Maryland has now played four of its 18 Big Ten games, going 2-2. Now that they're no longer facing the Jackson States of the world, we can take a look at some early trends that are emerging for the Terps.
When Melo Trimble declared for the NBA draft, it was assumed that Anthony Cowan's playing time would increase from last season. However, it didn't seem like Cowan would be spending as much time on the floor as he has in Maryland's Big Ten games this season.
Cowan has played in 95.8 percent of the Terps' minutes in conference play, the highest mark of anyone in the conference. Only three other players have been on the court for at least 90 percent of their team's Big Ten minutes, so it's not like someone getting as much playing time as Cowan is particularly common, either.
Cowan has yet to get more than three minutes of rest in any Big Ten game this season, and it will be worth watching if he even has a game where he does not spend virtually all of his time on the court.
Maryland has allowed its four Big Ten opponents to shoot 42.4 percent on three-point attempts. That ranks 13th in the conference; the only team with a worse perimeter defense is Iowa, which is winless in Big Ten play. On Thursday in East Lansing, the Terps allowed a team to hit 16 threes for just the third time in the Mark Turgeon era.
Maryland's struggles with stopping its opponents from hitting 3-pointers in Big Ten play is a bit of a surprise, as Turgeon's squad had done a good job with it against out-of-conference foes. The Terps held St. Bonaventure to an 0-for-7 performance from deep, while Syracuse made just 17 percent of its treys against Maryland. In just one of the Terps' 13 out-of-conference games did an opponent convert at least 40 percent of its three-point attempts (Bucknell). However, Maryland has already let Purdue and Michigan State surpass that threshold in conference matchups.
Would you believe me if I told you the Terps' two best games based on how often they turn the ball over came against Big Ten opponents? Well, I hope you do, because it is absolutely true. Against Penn State, Maryland committed a turnover only 7.7 percent of the time it had the ball, and in its earlier game with Purdue, just 10.7 percent of its possessions ended with a giveaway.
We may not be making free throws, but hey, at least we’re not turning the ball over — Terps Watch (@TerpsWatch) January 3, 2018
The loss to the Spartans was another promising sign, as it was just one of five games this season where the Terps turned the ball over in less than 20 percent of their possessions. It seems odd that Maryland took better care of the ball against the No. 1 team in the country than it did against Jackson State or Fairleigh Dickinson, but it's definitely a positive development for the club.