clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Interview with some Terps: Maryland Q&A

Testudo Times editors Lila Bromberg and Cody Wilcox took some time to answer our questions about Maryland’s hoops team.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers (10-6 overall, 3-2 B1G) continue their brutal early stretch of conference games with a home matchup against the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins (13-3 overall, 3-2 B1G) on Tuesday night.

The Badgers are coming off their second straight road victory over a ranked opponent and will be looking to get some of that mojo cooking at home against the Terps. Maryland just got their doors blown off by Iowa and bring a long, stout and presumably angry defensive team to Madison.

Our friends at Testudo Times, Lila Bromberg and Cody Wilcox, took some time out of their evening on Monday to answer a few questions for us about how Maryland’s season has been going.

1) Can you give us a quick overview of Maryland’s season so far? Like everyone else in the B1G, the Terps already have a couple of losses, but what is their best win so far and are Maryland fans happy with their play?

Through 16 games, Maryland’s season can be best described as a roller coaster ride that just hit a major low with a 18-point loss to Iowa on the road.

The Terps started off hot with a 10-0 record -- its best since the 1998-99 season -- including and Orlando Invitational Championship win over Marquette. Defensively, Maryland held Markus Howard, who had 91 combined points in his first two games of the tournament, to only six points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field and 0-of-6 from deep. It was the team’s most complete performance to date.

The Terps returned home and rattled off two more wins, including a one-point victory over now ranked Illinois. But on Dec. 10, Maryland traveled to Penn State and did not look itself, losing 76-69. Nine days later, the Terps traveled to Seton Hall, but not much changed. They lost their second game of the season to a team without its two leading scorers in uniform.

Maryland’s other best performances have come recently -- en route to wins against Indiana Jan. 4 and then-No. 11 Ohio State Jan. 7 -- and is looking to get back to playing at that level after its worst performance of the season against the Hawkeyes Jan. 10.

2) Maryland’s defense is ranked No. 8 in efficiency on KenPom. What makes it so formidable?

The Terps’ length is one factor that every opposing coach mentions after games.

Around the rim, Maryland has rim protectors in 6’10 Jalen Smith, 7’2 Chol Marial and occasionally Ricky Lindo Jr., who is listed at 6’8. On the wings, the Terps rely on 6’6 Aaron Wiggins, who has really improved his defense in his sophomore campaign, 6’5 Darryl Morsell, 6’4 Serrel Smith Jr. and 6’5 Eric Ayala. Freshmen Donta Scott, who is listed a 6’7 and plays more of a power forward but can guard every position on the floor, will also see a lot of playing time Tuesday.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Mark Turgeon has put his team’s length to good use this season by altering his defenses throughout the game -- though he has tended to get away from that recently. With Morsell leading the charge most of the time on the defensive end, Maryland tends to turn defense into offense and get into transition for easy buckets.

However, the Terps’ defense has had much better showings at home than on the road, which may be a factor Tuesday.

3) How big of a deal was it that Anthony Cowan Jr. decided to come back for his senior year? What has his leadership meant to the team? What do you see for him professionally?

It was completely expected that Cowan would come back for his senior season, but nonetheless it has been huge for Maryland. While he will never be that vocal guy, his teammates have remarked how he has been much more of a leader this season. Cowan has shown a lot of improvement in limiting turnovers and making smart decisions, and it has made a huge difference.

He could go late in the second round of the NBA Draft and is bound to get a shot on a Summer League team whether drafted or not, but long term it’s much more likely that he’ll end up playing somewhere overseas.

4) Who is an under-the-radar player that will make Badger fans sound smart at the bar when they say to their friends “watch out for this guy”?

Darryl Morsell is often called the “glue guy” of this Maryland team. He is the Terps’ best defensive player and has been crucial in hindering opponents like Markus Howard, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Kaleb Wesson in big wins so far this season.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Morsell has also taken a big step offensively this season, improving his three-point shot and becoming a better finisher. Averaging 8.6 points per game and a career-high 5.4 rebounds per contest, he’s bound to have a big play or two in this one.

5) Score prediction and leading scorer for Maryland please.

Maryland 62, Wisconsin 58, with Anthony Cowan Jr. as the Terps’ leading scorer.