Men’s Basketball: Badgers look to avoid sweep against Maryland

The Badgers were outscored 38–20 in the paint in the last meeting between the teams

· Jan 26, 2021 Tweet

Justin Mielke/The Badger Herald

After a minor setback in Saturday’s 74–62 loss to No. 13 Ohio State (12-4, 6-4 Big Ten), the No. 14 University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team (12-4, 6-3) travels to College Park Wednesday to take on Maryland (9-7, 3-6).

The Badgers look to rebound Wednesday after struggling to find any rhythm offensively in Saturday’s home loss. Wisconsin shot a dismal 40.4% from the field and often settled for contested 3-point jump shots.

Wisconsin hucked up a total of 28 shots from beyond the arc —only making seven in the loss. Expect the Badgers to emphasize paint touches and not settle for outside shots in Wednesday’s matchup.

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Wednesday’s game is the second meeting of the season between the Badgers and Terrapins. The Badgers squandered a seven-point second-half lead in the Dec. 28 matchup between the two teams as the Terrapins outscored Wisconsin 38–20 in the paint, and Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon frustrated Wisconsin’s offense by mixing up an array of defensive looks.

Turgeon alternated between both a man-to-man and 3-2 zone in the second half. The mix of defenses helped Maryland close their second-half deficit en route to a 70–64 victory.

Maryland’s victory against the Badgers ended a 15-game winning streak at the Kohl Center — a streak dating back to the 2019-20 season.

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It would be a mistake for Wisconsin to overlook this unranked Maryland team. While the Terrapins have double the amount of conference losses to wins, they are filled with promise. All three of Maryland’s Big Ten victories came against ranked opponents (No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 19 Illinois and No. 21 Minnesota).

Like Wisconsin, the Terrapins have postseason aspirations and currently sit as one of the “Last Four In” teams in ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s Field of 68. A sweep against a top-15 team like Wisconsin would drastically improve Maryland’s tournament chances.

A player to watch for Maryland is junior guard Eric Ayala. Ayala averages 14.1 points per game and has shouldered the load this season for Maryland’s offense. Ayala dazzled in Saturday’s win against Minnesota and scored 21 points on 57.1% shooting. Ayala scored 17 in his last game against Wisconsin and is the focal point of Maryland’s offense.

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It’s critical that Wisconsin gets forward Nathan Reuvers out of his recent slump. The senior forward led Wisconsin in scoring last season but has struggled lately, averaging only six points over his last four games. Wisconsin will need production for Reuvers to stave off the feisty Terrapins.

Tip-off for Wednesday’s game is 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.


This article was published Jan 26, 2021 at 2:59 pm and last updated Jan 26, 2021 at 2:59 pm


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