Maryland Basketball
(Mike Carter/USA TODAY Sports)

Maryland Basketball 2021-22 Season Preview

Here’s a look at where Maryland Basketball stands for this upcoming 2021-22 season after a tumultuous offseason.

2020-21 Season Recap

Last season, the Maryland Terrapins ended with a 17-14 overall record and a 9-11 record in the Big Ten. They finished eighth in the conference but nonetheless managed to receive a bid for the 2021 NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed. They faced off against No. 7 UConn in the opening round and pulled out a 63-54 victory. No. 2 Alabama handily dispatched the Terrapins in the following game after hitting about a billion three-pointers. Overall, the 2020-21 season was a positive, and Mark Turgeon’s squad exceeded the expectations most had for them to open the year.

Offseason Additions

The Terps are bringing in six new guys: two recruits and four transfers. Julian Reese and Ike Cornish are both four-star recruits who join the team as freshmen this season. Reese will look to fill the spot left behind by Jalen Smith two seasons ago as a versatile forward who brings skill and athleticism to both offense and defense. Cornish brings high-level shooting and defensive effort to College Park and has a very promising ceiling.

Turgeon secured six transfers this offseason, but former Utah guard Ian Martinez is currently not eligible for this upcoming season. Maryland were the early winners of the transfer portal, snagging Fatts Russell from Rhode Island and Qudus Wahab from Georgetown. Russell averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game last season. His scoring punch will be a major help for Maryland. Wahab’s interior presence will also be beneficial just a year after he averaged 12.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Xavier Green was a late addition who had very productive career with Old Dominion. He should be one of the first players seen off the bench. Former four-star forward Pavlo Dziuba joins the Terps from Arizona State as a depth piece, as does former Elon forward Simon Wright.

Offseason Losses

Unfortunately, Maryland Basketball suffered some major offseason losses. Had everyone come back, they were a surefire top-10 team in the nation. Reigning Big Ten DPOY Darryl Morsell transferred to Marquette and scoring wing Aaron Wiggins opted to remain in the 2021 NBA Draft. The OKC Thunder selected Wiggins in the second round. Although last year’s leading scorer Eric Ayala will return, losing both Morsell and Wiggins seriously hurts the Terps moving forward. They will need other guys to step up to shoulder the load on scoring and defense.

Center Chol Marial, forward Jairus Hamilton, and guard Aquan Smart were other contributors from last year’s team that chose to transfer this offseason.

2021-22 Season Outlook

Given the way their roster has shaken out over the last few months, Maryland will need guys like Eric Ayala and Donta Scott to step up. They will also need a few newcomers to make an immediate impact, whether that be a transfer or a freshman. The Big Ten will be interesting this year. Michigan is the clear favorite to win the conference with Purdue behind them, but after that it’s a little more difficult to predict. Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin have all lost important contributors from last season. For the majority of the conference, it will come down to who steps into bigger roles to elevate their team. The Terrapins are in a good spot to take advantage of a conference that is more wide open than it has been in a few years. Big Ten basketball will still be quite competitive, but the Terps have more of a fighting chance than they would have had with this same roster last season.

Non-Conference Schedule

  • Nov. 5 – Fayetteville State (DII) (Exhibition)
  • Nov. 9 – Quinnipiac
  • Nov. 11 – George Washington
  • Nov. 13 – Vermont
  • Nov. 17 – George Mason
  • Nov. 19 – Hofstra
  • Nov. 25 – Richmond (Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship)
  • Nov. 27 – Louisville or Mississippi State (Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship)
  • Dec. 1 – Virginia Tech (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
  • Dec. 12 – Florida (Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational)
  • Dec. 28 – Loyola MD
  • Dec. 30 – Brown

Maryland Basketball has a decent-but-not-great non-conference schedule. Outside of Virginia Tech, they will not face a single team in Alex Cervantes’ Preseason Top 25. I expect them to be 5-0 entering the Baha Mar Hoops event. They should handle Richmond, but I think Louisville or Mississippi State could give them trouble. Virginia Tech and Florida are both solid teams, but Maryland should walk away with at least one win from those two games. Overall, I predict Maryland Basketball enters conference play with a 9-2 record.

Ceiling/Floor

Maryland’s absolute ceiling is a third-place finish in the Big Ten regular season. I don’t see any way they finish above Michigan or Purdue, but there’s at least a case to be made for the Terps to top every other team assuming everything breaks right. Their absolute floor is around ninth place in the conference. With the roster turnover they have experienced, there’s a chance no one steps up and the team can’t figure it out.

Prediction

My prediction for Maryland Basketball is that they will have a season very similar to last. I expect them to be a competitive team that finishes around sixth in the Big Ten and makes the 2022 NCAA Tournament. From there, I would not be surprised if they win a game or two. This team will have the talent to beat good teams, but they aren’t world-beaters and will certainly have their struggles in conference play.

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