College Basketball Pick
This may not look like an important Game in the Big Ten, but it is for both teams and for different reasons. Maryland suddenly has three losses in Conference play, while Iowa is struggling to do much of anything since being labeled the No. 25 team by the AP Polls a couple weeks ago.
The Hawkeyes had a nice stretch going, sweeping Ohio State and getting a win at Minnesota. However, with the hopes of an upset, they were swept by Wisconsin and lost at Purdue. Their non-Conference win at UNC may help them survive the committee when March Madness arrives, but with Maryland being the only ranked team remaining on their Schedule, they need a meaningful win now and the Terrapins would be just that.
As for the Terps, they swept Michigan State and had a nice 5-1 Conference record, but their road woes started to come through. Maryland’s three Big Ten losses are all on the road in convincing fashion. Most recently, they lost by 19 at Indiana and 24 at Ohio State. This may be their last chance to get a valuable road win in Conference play with only Penn State, Rutgers and Nebraska remaining. If they lose here, it’d be hard for them to warrant a Top 4 seed in the NCAA Tourney.
On the road, Maryland has just fallen apart on both ends of the cOurt. Indiana and OSU went a combined 25-of-39 from long range in those last two Games. Because of that, the Terrapins just couldn’t keep up if Melo Trimble wasn’t dropping 20-plus points himself (13 points in those two Games). If Trimble isn’t scoring on the road, this team is in trouble. Dez Wells is a good player, but he’s not the type of guy that’s going to catch fire and lead the team. Jake LAyman is probably Maryland’s most consistent player, but like Wells, isn’t a guy that’s going to win a Game by himself.
Maryland’s chances start and end with Trimble, which is evident when looking at his Game log. He’ll have a decent matchup in this Game, likely going against Mike Gesell, although the Hawkeyes could throw the bigger, more versatile Peter Jok on him at some point.
Iowa’s problem throughout the year is that they don’t have someone like Trimble that can take over Games. Without Devyn Marble this year, the team lacks real leadership and someone to take charge in close Games. Aaron White is a great player (15 ppg), but he isn’t the type of player to dominate opponents. It doesn’t help that he’s dealing with a shoulder injury either.
The Hawkeyes have a deep team with a number of guys that can shoot and score, but Jarrod Uthoff, Gabriel Olaseni, Jok and Gesell are just role players. Someone will have to step up for them to beat a good team. White and Adam Woodbury should have solid matchups in the paint and that’s where they should start against Maryland.
But if Maryland’s problems at defending the three-ball rear its head on the road again, then it might not matter what Aaron White will be doing down low, but rather how well Iowa is shooting the ball from deep.
Our Prediction – We rate this Game a toss up so will take the points with the underdog.