College Basketball Pick
It wasn’t that long ago that many considered Maryland to be a possible 1-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Terrapins have fallen down the rankings in recent weeks and things aren’t getting easier for them with road Games at Purdue and Indiana still on the Schedule.
The Boilermakers have issues of their own, namely an inability to win road Games against decent teams. They have now lost Four of their last five away from home, but fortunately, are in West LAfayette for this one.
These teams met at the beginning of February and Purdue actually had a lead with less than six minutes to go in the second half. And then nothing seemed to go right for the Boilermakers, who ended up losing by double digits, as Maryland closed the Game on a 25-10 run. But what Terrapins team is expected in this one? The team that closed the last meeting on a huge run, or the one that lost at home to Wisconsin and then at Minnesota? And even though they just beat Michigan on Sunday, they still gave up 25 points to Mark Donnal, who averages 8.1 on the season. For the Terps to win this Game, something will have to change for them.
In that first meeting, Melo Trimble was miserable from the field, going 2-for-12 and not making a three. He still finished with 14 points (10 free throws), but his shooting woes have been going on for a while. Once considered one of the best point guards in the country, Trimble has gone five straight Games without making more than three field goals. That is not a good stat for Maryland’s leading scorer.
The bad news for Trimble is that one of the Big Ten’s best defenders will be glued on him in this Game in Rapheal Davis. If Davis can stump Trimble again, it’s hard to see Maryland walking away with a road win. Diamond Stone can be a huge factor for the Terps in certain Games, but against this Purdue team, he’s somewhat limited. The Boilermakers can use A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas on him and both have a large size advantage. Hammons finished with 18 points and 10 boards last Game, which was one of his better road Games of the year. Even Haas put in 10 points off the bench, mostly defended by Damonte Dodd.
If Trimble can’t find his shot, the Terps will again need to ride Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter, who combined for 40 points in the first Game. Sulaimon has picked up his Game lately with Trimble struggling, but he’s still an inconsistent scorer. The same can be said for Carter, who failed to reach double digits in three of the last Four Games.
Purdue would be an easy pick to win, but the Boilermakers may be even harder to trust on the offensive end. Hammons is good, but help on the perimeter is often not there. Caleb Swanigan does his best, but he still has issues as a freshman. since scoring 24 points against Michigan State, Davis has just six points total in the last three Games.
The Boilermakers have been great at home this year and that’ll probably end up deciding this Game unless Trimble can find his shot. Purdue may run out to a lead, but this isn’t the type of team that can hold down leads due inconsistent guard play. Expect another close Game, but the Boilermakers get the edge this time around.
Score Prediction Purdue 76 Maryland 68