No. 9 Maryland takes on Minnesota in a Big 10 matchup on Wednesday night from Minneapolis at 9pmET. The Terps are 12-4 in the Big 10, which places them in first place by two games over Penn State, Iowa, Michigan State, Illinois and Wisconsin. The Golden Gophers are 7-9 and fighting to get back on the tournament bubble. Joe Lunardi has the Terps as the No. 2 seed in the South in his latest Bracketology report.
Last year, these teams met twice with Maryland winning both games, including an 82-67 win from Minneapolis as a 2-point underdog.
Streak is overMaryland had won nine straight games before falling at Ohio State Sunday 79-72 as a 2-point dog. It's interesting to note that the Terps were dogs three times in that stretch as Vegas never really had confidence in this team and it's understandable, because their offense can be unpredictable. The Terps put up more than 77 points just once so they had to rely on their defense. That defense struggled in Sunday's loss to the Buckeyes, as they allowed their most points all season.
Right back at it on Wednesday— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) February 24, 2020
More work to do pic.twitter.com/Slnl5lyNIi
With 3:54 left in the game, star guard Anthony Cowan Jr. scored on a layup to cut the OSU lead to five as he fell to the floor. But he complained about not getting a foul call by kicking his legs on the floor and was assessed a technical foul, which was his fifth foul of the game. The Terps never recovered, although Cowan (10pts, 7 ast, 3 TO) and forward Jalen Smith (8pt, 7rebs, 3bl) both had subpar games. The Terps shot 45% from the floor and were led by sophomores Aaron Wiggins (20pts) and Eric Ayala (16pts). Maryland was outrebounded by five and allowed the Buckeyes to shoot 40% (10-25) from beyond the arc.
Smith (15.1ppg, 10.4rpg) and Cowan (16.4ppg, 4.6apg) have been exceptional throughout most of the season, so if they have normal games and get help from inconsistent players like Ayala (35.2% FG, 26.4% 3pt) and Wiggins (36.6% FG, 31.8% 3pt) they could go a long way.
The Terps are ranked 8th on KenPom, 30th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They outrebound teams by 4.5 per game and hold opponents to just 38.8% shooting (18th) and 63 points per game. Their Achilles' heel is shooting as they make just 41.8% of their shots and 31.9% of their three-point shots. They also rank 262nd in pace of play with 69.3 possessions per game.
Need a big winMinnesota had lost three straight falling at Penn State (83-77), Iowa at home (58-55) as a -4.5-point fave and Indiana at home (68-56) as a 5.5-point favorite. They ended the streak on Sunday with an expected 83-57 road win over Northwestern as a 4-point favorite. But the Gophers have still lost five of their last seven games. They have a respectable Net Ranking of 42, but are just 13-13 and 2-8 on the road. A win over Maryland would be enormous for their chances to make the tournament, but they have to keep winning.
In Sunday's win over the Wildcats, Daniel Oturu recorded 22 points, grabbed 12 boards and blocked three shots, while Marcus Carr chipped in with 18 points, seven assists and five boards.
Maryland's and Minnesota's offense is pretty similar. Neither team shoots it well, as the Gophers are making just 41.8% of their shots and 32% from long distance. Oturu (6-10, 240) is having a great season with 19.7 points per game, 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. His matchup against "Stix" Smith could be the key to the game.
KenPom has Minnesota ranked 31st overall, 45th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They allow just 65.6 points per game on 40.8% shooting (31.9% 3pt).
- 4-1-1 ATS last 6 road games.
- 1-4 ATS last 5 after a SU and ATS win.