The hiatus is over and Maryland football begins a two-game journey this weekend as the basketball season is set to begin. This week’s “Terps Top Three” look forward to both:
Wound Update: Along with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, two key members of the Maryland defense will return for Saturday’s game in Wisconsin.
Linebackers Ruben Hyppolite II and Jaishawn Barham will both return against the Badgers, coach Mike Locksley told reporters Thursday.
“They are both back and training and will be able to play this weekend,” said Locksley.
Hyppolite dealt with an ankle injury originally reported in the September 17 match with SMU. He has missed the last five Maryland games.
Barham missed the first game of his stellar freshman season on October 22 against Northwestern due to an undisclosed injury sustained on October 15 in Indiana. The District Heights, Maryland native received another accolade this week, as he was named as one of 14 semi-finalists for the Shaun Alexander National Freshman of the Year Award.
Numbers game: With a win in Wisconsin, Maryland would likely enter the AP Top 25 rankings after knocking on the list’s door over the past year.
The Terrapins started 4-0 in 2021 before a disastrous home defeat to Iowa knocked them out of the league. Now at 6-2 in 2022, Maryland has received votes in the poll for the past five weeks, hitting a high of 36 votes this week. A win should propel them into the Top 25 for the first time since week 3 of 2019, according to Sports Reference.
“It’s not enough just to earn the number. It’s keeping it, it’s staying consistent, ”Locksley said. At its point, in the last decade, the two times Maryland passed the poll were only left for one week: a 6 week slot # 25 of the 2013 and the aforementioned appearance of 2019 (n.21).
“I was here when we were classified and I didn’t play very well and I didn’t get back in that standings,” Locksley said. “So, for us, being ranked is not something that matters, other than the fact that it continues to show that we are doing some things right.”
Round rock: Don’t look now, but it’s already basketball season in College Park, with the Maryland men and women both starting their 2022-23 campaigns on Monday.
Kevin Willard’s first effort as a Terrapins coach begins at Xfinity Center with Niagara. The former Seton Hall leader has been immersed and rooted throughout Maryland, both school and state, since hiring him in March. He visibly worked to reconnect the program with former players and alumni over the summer, ties that had cooled towards the end of former manager Mark Turgeon’s tenure.
Willard said he understands the high expectations Maryland supporters have for the program: “I’ve been told how passionate the fan base was … and everyone’s right,” he said last month on media day.
He asked for some patience from those who saw him earlier this season, describing what he is doing as “laying the carpet” to build his version of Terrapin basketball. Willard said when things start to freeze: “I think we’re going to be really good once we get through December.”
Maryland women’s basketball begins its season at George Mason (7pm), as coach Brenda Frese’s 21st season appears to be one of his most complex. The Terrapins n. 17 welcome nine new transfers and freshmen after losing five players at the transfer portal, including stars Angel Reese (LSU) and Ashley Owusu (Virginia Tech).