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No. 24 Maryland takes on No. 6 Michigan from Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon at noon. Michigan slipped in the Net Rankings to eight after falling at unranked Penn State, 75-69 on Tuesday. The Terps (22 Net Rankings) were victorious over No. 12 Purdue on Tuesday, 70-56 at home. In the Big 10 standings, the Wolverines are tied for first place with Michigan State at 11-3. The Terps are in fourth place at 10-4, a half-game behind Purdue.
Terps get a marquee’ win
Maryland is 0-18 against Top-25 teams on the road since Mark Turgeon has taken over eight years ago in College Park. That’s a fact that Turgeon can’t run from. However, his team is a likely NCAA Tournament squad and currently a No.5 in the latest Bracketology report from Dratings.com. Beating a Michigan on the road or even Iowa on Feb. 19 would help their cause along with improving their Net Rankings, which emphasizes road wins.
At home, the Terps are pretty good, having defeated Wisconsin by four on Jan. 14, which was their toughest test to date. On Tuesday, they faced an even higher ranked team in Purdue, who pounced on the Terps early on. The Boilermakers led, 38-30 at the half as they went wild from three-point range. But in the second half, Maryland’s defense took over, leading to a 70-56 win. They held Purdue to just 18 points and forced their leading scorer Carsen Edwards to miss 11 of 13 shots in the second half. Edwards did finish with 24 and nine boards, but went 8 for 27 overall from the field and 3-of-13 from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers made just 7-of-33 from beyond the arc and 28.2 percent overall from the field. The Terps had five players in double digits led by freshman Jalen Smith (16pts), freshman Eric Ayala (15pts) and sophomore center Bruno Fernando (12pts, 12 rebs).
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) February 13, 2019
Fernando is the best player on the team, averaging 14.6 points and 10.7 rebounds with 1.9 blocks. He’s impossible to defend for most big men down low so teams have to double him. The key is junior guard Anthony Cowan (16ppg, 4.5apg), who has struggled lately with turnovers. On the season, the Terps are averaging 73.6 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting (36.6% 3pt). They allow 64.6 points per game (31st) on 39.5 percent shooting (16th) and 31.8 percent 3-point shooting (71st).
Road woes for Wolverines
Michigan opened the season at 17-0 but wasn’t really tested on the road save for a dominant performance at Villanova (73-46) on Nov. 14. They had beaten Northwestern by two and Illinois by 10 on the road before they faced Wisconsin on Jan. 19. That loss may have shown some cracks for the Wolverines, who rebounded on the road with a 23-point win over Indiana. But on Feb. 1, they were trounced at Iowa by 15 and after a win over Rutgers, fell again to Penn State, 75-69.
That’s not to say Michigan is in trouble at 11-3 in the conference and they are undefeated at home. But they are a likely two seed because of their latest woes on the road. Their loss at Penn State was concerning because they got behind by 13 at the half and fell by six, 75-69, despite shooting 51 percent from the floor. Head coach John Beilein didn’t even get to see the second half because he was ejected at the end of the first half.
“I haven’t been thrown out of a game since it was, I think it was ‘78, ‘79, so about 20 years before most of you were born,” Beilein said. “And you know me, I very rarely get a technical so I’ll deal with the league office going forward and see what I can do differently.”
Charles Matthew led Michigan with 24 points and six boards, but he fouled out and leading scorer Ignas Brazdeikis wound up with just six points in 17 minutes due to foul trouble. The Wolverines went 12 of 16 from the line, but the Nittany Lions converted 21 of 34, which turned out to the be the difference. Brazdeikis leads the Wolverines in scoring with 14.6 points, while Zavier Simpson leads in assists (5.9) and steals per contest (1.4).
On the season, Michigan ranks third in the nation in points per game allowed with 57.8 and is 21st in field goal percentage defense (36th). On offense, they average 70.6 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting (34.6% 3pt).
- 9-1 ATS last 10 after a SU loss.
- 5-1 ATS last 6 home games.
- 6-2 Under last 8 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I might have a different pick had Michigan beaten Penn State on the road. But coming off a loss, Michigan will be focused, especially at home from Crisler. They are a disciplined team with the size to make life difficult for Fernando. Jon Teske is 7-1, 260 with 55 blocks on the season, so he protects the paint and the rim. Michigan also protects the basketball and plays mainly zone, which can baffle the young Terps. Take the Wolverines and the double-digit win over the Terps.
Full-Game Total Pick
Another slow-paced Big 10 game, what else is new? Michigan ranks 333rd in the nation in pace of play with 7.3 possessions per game, while Maryland is 310th. Michigan is allowing just 57.8 points per game overall and 55.9 points at home. The Terps defense is also underrated, holding teams under 40 percent shooting on the season. Michigan is 7-2 Under their last 9 home games.