After a solid season, the Maryland Terrapins earned a No. 6 seed in the East Region of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. They’ll face a hot upstart mid-major in No. 11 seed Belmont.
Maryland is followed up an NIT berth with a fifth place finish in a very deep Big Ten, which led college basketball with eight bids. The season probably didn’t end the way Mark Turgeon wanted—the Terps lost to Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament—but they did more than enough to crash the Big Dance. It is unclear what their season is this March, but Maryland is historically a good bet in the Round of 64, going 24-for-27 in its history.
Belmont defeated Temple in the First Four to clinch a spot in the Round of 64, ending Fran Dunphy’s final season at the Philadelphia program. Ken Pomeroy has the Bruins ranked No. 20 in the country in offense, and No. 31 in tempo, so this is a dangerous group. Kevin McClain led the way with 29 points in the 81-70 win.
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) March 19, 2019
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: Approx. 3:10 p.m. ET
TV Channel: truTV
Location: VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Announcers: Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel // Jamie Erdahl
Prediction: Belmont appears to be a popular upset pick, for at least a round. In our office, five of the eight staff members had the Bruins beating Temple, and advancing on to beat the Terrapins. I’m in that camp.
The Terps are the more talented and balanced team, ranking in the top 30 in offense and defense, and this one will be a clash of styles. The Terrapins are far slower and more deliberate in their play. The team does not enter the dance in its best form though.
Including the Nebraska loss, Maryland has lost three of four, the first of which was a blowout defeat at the hands of Big Ten also-ran Penn State. The sole win was over Minnesota, a decent team in the NCAA Tournament as a 10-seed, but not one that people are going to write home about.
Every year, one team from the First Four makes a bit of a run into the bracket. Belmont could very well be that club this year.