CHICAGO — No. 6-seed Maryland men’s basketball looks to keep its postseason run going against No. 3-seed Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
This will be Maryland’s second game in as many days and Indiana’s first since March 5.
Friday, March 10, approximately 9 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: Big Ten Network
Streaming: FOX Sports
How did they get here?
No. 6-seed Maryland Terrapins (21-11, 11-9 Big Ten)
The Terps beat last-place Minnesota for the third time this season Thursday night, 70-54.
Senior forward Donta Scott, following an abysmal one-point performance against Penn State in the regular-season finale, filled the stat sheet with 20 points — including a tone-setting 16 in the first half — and eight boards.
Scott was one of four Terps in double figures against the Golden Gophers. Graduate guard Don Carey scored 11 points for his fifth straight performance of at least 10 points. Sophomore forward Julian Reese had 10 points despite being in foul trouble. Graduate guard Jahmir Young struggled but had 15 points, nine of which came from the charity stripe, on 3-of-13 shooting.
Maryland’s press was effective against the Golden Gophers, forcing 15 turnovers, which the Terps generated 19 points off. Minnesota freshman forward Pharrel Payne shined with 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting, but Maryland did a fantastic job limiting junior forward Jamison Battle (two points on 1-of-8 shooting) and sophomore forward Dawson Garcia (six points on 2-of-7 shooting).
Maryland didn’t quite secure the double-bye after losing to the Nittany Lions, but it is back in the conference quarterfinals for the first time since the 2021 tournament.
No. 3-seed Indiana Hoosiers (21-10, 12-8 Big Ten)
The preseason No. 13 team in America had an up-and-down season but are a trendy pick to win the Big Ten Tournament.
Indiana started the season 7-0, picking up a signature road win at Xavier and climbing to as high as No. 10 in the AP poll. By mid-January, cause for concern had risen as the Hoosiers were just 10-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten.
Head coach Mike Woodson’s Hoosiers quieted the doubts thereafter, winning eight of their next nine games — their only loss in that span was at Maryland on Jan. 31 — and cementing their spot in the NCAA postseason.
The Hoosiers stumbled a bit to end the regular season, though, alternating wins and losses in their last six games. Indiana ended the regular season with a 75-73 home overtime win over Michigan to clinch the Big Ten’s third seed.
Indiana’s regular season was certainly a successful one, sweeping the Big Ten’s best and hated arch-rival Purdue and securing five quadrant one wins. The Hoosiers avoided any bad losses as well, holding a perfect 10-0 record in quadrants three and four.
Indiana currently ranks No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 28 in the NET, presenting another quadrant one opportunity for the Terps.
What happened last time
The Terps convincingly beat the Hoosiers at the XFINITY Center in College Park on Jan. 31, 66-55.
Maryland won in spite of poor shooting; it shot 5-for-22 from deep and 41.9% from inside the arc. Young and Scott combined for 39 points, and Young hit three of Maryland’s five triples.
Indiana All-American center Trayce Jackson-Davis had a monster stat line of 18 points and 20 rebounds, but the Terps did a sufficient job of making things difficult for him. More impressive was Maryland’s absolute shutdown of Indiana star freshman point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino. Hood-Schifino shot a putrid 1-for-14 from the field and had four turnovers to match his four assists. Given the season he has had, which included a 35-point performance at Purdue, it is hard to imagine that Hood-Schifino is limited to that extent again.
Indiana veteran guard Xavier Johnson did not play in the first meeting between the teams and was ruled out for the season on March 4.
Three things to watch
1. Trayce Jackson-Davis vs. Julian Reese. A unanimous section to the All-Big Ten first team, Jackson-Davis is one of the best players in the country. The senior big averages a double-double 20.5 points and 11 rebounds per game. Jackson-Davis’ rebound average and his 2.8 blocks per game both rank in the top-six nationally.
However, Maryland sophomore forward Julian Reese has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple months. Having some of his best games against the sport’s brightest stars, Reese posted 13.6 points and 7.8 boards per game over the last 13 regular-season contests, both better than his regular-season averages. Reese, aided by Maryland’s strong defensive gameplans against dominant bigs, has proved he is not afraid to step up to the plate. Friday presents another chapter in that challenge.
2. The play of Jahmir Young. Maryland’s star point guard missed a lot of shots around the rim in a rare inefficient performance against Minnesota; it was the eighth time in 32 games that Young missed at least 10 shots. If Maryland is going to continue to survive and advance, it needs Young to be on his A-game.
3. Foul trouble. It did not matter against a team like Minnesota, but Maryland put itself in a precarious position in Thursday’s first half. Reese picked up his second foul before the eight-minute mark of the first half, graduate forward Patrick Emilien committed three fouls in the first half and sparsely used freshman big Caelum Swanton-Rodger had three fouls in three minutes. That certainly will not cut it against a team like Indiana and a player like Jackson-Davis. Reese, who committed four fouls Thursday for the first time since Feb. 22, will need to stay disciplined and stay on the floor for Maryland to have a chance.
The road ahead
The winner of Maryland and Indiana will take on the victor of Friday’s showdown between No. 10-seed Penn State and No. 2-seed Northwestern. Maryland and Indiana both have higher KenPom rankings than both Penn State and Northwestern, so the winner would surely be favored in Saturday’s semifinal game.