College Basketball Pick
The closer we get to the end of the season, the more Maryland looks like a legitimate No. 1 team. since losing at Michigan State, the Terrapins have won five straight, including two against ranked foes, Iowa and Purdue. Wisconsin is on a streak of its own and finds itself closer to the bubble by the week. Unfortunately for the Badgers, they have to travel to Maryland on Saturday and then Michigan State the next week.
Wisconsin may be playing well, but is it well enough to beat the Big Ten’s best on the road? It’s unlikely, but the Badgers can’t be overlooked. They took Indiana took the brink at Assembly Hall and have won two straight away from home (Penn State, Illinois). Of course, Maryland is a bit different than those other teams. The Terps are still undefeated at home and it’s unlikely they’ll lose there at any point this year. They’ve been challenged, but no matter what gets thrown at them, Maryland has been able to come out on top in College Park.
The first time these teams played about a month ago, Wisconsin put up a good fight in Madison, but Melo Trimble was too much in the end, hitting a Game-winning three in the final seconds. Maryland won that Game 63-60 and only got eight total points from Jake LAyman and Rasheed Sulaimon. Wisconsin played its Game and got production from the usual guys like Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ (46 combined points), but it still wasn’t enough.
The talent and depth of Maryland is just too much for Wisconsin, unless the Badgers can get a great Game out of Hayes or Koenig, which isn’t impossible. However, both struggled from the floor in the first meeting and Koenig has really struggled shooting-wise over the past couple weeks. Happ has been a big part of Wisconsin’s recent success, and a big Game from him will be needed for the Badgers to stick around. He finished with 25 points against Indiana a few Games ago and they ended up winning in overtime.
But what can Wisconsin do on the defensive end? Holding Maryland to 63 points or less probably won’t be an option on the road. Trimble dealt just fine against the Badgers backcOurt the first time around. Another problem is freshman Diamond Stone, who has picked up his Game a bit recently. Stone scored 11 points in 23 minutes in the first meeting, but now that he’s starting, bigger numbers should be expected. He finished with 16 points, 10 boards and 8 blocks at Nebraska last week.
Wisconsin doesn’t really have an answer for the big man and that’ll just add to their issues against Trimble and Robert Carter (13.9 ppg). Unless Hayes has another 30-point outing, the Badgers are outmatched at almost every single spot on the floor. It’ll take a gritty effort to win this Game, as well as a cold night out of Trimble.
With the Terrapins coming off a freebie against Bowie State on Tuesday, expect them to be fresh and ready to aim for the No. 1 ranking in the AP Polls.