trimble. The Terps lost Robert Carter Jr (12.3 pts), Diamond Stone (12.5 pts), Jake Layman (11.6 pts), and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.3 pts) from a team that made the sweet sixteen last year.
I don't think people were intentionally trying to disrespect Mark Turgeon and this squad but it's hard to imagine they would be where they currently are. Where are they? The Terps are 20-2 and tied for the best start in program history in 22 games.
Trimble is playing solid basketball as expected but the freshmen duo of Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan have made the difference. I am curious if Maryland will hit a rough patch but so far they keep moving along and racking up wins.
1- Wisconsin (19-3, 8-1)
Up next: vs. Indiana (Sun)
- The Badgers did not scorch the nets against Illinois but anytime you hold a team to a 27% night from the field, you can miss a few buckets.
2- Maryland ( 20-2, 8-1)
Up next: vs. Purdue (Sat)
- Freshman Justin Jackson is playing at high level including 22 pts and 12 boards against Ohio State on the road. Big spot for the Terps this Saturday at home when Purdue comes to town.
3- Northwestern (18-4, 7-2)
Up next: @ Purdue (Wed)
- The Cats are enjoying a 6-game winning streak but now enter their most difficult stretch of games starting tonight.
4- Purdue (17-5, 6-3)
Up next: vs. Northwestern (Wed) @ Maryland (Sat)
- Purdue experienced a concerning setback against Nebraska on Sunday when they were unable to use a considerable size advantage in the paint. The Boilermakers need to figure it out fast because they have an extremely tough week ahead.
5- Michigan State (13-9, 5-4)
Up next: @ Nebraska (Thurs)
- The Spartans played solid against rival Michigan and this is typically when we see Izzo-led teams take shape. He has not had much success against Tim Miles and Nebraska as of late so that could be a tricky road game on Thursday.
6- Michigan (14-8, 4-5)
Up next: vs. Ohio State (Sat)
- Yes, the Wolverines lost to rival Michigan State but it's hard to ignore the beating they dished out to Indiana. Michigan is trending in the right direction and will be a tough team to deal with in February.
7- Indiana (14-8, 4-5)
Up next: vs. Penn State (Wed) @Wisconsin (Sun)
- Maybe it was fools gold when the Hoosiers beat Michigan State in their first game without OG Anunoby because since that win Indiana has regressed mightily.
8- Iowa (13-10, 5-5)
Up next: vs. Nebraska (Sun)
- Don't look now but the Hawkeyes have won two straight games and did so without their leading scorer, Peter Jok.
9- Nebraska (10-11, 4-5)
Up next: vs. Michigan State (Thurs) @ Iowa (Sun)
- The Huskers snapped a 5-game losing streak with a huge upset over Purdue. Even better news is that Ed Morrow Jr. could be close to returning which would be huge for Nebraska.
10- Penn State (12-10, 4-5)
Up next: @ Indiana (Wed) vs. Rutgers (Sat)
- Penn State continues to display one of the worst offenses in the conference. The Nittany Lions struggled to end the month of January losing 3 of their last 4 games.
11- Ohio State (13-10, 3-7)
Up next: @ Michigan (Sat)
- I may have jumped the gun on the Buckeyes last week. Ohio State played Maryland close but getting blown out by Iowa was definitely a setback.
12- Minnesota (15-7, 3-6)
Up next: @Illinois (Sat)
- Minnesota has dropped five straight games and are playing their way out of the NCAA tournament.
13- Illinois (13-10, 3-7)
Up next: vs. Minnesota (Sat)
- Illinois went 2-5 in the month of January. Perhaps a new month brings hope for the Illini.
14- Rutgers (12-11, 1-9)
Up next: @ Penn State (Sat)
- I'm sure Rutgers is about due for another conference win. Maybe Saturday?