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Purdue

at

Maryland

College Basketball Pick

2/4/17

Maryland fans have been clamoring for more respect almost all season, but it doesn't come until you beat the best. The Terrapins still haven't faced Purdue or Wisconsin yet this season, the consensus two best teams in the Big Ten. Conveniently for the Terps, they only have one game against each of them. And despite having a great record, their best wins in non-conference play came against Kansas State and Oklahoma State, so it's hard to truly give this team more respect than it deserves.

Purdue may have more losses, but its potential is much more evident than Maryland's. For starters, the Boilermakers already beat Wisconsin and Notre Dame, two teams better than anyone on Maryland's schedule up to now. But playing at home, this is a game the Terps need to win if they want the recognition. They've already lost two games at home against Pittsburgh and Nebraska, so they aren't invincible. Purdue has been fine on the road, but do have losses at Iowa and more recently Nebraska.

The matchup that everyone will have their eyes on is Caleb Swanigan against whatever Maryland throws at him. Damonte Dodd will start on him, but the Terps will likely double team him when possible with Ivan Bender and Michal Cekovsky getting work as well off the bench. Another problem could end up being Isaac Haas off the bench when Purdue likes to put both bigs in the game. Maryland rarely, if ever, plays Dodd and Bender together, so it'll be interesting to see how they line up. The Terps have great overall numbers, but how much of that is because of their early schedule in conference play?

Maryland is almost the opposite of Purdue with most of its production coming from every position but center. Junior guard Melo Trimble is joined by a couple more freshmen in Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan, which have completed this team much more than a year ago. Then there's still knockdown shooter Kevin Huerter as well as a deep bench with Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens. And that's where the questions come for Purdue, in the backcourt. Similar to Maryland, the Boilers have numerous shooters with Swanigan included. The problem for Purdue once again has been turnovers as P.J. Thompson remains inconsistent at point guard. Maryland has been one of the better teams in the Big Ten at forcing turnovers through Trimble and Cowan, so that could make all the difference, especially in College Park.

To win this game for Purdue, it will require them to limit turnovers and have guys like Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline hit shots, while Carsen and Vincent Edwards limit easy looks on the other end. Maryland hasn't seen a team with guys like Swanigan and Haas all season so that will be something to look forward to as the Terps are actually one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the conference. If they give up offensive boards, that leads to open threes and put backs from Swanigan.

Playing at home, this is a game Maryland needs to win to deserve respect. The Terps have the backcourt advantage, but will that be enough against a better frontcourt?

Our Pick - Purdue by 12

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