The third ranked team in the country gets a chance to show off why when a Beltway rivalry gets renewed for the first time since 2008 as those Maryland Terrapins host Georgetown.
There is potential for a blowout win by the home team Tuesday night when two Beltway rivals meet for the first time since 2008 as the Georgetown Hoyas (0-1, 0-0 ATS) of the Big East Conference make the short trip to pay a visit to the third ranked Maryland Terrapins (1-0, 1-0 ATS) of the Big Ten at the Xfinity Center in College Park, MD at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Maryland as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -8 with odds of -106.
Shocking Upset Loss at Home for Hoyas
Maryland has the talent to surprise in the Big Ten this year and even earn a Final Four bid, and so far so good as the Terrapins opened up with an easy 80-56 triumph on Friday without breaking a sweat, albeit not vs. the best of competition in Mount St. Mary’s as 21½-point favorites. Thus, tonight is supposed to be the Terps’ first real test of the season, but will it be?
There has been a tad of doubt cast on just how competitive this game will be because Georgetown was a shocking losing NCAA Basketball pick at home to Radford 82-80 in double overtime in a non-lined game to open up its season on Saturday. Losing to a Big South team in a game where they would have been prohibitive favorites had the game been lined is not the best way for the Hoyas to prepare for one of the better teams in the country.
Ready to Take the Next Step
Maryland finished at 28-7 last season although its season was brought to an unceremonious end with a 69-59 loss to West Virginia in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins also finished second in the Big Ten with a 14-4 conference mark, although they had disappointment there too by losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
However, this could be the year that Maryland wins the conference in just its second season in the Big Ten. In fact, they are easily the highest ranked Big Ten team in the country right now at third in the nation on the AP Poll, with the second highest ranked team from the conference being Michigan State down in 13th.
And it is easy to understand the optimism in College Park this year as Melo Trimble and Jake Layman both returned when they could have declared for the NBA Draft. Also, the Terps added two nice transfers in forward Robert Carter from Georgia Tech and guard Rasheed Sulaimon from Duke, but the biggest coup of all may have been adding five-star center recruit Diamond Stone!
Maryland had five players score double-digits in the opening win and that may become par for the course for this excellent basketball team.
No Second Chances
Georgetown also comes off of a loss in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament, as the 75-64 loss to Utah wrapped up a 22-11 season. However the Hoyas retuned just two starters from that team and they lost their two best offensive rebounders in Joshua Smith and Mikael Hopkins. Granted they had a seven-foot center waiting in the wings in Bradley Hayes, and he was the lone bright spot in the stunning loss to Radford with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Hayes may have been a revelation after hardly playing and averaging 0.9 points over his first three years at the school, but Georgetown is very small at the other positions and it totaled just five offensive rebounds vs. the Highlanders. Do not expect any improvement on the offensive glass with this rise in competition either, as Maryland surrendered a scant four offensive rebounds to Mount St. Mary’s with Stone doing an excellent box-out job his first college game.
Georgetown seems outclassed here even under the best of circumstances, but the probable severe lack of second chance opportunities could make their upset chances virtually impossible, and the 17 turnovers and 21.0 percent turnover percentage vs. Radford do not exactly exude confidence either.
Nice Home Cooking
Finally, the easy opening win leaves Maryland at 5-2 ATS over its last seven home games, and the Terrapins are also 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. teams with losing records. Meanwhile, Georgetown is now 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall following the opening stunner.
We think that Maryland is a legitimate Final Four candidate this season, and we like the Terps to make an early statement here to alert the nation of just how great they can be this year with an easy double-digit home win over Georgetown on national television on ESPN2 on Tuesday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -8 (-106)