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Maryland vs. Northwestern preview: Terps look to bounce back against Wildcats

After a tough road loss to Indiana, Maryland plays one of the conference's worst teams.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland has a prime opportunity for a bounce-back win Sunday, returning home to face the Northwestern Wildcats. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage on the Big Ten Network and streaming on BTN2Go.

The Wildcats are 10-9 so far this season, with a 1-5 record in Big Ten play. They rank No. 134 in KenPom (Maryland is No. 21), and don't have a single top-100 win this season. Northwestern's only Big Ten victory came in their conference opener at Rutgers, and they've dropped games to Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State since.

Former Coach K assistant Chris Collins has been Northwestern's head coach since the start of the 2013-14 season, leading the Wildcats to a 14-9 record (6-12 in conference play) and a tie for 10th place in the conference. He was with Duke from 2000 to 2013, and this is his first head coaching opportunity.

Players to know

Tre Demps, junior, 6'3. The Wildcats' leading scorer at 12 points per game, Demps' two-point shooting has saved what could have been a very poor season for the guard. He's shooting just 29.5 percent from three-point range and 63.6 percent from the free throw line, but 45.7 percent on two-point opportunities.

Alex Olah, junior, 7'0. Northwestern has a legitimate double-double threat in Olah, one of the only big men in the conference who actually has a size advantage over Maryland's usual frontcourt. He's averaging 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season, and is also leading the team with 1.7 blocks per game.

Bryant McIntosh, freshman, 6'3. It'll be another "freshman point guard vs. freshman point guard" battle for Maryland this year. McIntosh isn't nearly the scoring threat Melo Trimble is (although he's averaging 11.9 points per game), but he's a very skilled passer who rates among the nation's best in Assist Rate. He's a pretty good shooter who plays a ton of minutes, and is in particular an excellent option from the foul line.

Vic Law, freshman, 6'7. Law has had a pretty rough time of things after signing with Northwestern as a four-star prospect out of Chicago. He's shooting just 19.5 percent on three-point opportunities (on 41 attempts), and while he's doing alright from close range (and hits the defensive boards pretty well), between his three-point problems and his turnover issues, Law still has a ways to go.


Holding on to the ball. Opponents steal the ball on just 8.3 percent of Northwestern's possessions, and the Wildcats have a good group of ball-handlers who don't often give away possessions.

Defensive rebounding. Between Olah and Law, the Wildcats have two of the best defensive rebounders in the conference. With freshmen Scottie Lindsey, Gavin Skelly and a number of other role players, they've got options off the glass available on the bench.


Taking the ball away. If Indiana's fast pace gave Maryland troubles, Northwestern is willing to slow things down. They play one of the least aggressive defensive styles in the nation, recording a steal on just 5.2 percent of opponent possessions (No. 350 in the country).

Getting to the line. Northwestern takes 15.7 foul shots per game (not a great number), and while they do well when they get there (74.8 percent), it's not often enough to be a significant impact in most games.


KenPom’s prediction: Maryland, 69-56. 91 percent chances Maryland wins.

Pete's prediction: Maryland, 64-52.