Which Maryland College Basketball Teams Are 2021-22 NCAA D-1 Contenders?

Posted on November 9, 2021 - Last Updated on February 16, 2022

The 2021-22 hoops season tips off on Tuesday and there will be plenty of local action thanks to an abundance of NCAA Division I Maryland college basketball teams.

As the state gears up for legal MD sports betting, Marylanders still can’t technically place a legal wager in the Old Line State. Instead, when it comes to betting on Maryland college basketball teams, you’ll need to cross borders, likely until at least early 2022 (more on that below).

When that legal sports wagering does arrive, though, which MD teams could excel this season? Who can bounce back from the COVID-battered 2020-21 season?

We’ve got season previews and the latest odds for all of the contenders.

Maryland college basketball team previews

Although NCAA Division I has just 150 football teams, there are more than 350 D-1 basketball programs.

In the state of Maryland alone, there are nine such programs, including the University of Maryland, the Naval Academy and Loyola University of Maryland.

Let’s look at the 2021-22 expectations for each team.

University of Maryland

Conference: Big Ten
Last season: 17-14 (9-11 Big Ten)
Finish: Lost to Alabama 96-77 in second round of NCAA Tournament
Odds to win Big Ten conference: +1200 (BetRivers Sportsbook app)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: +4000 (BetRivers)
Season wins total: 23.0 (WynnBet)

Season preview: The No. 21-ranked Maryland Terrapins have high expectations ahead of the 2021-22 season following a loss in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament to Alabama. However, those expectations will have to be met without senior guard Darryl Morsell, who transferred to Marquette for his fifth season. The Terps will undoubtedly miss the presence of the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, who averaged nine points per game, four rebounds and a team-high 2.8 assists last season.

Maryland looks to be a contender in the Big Ten under the leadership of senior guard Eric Ayala. He led the team in scoring (15.1 ppg) last season, and CBS Sports recently ranked him the No. 22 overall player. Junior forward Donta Scott is also looking to add more feats to his resume after leading the team in rebounds last season (5.9 per game). Scott’s added presence beyond the arc, shooting 43.8% from 3-point range last season, will be something to look out for heading into this season.

The Terps have won 44 consecutive home openers and are 8-2 overall in season openers under head coach Mark Turgeon. They’ll look to continue this record on Tueday against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. It’s their first home game in front of fans since March 2020.

Loyola University of Maryland

Conference: Patriot League
Last season: 6-11 (4-10 Patriot)
Finish: Lost to Colgate 85-72  in Patriot League Championship
Odds to win Patriot League Conference: +700 (BetRivers)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: After an upsetting loss in the Patriot League Championship game last season, the Loyola Greyhounds are looking for vengeance this season. Unfortunately, that fight for revenge will come without star forward Santi Aldama, whom the Memphis Grizzlies selected in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft. Last season, Aldama was one of two players in NCAA Division I to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. His role will be hard to replace this season.

However, four starters from last year’s team will be returning, including senior guard Jaylin Andrews. He led the team in scoring last season with 11.6 points per game. Junior forward Golden Dike will also be making his return after leading the team in rebounds, averaging 6.2 per game as a sophomore. This season will also serve as a fresh start for junior guard Cam Spencer, who made his season debut late in the season after recovering from hip surgery. Spencer’s return came just in time for the Greyhounds’ run in the conference tournament as he averaged 10.2 points per game. In Tuesday’s opener, their season tips off against the No. 19 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, who are heavy favorites.

UMBC Retrievers

Conference: America East
Last season: 14-6 (10-4 America East)
Finish: Lost to UMass Lowell 79-77 in America East Semifinals
Odds to win America East Conference: +4000 (BetRivers)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: The UMBC Retrievers are coming off of a historic 2020-2021 season after earning their first America East regular-season title. However, this season will look a bit different under the leadership of newly hired head coach Jim Ferry. When former head coach Ryan Odom departed from UMBC to coach Utah State, two of the team’s leading scorers went with him. Guard RJ Eytle-Rock, who led the team in scoring last season with 14.3 points per game, and forward Brandon Horvath, who averaged 13.1 points per game and led the team in rebounds, both transferred to Utah, leaving the Retrievers to pick up the pieces. They’ll have to lean on a slew of veterans, including Darnell Rogers. He started 20 games last season while averaging 9.8 points per game and shooting 40% from beyond the arc. The Retrievers’ season tips off on Tuesday on the road against UMass.

Towson Tigers

Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Last season: 4-14 (3-9 CAA)
Finish: Lost to Elon 69-48 in First Round of CAA Tournament
Odds to win Colonial Athletic Association Conference: +5000 (BetRivers)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: After a disappointing 2020-2021 campaign, the Towson Tigers have nothing to lose heading into the 2021-2022 season. The Tigers will be without guard Zane Martin, who led the team in scoring last season with 16.5 points per game. Martin took his talents overseas and signed with the Köping Stars in Sweden. To make up for that loss, the Tigers made a huge move during the offseason by adding America East All-Conference guard Antonio Rizzuto to their roster. Rizzuto is coming off of a strong season with the Albany Great Danes, averaging 12.5 points per game and shooting 42% from the field. Rizzuto’s offensive dominance should pair well with the return of Nicholas Timberlake, who averaged 12.1 points per game last season. The Tigers’ season tips off on the road on Tuesday against Rizzuto’s former team, the University at Albany.

