The Maryland Terrapins knew on Thursday in Chicago that Nebraska was playing with only six scholarship players. The Huskers beat Rutgers on Wednesday and would have to play one day later with a very thin roster. Maryland, which won 13 Big Ten games during the regular season, figured to have more than enough resources to handle Nebrasketball.
The Terps instead burped up a loss which will hurt them by a seed line on Selection Sunday.
They fell to Nebraska, 69-61, and never found anything close to their best form… or even “moderately above average” form. They weren’t good, and now they won’t get to test themselves against Wisconsin in a Friday Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. The Huskers will have that opportunity.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon was scrambling to find an optimistic view of this loss. He came up with the following statement:
“We’ve overcome a lot. We’ll overcome this,” Turgeon said. “We just didn’t play well today. We’ll get ourselves ready to go and hopefully play better in the NCAA Tournament.”
This loss has not been a rare occurrence in the Turgeon era at Maryland. The Terrapins have not been able to get to one of the highest seed lines in the NCAA Tournament because of puzzlers such as this one against Nebraska. Maryland’s highest seed under Turgeon is a 4 seed. Getting to the 2 line or the 3 line requires avoiding multiple stumbles, but Maryland hasn’t been able to steer clear of them often enough under Turgeon to soar in the bracket. This is also part of why the Terps have made just one Sweet 16 since 2003, the year following their 2002 national championship.
Maryland might win one NCAA Tournament game, but in order to truly overcome this loss to Nebraska, the Terrapins need to get back to the Sweet 16. That will be the measurement of whether this loss and its seed-line effects come back to bite the Terps… or not.
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