Jon Crispin, BTN men's basketball analyst, February 23, 2016

I?ve been criticized recently for saying that Melo Trimble is the best point guard in the country. For once, I won?t try to defend myself. I may try to explain myself a bit, though, as I understand the questions surrounding Trimble and the Terps, who have yet to consistently play to their potential this season.

[ MORE: See where Maryland lands in Jon Crispin's latest Big Ten Power Rankings ]

With Maryland, the expectations have been justifiably high. I personally had them in the preseason Final Four mix and still look at this team as a national championship contender. There are just so many questions surrounding the Terrapins and Trimble and why they haven?t been as dominant as we all expected them to be.

First, there is the lull that every team and nearly every player hits at this point in the season. With Trimble being relied upon to do so much, especially in late-game situations, it?s no surprise that he seems to have hit a wall. Additionally, teams have done a great job of game-planning against him in the half court, and they?ve also done a good job of taking away his opportunities in transition.

Another thing I?ve noticed is that he does not seem to be 100 percent. Truthfully, no one is 100 percent this time of the year, but Trimble gets more defensive attention than anyone else in the conference, and that includes Michigan State do-it-all star Denzel Valentine. That is because Trimble is a true point guard. It is easier for an opponent to game-plan or scheme against a point guard, because it is easier to identify him at all times and focus team defense against him. The way Valentine plays, thanks to his versatility, is different and is part of why it is so difficult to stop the Spartans. That in no way is to take away from what Valentine and the Spartans have been able to accomplish.

Take everything into account, and Maryland has lost two of its last three. More staggering are Trimble's recent numbers. In the last five games, the star point guard is shooting 10-of-48 (21 percent) and has 20 turnovers, including 18 during the Terps' recent 1-2 skid.

No one feels badly for a coach or a program that has as much talent as Mark Turgeon and Maryland, but it certainly comes with its challenges. Establishing a consistent rotation and finding the right amount of time for the right players is more challenging than anyone would know. Tom Izzo would certainly agree. The concern, to me, is less about who is playing well and more about how the system and style suits the personnel. When Maryland gets out in transition and pressures full court, they are nearly impossible to stop and execute against. When Trimble is put in ball-screen situations with the right screeners, ideally a pick-and-pop big like Robert Carter Jr. or Jake Layman, he is nearly impossible to stop. The challenge will ultimately be for Turgeon to continue to seek out opportunities that allow Trimble to shine because as he goes, so go the Terps.

I?m still buying the Terrapins this season, and I still think Trimble is the best point guard in the country. Particularly in ball-screen situations and in transition. The key for them going forward is to start the game strong. With their size, length and personnel, they are extremely difficult to come back against when they get an early lead.

Hang in there, Maryland fans. Your boys still have a push left in them, and the sky is still the limit for this team.