On Thursday, the No. 8 Maryland Terrapins (21-12) attempt to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament when they take on No. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers (19-14). Catch this 8-9 matchup in South Region bracket action live on CBS at 12:15 PM.
After a year-long absence, first-year coach Kevin Willard has the Terrapins back in the NCAA Tournament. Maryland recruited Willard away from Seton Hall University to put them back on the path paved by Gary Williams when they won their national title in 2002 with an epic title game win against Indiana. Since joining the Big Ten conference in 2011, Maryland has made six NCAA appearances but only reached the Sweet 16 once (2016). Maryland started out strong this season winning eight games and building an impressive streak within Big Ten play where it won six out of seven league games; yet they come into the NCAA Tournament having lost three out of their last four matches.
The Terps biggest issue is they beat teams like Indiana and Purdue at home, on the road they struggled winning just a couple of away games. This is a huge concern when looking at this first round matchup for the Terrapins.
After an absence of one season, West Virginia University is back in the NCAA Tournament with their 19th win of the season in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. A conference season that seemed doomed eventually led them back towards contention with a home victory against TCU on Jan 18 and an 8-6 record following that, including their Big-12 SEC Challenge triumph over then-ranked Auburn. WVU won three out of its final four prior to leaving for Kansas City; Erik Stevenson has been particularly impressive over these past three weeks while all his teammates seem to be following suit.
The last matchup between these teams was in 2015 and West Virginia won the game 69-59. West Virginia leads the series between these teams 24-14.
West Virginia will squeak this game out 71-70, which is why I will take the +2.5 and Maruland. I think this will be a one or two point game either way, so I am taking the points.
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