Welcome to The Diamondback Sports Digest. Every week, we send you a rundown of the latest Maryland athletics news.
A stunning decision rocked the college football world Sunday, prompting a fiery debate about the value of winning and the sport’s integrity. No, we’re not talking about the hotly-debated selections for this year’s College Football Playoff. Maryland football is going to Nashville to play Auburn in the Music City Bowl.
In this week’s newsletter, we’ll update you on the Terps’ postseason berth, Maryland men’s basketball’s latest woes, Shyanne Sellers’ continued emergence for Maryland women’s basketball and more.
Let’s go bowling
Maryland football will try to become the first team in program history to win three straight bowl games on Dec. 30. The Terps beat Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl two years ago and NC State in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl last season.
Maryland’s matchup against Auburn marks its first game against the SEC school since November 1983.
Locksley called the bowl game the beginning of Maryland’s 2024 season in a press conference Sunday. The Terps’ postseason roster will look somewhat different than its regular season group.
Recent transfers have decimated Maryland’s roster. A host of players, including linebacker Jaishawn Barham and tight ends Corey Dyches and Rico Walker, have announced they’ll enter the transfer portal. Others could soon join them.
Football reporter Taylor Lyons has your latest breakdown of the Terps’ bowl matchup and Dyches’ departure.
Maryland men’s basketball fails early conference test
Heading into Friday’s matchup against Indiana, Maryland men’s basketball seemed to have righted itself with three straight home wins. Those victories came against inferior opponents, making the Terps’ Big Ten opener a key evaluation.
Maryland did not continue its positive momentum. Instead, the Terps fell flat in a 65-53 loss to the Hoosiers. The Terps were outrebounded by 16 and played with a lack of energy that clearly irritated their coach.
“I thought he outhustled us and I thought he outplayed us,” coach Kevin Willard said of Hoosier guard Trey Galloway, who scored 12 points. “We have guys that are just watching him and looking around who are fourth, fifth-year seniors. If that’s the way it’s gonna be, well then I’m gonna make some major changes.”
If you’re a masochist, men’s basketball reporter Eli Cohen has your recap from the Terps’ loss — their tenth in 11 road conference games under Willard.
Two nights earlier, a pair of former Terps assistant coaches faced off in Fairfax, Virginia. George Mason coach Tony Skinn and NJIT coach Grant Billmeier were both on Willard’s inaugural Maryland staff.
The two communicate often and are members of Willard’s growing coaching tree. Willard gave them added responsibilities the coaches say helped prepare them to lead their own programs. Men’s basketball reporter Nicky Wolcott spoke with the pair about their experiences.
Diving into film with Shyanne Sellers
Maryland women’s basketball guard Shyanne Sellers has stepped into a prominent role for the Terps. She’s the team’s No. 1 offensive threat and showed why with a career-high 28-points in Sunday’s win against George Mason. Women’s basketball reporter Sam Jane recapped the 86-77 win.
Sam sat down with Sellers earlier in the week, where the two watched some of her plays from this season. The junior explained her in-game thought process in Sam’s latest feature.
The Terps’ nine-point win over the Patriots marked their fourth straight. The third victory in that stretch came on Wednesday as Brinae Alexander starred in Maryland’s 70-point dismantling of Niagara.
Alexander made 11 consecutive field goals, including seven three-pointers, to score a career-high 29 points. Women’s basketball reporter Olivia Janik dove into Alexander’s stellar day.
- Maryland wrestling’s Jaxon Smith tore through the 197-pound weight class in this weekend’s Cliff Keen Invitational before falling in the final. He was one of six Terps who competed in the event.
- One wrestler who didn’t compete for the Terps in the weekend invitational, Braxton Brown, jumped up to the 133-pound weight class and impressed in Maryland’s recent duel against Pitt.
- Maryland volleyball lost 11 of its final 15 games and missed the NCAA tournament for the 18th straight year. Volleyball reporter Tanner Malinowski dove into the Terps’ disappointing 2023.
- Maryland football was well-represented in the Big Ten’s awards. A program-record 16 players received honors.
Quote of the week
“We did some things to start the game, it makes you scratch your head to be honest with you [about] what some guys were thinking,” Willard said. “We have some older guys right now that are just doing stuff that you’re like, what are we doing? Like, you can’t do that.”
Stat of the week
The top recruits in each of Maryland’s last three classes — Chop Robinson, Barham and Walker — each transferred within their first two seasons with the Terps.