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Maryland men’s basketball at Iowa preview

The Terps look to snap a two-game losing streak.

Michigan State v Maryland Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Following back-to-back one-possession losses against formidable conference opponents in Northwestern and Michigan State, Maryland men’s basketball’s season is on life support.

Sitting at 3-5 in Big Ten play and 11-8 overall, the Terps will look to get back on track when they travel to take on Iowa.

Wednesday’s game serves as a must-win for both teams, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Iowa Hawkeyes (11-7, 3-4 Big Ten)

2022-23 record: 19-14, 11-9 Big Ten

14-year head coach Fran McCaffery has taken Iowa to the NCAA Tournament seven times, and led the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten Tournament title in 2022, their first since 2006. However, last season’s win total of 19 was Iowa’s lowest total since a 14-win campaign in 2017-18.

This year, McCaffery’s squad has fallen below expectations, large in part to seeing five key pieces depart in the offseason One game under .500 in conference play, the Hawkeyes are coming off a 14-point loss to No. 2 Purdue, but won three straight before that.

Players to know

Ben Krikke, graduate forward, 6-foot-9, No. 23 — A three-time all conference selection at Valparaiso, the graduate transfer has been Iowa’s No. 1 scoring option in his first season with the Hawkeyes.

He’s averaged over 16 points per game to lead the team, and has scored double digits in all but two of his 18 starts.

Tony Perkins, senior guard, 6-foot-4, No, 11 — The four-year Hawkeye is having his best season yet, averaging 14.4 points per game. He put up 24 points in Iowa’s recent loss to Purdue, and leads the team with 30 steals on the season.

Owen Freeman, freshman forward, 6-foot-10, No. 32 — Freeman has been the best first-year player in the Big Ten this season, having been named conference freshman of the week six times.

He’s averaging 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, including a 22-point double-double against Nebraska on Jan. 12.

Strength

A balanced scoring attack. Unlike Maryland, the Hawkeyes have scorers up and down the lineup. They have four players averaging over 10 points a game and six qualified players shooting over 30 percent from 3-point range.

They’ve scored at least 80 points in three of their past four games.

Weakness

Defense. Iowa can score at will, but it can’t keep the ball out of its own basket. Allowing 77.8 points per game — easily the worst mark in the conference — the Hawkeyes have surrendered an average of over 80 points in conference play.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s defense vs Iowa’s high-flying offense. Per KenPom.com, Iowa has the 18th-most efficient offense in the country. Maryland, meanwhile, has the 17th-most efficient defense in the nation. Will the Terps be able to contain an Iowa attack which averages a staggering 86.1 points per game?

2. An opportunity for other Terps to step up. Iowa has allowed over 74 points in seven straight games. Might Wednesday provide an opportunity for the likes of DeShawn Harris-Smith, Jordan Geronimo and Jahari Long to take the scoring load off of Jahmir Young and Julian Reese.

3. Can the Terps bounce back? After two straight heartbreaking defeats, a third straight loss would not only demoralize the Terps, but also put them in a dire situation at three games under .500.