Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#641 Maryland 125 vs.
#642 Wisconsin -2.5
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#641 University of Maryland, College Park
#642 University of Wisconsin-Madison
13-3
10-6
7-9
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6-9-1
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73
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This article covers a past game!

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No. 17 Maryland (3-2 B10) takes on unranked Wisconsin (3-2 B10) from Madison in a Big 10 battle on Tuesday night at 9pmET.

Last season, the Terps beat the Badgers at home by four, but lost on the right by eight.

Terps a no-show in Iowa City

“We were bad, we stunk. I’ve been doing this a long time, and that ranks up there as one of the worst [games] one of my teams has ever played. We tried everything, we couldn’t get them motivated. We came off two really good wins, we played well, I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t expect this. ... Give [Iowa]credit."

Those were the comments from Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon to The Baltimore Sun after the Terps were brutalized 67-49 on the road on Friday night. Jarrell Smith had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and he was probably the only player who showed up. Sophomore wing Aaron Wiggins, an NBA prospect at the beginning of the season, went scoreless in 17 minutes. The Terps shot 4-of-22 from the three-point line and 33% overall, while turning the ball over 17 times.

What's perplexing about this 10-4 team (3-3 on the road), is their slow starts. This is a team that has been able to overcome them, considering they were on a three-game winning streak before the loss to the Hawkeyes. But they've been doing it all year, but players like Wiggins (10.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 35% FG) and guard Eric Ayala (9.4ppg, 37.2% FG) shot much better in their freshman seasons. Ayala shot an impressive 42.5% from long range last season (48-of-113) and is shooting just 24.7% (18-73) this season. Wiggins made 41.3% last season and has made just 28.8% this year.

But KenPom still has Maryland at 11th overall and 40th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Yet, they are 8th in adjusted defensive efficiency (86.2), which is why they are a dangerous team. They allow just 61.7 points per game on 37.3% shooting (14th) and 31.4% 3-point shooting. They also outrebound teams by 7.1 per game, though Iowa destroyed them by 10.

Badgers bounce back

Wisconsin may not be in the AP Top 25 or in the KenPom Top 20 (they are 22nd), but this is a very dangerous team right now. Wisconsin had one slip up in the last six games, falling at home to Illinois on Jan. 8. They came back on Saturday to frustrate a then-No. 20 Penn State (36 KenPom) squad 58-49 on the road. That's an impressive feat against a team that handled Maryland on Dec. 10 (76-69).

The Badgers bounced back as Micah Potter (6-10, 248) scored 24 points and grabbed 13 boards in their win over the Nittany Lions. It was a big game for Potter, the sophomore transfer from Ohio State, who averages 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds this season. Wisconsin shot just 40% from the field but held PSU to 33% shooting and 24% (5-21) from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin doesn't lack for size. Junior forward Nate Reuvers leads the squad 13.7 points per game and 5.4 rebounds on 47.6% shooting (14-47 3pt). Guard Kobe King (6-4, 205) adds 10.9 points overall, but is tallying 17.2 points per game in league play.

Overall, the Badgers rank 42nd in offense (107.8) in offense in KenPom and 23rd (89.4) in defense. They rank 20th in scoring defense (60.2ppg) and allow 40.9% shooting (33.9% 3pt). They shoot just 43.4% from the field and 33% from beyond the arc.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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A Maryland loss here would be tough with Purdue coming up next at home and two more road games against mediocre competition (Northwestern, Indiana). They may start out slow again, but they'll play better against a slower Wisconsin team that doesn't want to run. Maryland can play some methodical basketball, especially when they insert 7-2 Chol Marial to clog the lane. Anthony Cowan, Ayala and Wiggins will bounce back from bad games. This is the same Wisconsin team that lost to Illinois at home last week and fell at Rutgers. The Terps bounce back again.

Prediction: Maryland +3

Full-Game Total Pick

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Three of the last four games in this series went under. Maryland will try and push the ball when they can, but ultimately, this will be a low-scoring game. The Badgers can't win a game against Maryland in the 70's. That's why they lost to Illinois on Jan. 8. They gave up 71 points and hadn't done that in their previous four games, which were all wins. A loss on the road to Rutgers yielded 72 points. Get the picture? The Badgers rank 346th in pace of play for a reason.

Prediction: Under 124.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Even though Maryland will probably get behind as usual, they'll be ahead at the half. This is just a more talented team and much more athletic than Wisconsin. Smith is a difficult cover for big and immobile bigs. He'll have a big first half in the paint, on the perimeter and in transition.

Prediction: Maryland +1 first half
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!