# 9 Maryland vs Illinois

1/4/2015 8:58:44 PM Maryland capped off an perfect opening week to Big Ten play with a convincing win against a pesky Minnesota team.  The Gophers were desperate to avoid an 0-2 start and yet the Terps beat them anyway.

Now, the Terps travel to Champaign to face an equally desperate Illini team.  Illinois has started Big Ten play with an 0-2 record and can ill afford to drop a home game.  The house will be rocking and Maryland will have their hands full.

The turnover bug has cropped up in the last two games but that has coincided with a step-up in team rebounding from the likes of Damonte Dodd.  Dodd is emerging into a real player and his improved play offers Maryland the balance it needs to go deep into the postseason.  Jake Layman's scoring seems to have tapered off but his unselfish play has really buoyed Maryland in the early going.

Looking at the schedule, Maryland won't have many opportunities for quality wins.  In fact there are only two games left on the calendar that involve Maryland playing top 25 teams.  @ Ohio State and home vs. Wisconsin.  All of the other remaining games are against Big Ten opponents with middling RPIs.   That means Maryland can't afford to drop games it should win because the RPI will suffer.  What's more, teams will be gunning for the Terps as we represent one of the few chances for them to score a quality win.

This is heady territory for such a young team but so far the Terps have been near-perfect. Wins @Illinois and @Purdue this week will cement the Terps as one of the two best teams in the Big Ten.


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