The Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-13, 7-9) host the No. 9 Maryland Terrapins (22-5, 12-4) in a midweek Big Ten Conference showdown in Minneapolis at 9 pm ET on Wednesday. The visitors are coming off a road loss at Ohio State on Sunday, while the host ended a three-game losing skid with a victory at Northwestern.
This will be the first and only time these two Big Ten Conference foes play each other this season. Minnesota is a one-point favorite.
What to Know – Maryland
The Terrapins rode a nine-game winning streak into the weekend before falling on the road at Ohio State by seven. The top 10 team had not lost a game since falling by two points at Wisconsin over a month ago.
Maryland has a 1.5-game cushion in the Big Ten Conference standings with four games remaining in the regular season. All five of Maryland’s losses have come on the road this season.
Maryland is led offensively by senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr., who averages 16.4 points per game. Sophomore forward Jalen Smith adds 15.1 ppg while securing 10.4 rebounds per game to average a double-double. Smith also offers a presence in the post on defense, ranking third in the conference with 62 blocked shots this season.
The Terrapins are one of the best defensive teams in the country according to KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, ranking 10th in the nation and tops in the conference. Maryland surrenders 63.0 points per game and scores at 71.7 per contest. Those averages rank fifth and eighth in the conference, respectively.
What to Know – Minnesota
Minnesota will need to string a bunch of wins together to close out the season to have any chance of punching its ticket to the Big Dance. Even so, it might be too little too late for the Gophers who are just 2-5 against AP top-25 teams this season.
After starting the season 10-1 inside “The Barn,” the Gophers have dropped three of the last four games on their home floor, including a pair of recent back-to-back losses to Iowa and Indiana.
Forward Daniel Oturu is the second-leading scorer in the conference, averaging 19.7 points per game on 57% shooting from the field. The dynamic sophomore also leads the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots per game.
Guards Marcus Carr (15.4 ppg) and Gabe Kalscheur (11.5 ppg) add additional offensive scoring weapons to a Gophers lineup that averages 69.8 points per game.
The Gophers average 69.8 points per game on offense while allowing 65.6 ppg on the defensive side. Minnesota ranks 11th in scoring offense and 8th in scoring defense. KenPom ranks the Gophers favorably at 31st, while they sit a bit lower in the NET rankings at 42nd.
The Pick is In
Road teams have not fared well this season in the Big Ten Conference; however, we don’t think that Maryland will drop two in a row. There is just too much at stake for the Terrapins at this juncture. Give us Maryland +1.