Let's start with the big picture. Wisconsin badly needs a marquee victory, and beating Maryland would surely give the Badgers that. What will they have to do to upset the Terps?
The Badgers will need to contain the Terps' three-point shooting and shut down at least one of the Robert Carter, Jr./Diamond Stone duo. The Terps were in huge trouble against Penn State because none of their shots were going in from deep. Maryland likely won't be that cold from deep against Wisconsin, so the Badgers' defenders will need to get out on Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Jared Nickens and Rasheed Sulaimon and limit the number of open looks they receive. But with four capable marksmen from deep, that's easier said than done.
Stone and Carter are Maryland's second and third-leading scorers, and are doing damage inside very efficiently. But if they can harass Stone inside and tempt Carter into taking threes (he's only shooting 27 percent from deep), they'll have a chance.
Nigel Hayes is shooting 28.6 percent from three and 37.4 percent overall. We've seen teams with long, athletic wings and provide ample help defense give him trouble this season. What will Maryland throw at him?
Maryland will likely put Jake Layman on Hayes. Layman's been a pretty good defender this season. He has length, shot-blocking ability, and has increased his mobility since arriving on campus a little slow-footed as a freshman. Layman should be well-equipped to handle Hayes, who could also see time against Jared Nickens, who's not particularly known for his defense, and even Carter. Maryland mostly plays a man defense, but big men Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky won't be afraid to help out against Hayes, and they're good at altering shots.
Five players for Maryland average double-digit scoring, but which one do you expect to have the biggest day against the Badgers?
It's always tough to predict with this team. I'm not going to say Melo Trimble because he exited Wednesday's game against Rutgers with hamstring tightness, and even though the team says he's fine, I'm not expecting him to lead the team in points against Wisconsin. Instead, I'm thinking a big game is in order from Rasheed Sulaimon. Assuming the Badgers stick Bronson Koenig on Trimble, Hayes on Layman and have everyone help out against Stone and Carter down low, the graduate transfer from Duke could see a lot of open looks.
Obviously, Diamond Stone is the big story line for some Badgers fans after the Milwaukee product turned down Wisconsin to head out east. He struggled with some inconsistency early, but seems to be on a roll now, scoring in double figures in each game during the Terps' 8-game win streak. What has been the difference for Stone, and what trouble do you expect him to give the Badgers?
A couple things, really. First, Head Coach Mark Turgeon took Stone out of the starting lineup. He stopped picking up early fouls, and his minutes have actually increased. He's still only one of five extremely capable scorers on the team, but he's clearly gained Turgeon's trust on defense, which has helped his case to get more minutes. He seems like he can get buckets whenever he wants right now. When nothing else was working against Penn State, Maryland just fed Stone and watched him tally up points and rebounds until he finished with 39 and 12. He positions himself well to receive passes for easy dunks, and when in doubt, the Terps can almost always get him the ball on the block and watch him go to work on smaller defenders.