The Wisconsin Badgers open their early slate of Big Ten games with a tough first matchup as they meet with the 13th-ranked Maryland Terps Tuesday night. Maryland comes into this game 8-0 on the year including a win over Illinois last week. Let’s dive into this matchup!
Who (are the Badgers playing): Maryland
What (are they): Terrapins
When: 8:00 CT
Where: Kohl Center Madison, WI
How (to watch): ESPN2
Line: UW -1.5, total of 132
Series History: 10-7 in favor of Wisconsin since 1950
The Terps have been red hot to start the 2022-2023 college basketball season as they come in 8-0 and ranked 13th in the country. To start, Maryland had not been tested too much with wins over Niagra, Western Carolina, and Binghampton but the quality of opponents has picked up recently with wins over St. Louis, Miami, and Illinois. The Terps also beat Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten challenge but is that really an impressive win anymore?
Leading the way for the Terps is forward Donta Scott who is averaging 15.4 points a game. In addition to Scott, the Terps front court has another strong presence from Julian Reese who is averaging 12.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. Reese is also a strong presence on the defensive end as he averages 1.3 blocks per game.
In the backcourt, Maryland has former Charlotte guard Jahmir Young. Young is currently averaging 15.1 points per game after averaging nearly 20 a season ago. Young was one of the top players in the portal after last season and was a huge pickup for the Terps. In addition to Young, Maryland has guard Hakim Hart who is averaging 13.9 points per game on the season.
With four players averaging double figures, you can see why Maryland is ranked as one of the top offensive teams in the country. Coming into tonight's contest the Terps rank 12th in KenPom’s offensive efficiency rating. Overall, KenPom ranks Maryland as the 19 best team in the country.
What to watch for Wisconsin
Badgers on the glass: Maryland comes into this game with two very big and physical players on the front court. If the Badgers want to come away with a victory in this contest they’ll need to really hit the glass on both ends. On offense, getting some second changes points will be vital. On defense, limiting the production of Scott and Reese on the board will be key in eliminating second-chance points. If Maryland gets multiple opportunities within a possession they’re likely to find the bottom of the net with their impressive offensive efficiency.
The health of Chucky: Chucky Hepburn was phenomenal on Saturday despite going down with an injury. In the contest, Hepburn scored 19 points with 16 coming in the first half. That’s three straight games of Hepburn scoring 15 points or more. However, Hepburn felt a muscle grab in his leg during the 2nd half of the Badger's latest contest and was limited throughout the second half. I’d imagine a lot of adrenaline got him through the late stretch of that game, but it will be interesting to see how he comes out and how he is feeling in this contest with another tough guard matchup.
Come on back here tonight to chat things up in the comments as we get ready for the Badgers Big Ten opener!