Big Ten Geeks: Regarding Maryland

With the news that Maryland will be joining the Big Ten in 2014, there are all sorts of implications to evaluate. Maintaining our narrow perspective of Big Ten basketball, let’s take a look at what the addition might mean strictly on the hardcourt.

Maryland has a proud basketball tradition, with the pinnacle coming in the form of the 2002 national championship squad led by Juan Dixon. Otherwise, Maryland has made only one other Final Four (2001) and hasn’t reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2003. Even making the Big Dance has become a bit of a struggle for the Terrapins, who have missed five of the last eight NCAA tournaments.

[RELATED: Big Ten Geeks: Regarding Rutgers]

Despite the recent struggles, this is a solid basketball program. If we look at average KenPom rank over the past 10 seasons, Maryland checks in at #24 in the nation, behind only Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, and Ohio State among Big Ten teams.

Rank Team Conf Average KenPom
1 Kansas B12 6
2 Duke ACC 7
3 Wisconsin B10 14
4 Texas B12 16
5 North Carolina ACC 16
6 Louisville BE 17
7 Kentucky SEC 17
8 Pittsburgh BE 18
9 Michigan St. B10 19
10 Florida SEC 20
11 Syracuse BE 21
12 Connecticut BE 22
13 Memphis CUSA 27
14 Illinois B10 27
15 Georgetown BE 30
16 Villanova BE 32
17 Ohio St. B10 32
18 Notre Dame BE 32
19 Gonzaga WCC 32
20 Arizona P12 34
21 Marquette BE 37
22 Xavier A10 37
23 West Virginia B12 39
24 Maryland B10 42
25 Kansas St. B12 43
26 Florida St. ACC 43
27 Washington P12 44
28 Purdue B10 45
29 Tennessee SEC 46
30 Vanderbilt SEC 46
31 Oklahoma St. B12 46
32 Missouri SEC 49
33 Alabama SEC 49
34 Clemson ACC 50
35 Brigham Young WCC 50
36 UCLA P12 51
37 Mississippi St. SEC 53
38 Cincinnati BE 54
39 Stanford P12 54
40 North Carolina St. ACC 55
41 Oklahoma B12 56
42 Michigan B10 57
43 Texas A&M B12 57
44 Nevada Las Vegas MWC 59
45 California P12 60
46 Miami FL ACC 61
47 Georgia Tech ACC 62
48 Creighton MVC 64
49 Temple A10 64
50 Butler A10 65

Through this lens, Maryland looks like an outstanding addition that would clearly raise the average quality of basketball played in the conference. But, you might point out, 10 years is a long time in the college basketball landscape. After all, not many fans would pick Illinois’ program over Ohio State’s right now. How does this list change if we look at only the past five seasons?

Rank Team Conf 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 5-year AVG
1 Kansas B12 1 10 2 3 4 4
2 Duke ACC 8 11 1 2 20 8
3 Wisconsin B10 5 29 9 7 5 11
4 Syracuse BE 38 15 4 11 6 15
5 Ohio St. B10 29 37 5 1 2 15
6 Louisville BE 6 4 43 14 15 16
7 North Carolina ACC 4 1 60 12 7 17
8 Texas B12 9 23 18 5 31 17
9 Michigan St. B10 15 8 23 39 3 18
10 Purdue B10 23 18 16 9 22 18
11 Georgetown BE 7 27 13 40 13 20
12 West Virginia B12 19 9 8 21 53 22
13 Marquette BE 11 19 33 32 18 23
14 Kentucky SEC 55 52 3 6 1 23
15 Kansas St. B12 17 44 7 30 25 25
16 Missouri SEC 44 6 19 44 10 25
17 Pittsburgh BE 21 5 31 4 63 25
18 Connecticut BE 22 3 56 10 37 26
19 Gonzaga WCC 30 7 57 29 21 29
20 Brigham Young WCC 45 21 10 13 56 29
21 Xavier A10 18 20 14 45 51 30
22 Florida SEC 36 42 45 16 12 30
23 Clemson ACC 13 22 20 22 76 31
24 Memphis CUSA 2 2 55 87 8 31
25 Notre Dame BE 28 38 38 15 39 32
26 Florida St. ACC 52 36 24 31 24 33
27 Washington P12 58 17 30 17 54 35
28 Baylor B12 42 34 6 77 17 35
29 Villanova BE 43 14 21 33 78 38
30 New Mexico MWC 35 39 54 47 19 39
31 Tennessee SEC 14 31 28 64 61 40
32 Illinois B10 40 24 53 18 73 42
33 California P12 62 32 15 73 28 42
34 Vanderbilt SEC 53 77 35 35 16 43
35 Temple A10 65 47 22 38 46 44
36 UCLA P12 3 12 109 54 43 44
37 Nevada Las Vegas MWC 50 75 39 27 38 46
38 Miami FL ACC 39 40 46 58 47 46
39 Arizona P12 25 41 92 24 55 47
40 Butler A10 32 45 12 41 110 48
41 St. Mary’s WCC 51 56 42 50 42 48
42 Texas A&M SEC 16 46 17 51 114 49
43 Minnesota B10 61 51 32 57 49 50
44 San Diego St. MWC 102 33 41 8 69 51
45 Virginia Tech ACC 31 66 36 34 90 51
46 Virginia Commonwealth A10 76 53 49 52 40 54
47 Michigan B10 112 50 63 25 29 56
48 Maryland B10 56 54 11 36 134 58
49 Oklahoma St. B12 57 28 40 74 95 59
50 Stanford P12 12 49 103 104 32 60

Ah, that feels more appropriate. Over the past five seasons, Maryland would rank eighth in the Big Ten, just behind Michigan (how quickly Michigan’s struggles have been forgotten). That’s probably still good enough to improve the quality of play in the conference, but not by much.

