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It’s March Madness, and the tournament season is now in full effect; there is no better way to kick things off than the Maryland Terps making a trip down to Birmingham, Alabama, to face off against the Mountaineers. Maryland is the higher seed, but West Virginia finished the season ranked higher in both NET and KenPom rankings.
Maryland men’s basketball will enter the NCAA tournament with the No. 8 seed over their head as they go toe to toe with the No. 9 seed, West Virginia, in the round of 64 on Thursday at 12:15 p.m. on CBS. The West Virginia Mountaineers secured the 9th seed after going 19-14 on the season and 7-11 in the Big 12, ranking No. 17th on KenPom.com. West Virginia has been led by a transfer from South Carolina, Erik Stevenson, who has authored 15.5 points a night on 38.1% shooting from behind the arc.
They have been able to get double-digit scoring from Tre Mitchell, Kedrian Johnson, and Emmitt Matthews also. The Terps, coached by Kevin Willard, were able to go 21-12 overall and 11-9 in Big Ten play. Maryland was led by the on-court play of Jahmir Young, who put up 16 points a night, as well as Julian Reece, who averaged a near-double-double with 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a night.
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Head Coach: Kevin Willard
Record: 21-12 (11-9)
Maryland’s regular season ended with a disappointing loss to Penn State, losing by just 1 point after a tip-in at the buzzer. Though the loss was disappointing, it is nothing to worry about as Maryland has taken a win in eight of their previous 12 matchups in the Big Ten. The Maryland Terps can be a cinderella team in this tournament. On the defensive end, they allow just 63.2 points a night, the 26th best in the NCAA, paired with four players averaging over 11 points a night, Maryland can fire on all cylinders to pick up wins as an underdog.
The Maryland Terps have been led by Jahmir Young on the offensive end of the ball. Young can stuff the points column with 16.1 points a night, along with 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Maryland is 30th in NET rating, with four players averaging over 11 points a game.
Head Coach: Bob Huggins
Record: 19-14 (7-11)
After missing out on the tournament last year, the Mountaineers are back and better as they revive an old rivalry against the Maryland Terps. West Virginia has been powered by Erik Stevenson, a lights-out scorer that can easily catch fire. Stevenson was able to notch more than 23 points in all of the Mountaineers' final five games of the regular season. West Virginia picked up a 17-point loss to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament, but West Virginia is a lot more skilled than they might have shown in that matchup. Their five starters averaging double digits is a testament to that. The Mountaineers won four consecutive games before taking a loss to Kansas in the tournament.
West Virginia has been led by Erik Stevenson, the 6-foot-4 guard graduate transfer from South Carolina. On the season, Stevenson has put up 15.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, along with 2.5 assists per night. West Virginia has also been getting great performances from Tre Mitchell, Kedrian Johnson, and Emmit Matthews Jr., who are all averaging over 10 points and 2 rebounds a night.
The No. 9 Mountaineers are sitting as favorites by 2.5-point favorites to move on to the round of 32 in their meeting against the No. 8 Terrapins on Thursday at 12:15 PM on CBS. Maryland's odds to win are currently at +115, with the total at 140 points. WVU has picked up 12 wins and 5 losses against the spread so far this season when they are the favorites by 2.5 points or more. My prediction is that Maryland takes a hard-fought win in a nail bitter.
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Game Time & Date: 3/16/23 at 12:15 PM
TV Network: CBS
Streaming: Youtube TV, Paramount +, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV
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