Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#835 Maryland 133 vs.
#836 Minnesota -1
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 9:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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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 over

Maryland 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.

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 win

Minnesota 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).

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Again, Maryland gets disrespected by the oddmakers. This is a very good Maryland team that has not played their best yet and is coming off a tough road loss, where head coach Mark Turgeon basically said Ohio State got some favorable calls. That's not to say you normally get favorable calls on the road in the Big 10, but the call on Cowan seemed a bit excessive. Still, Cowan struggled on both ends and stuff happens. He has the quickness advantage against Carr or Payton Willis, both solid guards. But if Wiggins goes off again, this could be a blowout.

Prediction: Maryland +1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Minnesota plays at the 237th pace, while Maryland plays at 262nd so neither squad likes to run up-and-down the floor or they do, but are forced to play at a slower pace. Maryland is a good defensive team that struggled in their last game, so expect them to bounce back. Minnesota has gone under in seven of their last nine games and four straight home games.

Prediction: Under 133

Half-Time Side Pick

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I'm going to go with Minnesota in the first half as Maryland tends to be slow out of the gates. They average around 33 points in the first half and 38 in the second half. Minnesota averages just 35 points per game in the second half. Take the Terps in the second half and the game and the Gophers in the first half.

Prediction: Minnesota pk 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!