How to watch Purdue vs. Maryland doesn't have the home-field advantage, but they do enjoy a 4-point advantage in the spread. The Terrapins were the big favorite in their most recent match, and for good reason. They steamrolled Rutgers
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon , whose team made just one field goal in the final seven-plus minutes, remarked afterward that it felt like the Boilermakers had six defenders on the floor down the stretch.
But give them credit, they took us out of everything. Serrel Smith and Ricky Lindo played just 12 minutes combined. Over the past two months, though, the Terps have grown up. Lindo and Serrel Smith have become fixtures in the rotation in that time as well, while Eric Ayala has emerged as one of the most outspoken members of the team.
When Maryland lost for the third time in four games earlier this month at Wisconsin, Ayala was the one who stood up in front of his teammates and challenged fellow freshman Jalen Smith. Smith responded by leading the Terps to a win at Nebraska the following game, finishing with his first double-double 18 points and 11 rebounds in conference play.
The 12th-ranked Boilermakers , have won eight games in a row and sit a half-game back from first-place Michigan in the Big Ten standings. Most of those teams have youth in common.
Maryland is the youngest of the bunch, ranking st in experience according to KenPom. The other is a sophomore. The Terps have allowed just one opponent to score more than 69 points against them over their last seven games, and that was against an Illinois team that mixed defenses and turned turnovers into easy transition points.
Purdue, which ranks 13th in the conference in tempo and plays man-to-man defense He gave his young team two days off after the loss at Wisconsin and did so again after the win over Nebraska.
Young guys are just getting better. They have good young talent. And with Carsen Edwards anything is possible. Fernando was at the center of that improvement as he spent winter break working on passing out of the post.
Towards the end of the month, though, teams started to adjust by doubling Fernando less. Michigan State and Northwestern both played him straight up, while Illinois extended its perimeter defense and switched between man and zone defense to limit post entries. Nebraska, on the other hand, had little choice but to double last game with starting center Isaac Copeland injured.
In other words, the Boilermakers will attempt to double Fernando in the post without leaving shooters open on the perimeter, a strategy that requires a cohesive defensive unit.
That will be easier said than done, though, considering the Badgers rank seventh nationally in defensive efficiency and Purdue ranks 68th.
Can Cowan break out of his slump? Cowan has scored eight points or less in three of the last five games after scoring in double figures 19 straight games to begin the season. He missed the majority of the second half against Northwestern due to foul trouble and finished with a season-low five points at Nebraska.
But hopefully, when he gets the opportunities he takes advantage of it. His biggest impact lately has been on the defensive end, most recently holding Huskers point guard Glynn Watson scoreless.
The kid can score. He makes tough shots over hands. You just do the best you can on him and play every shot as high as you can.
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Can the Terps make the easy ones? The Terps outrebounded the Boilermakers by 10 and had 16 offensive rebounds, but were outscored in second-chance points. Purdue, on the other hand, leads the Big Ten in block percentage thanks to 7-foot-3 sophomore center Matt Haarms , who has come off the bench in 11 of the past 12 games.
According to Synergy Sports, the only Big Ten teams worse at finishing around the basket in non-post-up situations are Penn State and Rutgers.