With a 10-0 conference record at home and a 1-9 mark on the road, no Big Ten team has been easier to handicap than Maryland.
But the Terrapins’ predictability is out the window on Thursday in Chicago when they enter play in the Big Ten tournament at a neutral site.
Sixth-seeded Maryland (20-11) will face 14th-seeded Minnesota (9-21) hoping to show it can win a conference game away from its friendly arena.
The Golden Gophers advanced on Wednesday with a 78-75 win over 11th-seeded Nebraska. Ta’lon Cooper made four of six free-throw attempts in the final 27 seconds to secure the victory.
Dawson Garcia delivered 18 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for the Golden Gophers, while Cooper provided 16 points and 12 assists.
Minnesota led most of the way and had an 11-point advantage early in the second half before withstanding a rally by Nebraska.
“These guys are warriors. They don’t shy away from adversity,” Minnesota coach Ben Johnson said. “They just keep showing up.”
It was an emotional victory for the Golden Gophers, who had lost 13 of their previous 14 games — including lopsided decisions to Maryland by 35 and 18 points.
“Third time’s a charm,” Garcia said of facing Maryland again.
The Terps used their superior quickness to overwhelm the Golden Gophers in the two regular-season games.
“They’re an unbelievable team,” Johnson said. “We have to go back and look at the film and try to figure something out.”
Maryland’s Jekyll and Hyde act crescendoed on Sunday when it squandered a 15-point lead in the second half, losing at Penn State, 65-64.
“That’s probably the worst loss I’ve had as a head coach,” Maryland’s Kevin Willard said on Wednesday. “I think the good thing is the guys were a little devastated.”
In the 88-70 home win over Minnesota on Feb. 22, all five Terps starters scored in double figures as Maryland hit 68.1 percent of its shots from the floor, led by Julian Reese (21 points, 12 rebounds).
They held Minnesota to 34.2 percent shooting and 14.3 percent from 3-point range in an 81-46 win in Minneapolis on Feb. 4, the Terps’ only Big Ten road victory.
“What they do defensively has caused us problems,” Johnson said. “They’ve got great depth. They’ve got veteran players who know how to play.”
–Field Level Media