Rushed Reactions: #8 Maryland 75, Indiana 69

Posted by Bennet Hayes on March 13th, 2015

RTC National Columnist Bennet Hayes is covering the Big Ten Tournament this week in Chicago.

Three Key Takeaways.

Melo Trimble And Dez Wells Spearheaded Maryland's Quarterfinal Victory Friday Night (USAT Sports)

Melo Trimble And Dez Wells Spearheaded Maryland’s Quarterfinal Victory Friday Night (USAT Sports)

  1. Maryland In Control. This game was tight throughout, with the Terrapins’ lead never extending beyond seven points until the final seconds. But despite maintaining shouting distance, Indiana’s last lead came with 14 minutes to go in the first half. Maryland’s steady march to the free throw line (33 attempts) was one key factor in Indiana never getting over the hump. More generally, failing to stop its opponent from scoring tends to cause teams to relinquish control of a basketball game: This was the story of Indiana’s night and season. Maryland never felt like they were ready to lose control of this one.
  2. Hoosiers Shooting Struggles. Indiana entered tonight having made 40.7 percent of their three-point field goal attempts, the sixth-best mark in the country. The Hoosiers converted just 7-of-24 of their long-range efforts in defeat tonight – a slight downtick in both production and efficiency from January 22, when they buried 15-of-22 long range attempts in a rout of Maryland. Distilling Indiana’s offensive strategy into making threes is oversimplifying things, but it’s no secret that the Hoosiers heavily rely on making long-range shots. It was their downfall tonight.
  3. Attack Mode. This game began at a frantic pace (20 points in the first three-and-a-half minutes), and while the pace of scoring eventually slowed down (only a bit), both teams’ aggression levels never did. They explored transition opportunities, attacked the rim in both the half- and full-court, and were fearless in pulling the trigger from three-point range. No player attacked more aggressively than Maryland’ Dez Wells, who supplied multiple tomahawk jams in the first period. Both of these squads are accustomed to producing more efficient offense than they did this evening, but neither let that prevent them from continuing their relentless attacks.

Star of the Game. Melo Trimble, Maryland. A case could easily be made for Trimble’s running mate Wells (22 points, six rebounds), but the freshman coolly dictated action on both ends of the floor for the Terps. He scored 17 points (on just nine shots), chipped in three assists (against just one turnover), and held Indiana star Yogi Ferrell to 6-of-16 field goal shooting. Trimble’s matchup with the Hoosiers’ lead guard was a much-discussed element of these teams’ first two games and in the lead-up to tonight’s quarterfinal. Any postgame conversation on the topic would have to describe Trimble as the clearly better player on this night.


  • “We’re not going to worry about matchups. We’re just so doggone excited… I’m just glad we’re in the final four, that’s pretty cool.” –Mark Turgeon, on whether he had a preferred opponent for tomorrow’s semifinal game.
  • “Hopefully we’ve done enough to make the Tournament. If not, then so be it.” – Yogi Ferrell, on Indiana’s postseason outlook.
  • “I think we really looked at what we were not taking caring of. It wasn’t about let’s follow the bubble watch and lets read about how bad we play. Lets focus in on what we can fix.” –Tom Crean, on why his team played at a high level this week in Chicago.
  • “If KenPom and his stats are saying I’m lucky, then he’s right. But we’re good too.” –Turgeon, on whether he placed any value on Ken Pomeroy’s stats naming Maryland the luckiest team in the country.
  • “The bottom line is we hope to be playing basketball next week. We hope we have the opportunity to play in that Tournament.” – Crean, on Indiana’s plans for next week.

Sights and Sounds. The cavernous United Center (capacity of 20,500) housed a decidedly pro-Hoosiers crowd for the 5:30 PM local tip. The early start time kept seats empty and arena energy down early in the game, but more and more fans filtered in as the afternoon turned into evening. By the time we reached those critical second half moments, the arena energy was on par with this game’s dangerously high stakes (ask Tom Crean for more on those…).

What’s Next?

  • Maryland will take on the winner of the last game of the day, a Michigan State/Ohio State quarterfinal. The Terps had very different regular season experiences with their potential foes: They swept the Spartans and lost their lone matchup with the Buckeyes (and emphatically, by a score of 80-56 in Columbus). Despite those divergent results, Turgeon shouldn’t have too strong a preference, if any, for either team. Both squads should set up a tight semifinal matchup on paper.
  • The fun is just beginning for Indiana, as the NCAA Tournament selection committee will now determine its fate. You should expect to see the Hoosiers in the field, particularly after the recent stumbles of bubble teams across the country, but nothing is guaranteed. Tom Crean said it himself last night: “No one knows” if the Hoosiers are in or out. That will remain true until Sunday evening.
BHayes (244 Posts)

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