16. Maryland (8-0)
When Kevin Willard accepted the Maryland job last March, few people expected him and the Terrapins to get off to this kind of hot start. This program has taken care of things, winning their first seven games by double digits and defeating a few very solid opponents to this point. It hasn’t exactly been a murderer’s row of a schedule (that will come in conference play), but Maryland has looked impressive on both sides of the ball.
They had a fortunate draw in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and won big at Louisville, dropping the Cardinals in a 79-54 outcome. Donta Scott had 18 points while the defense had another fantastic outing against a bad Cardinals team. Three days later the Terrapins got their best win of the early season, beginning Big Ten play with a 71-66 win over #16 Illinois at home. Jahmir Young’s 24-point performance led the charge, while Hakim Hart had 17 as well in the win.
Each passing week seems to get better for Maryland, who remain unbeaten and have picked up an early important win in conference play. They haven’t played perfect by any means, including nearly blowing the game against the Illini, but they’ve looked phenomenal for the most part this season, which already includes wins over Miami and Saint Louis. The Illinois win looks great, but next week poses their stiffest challenge yet: a road trip to Wisconsin before a Sunday date with a very good Tennessee team.