The Maryland Terrapins came into their tilt against the Jackrabbits as a program who has all of the talent and capabilities to make it to Houston, but had some lingering issues that needed to be addressed in order to make a magical run in March.
Sophomore guard Melo Trimble has been had his share of ups and downs towards the end of the regular season, and even in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal with a 2-for-15 shooting performance. Senior forward Jake Layman has found his stride as of late and helped carry the Terrapins past the upset minded Jackrabbits.
What did we learn from yesterday's game?
What We Learned:
1. Jake Layman's offensive production is key for a long-term tournament run.
Melo Trimble is the best player on Maryland's roster, and he is the key for the Terrapins to have any sort of success, but the offensive output from Jake Layman should serve as an indicator on how far the Terps can last in the Big Dance.
Layman may not get all of the accolades out of the starting five, but his value on both ends of the court is undeniable. At 6-9, Layman serves as a towering small forward who can step out and knock down shots from long range or drive and finish strong at the hoop. Scoring should never be a problem with Maryland's starting five, but if Layman can continue off his 27-point outing against South Dakota State, the Terps can make a deep run in the tournament.
2. Maryland is lucky Melo Trimble fouled out with only 1:03 left.
The possibility of Melo Trimble being out for an extended period of time for the Terrapins should make Maryland fans cringe with fear. Senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon has the capability to orchestrate the offense when needed, but giving him extra responsibilities on top of scoring and defending the opposing team's best perimeter player is daunting.
Backup point guards Varun Ram and Jaylen Brantley have shown the inconsistency of running the show when Trimble sits out for a breather or if he's caught in foul trouble, and Maryland almost lost the lead in the remaining minute when Trimble fouled out. The hope going into the season was for Trimble to not have to play as many minutes as he did his freshman season, but without a reliable backup, Maryland can't afford to have him in foul trouble like he was on Friday.
3. When Maryland wins the rebounding battle, they are seemingly impossible to beat.
Maryland is capable of being an offensive powerhouse with freshman center Diamond Stone in the starting lineup. The question is whether or not the Terrapins can control the glass. Having the frontcourt presence of Stone, Robert Carter Jr. and Damonte Dodd should allow them to have the upper hand in the rebounding column every game, but this turned into an area of concern throughout the regular season.
South Dakota State entered the game with 38 rebounds per game compared to Maryland's 35, but the Terps won the battle of the boards on Friday by claiming 29 rebounds to the Jackrabbits' 28. it's not an overwhelming margin, but this was pivotal as it allowed for the Terrapins to get second chance opportunities and prevent scoring chances for South Dakota State. If the Terps can consistently flex their muscles and own the glass, that could be enough to catapult them into Houston.