Terps and Hoosiers haven't yet developed a rivalry in the Big Ten

COLLEGE PARK — In Maryland's first season in the Big Ten two years ago, a rivalry with Indiana appeared in the making.

There was some history, with the Terps' only national title coming against the Hoosiers in 2002. There was some drama, with the first Big Ten meeting coming down to two missed shots in the last six seconds by Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell at Xfinity Center.


And then it went away.

The one-sided nature of the subsequent matchups – double-digit defeats for the Terps at Assembly Hall in each of the last two seasons, as well as an 11-point win for Maryland at the 2015 Big Ten tournament in Chicago – didn't help grow the rivalry.


The league's imbalanced schedule also hasn't helped.

After playing three times in Maryland's inaugural Big Ten season, the teams met just once last year in Bloomington and are currently scheduled to meet just once this season here tonight. That neither team will be ranked – the Hoosiers dropped out of the Top 25 this week for the first time this season – minimizes some of the intrigue.

Still, the 9 p.m. game between the 14-2 Terps (2-1 in the Big Ten) and the 11-5 Hoosiers (1-2) will certainly be the most highly anticipated to date this season for Mark Turgeon's young team. A win will put Maryland into a five-way tie for first place in the league.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon acknowledged Monday that it's going to be tougher for the Terps to build any rivalries similar to those they had over the course of their 61-year association with the Atlantic Coast Conference, in particular with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina State.

After playing Michigan State three times two years ago – including a double-overtime thriller in East Lansing, Mich., in Maryland's first Big Ten game – the Terps faced the Spartans on the road early last season and won't play Tom Izzo's team until a March 5 home game to close this regular season.

"One, when you join a new league and when you have 14 teams in the league and you play a different schedule every year, it's probably a little bit more difficult," Turgeon said. "I do think it becomes a little more regionalized for us. It could be Penn State, it could be Rutgers, it could be Ohio State, it could be Indiana. Probably the closest teams, and the tradition with Indiana.

"It's hard. I don't think we have any rivals in the league. But it doesn't mean we don't play every game with intensity and stuff. …You try not to make it different. I think the guys know that when it is a rival game, it is a little more important. It doesn't mean you don't prepare the same or put as much emphasis into Jacksonville State as you do your rival game."

Maryland guard Melo Trimble, whose matchups with the now-graduated Ferrell was the focal point of each of the four games the Terps have faced the Hoosiers, understands that it probably won't be as heated Tuesday unless the game goes down the wire.


"You don't know if you're going to play them twice during the year," Trimble said after practice Monday. "For us, in the Big Ten, every game is tough, so we don't know who your rival is going to be because it is so early [in the season]. We just know that when we play Indiana, it's going to be a good game every time we play them."

Indiana sophomore center Thomas Bryant, who has played against Maryland just once, said in a telephone interview Monday that he looks at every game on his team's schedule the same – whether it's playing in-state teams Indiana-Fort Wayne and Butler (both losses), high-profile opponents such as Kansas and North Carolina (both wins) or the Terps and every other Big Ten team.

"The media hypes up all the other games, but I look at [Maryland] as the next game going forward, and we have to get a 'W' for it," Bryant said.

Indiana coach Tom Crean has been very complimentary of what Maryland has brought to the Big Ten in its short time in the league.

Crean believes the fact that the Terps have finished in the top tier of the league in their first two years helped make the decision to bring this season's conference tournament to the Verizon Center in Washington more of a logical progression than simply a marketing tool.

"The success Maryland has had and is having continues to have to do a lot with things like that," Crean said during the league's preseason media day in Washington in October. "I think Mark is one of the best coaches, not only in the Big Ten, but in the country. …Maryland has been a fantastic addition to the league."


Longtime college basketball  television analyst Dan Bonner said Maryland has plenty of company in trying to establish rivals after the landscape has undergone such a major overhaul. The number of leagues with at least a dozen teams – 14 in the case of the Big Ten – has made it nearly impossible.

"In the short term, it's very difficult to develop a rivalry when you're not playing two or possibly three times a year, like you would in the old days," Bonner said Monday. "Any new team that has come into any conference, it's a hard time to say, 'Who's your rival?"

The team that essentially replaced Maryland in the ACC – Louisville – is going through the same trouble trying to gain traction.

"For Louisville, at the moment, it's Kentucky and it's a non-conference game, a team they play only once a year," Bonner said. "Maybe a bigger rivalry for Louisville than any team they play in the ACC is Indiana. They play once a year,  but there's some tradition there. Some proximity there.

"After Louisville's been in the ACC awhile, after Maryland's been in the Big Ten for awhile, you'll get a better feel for that. But I think Maryland has certainly established itself in the Big Ten. From the moment they walked in, they've been a factor, they've been a contender. That's how you build rivalries."