The Indiana Hoosiers and the Maryland Terrapins met on Friday evening with a trip to the Big Ten semi-finals at stake. It's hard to say that a tournament game means more for one team than another, but that could be said here. Indiana needed a strong showingagainst Maryland to show the committee they belong in the NCAA Tournament.
This game was tightly contested from the start. Both teams traded baskets for much of the first half. Maryland held a narrow 42-40 lead going into the break. The Terrapins were able to maintain their narrow throughout the 2nd half, and sealed the outcome at the foul line. The Terrapins will move on to the semifinals with their 75-69 win over the Hoosiers.
What We Learned
Dez Wells' leadership will show up big in the tournament
The senior finished with 22 points and 6 rebounds in the win. Wells showed once again that he can be the go to player in the offense. He helped close out the game by putting up 9 points in the final 9 minutes of the game. Wells proved that he can be the focus of the offense in the closing moments of a conference tournament game.
Indiana is still on the bubble
Indiana had a solid showing against Maryland on Friday evening, but it might not have been enough to get them into the tournament. It is now in the committee's hands. The Hoosiers struggled to finish the regular season, and didn't go as far as they would've liked in the Big Ten Tournament. We'll just have to wait and see what the committee decides on Selection Sunday.
Melo Trimble won the battle of the two standout freshman
Trimble ignited the offense again for the Terrapins. He had another strong first half and set the tempo for the rest of the game. Trimble finished with 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting. On the other side of the equation James Blackmon Jr. struggled to find his shot. He was only able to contribute 6 points on 2 of 12 shooting.
Maryland's defense was too much for Indiana to overcome
The Hoosiers couldn't get anything going from the offensive side of the floor and finished the day shooting 36% from the field. Troy Williams was their most consistent scorer Friday evening and finished with 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting. Yogi Ferrell added 18 points, but he struggled with consistency and only converted on 6 of his 16 attempts. At the end of the day the Terrapins defense was just too much for the Hoosiers to handle.
Maryland's hot streak continues
The Terrapins have gotten hot at the right time of the season, and have carried it into the conference tournament with them. This is their 8 straight win. Maryland has the skill-set necessary to make a long run in the NCAA Tournament, especially if they keep playing good basketball like this.
The Hoosiers are now at the mercy of the committee. They have no one to blame but themselves for that. They ended the season poorly, and will now pay the price. However, they still do have a chance to sneak into the tournament. It certainly helped that another Big Ten bubble team in Illinois lost to Michigan earlier this week. All Indiana can do right now is hope the committee looks favorably on them.
Maryland kept their hot streak going against the Hoosiers. They will advance to the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament. We'll see if they have what it takes to win the conference tournament.