In its first year in the Big Ten, the Maryland men’s basketball team has far exceeded expectations. With March around the corner, it’s time to revise them.

Recent signs indicate the Terrapins possess what it takes to have some fun in the NCAA tournament, and the biggest one occurred Tuesday night during a stirring 59-53 victory over formidable Wisconsin.

Energized by a raucous, sellout crowd at Xfinity Center, No. 14 Maryland showed how good it can be while winning its fourth straight and ending No. 5 Wisconsin’s streak at 10 games. Dez Wells provided the opening act, and Melo Trimble closed the show.

“Dez Wells wouldn’t let us lose,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “Melo was Melo.”

Aggressive on offense from start to finish, Wells scored a game-high 26 points. Then Trimble, who contributed 16, applied the finishing touches, including making two clutch shots late in the game to help hold off the Badgers.

With Maryland expected to make the NCAA tournament, the Post Sports Live crew debates how far the Terps can go. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)

While controlling the tempo in the first half, the Terrapins played with the most passion they’ve displayed since defeating Michigan State on Jan. 17. It was obvious Wells was locked in.

He attacked, scoring 14 points to lead Maryland to an 11-point halftime lead. Saluted with a thunderous ovation, the Terrapins raced into the locker room on a high. “I told my guys pregame: Follow my lead,” Wells said. They listened.

Although Wisconsin leads second-place Maryland by two games in the conference standings, the victory meant a lot to Turgeon’s team. The Terrapins (23-5, 11-4 Big Ten) are sprinting to the finish, which doesn’t surprise Turgeon.

Maryland is highly capable, Turgeon has maintained for some time. It took a while, but the rest of the conference finally believes him.

“They’ve got players,” Badgers Coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s what impresses me about teams — when they can get things done.”

Picked 10th in the conference preseason poll, Maryland steadily has gained supporters. It’s easy to like an up-and-comer that seemed to come from nowhere. Guess who was ahead of the pack.

“I’ve got really good players,” Turgeon said. “You don’t get to 23-5 if you don’t have really good players. I don’t know how many more times I can brag about Melo. . . . He’s got a lot of confidence. He can do things. I thought he did a good job of getting to the rim and settling for some jump shots. He just didn’t do all jump shots or all getting to the rim.

Michal Cekovsky and No. 14 Maryland improve to 23-5 with Tuesday’s win in College Park. The Terps have three regular season games remaining before the Big Ten tournament. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

“And then Dez . . . Dez is special. I’ve been saying that. I think Dez is a pro. I think he’ll make somebody’s roster [in the NBA] because of the way he competes. Good players. And then the rest of them just fill in. Pieces fit.”

To hold off Wisconsin (25-3, 13-2), they had to. The victory was the Terrapins’ best of the season by far, especially considering they’re trying to get to where the Badgers have been for years.

Despite the loss, Wisconsin still is in excellent position to win the Big Ten title, which would be Ryan’s fourth in 14 seasons at the school. In a few weeks, the Badgers will appear in their 17th consecutive NCAA tournament, quite possibly as a No. 1 seed.

Ryan has built a consistently strong program with a clear identity. When the Badgers come to mind, you think of an efficient, well-disciplined bunch. There’s no doubt Ryan is a top-notch coach. Just ask Turgeon.

“You have to have a ton of respect for Bo Ryan and what he’s been able to do,” Turgeon said. “As coaches, so much of what you do is to try to get your kids to play consistently.

“This could be Bo’s best team, which is really saying something because he’s had some great teams. So when you look at it, yeah, you look at it like a yardstick. You look at it as an opportunity to show you can play with them.”

And not only Wisconsin. Once the NCAA tournament begins, the Terrapins figure to face a difficult opponent, regardless of their opening matchup. By defeating Wisconsin late in the regular season, Maryland can draw on that experience for the hard road ahead.

“We’re really becoming pretty gritty,” Turgeon said. “We’re going to be really prepared for whatever [is] ahead because of everything we’ve been through.

“It’s pretty safe to say there’s no doubt they’re an NCAA tournament team. You need to get ready for those teams.”

Recently, the Terrapins haven’t had to worry about it. They last played in the tournament during the 2009-10 season. Largely because of Trimble, they’re finally headed back.

Trimble, who scored 26 points in Maryland’s previous victory, has been a major catalyst for change at College Park. On Tuesday night, he was characteristically cool again at the end.

“I had confidence,” Trimble said. “Coach Turgeon wanted me to be aggressive and attack the glass. So did my teammates.”

For the Terrapins to begin a new period of sustained success, it would help if the fantastic freshman stuck around to become a super sophomore. But that’s a matter for another time. Maryland is on a roll, potentially headed toward something special, and most people would tell you that was unexpected.