Kevin Willard was quick to praise Maryland’s Julian Reese after the Terps’ close win over West Virginia on Thursday afternoon.

Reese led Maryland with 17 points and and 9 rebounds in the win. He also added 3 assists, which was tied for 2nd most on the team. But according to Willard, Reese has been playing at this level for awhile now.

“I think Julian Reese has been one of if not the best big man in the Big Ten Conference for the last two months,” he said. “And so anyone that’s surprised by what he did today hasn’t been watching us.”

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Reese started 32 games for the Terps this season and averaged a career-best 11.2 points and 7.3 boards per game in conference play. He’s 1 of 4 Maryland players averaging double figures so far this season.

Maryland is now 1 win away from its 1st Sweet 16 appearance since 2016. However, the Terps are likely to be big underdogs in their 2nd round matchup.

Maryland is likely to face Alabama in the next round. The Crimson Tide are a No. 1 seed for the 1st time in program history this year. They’re also the No. 1 overall seed for the entire tournament.

However, Alabama has proven to be vulnerable in certain matchups. The Tide have lost games to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tennessee over the past 2 months. It’s possible Maryland can figure out the right formula to defeat the Tide.

First, Alabama will have to get past Texas A&M-CC on Thursday.