Maryland (4-1) at Northwestern (6-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 27, 9:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117) -- Evanston, Illinois. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Maryland 4-0, Northwestern 4-0. Away Record: Maryland 0-0, Northwestern 0-0. Neutral Record: Maryland 0-1, Northwestern 2-0. Conference Record: Maryland 0-0, Northwestern 0-0. Series Record: Northwestern leads 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: As part of the 14th annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Maryland Terrapins will take a trip to Welsh-Ryan Arena to tangle with the undefeated Northwestern Wildcats Tuesday night.
Four straight wins after a loss in the season opener has Maryland at 4-1 overall entering this contest. All four of those games came at home with the opening loss coming against powerhouse Kentucky (72-69) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Terps won't be on the road for long though as they will not play outside of College Park until Jan. 13 following this game.
There are no losses on the ledger for Northwestern. The Wildcats have posted six straight wins including a pair in the South Padre Island Invitational against TCU (55-31) and Illinois State (72-69 in overtime). With the two wins the Wildcats took home the title of the tournament as Jared Swopshire was named MVP. Northwestern will be at home in six of the next seven with the lone road game in that stretch on Dec. 4 against Baylor.
In just previous meeting, Northwestern came out with the win in a 66-62 decision in 1958.
A big second half powered Maryland in its 70-53 over Georgia Southern last time out. The Terps led by only three points, 29-26, at the end of the first half but then hit on 58.6 percent of their shot attempts after the break to cruise to the double-digit win. Maryland had a massive 49-25 edge on the boards which helped overcome a game-high 17 turnovers. Five players scored in double figures led by Charles Mitchell (13 points, 11 rebounds), who had a double-double off the bench.
The Terps are a balanced offensive squad with five different players scoring more than 7.5 points per game. Chief among them is Alex Len (15.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.6 rpg). The 7-foot-1 center has been an absolute force in the paint and has as much success scoring as he does stopping opposing shooters. Nick Faust (10.6 ppg) is the only other player scoring in double figures but has yet to find a rhythm, especially from 3-point range (3-of-15). Pe'Shon Howard (3.2 ppg, 7.0 apg) has not put up much in terms of scoring but has run the offense from the point extremely well. Dezmine Wells (9.8 ppg), James Padgett (9.0 ppg) and Seth Allen (7.8 ppg) round out the other scoring options.
Northwestern needed overtime to vanquish Illinois State to capture the South Padre Island Invitational. After Tyler Brown tied the game 55-55 on a 3- pointer, Dave Sobolewski missed a shot from behind the arc at the buzzer for Northwestern to send the game into overtime. A 7-2 spurt to begin the extra session gave the Wildcats enough separation for the win. Drew Crawford had a game-high 20 points, along with nine rebounds, but took 20 shots to get there.
The Wildcats have really clamped down on defense during its season-opening win streak. Opposing teams are scoring only 53.3 points per game and shooting at a 36.8 percent rate. Four different players are scoring in double figures for the Wildcats. Crawford (13.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Reggie Hearn (13.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) are the top options. Hearn is one of only two players on the squad to be shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. Sobolewski (10.2 ppg, 5.0 apg) is mans the backcourt, while Jared Swopshire (12.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) teams with Hearn on the front line. The Wildcats don't get much production from the bench with Mike Turner (3.0 ppg) being the top reserve in terms of minutes played.
Both of these squads are looking to prove the early returns of this season are justified. With Len on the inside it will be tough for Northwestern to get Hearn and Swopshire going, leaving a lot on the shoulders of Crawford. However, winning on the road is always a tough task, especially in this event.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northwestern 71, Maryland 70
11/27 10:35:42 ET