Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Indiana
Maryland controls its own destiny in terms of claiming its first-ever Big Ten regular-season title, but very little figures to come easy for the Terrapins over the next week-plus as they try to accomplish that goal. Ninth-ranked Maryland looks to keep pace with conference-leading Indiana on Saturday as it travels to No. 19 Purdue in hopes of completing a season sweep of the Boilermakers.
Although the Terrapins appeared to be unraveling after watching their school-record 27-game home winning streak fall against Wisconsin on Feb. 13 and losing at Minnesota five days later, they earned a much-needed victory in Sunday’s 86-82 triumph against Michigan. The Terrapins trail the Hoosiers by 1 1/2 games, but they can guarantee themselves the top seed in the conference tournament by taking their next two games and winning at Indiana next weekend. Completing the first leg of that journey will be difficult, however, as Purdue is 15-1 at Mackey Arena this season and has won 21 of its last 22 at home. The Boilermakers have alternated wins and losses over their last six contests and will be seeking to avenge the first of those three defeats – a 72-61 setback at Maryland on Feb. 6.READ MORE: Officials Investigating After DC Pedestrian Bridge Collapses On Wednesday Afternoon
ABOUT MARYLAND (23-5, 11-4 Big Ten): The Terrapins are near the top of the conference in a number of defensive categories during league play, ranking first in blocked shots (97) as well as second in scoring defense (65.7), field-goal percentage defense (39) and 3-point percentage defense (31). Melo Trimble (team-high averages of 14 points, 5.2 assists and 1.3 steals) has 146 assists – the most by a Maryland player since Greivis Vasquez had 208 in 2009-10 – but has committed 18 turnovers in the last three games alone and is 10-of-48 from the field over his last five outings. Rasheed Sulaimon (11.8 points) has picked up the offensive slack, however, by going 30-for-57 from the floor and averaging 18 points over that same span.
ABOUT PURDUE (21-7, 9-6): While the Boilermakers have committed more turnovers than the opposition in eight straight games and shot only 67.7 percent from the foul line over their previous five outings, they are converting 47.3 percent of their 3-point attempts over their last six excluding a dismal 3-for-25 effort against the Terrapins in the first meeting. A.J. Hammons (team-high 14.6 points, 7.9 boards, 58.2 field-goal percentage) is the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 in scoring (10th), rebounding (fourth) and field-goal percentage (fourth) during conference play. Vince Edwards (10.2 points, 5.4 boards) is one of only four freshmen or sophomores nationally with 275 points, 150 rebounds, 80 assists and 30 or more 3-pointers this year.
1. Purdue, which has dropped both of its meetings with Maryland, can tie its school record for most home wins in a season (16; done three times) with a victory Saturday.
2. Sulaimon posted his only career double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) in the first meeting between the schools.
3. The Boilermakers’ reserves have outscored the opposition’s bench 887-417 and accounted for 41 percent of the team’s scoring.
PREDICTION: Purdue 72, Maryland 66