Unfortunately for Marylanders, there wasn’t a single Maryland school in March Madness this year. On the bright side, Maryland sports bettors won’t have any home team bias when placing bets at any of the five Maryland sportsbooks.
Furthermore, there are still several Maryland natives on rosters in the Sweet 16 and vying for a national championship.
Nearly half of the remaining teams have players with ties to the Old Line State. Furthermore, a few of them are key to the team’s chances of cutting down the nets in a couple of weeks.
The lone Florida school remaining in the field, the University of Miami Hurricanes, actually rosters a pair of players who spent time in Maryland.
Marylanders on top teams remaining in March Madness
It feels mandatory to start this list with Duke’s Trevor Keels. The 6-foot-5 freshman guard from Clinton was one of the top recruits in the high school class of 2021.
The St. Paul VI grad was a McDonald’s All-American, on the 2021 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team and was the MaxPreps Virginia High School Basketball Player of the Year. Yes, he’s a Maryland native, but St. Paul VI is a private high school in Northern Virginia.
He immediately found his way into Duke’s starting lineup and was there for the first 17 games of the 2021 season. However, a leg injury against Florida State sidelined him for a couple of weeks.
After a couple of games serving as the sixth man, he rejoined the starting lineup for the last nine games of the season. But in the first two rounds of March Madness, Keels has come off the bench.
In his first season as Blue Devil, Keels averaged 11.7 points per game. He will be relied upon to continue to produce if Duke wants to cap off Mike Krzyzewski’s historic career as Duke’s head coach with a championship.
Aside from Duke, which is the 2-seed in the West region, Villanova is the only other top-ranked school with a Marylander on the roster. Like Keels, he is key to the team’s success.
Justin Moore is a junior guard from Fort Washington and a product of DeMatha High School. The 6-foot-4-inch guard started every single game for Villanova this year while averaging 12.9 points per game.
Like Duke, Villanova is a 2-seed. But they were placed in the South region. The Wildcats are set to go up against the 11-seed Michigan Wolverines Thursday afternoon.
Maryland natives with slightly worse odds at a national title
All three teams mentioned in this section were nationally ranked throughout the regular season. Their success landed them either a 4 or 5-seed for March Madness.
Unfortunately, that means they all face top seeds in their respective Sweet 16 matchup. As a result, I decided to slide them into this category.
Providence’s Jared Bynum isn’t a regular in the Friars’ starting lineup, but put up quite the stat line for a role player. This year, the Largo native and Georgetown Prep product is averaging 12.6 points in 27.5 minutes per game. Providence will face Kansas on Friday evening.
Houston relies on a big man from DeMatha Catholic. Josh Carlton spent four years playing for the University of Connecticut before transferring to the University of Houston.
The 6-foot-10 Carlton is a dominant force in the paint. The Silver Springs native started 25 of 34 games this season, including tournament play. He averaged 6.5 rebounds and 12.4 points per game over his 34 appearances with Houston.
Houston is scheduled to match up against Arizona Thursday evening. The Cougars will rely on Carlton to neutralize some of Arizona’s firepower. The Wildcats have four players who are at least Carlton’s height or taller. On the other hand, Carlton is Houston’s tallest player.
Arkansas’ Chris Lykes is a 5-foot-7 guard from Mitchellville that is one of the Razorbacks’ main options off the bench.
He is a transfer student from the University of Miami. He has a fifth year of eligibility remaining as a result of an ankle he suffered during his senior year in South Florida.
As a Razorback, Lykes averages 18 minutes and 8 points per game. Arkansas will have a tough task in their game against top seed Gonzaga Thursday.
Maryland natives with a long shot at cutting down the nets
The list is rounded out with Michigan and Miami. The Hurricanes have arguably the easiest third-round opponent of any of the teams mentioned. The 10-seed from Coral Gables will face an 11-seed in Iowa State.
Miami also has a pair of Marylanders on the team in sophomore forward Anthony Walker and freshman Jakai Robinson. However, they have some of the weaker ties to the state of anyone on the list.
Robinson was born in New York but went to high school in Maryland, while Walker took the opposite path. He was born in Baltimore but played his high school basketball in New Hampshire.
Robinson hasn’t seen any playing time yet this season. But given his pedigree, it will likely lead to a redshirt season.
The 6-foot-4 guard was listed as one of the top recruits in Maryland by Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN. He was also a top-100 prospect in the nation.
Walker contributes off the bench and averages 14 minutes per game. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged just 5.1 points per game but makes his impact in the paint. In the season opener against Canisius College, he blocked a season-high three shots.
Michigan is an 11-seed in the South region and will be up against Villanova. It’s the only Sweet 16 matchup where a Maryland native is on both sides of the affair.
The aforementioned Moore will likely be starting for Villanova, while sophomore forward Terrance Williams II will come off the bench for Michigan. Williams is a Clinton native and a graduate of Gonzaga College High School.
He is averaging 4.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 14.6 minutes of playing time per game.