Hello there. While we’ve been away, Maryland basketball shockingly ascended to No. 9 in the Coaches Poll. We’re surprised and delighted by this, so here to explain it are Mr. Irrelevant Maryland sports correspondents JP Finlay, Brad Parker and Andy Peden.
Ah yes, freshman sensation Melo Trimble. We’ll let Grantland take this one:
“He’s the best player on the best team in the Big Ten.”
2. Interior D!
Defensive bigs Damonte Dodd (sophomore) and Jonathan Graham (senior) protect the rim and rebound.
3. Nickens & Wiley & Pack!
In addition to Trimble, two freshman (Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley) and a senior (Richaud Pack) in the backcourt are averaging a combined 31 PPG.
4. Layman without Dez!
Junior forward Jake Layman has stepped up, averaging over 17 PPG during the seven games Dez Wells missed. Overall, he’s shooting 40% from three and 55% the field.
5. Scoring depth!
It’s been awhile since Maryland could rely on more than one or two guys every night. Now there are about seven who could get hot from deep in any game and can close out games at the line. Speaking of …
6. Free throws!
Free throws are a reliable way to score. If you’re getting to the line 26 times a night that’s huge.
7. Quality wins!
Wins over Iowa St. and Michigan St. and Oklahoma St. and Arizona St. (and any other state) are wins that matter in March.
This team is playing hard and playing together. There’s a toughness that’s been missing.
9. The Future!
There are two non-seniors (Melo and Layman) who might end up in the NBA eventually but aren’t going anywhere next season. Plus they don’t have to rebuild when the four seniors graduate, because they have seven players coming back.
There may actually be some meaningful games for Maryland to play this time around.