Who? The Terrapins of Maryland.
When do they play in the first round? The Terps play New Mexico State on Saturday, March 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Where? College Park, Maryland, off the green line on the Metro.
Why? They won the Big Ten conference tournament.
How? Ohio State was feisty, and Kelsey Mitchell (31 points) was spectacular, but Lexie Brown’s 19 points led four Terrapins in double figures, and Maryland finished their first Big Ten season triumphantly, 77-74.
Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, and they did so, undefeated and four games ahead of Iowa.
Record: 30-2 (18-0 Big Ten)
Good wins: James Madison in Puerto Rico and at George Washington are both looking pretty solid… and then there is the little matter of sweeping grandly through the Big Ten, including seven games against five ranked teams.
Bad losses: Well, not Notre Dame. That Washington State loss at the San Juan Shootout didn’t hold up well.
Who’s running this show? Brenda Frese, since 2002. She’s got two sisters in the basketball business, too.
Maryland is almost insanely balanced, with four players averaging between 12 and 13 points. Sophomore guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough leads the pack at 13.3 points per game. Sophomore Lexie Brown hits a third of her threes and has shown a propensity to hit them at big moments, and may take over the scoring lead on decimal points by the end of the night.
I’m very interested in how Maryland uses, or doesn’t use, big sophomore center Brionna Jones, their leading rebounder at 8.8 rpg- she’s had some strong games leading up to the tournament, but the Terrapins have a tendency to get jumper-happy and not go inside.