Few teams have more reason to be optimistic about 2015-2016 than the Maryland Terrapins, and we’ll give you four reasons why.
The Terrapins needed an elite big man, and they feel they got one on the recruiting trail, as Stone – 6-10 and 250 pounds – agreed to come to College Park to play NCAA hoops. Stone eats up space in the middle. His agility and footwork are going to make him incredibly hard to guard. Since Maryland already has a top-notch point guard and some solid players on the wings, Stone’s arrival really balances out this roster and reduces the Terps’ number of glaring weaknesses. Maryland is going to be a team that can play different styles next season. This is because the backcourt – which likes to play quickly – will be supplemented by a frontcourt which has a low-post hammer in the person of Stone.
Melo Trimble Is Back
The guard who has a full assortment of skills – handle, shooting ability, a quick first step, good court sense, and a reliable pass that sets up teammates for open shots – very easily and realistically could have gone to the NBA and gotten paid this past spring. Instead, though, he chose to stick around at Maryland for one more year. Trimble did get banged up a lot in the Terps’ loss to West Virginia in the NCAA tournament this past March, so he might have felt that he needed to bulk up and get a lot stronger in order to absorb contact. Had he gone straight to the NBA, he might not have felt the same way. Trimble will pair up with Stone to give Maryland a great outside-inside combination this season. That’s going to be a massive problem for opposing defenses, which will have a hard time double-teaming either player. Maryland’s offense should enjoy very good spacing; players will have a lot of individual freedom to make plays.
The player who was dismissed from Duke’s program and left Mike Krzyzewski will try to repair his collegiate career at Duke’s former ACC rival, now relocated in the Big Ten. The idea of a fresh start doesn’t guarantee success, but it should give Sulaimon a chance to be a meaningful contributor to the Terps. Sulaimon was hardly a prime difference maker for Duke when he was there, but he had his moments, and if you can compete in the ACC, you can certainly do so in the Big Ten. Moreover, since Maryland has such inside-outside balance as mentioned above, with Stone and Trimble, Sulaimon should have a lot of opportunities to step up and score at a high rate if he wants to.
Wisconsin Should Struggle
There was only one team which finished ahead of Maryland in the Big Ten last season, and that was Wisconsin. The Badgers now lose Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, and so they’re going to be in rebuilding mode. Maryland should legitimately be the Big Ten favorite, with Michigan State and Michigan being the primary contenders, so don't turn them down just yet and keep them in mind when placing your NCAA basketball picks.