Happy New Year! Maryland men’s basketball rings in 2018 with Big Ten play, as the Terps invite Penn State to the Xfinity Center on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
This is the last of a six-game home stand, but the start of an entirely new reality for the Terps. Mark Turgeon returns to the sideline after his 400th career win without Justin Jackson, who’s out with a torn labrum, and Ivan Bender, who tore his meniscus against UMBC. Maryland’s on a six-game winning streak since knocking off Illinois in the back half of its two-game excursion into conference play, but has to regroup with only nine scholarship players still healthy.
The Nittany Lions also enter this game .500 in league play after losing to Wisconsin at home two days after beating Iowa on the road. Penn State has fielded a top-20 defense this season, in terms of defensive efficiency, with a top-15 block percentage and the fourth-best steal percentage in the country, according to KenPom. Penn State will rely heavily on their trio of Tony Carr, Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens, three sophomores who combine to average 45.4 of the Nittany Lions’ 78.4 points.
Which bench steps up will be a key storyline to watch, as Maryland looks for contributors to step up in Jackson’s and Bender’s absences. Penn State will give Turgeon his first look at what’s left on the board.
Maryland: 12-3, 1-1
Penn State: 11-4, 1-1
All-time series: Maryland leads 12-8 all-time, 3-1 since 2014
Odds: Maryland is favored by four points
How to watch and listen
Tuesday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m. (ET), Xfinity Center, College Park
TV: BTN - Kevin Kugler (Play-by-Play), Dan Bonner (Analyst)
Radio: 105.7 FM (Balt.), 980 AM (DC), Sirius 134 / XM 381, TuneIn Radio App (Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche, Walt Williams); WMUC Sports
In other news
Women’s basketball set the precedent, beating the Nittany Lions for the last Maryland win of 2017. Now the men hope to bring in the 2018 the same way.
With conference play here to stay, The Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus looked at what it would take for the Terps to make, or miss, the tournament for the first time in four years.
The Georgia-Oklahoma Rose Bowl turned out to be an instant classic, with the Bulldogs setting up an All-SEC National Championship game.
Alabama won the other semifinal in the Sugar Bowl, featuring not one, but two early Piesman 2018 entries by defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne.