The Terps ranked only 16th in Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings based on advanced analytics, with Big Ten programs Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State ahead.
Maryland will be led by senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and sophomore forward Jalen Smith, who were named to the Big Ten’s all-conference preseason team. Cowan, who has started every game since he arrived on campus in 2016, scored 15.6 points per game and earned second-team all-conference honors last season. Smith had a standout NCAA tournament and recorded five double-doubles last year, the third-most for a freshman in program history. Smith averaged nearly 12 points and seven rebounds.
Maryland returns seven of eight rotation players from last year’s group that lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Sophomores such as Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala and Ricky Lindo Jr. are expected to show significant strides in their second seasons. The team also added a five-man freshman class that ranked third in the conference. Two of those newcomers, forwards Makhi Mitchell and Donta Scott, could find meaningful roles early in the season.
Coach Mark Turgeon will have numerous options when choosing his starting lineup and recently called this team probably his deepest in his nine seasons at Maryland. He and the players haven’t shied away from the expectations for this season, which will begin Nov. 5 at home against Holy Cross.
During the regular season, Maryland will play four teams ranked in the preseason poll: No. 1 Michigan State, No. 12 Seton Hall, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 23 Purdue.