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Wisconsin Opponent Preview: Maryland

How They Are Doing So Far:

Heading into last week Maryland was 7-1 in Big Ten play and looking like a serious Big Ten title contender. But after their loss at Michigan State, the Terrapins followed it up with a brutal home loss to Illinois. That game could come back to haunt Maryland when it comes to staying in the Big Ten title race. That has been the only major stumble in their schedule. However, the Terrapins have yet to beat any of the other top teams in the Big Ten, except when they slipped passed Wisconsin a few weeks ago. Now the Badgers will be looking for revenge.

 

Last Time Out:

Maryland did follow up their loss against Illinois with a win over Northwestern on Tuesday night. The Terrapins went down 2-0, but never trailed after that, cruising to a 70-52 victory. Coach Mark Turgeon was able to feed his big men and absolutely dominate Northwestern in the paint. Bruno Fernando scored 22 points and added a team high ten rebounds. Freshman Jalen had another very good game, adding 14 points and nine rebounds. Those were the only double digit scorers and they led the effort on the glass in which Maryland outrebounded the Wildcats 44-28.

 

Who To Watch:

Maryland’s frontcourt duo will not have such an easy time against Wisconsin. Bruno Fernando is having a superb sophomore season, averaging 14.9 points and 10.3 rebounds. However, last time these two teams faced off, Fernando recorded just ten points and four rebounds. Part of that was due to foul trouble, but Maryland needs Fernando on the floor if they are going to beat Wisconsin in Madison. Jalen Smith has been relatively consistent in Big Ten play and Maryland will need both of their man frontcourt players at their best in order to slow down Ethan Happ and Nate Reuvers and provide a little bit of offense.

 

Who Else To Watch:

In order to beat the Badgers, Anthony Cowan will need a big game too. He is averaging a team high 17.0 points per game and 4.5 assists. Last time against Wisconsin the junior point guard scored 21 points despite not being very efficient shooting the basketball. The Badgers had trouble defending him when he attacked the basket though and 11 of those points came from the charity stripe. Cowan is not the only shooter on the team, but he is the most prolific three-point shooter. Somebody must knock down a few outside shots or Wisconsin will have a much easier time focusing on the Terrapins frontcourt.

 

Prediction:

All eyes will be on this thrilling matchup on Friday night. Wisconsin and Maryland both have three conference losses and falling to four losses would, for all practical purposes, be too much to overcome as far as a conference title is concerned. The Badgers are playing their best basketball right now after beating Michigan and holding Illinois, Northwestern and Nebraska to just an average of 52.3 points. Maryland meanwhile is on a little bit of a slide, but they can overcome that with a huge road victory in Madison.

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