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Terps prepare to face George Mason

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Terps prepare to face George Mason

Maryland impressed in their last game, a 77-57 victory over Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terps simply outclassed the Wildcats in a dominant second half.

Even in a season opening loss to Kentucky, the Terps have looked sharp for most of their non-conference schedule, running to a 5-1 record through November. On Sunday, Maryland should face its last true non-conference test, with a neutral court game against George Mason.

Though Mason plays in the CAA and Maryland the ACC, DC locals and college basketball fans need no introduction to the Fairfax, Va., school. George Mason made its name known across the country in 2006 with a run to the Final Four that included wins over college basketball bluebloods like UConn., Michigan State and North Carolina.

Mason's success came under former coach Jim Larranaga -- who bolted to the University of Miami prior to last season -- but Mason coach Paul Hewitt has plenty of NCAA experience.

As coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hewitt led his 2004 Jackets team to the NCAA championship game. Last season Hewitt led the Patriots to a 24-9 season, though the team was left out of the NCAA Tournament.

This game will be key for Hewitt and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon as they work to guide their teams back into the NCAA Tournament. Non-conference wins play a key part in tournament selection, and a win for either squad would be a boost for their resume come March.

After playing arguably its best 20 minutes of basketball in the second half at Northwestern, the Maryland team has momentum.

Center Alex Len continues to garner serious NBA Draft buzz, while sophomore transfer Dez Wells really showed his capabilities with 23 points against the Wildcats. The Terps look to have depth and frontcourt size befit of a Top 20 team, and a win over an always-pesky Mason squad could show that to poll voters.

Led by junior guard Sherrod Wright, Mason will be a tough opponent for the Terps.

Wright averages almost 15 points on the season, not to mention the 6'4" guard hauls in about five rebounds a game. Mason already registered a win over an ACC opponent earlier this year, beating UVa. in the season opener.

Mason will not come into this game intimidated by the Terps, and it will be interesting to see how Maryland’s young team responds to the challenge.

Maryland should enjoy a noticeable size advantage over the Patriots, who are led down low by 6'8" big man Eric Copes.

With Len at 7'1" and three big forwards in James Padgett, Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, the Terps can play an aggressive style around the basket. A key to Maryland's early success has been winning the rebounding battle; something the team has done in impressive fashion every game this season.

Mason will have to make outside shots early to free up space in the middle, otherwise Maryland's big men could take over. With Wright at the helm Mason could have the advantage from the outside, though Maryland guard Pe'Shon Howard has been playing improved defense this season.

With a vocal crowd expected and fans of both schools on hand at the Verizon Center, the game could resemble an early-round NCAA Tournament matchup. A preview of a postseason experience both teams would like to achieve. 

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Maryland's Justin Jackson reportedly coming back to College Park

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Maryland's Justin Jackson reportedly coming back to College Park

It's the time of year when NBA prospects have major, life-changing decisions to make.

For some, entering the NBA draft is an easy one. They don't need anymore outside opinions.

But for others, like Maryland's Justin Jackson, testing the waters is the most important part. 

Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports is reporting that Jackson is “expected” to return to Maryland for his sophomore season.

Jackson worked out for the Raptors Tuesday,  and told the media he still wanted to sit down with his family before making a final decision.

“Truthfully, I’m hearing a whole bunch of different things, it’s kind of mixed right now,” he said at the workout. “I really got to sit down, discuss with my family, my circle and really try to figure things out.”

When you have a 7-3 wingspan on a 6-7 frame, you're always intriguing to NBA scouts, especially when you can stretch the floor from 3-point range as well.

Despite some saying Jackson could sneak into the first round, not hiring an agent gives him the opportunity to come back to College Park.

An option he apparently is taking.

That would be great news for the Terps too, after losing Melo Trimble for good already to the NBA.

Jackson's 10.5 points per game and 6 boards as a freshman will make him the team's top returner in both categories.

Numbers that will certainly grow with his role next season.

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Maryland lands a graduate transfer commitment from Duke

Maryland lands a graduate transfer commitment from Duke

The Maryland Terrapins snagged former Duke player Sean Obi as a graduate transfer, the school announced on Thursday. He didn't play last season due to knee surgury that he underwent last summer. 

Obi began his college career at Rice during the 2013-14 season, and posted 11.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. After his freshman season at Rice, he transferred to Duke where he had to sit out 2014-15 season, per NCAA rules. In his lone season as a Blue Devil, Obi played in just 10 games and averaged 0.5 points per game. As a graduate transfer, Obi will be eligible to play for Maryland immediately. 

We are excited to welcome Sean to Maryland," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. "As a graduate transfer, he brings high character, experience and maturity to our team. Sean is a good rebounder and gives us another physical presence inside. Sean is healthy and ready to contribute."

Obi, who is 6-9, could provide Maryland help on the offensive and defensive boards in 2017 after they ranked 300th in the country in defensive rebound percentage. 

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