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Inconsistent Maryland slips past South Dakota State

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Maryland powers past South Dakota State (2:54)

ESPN college basketball reporter Eamonn Brennan recaps No. 5 Maryland's 79-74 win over No. 12 South Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (2:54)

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Inconsistencies are hard to shake.

Case in point: Maryland. The Terrapins traveled 2,500 miles west for the NCAA tournament and there were their inconsistencies, right from the opening tip.

In a 79-74 first-round win over South Dakota State, the Terrapins exhibited the best and worst parts of their game, which is to say that they played like they have much of the season.

Maryland shot 51 percent from the floor, 39 percent from behind the arc and 89 percent from the line. That team -- which has shown that its ceiling is high -- is also the team that fouled two 3-point shooters when the game was on the line.

The team that lost five of its past eight games looked at times like it could be the Big Ten’s best shot at the Final Four. And at other times (sometimes even on an ensuing play), it looked like a team that was just thankful to be here (you know, how South Dakota State was supposed to look).

Their hot shooting coupled with bonehead plays and 13 turnovers meant that the Terrapins left as many questions on the floor as they did opportunities.

Like, how does Melo Trimble -- Maryland’s go-to guy -- foul a 3-point shooter with a minute left, allowing South Dakota State to cut the lead to two? And how does Rasheed Sulaimon do the exact same thing with 13.5 seconds remaining? How do they not learn from what is happening right in front of them?

How does a team that hit 6-of-7 shots from 3-point range during a nine-minute span follow that up with 30 percent shooting from the floor over the final eight minutes of the game?

How does a team with a clear height advantage win the rebound battle by only one? And not even outscore its opponent in the paint (20-20)?

Easy answer: It’s Maryland.