Game #19 on Lefty Driesell Day; Terps and Michigan State in B1G match-up!

The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team got back from a long road trip in the state of Illinois to arrive back in College Park, Maryland to snow and an 11-7 record and 3-4 in the Big-Ten. With that Terps’ record, it is identical to Michigan State at tip-off for this noon start on Sunday. With the students still on winter break and classes starting back up this week, we will see how many of them show up on Lefty Driesell Day since none of them were born when Driesell came to Maryland in 1969 — and it is possible that their parents were not even born yet. Additionally, Maryland will wear a signature ‘throwback’ uniform representing some of the great Terp teams from the 1970s under Driesell’s coaching leadership.

This is the 105th season of Terps basketball and expectations have been high in year two of the Kevin Willard era. The Terps returned the “Big Three” of fifth-year seniors Jahmir Young and Donta Scott, along with junior big man Julian Reese and added some impressive freshmen like 6’5″ guard DeShawn Harris-Smith. Young is on a lot of “watch lists” for top players in the country, and he continues to step up. Over the last six games, the fifth-year guard has averaged 26.5 points in those games with two 30-point games (37 at UCLA, 36 at Northwestern). He also had 28 points in the win over No. 10 Illinois.

Maryland’s freshman class of Harris-Smith, Jamie Kaiser, Jr., and Jahnathan Lamothe ranked as the No. 15 best recruiting class in the country during the offseason. They were later joined in the spring by the addition of 7-foot center Braden Pierce who played at IMG Academy last year. Harris-Smith, widely regarded as one of the top-10 freshmen in the country this year, collected a number of individual honors after a standout year at Paul VI High School – Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year, Naismith High School All-American, WCAC Player of the Year, and All-MET Player of the Year.

Harris-Smith, Kaiser, and Lamothe make up one of the best DMV trios to sign with Maryland since 2002 when Travis Garrison, John Gilchrist, and Chris McCray joined the Terps. It’s the most DMV players to sign with Maryland in 15 years. As a group, they represent the highest ranked class for Maryland since 2018 when the Terps ranked 7th overall.

“Just staying focused right now on [the next opponent]. It’s a new team every year, and right now, just getting them focused … That’s the only thing you can really do right now.”

— head coach Kevin Willard said

Fans are also getting looks at transfers Jordan Geronimo (Indiana), Chance Stephens (LMU), and Mady Traore (New Mexico State). This is certainly a get-to-know-you time for Coach Willard with all of the new players on this roster, considering all of the transfer players as well as the incoming freshmen.

Last year, the Terps won 22 games and reached the NCAA Tournament Second Round before falling to No. 1 Alabama. The Terps were ranked as high as No. 6 in the NET and as high as No. 13 in the AP Top 25 Poll last season. Maryland went 8-0 to open last season before winning 8-of-10 in the heart of the Big Ten schedule. Home court was huge for Maryland as the Terps posted a 16-1 record at XFINITY including 10-0 in Big Ten games last season.

The Big-Ten announced their western expansion and added USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington for the 2024 season, as well as a new multi-billion-dollar media rights deal with Fox, CBS, NBC, and Peacock that will guarantee each school at least $50 million annually. The expansion to 18-schools makes this the most powerful basketball conference in the NCAA. That will add a lot of nationwide exposure as the Big-Ten expands east coast to west coast.

Maryland’s record: 11-7, 3-4 Big Ten

Michigan State’s record: 11-7, 3-4 Big Ten

DraftKings Sportsbook: Maryland -1, O/U 135.0

Tip-off: Sunday, January 21, 2024, 12:00 pm ET

Arena: XFinity Center • College Park, Maryland

TV: CBS with announcers Ian Eagle and Bill Raftery

Streaming TV: Paramount+

Radio: Audacy Radio App / SiriusXM 136; 105.7 FM (Balt.) / 980 AM (D.C.) — Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), (pxp), Chris Knoche (analyst), Walt Williams (analyst), Tom Marchitto (engineer)

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