Navy Midshipmen

Conference: Patriot League
Last season: 15-3 (12-1 Patriot)
Finish: Lost to Loyola 76-68 in Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals
Odds to win Patriot League Conference: +300 (BetRivers)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: All eyes are on the Navy Midshipmen after nearly going undefeated in conference play last year and earning the overall No. 1 seed in the Patriot League tournament. Heading into the 2021-2022 season, all of Navy’s starters from last season are returning except for leading scorer Cam Davis (17.1 points per game). Under the veteran leadership of guard John Carter and Greg Summers, this familiar-look team has all the experience needed to make another run for the Patriot League title. On Tuesday the Midshipmen tip off their season on the road against the No. 25 ranked Virginia Cavaliers.

Morgan State Bears

Conference: MEAC
Last season: 14-8 (7-5 MEAC)
Finish: Lost to Norfolk 71-63 in MEAC Tournament Championship
Odds to win MEAC Conference: n/a
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: An appearance in the MEAC Championship is simply not enough for the Morgan State Bears. To win the MEAC title means an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, a feat the Bears haven’t accomplished since 2010. This season, their fate lies on the shoulders of the veterans of this team, including junior forward De’Torrion Wade. In the 22 games he played last season, he started only two, yet his impact was immediate. He averaged 17.2 points per game with 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Senior forward Lagio Grantsaan will also need to make an immediate impact coming off of a season averaging 10 points per game and five rebounds. The departure of forward Troy Baxton Jr. to the Chicago Bulls will also leave the Bears to fill in more gaps on the floor. He averaged 15.5 points and 4.4 boards per game last season.  That test starts on Tuesday at home against the St. Mary’s Seahawks.

Coppin State Eagles

Conference: MEAC
Last season: 9-13 (8-4 MEAC)
Finish: Lost to Morgan State 82-61 in MEAC Tournament Semifinals
Odds to win MEAC Conference: n/a
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: Much like the Morgan State Bears, the Coppin State Eagles know what’s at stake this season. But unlike the Bears, this team is a much younger group. The Eagles lost three of their starters during the offseason, including the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. The talented Anthony Tarke made his way to the NBA’s G League. Other key departures include guard Koby Thomas and Dejuan Clayton. But with the return of the reigning MEAC Rookie of the Year Nendah Turke and MEAC three-point scoring leader Kyle Cardaci, this team may have what it takes to go far in the conference tournament. The Eagles tip off their season on Tuesday on the road against Loyola Chicago.

Mount St. Mary’s University

Conference: Northeast
Last season: 12-11 (9-7 NEC)
Finish: Lost to Texas Southern 60-52 in NCAA First Four
Odds to win Northeast Conference: +500 (BetRivers)
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: This Mount St. Mary’s team is coming off of an exciting season winning the NEC tournament and earning their sixth NCAA Division I Tournament bid. But the excitement doesn’t stop there for this team. Last season, the Mount finished 14th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 62.2 points per game. That feat was led by forward Nano Opoku, who was named NEC Defensive Player of the Year. Thankfully this team won’t look too different this season. Three of their starters are returning, including Opoku along with Malik Jefferson and Mezie Offorium. With familiar faces in familiar places, this team is certainly a contender to watch for in the NEC. Their season tips off on Tuesday against No. 4 ranked Villanova Wildcats.

Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks

Conference: MEAC
Last season: n/a
Finish: opted out of season due to COVID-19
Odds to win MEAC Conference: n/a
Odds to win NCAA national championship: n/a
Season wins total: n/a

Season preview: After opting out of the 2020-2021 season due to COVID-19 restrictions, this Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks team is hungry to get back on the floor. Only two players from the Hawks’ 2019-20 season are returning this season: juniors Da’Shawn Phillip and Kevin Voyles. Phillip was a member of the MEAC All-Rookie Team during that season. And it’s safe to say Voyles’ numbers weren’t too eye-opening. With pretty much a fresh roster, the Hawks are starting from scratch. And after taking a year off, few expect expect them to be much of a contender in the MEAC. But on the contrary, that could add more to the fire of Zion Styles, Nathanial Pollard Jr., Donchevell “Tuka” Nugent, Mike Mensah and Mayowa Akinsanya, who all missed out on last season due to COVID-19. Their campaign starts on Tuesday against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks.

When can I place my sports bets in Maryland?

Although sports betting is technically legal in Maryland, it could take another year for sportsbooks to be up and running in the state.

Last week the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission approved licenses for five of the six Maryland casinos. However, after a vote to request more information from these casinos, progress will be delayed until the next Sports Wagering Application Review Committee meeting on Nov. 18.

So what does this mean for sports bettors and Maryland college basketball?

If a decision is reached at SWARC’s next meeting, then retail sportsbooks (i.e. in-person betting at casinos) could be up and running as soon as early next year. Online wagering, though, could months beyond that. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, Maryland sports bettors will need to travel to a state with legal sports betting to place a wager. The good news? Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and Delaware (retail only) all offer legal sports betting.

Photo by AP / Michael Conroy
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Chelsea T. Johnson

Chelsea Johnson is a seasoned journalist with experience working as a reporter for WJAC-TV, 105.7 The Fan WJZ-FM, and FOX Sports Radio in Washington, DC. Her work also includes making an impact in the top newsrooms in the country at WBAL-TV in Baltimore and ESPN in Bristol, CT.

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