The Nittany Lions are giving -3 points heading into the February 5th Maryland at Penn State pick. It’s one of those all too common Big Ten matchups where there’s value on both sides. PSU is playing well though, coming off a wins over Rutgers and Northwestern, a 4-point loss to Ohio State, and a home-and-home split with Wisconsin.
Maryland has upside too though, even on the road where they handed Minnesota their first home loss of the year in a 63-49 win on January 23rd as +5.5 underdogs. Penn State is 5-2 at home on the year though, and the early lean would have to go towards the Nittany Lions.
Maryland Very Up and Down
For what it’s worth, the Terrapins have run the gauntlet for the past month. 5 of the last 7 Maryland opponents are ranked in the top 25 and the Terps have still put up a 4-3 record over that span.
The stretch includes wins over #12 Illinois (66-63) and #24 Purdue (61-60) but otherwise Mark Turgeon’s team has dropped meetings with Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin in addition to wins over Minnesota and Division II Wingate.
The big question heading into the February 5th Maryland at Penn State pick is where the Nittany Lions fall on the spectrum of the Big Ten elite? The Nittany Lions are arguably playing their best basketball of the season right now, even off an 18-day layoff at the end of December due to COVID. the Terps have three players averaging at least a dozen points, but still have the 2nd worst scoring offense in the Big Ten.
Penn State Ready for a “We’re Back” Game?
Some struggles for the 6-8 Nittany Lions are excused, as the team was hit hard by COVID and had to take an 18-day break at the end of December. Since returning, Penn State has gone just 3-4 but there are things to like about the team lately.
The last time Penn State was at home they ended up stifling Wisconsin 81-71 behind big games by the PSU big three. Myreon Jones had 20 on 8-12 shooting, Izaiah Brockington added 18 and 9 boards while John Harrar made the most of his opportunities scoring 17 points on just 5-7 from the field. That was against the Badgers #1 defense in the Big Ten mind you, although Maryland does rank 4th in points allowed in the conference.
Penn State did look markedly worse in the rematch vs. Wisconsin on Tuesday, falling 72-56 in Madison as +8.5 underdogs. Jones had 14 points and Harrar added 10, but on just 3-3 shooting.
Free February 5th Maryland at Penn State Pick
The lean has to go towards Penn State here. The Nittany Lions have rattled off three straight wins at home, struggling vs. Northwestern (81-78) but beating Rutgers and Wisconsin by at least 8 points. The -3 line is going to get hammered for the home team, but Penn State on their own court is the play as the home team has won 7 straight in this series.
Penn State 71 – Maryland 66
Free Pick: Penn State -3