The Maryland basketball team is certainly flying high after back-to-back victories.
When they travel to face Wisconsin on Sunday, the Terrapins will have a chance to make a huge statement.
Maryland started off the week with a hard-fought 74-64 win over Northwestern on Wednesday. Melo Trimble had the best outing of his Terp career as he scored a career-high 32 points.
Coach Mark Turgeon said after the game that everyone “pissed off” Trimble for his less-than-stellar shooting the prior three games.
Trimble’s backcourt mate, Anthony Cowan, followed his lead and scored six of his 13 points from the free throw line. The Maryland guards were able to drive to the basket because they were also shooting the ball well from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats were forced to guard Cowan and Trimble and that was something that they struggled with throughout the contest.
The Terps also had success in the rebounding department. Maryland had a 40-31 advantage, including nine boards on the offensive glass.
Keys to the game
1.) Force Wisconsin to shoot from the perimeter – The Badgers rank 11th in the Big Ten in terms of three-point shooting percentage (.347). Vitto Brown, Ethan Happ, and Nigel Hayes definitely can’t be counted on to make threes. Bronson Koenig shots 38.9 percent from beyond the arc, but it’s still up in the air if he’ll play on Sunday. Maryland is a very strong defensive team, so look for the Terps to clog the lane and force the Badgers to beat them with their jump shooting.
2.) Make life difficult for Happ – Wisconsin big man Ethan Happ has been one of the most impressive players in the conference all year. However, he likes to score around the basket and doesn’t have a ton of range. This isn’t a big man that is going to step out and hoist up a few threes night in and night out. Happ is coming off a 22-point performance against Michigan, but he was one of only two Badgers to score in double figures. Minimizing the damage that Happ does will go a long way towards deciding the outcome of this game.
3.) Drive to the basket – Maryland had a ton of success attacking the rim against Northwestern. Cowan and Trimble drove to the basket with ease and got to the free throw line often against the Wildcats. The dynamic duo was responsible for 12 of the Terps 17 free throw attempts. That’s always been a huge part of Trimble’s game and they’ll need it against the Badgers.
This game features two teams that are at two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their recent play. Wisconsin has lost back-to-back games against Northwestern and Michigan while Maryland has beaten Ohio State and Northwestern over the last week. With first place in the Big Ten on the line, it’s certainly going to be a dogfight in Madison.
This may be Maryland’s toughest game remaining on the schedule. The Terps are going to need excellent guard play much like they got against the Wildcats. This is going to be a game with an NCAA Tournament type of atmosphere. It’s going to be down to the wire, but Maryland wins 67-63.