What’s missing from this analysis is the outlook for the future. How well is this basketball program positioned for the short and long term?

In Mark Turgeon’s second season, Maryland is looking much improved from the team that finished 6-10 in the ACC a  year ago. The Terrapins hung with Kentucky in the season opener and have blown out a couple not-completely-terrible opponents. Their next real test comes, ironically, in a visit to Northwestern for the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.  Maryland’s rotation includes just one senior and one junior, and a top 50 PG is lined up for 2013, so this could be a very good team when 2014-15 rolls around.

Beyond the scope of today’s players, Maryland is positioned in some highly fertile recruiting ground. Courtesy of Statsheet, here’s where top 100 recruits have come from since 1998 (Big Ten states in bold):

State Total Top 100 RSCI Recruits Percent Per Capita
California 147 9.8% 4.1
Texas 101 6.7% 4.4
North Carolina 84 5.6% 9.3
Georgia 84 5.6% 9.3
Virginia 80 5.3% 11.4
Illinois 75 5.0% 6.3
Florida 71 4.7% 3.9
New York 67 4.5% 3.5
Maryland 66 4.4% 13.2
New Jersey 63 4.2% 7.9
Michigan 55 3.7% 5.5
Indiana 52 3.5% 8.7
Pennsylvania 43 2.9% 3.6
Ohio 41 2.7% 3.7
Massachusetts 40 2.7% 6.7
Louisiana 36 2.4% 9.0
Alabama 35 2.3% 8.8
Tennessee 35 2.3% 5.8
Washington 31 2.1% 5.2

Among Big Ten schools, only the state of Illinois (i.e. Chicago) has produced more top 100 recruits than the state of Maryland. Over the past three classes, you have names like Josh Selby, Terrance Ross, Will Barton, and C.J. Fair coming out of the state. On a per capita basis, Maryland has a strong argument for being the most fertile basketball state in the union. Of course, it should be noted that not all of these blue chip recruits actually grew up in Maryland, as the presence of some highly regarded prep schools in the state skew the numbers. Still, under the right guidance, Maryland could again be a basketball powerhouse without having to recruit far from home, and Turgeon has seemingly gotten off to a good start.

(On a side note, the line below Maryland in the above table may prove relevant in the near future with Rutgers rumors flying, though the short answer on that New Jersey program is not nearly as positive in a pure basketball sense.)

In sum, despite some recent struggles, Maryland should prove to be a worthy addition to the nation’s best basketball conference.

- Mike

Find out more about: ,

6 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (6 Comments)
Stan on 11/19/2012 @ 5:36pm EDT Said:

I’m assuming you are only looking at Maryland as a contributer in basketball? Because last time I checked Nebraska doesn’t have a resume on the hard cour that would lend any promise of sucess.

bill on 11/19/2012 @ 7:18pm EDT Said:

I feel sorry for Md. fans as I doubt the Terrapins will ever finish better than 5th place in that conference. As for the ACC its a big loss also. Not to mention tradition, but Md always proved to be the giant killer there. ACC -1, Big Ten 0.

Stone on 11/20/2012 @ 3:50pm EDT Said:

I feel sorry for bill because it’s clear that he doesn’t know squat. Not only will the Terps REGULARLY finish in the top 4 of the B1G, but they’ll most likely do it in their first year in the conference. You don’t know Maryland basketball history. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see the run we had (11 years straight and 14 of the last 23). We’ve been down a bit recently, but we’re on the fast track to becoming a top-tier team and I’ll wager money that we finish ranked at the end of this season. Doubt they’ll finish better than 5th? What are you thinking?

    Bill on 11/20/2012 @ 4:20pm EDT Said:

    Think not? It so happens, Stone, I grew up in Balto. and am a big fan of the Terps, since the seventies….but this is a real “reality” show! And I was refering to where they are likely to finish in the Big, not their history in ACC.Time will tell.

jb on 11/21/2012 @ 1:00am EDT Said:

Bill you no nothing and just because you grew up in Baltimore does not prove anything. Obviously you have not seen the Terps lately and the kind of team Turgeon has put together. Go back to the seventies because you do not know what you are talking about.

bigguy1974 on 11/25/2012 @ 1:33pm EDT Said:

Maryland def is a very good Basketball school you can question football and rightfully so but men`s basketball no way. Part of the reason that they have struggled recently is because of Gary Williams and his not wanting to suck up to high school basketball players. In the B1G DC/Balto probably is number 2 outside of Chi-Town. MD will be fine in the B1G.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Have a question for BTN Customer Service? Please e-mail us here