In case you haven’t heard, Maryland basketball plays at Wisconsin Sunday. The Terps’ matchup with the No. 11 Badgers is their second game against a ranked opponent this season, the other coming Feb. 4 against Purdue.
Those three teams are all tied atop the Big Ten after Wisconsin’s loss to Michigan Thursday.
Sunday’s game will be for either sole possession of first place or a tie at the top with Purdue, who hosts Michigan State Saturday. Since it’s the only Maryland-Wisconsin meeting this year, the winner grabs a hold of the head-to-head tiebreaker come conference tournament time.
The Maryland women play a similarly important game Monday night at No. 12 Ohio State. The Buckeyes beat the Terps twice last season, and are the only team that can hijack the Big Ten regular-season title from Maryland this year.
This game will almost single-handedly decide the Big Ten, which went to a 16-game conference schedule this year. If Ohio State knocks Maryland off and wins out, the Buckeyes will take the regular-season crown and the tournament’s top seed.
Of course, Monday’s game also matters on a national scale. It’s Maryland’s first game against a ranked opponent since the battle with UConn (Michigan wasn’t ranked when the teams met in College Park). A road victory would immensely strengthen Maryland’s resume, which has fewer marquee wins on it than that of most top-tier programs.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee will release another ranking Monday, so this game won’t factor into that, but it will surely have a huge impact on Maryland’s postseason.
In other news
Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig missed Thursday’s game at Michigan with a leg strain, and his status for Sunday’s contest isn’t certain. If he’s out, it’d be the third straight game in which the Terps’ opponents were without a key player (Ohio State’s JaQuan Lyle and Northwestern’s Scottie Lindsey).
Melo Trimble was really, really good at Northwestern.
Will Likely will be the only Maryland player at the NFL Combine.
Maryland baseball season starts Friday night in Florida. We’ve been previewing the Terps all week, and the Diamondback looked at the increase in local talent on the team.