Maryland men's basketball dominance over their first five games of the season should not go unnoticed. After defeating the previously unbeaten George Mason Patriots, the Terrapins moved up in the latest AP Top 25 poll from No. 6 to No. 5.
A lot of praise should go to head coach Mark Turgeon for developing a group of young players into a nationally ranked top-five men's basketball team. The Terrapins are led by senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr, who is second on the team averaging 13 points and is their top facilitator with 4.6 assists per game.
Though the Terrapins' offense has been solid, their work on the defense is what makes them special. They have two defensive stalwarts including Jalen "Stix" Smith and Aaron Wiggins.
Smith is a projected NBA Lottery pick in next year's draft. The 6-foot-10 225-pound forward from Baltimore, Maryland leads the team averaging 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, and two blocks per game. The level of dedication he has in honing his craft as a do-it-all player has truly been remarkable. Sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins is ranked in the top 100 nationally averaging 2.4 steals per game.
Maryland owns one of the deepest rosters in all of men's college basketball, highlighted by the breakout performances by Darryl Morsell and Ricky Lindo Jr.
The Terrapins have outscored Holy Cross, Rhode Island, Oakland, Fairfield, and George Mason 408-294. Though none of their opponents are ranked, Maryland defeated all of them convincingly by at least 18 points.
As Maryland moves up to No. 5, North Carolina moves down to No. 6. The undefeated Maryland Terrapins will play their first away game of the season against the Temple Owls on Thursday.