Maryland basketball’s 85-78 win at Minnesota in January seemed solid at the time. Minnesota was ranked 12 spots higher on KenPom than Maryland was, and the Terps hadn’t yet played Purdue, Northwestern or Wisconsin. This was probably the team’s best conference win so far.
Now, it’s notable for another reason.
The game was the most-viewed basketball game ever to air on Big Ten Network, according to a Tuesday release. Maryland’s win over Michigan State also finishes as one of the top 10 games in BTN history. Six of those top 10 games took place this season.
The game, while certainly being a solid win in conference lacking premier teams, wasn’t extremely remarkable at the time. It was a down-to-the-wire finish, sure, but so were many of Maryland’s other games this season. It was, however, at 2:15 on a Saturday well after the end of football season. Fans of either team didn’t have much of an excuse to miss it, and parties without a vested rooting interests could’ve happened upon it in passing and elected to stay for the end. I’m no ratings expert, though, so take those reasons with a grain of salt.
Another reason: BTN has only been in existence since 2007, and most of the conference’s marquee matchups aren’t actually aired on that network. CBS and ESPN claim a lot of the big games. Maryland’s matchups with Wisconsin and Purdue this season aired on ESPN and CBS, respectively.
Maryland next plays on BTN Friday night against either Northwestern or the winner of Ohio State-Rutgers.