After a 25 win season that saw Maryland miss out on the NCAA Tournament, but make a deep run in the NIT, the Terrapins are back with a much more experienced team, and a bid in the NCAA Tournament is the expectation for this team.
Getting Dez Wells eligible immediately last year was a big help to Maryland's offense. He finished second on the team in points last season, and will likely lead the team in scoring this year. Wells shot 52% from the field last season, and can hit a three on occasion. But his big issue is turnovers. He averaged nearly three per game. Like Wells, Nick Faust was a bit turnover prone as well. He averaged 2.2 turnovers per game. On the plus side, he did average 9.4 points per game. At point guard, Seth Allen will get a lot more of an opportunity this year. As a freshman, he averaged 22 minutes, and contributed eight points and two assists. If he struggles, don't be surprised if freshman Roddy Peters sees an expanded role.
Despite the loss of Alex Len to the NBA, the Maryland frontcourt is still in really good shape. The Terps were one of the best rebounding teams in the country, and they should still be a strong rebounding team this year. His departure will create more playing time for Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare. Both are of similar size (Mitchell is 6-8 and 260 pounds, Cleare is 6-9 and 265 pounds) and are good rebounders. Mitchell averaged five rebounds per game in just under 16 minuts per game. Bringing in Evan Smotrycz will be a big help to stretch defenses. He's a 6-9 shapshooter who hit on 41% of his threes in two years at Michigan.
The schedule gets a warm welcome with Connecticut in a neutral site game in Brooklyn, NY. The Terps wil also get Oregon State at home before heading to the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam. After returning, Maryland will face Ohio State in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, followed a conference game with Boston College in the middle of December. The 2014 portion of the schedule begins with a home game against Georgia Tech, then go on the road for three of the next four. The schedule ends with four of the final five at home, only travelling to Clemson.
There are two things that need to be improved in order for Maryland to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Number one, they need consistent play from the point guard position. Seth Allen played better at the end of the season, scoring in double digits in four of his final five games. He needs to carry that momentum over to this season. Secondly, the Terps need to cut down on turnovers. They were one of the worst teams in the country in terms of turning the ball over. There is still some youth on this team, so things will still be a bit sloppy at times for Maryland this year. They will likely finish in the middle of the pack in the ACC again this year, and will likely be on the NCAA Tournament bubble again.
Dez Wells is Maryland's best scorer, and he will be the go to gut for the Terps this year. His shooting percentages rose quite a bit from his freshman to sophomore seasons, and he should improve more on those numbers this season. He could be a 15 point per game scorer this season.