Wisconsin looks to continue their season-high winning streak of six games against #2 Maryland on Saturday at 5:30 PM on ESPN.
Maryland is also hot as of late, riding a five-game winning streak, including wins over Michigan State and Purdue. The Terrapins haven’t lost at home since joining the Big Ten last season. The first matchup between Wisconsin and Maryland this season came down to the wire, with Melo Trimble hitting a clutch three in the final seconds on January 9.
Projected Wisconsin Starters
G: Bronson Koenig (13.3 PPG, 2.2 APG)
G: Zak Showalter (7.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG)
F: Nigel Hayes (17.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.4 APG)
F: Vitto Brown (9.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG)
F: Ethan Happ (11.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG)
Projected Maryland Starters
G: Melo Trimble (14.4 PPG, 5.3 APG)
G: Rasheed Suliamon (11.1 PPG, 3.4 APG)
F: Robert Carter (12.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG)
F: Jake Layman (10.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
C: Diamond Stone (13.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
Maryland has been able to hang their hat on their defense all year. In the first matchup, Maryland held Wisconsin to 24-62 from the field (38%). On the other side of the court, the Terrapins went 25-48 from the field (52%). The large difference in field goal percentage tells you a lot about that game, whether you watched it or not. Maryland got easy buckets for themselves and made the Badgers work for everything, but the reason the Badgers stayed in the game was because they only turned it over 8 times, while forcing 16. When playing a team with the talent Maryland has, you have to be efficient and smart with the basketball. They were smart, but not efficient, and ended up losing by 3.
Defensively, it’s the same story as the first time around. The defensive gameplan starts with Melo Trimble. Although he is a good shooter, you have to make him shoot jump shots and not allow him to get to the rim. His quickness is tough to match, but Wisconsin will have to play solid gap defense to keep him from getting to the rim. Trimble was recently named to the Wooden Award top 20 list.
Maryland surrounds Melo Trimble with one of the most talented teams in the country. Rasheed Suliamon shoots 45.7% from deep. Jake Layman and Robert Carter are both large forwards averaging double digits. Center Diamond Stone has improved all season long, and he’s shooting 56% from the field while averaging 1.6 blocks.
The Badgers offensively will try to attack with Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ on the blocks. Happ had a rough outing in the last game against Nebraska, and Wisconsin will need the freshman to forget that game and play tough on the road, which could be a tall task. The Badgers have really done well with the swing offense over the last month, and will need to again to create mismatches. Getting Hayes in space against Suliamon or Layman would put the Badgers offense in a great position.
Bronson Koenig will need to bring one of his best games of the season, and Vitto Brown will need to continue his strong last four games, in which he’s averaged 12 points per game. Without a collective, strong team effort, the Badgers will not be able to pull this one off.
The Badgers have to win at least one of the games against Maryland, Michigan State, and Iowa. Knocking down Maryland right away would take a lot of the pressure off. Keeping Trimble away from the rim where he can create for others as well as himself is the biggest key for Wisconsin. If the Badgers can force turnovers, take care of the ball, and shoot over 40%, they will have a chance to win.