A pair of Big Ten teams that are on completely different sides of the spectrum in Iowa and Maryland square off in College Park on Thursday night.
TV schedule: ESPN2 – Thursday, January 7, 7:00 pm ET.
Arena: Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland
The No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes and Maryland Terrapins will face off Thursday night in College Park.
Maryland (6-5, 1-4 Big Ten) is coming off a tough road loss at Indiana on Monday, a game in which they had the lead for the majority but went cold in the second half and eventually unraveled completely.
Iowa (9-2, 3-1 Big Ten) squeaked out a 77-75 win over Rutgers this past Saturday, improving their conference record to 3-1.
In order for this game to be remotely competitive, Maryland is going to have to figure out how to score.
In the second half of Monday’s loss, the Terps went over six minutes without a single point, a stretch that simply cannot happen if Mark Turgeon wants his team to compete in the Big Ten.
Coming off a hot-shooting effort in the prior game against Michigan in which they went 13-22 from three-point range, it was somewhat shocking to see such a poor display.
One of the only positive takeaway’s for Maryland in their loss was the play of Aaron Wiggins.
The junior finally looked like the player that everyone has been waiting to see, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds against the Hoosiers.
If Wiggins can add to that performance against Iowa, the Terps might have a chance to hang around and possibly pull off another huge upset.
As for the Hawkeyes, it’s the same old story.
The National Player of the Year candidate dropped 25 points on Saturday, shooting an efficient 9-11 from the field.
He should be able to feast on Thursday night due to the lack of an inside presence in the Maryland frontcourt.
Maryland will have to match Garza’s size with either Galin Smith or Chol Marial, two guys that have the ability to get the job done, but could be overpowered by Garza’s mobility and shooting touch both inside and outside.
It looks like this game will come down to whether or not Maryland doubles Garza and forces somebody else to beat them. Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp are two guys that could have big shooting nights finding open looks from the possible double team of Garza inside.
As for Maryland, Wiggins being able to replicate his shooting efforts from Monday is crucial, but he is going to need help from somewhere else. Guys like Donta Scott and Eric Ayala will need to get involved early and often if the Terps want to have a chance at knocking off another top 10 team.
In the Big Ten there are no guarantees, so look for this game to be decided by a few crucial plays down the stretch.