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No. 12 Maryland men’s basketball vs Iowa preview

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The Terps head to Iowa City in an attempt to pick up their first road win of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Maryland men’s basketball is riding a three-game win streak with its latest win coming Tuesday against No. 11 Ohio State, 67-55.

Now, the Terps hit the road once again and are set to face Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday night. This is Maryland’s first road game since its matchup with Seton Hall on Dec. 19 in Newark, New Jersey, and the team is still searching for its first win away from the Xfinity Center or Orlando.

These two teams met once last year, which resulted in a Bruno Fernando tip-in with 7.8 seconds to give the Terps a 66-65 victory in Iowa City — their first road win over a ranked opponent in 11 years.

While the Terps have won their last three games, the Hawkeyes have dropped their last two contests to then-No. 21 Penn State and Nebraska.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be watched on FS1.

Iowa Hawkeyes (10-5, 1-3 Big Ten)

2018-19 record: 23-12 (10-10 Big Ten)

Head coach Fran McCaffery is in his 10th season at the helm for the Hawkeyes and maintains a 184-137 record with the program. McCaffery is the third-longest tenured head coach in the Big Ten — behind Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Purdue’s Matt Painter — and has led Iowa to four NCAA Tournaments in the past five years. Most recently, McCaffery and the Hawkeyes posted 23 victories last season — their most since 2012-13.

Players to know

Luka Garza, junior center, 6’11, 260 lbs, No. 55. When talking about Iowa, one must start with its leading scorer in Garza. The Washington D.C. native averages 22.1 points per contest, which leads the Big Ten and is seventh in the nation, and averages the second-most rebounds per game in the conference with 10.7 boards per game. Garza, who is the only player nationally to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds, has notched nine double-doubles this season — tied for the fourth-most in the nation.

“We’ve kind of watched him grow up here in the area, and he’s been playing at a high level,” Turgeon said. “We just came off a really tough guard in Kaleb Wesson — it’s going to take our whole group to guard him.”

In last year’s matchup, Maryland played Garza well and only allowed him to score five points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Joe Wieskamp, sophomore guard, 6’6, 210 lbs, No. 10. After a freshman campaign that involved 35 starts and All-Big Ten Freshman Team honors, Wieskamp has picked up where he left off. The Muscatine, Iowa, native is averaging 14 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Last year, Wieskamp finished with the second-best three-point percentage in the Big Ten (42.4 percent) but enters Friday’s contest making 37.8 percent of his shots from deep.

Wieskamp, who was the only Iowa player selected in the preseason All-Big Ten Team, was not afraid to shoot the ball in his last outing against Nebraska Jan. 7. The sophomore finished with 21 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the field and 1-of-10 from deep.

Connor McCaffery, redshirt sophomore guard, 6’5, 205 lbs, No. 30. As the son of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, Connor McCaffery is a very good player for the Hawkeyes. The redshirt sophomore is one of three players — including Wieskamp and Garza — that has started every game for Iowa. He averages 7.3 points per game but takes care of the ball. Connor McCaffery currently maintains a 4.67 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is the best in the Big Ten and second in the country.

Strength

Offense. Despite shooting 4-of-33 from deep last game, Iowa has proven to be pretty good at scoring the ball. The Hawkeyes currently average 80.4 points per game — second in the Big Ten — and have one of the best scorers in the country on their team in Garza. The Iowa City team currently has the No. 5 rated adjusted offense in the nation, scoring 114.5 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom.

Weakness

Defense. The Hawkeyes are a great offensive team but struggle on the defensive side of the ball. Iowa allows its opponents to score an average of 70.7 points per contest, which is second-worst in the conference. In their four games against Big Ten opponents — including Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State and Nebraska — the Hawkeyes have given up an average of 80 points.

Three things to watch

1. Will the road woes continue in Iowa City? After starting the season 10-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season, the Terps continued their season on the road to Penn State then Seton Hall. Both games resulted in losses.

Maryland returned home to go on a three-game win streak but are now face a tough slate ahead. Five of the Terps’ next six games are on the road, starting with Iowa Friday.

“We’ve got to stick together,” guard Serrel Smith Jr. said. “We started to play a lot of individual ball when we started to go on the road, let the crowd get into our head. So we just have to block all that out, lock in, have the right mindset going into [Iowa].”

The team has been solid at home, boasting a 10-0 record, but has yet to pick up a win on the road. The next few games will show how tough this team really is.

2. Will CJ Fredrick play, and if not, how will his absence impact the Hawkeyes? Although it is unlikely, it is possible that CJ Fredrick — a 6’3 guard that shoots 50 percent from deep on 23-of-46 shooting this season — could play against the Terps.

Last game, the redshirt freshman did not see action and was seen in a walking boot and ruled as “day-to-day” with stress reaction in his left foot that he suffered against Penn State.

This could be the Hawkeyes’ second injury blow of the season as senior Jordan Bohannon is out for the remainder of the year with season-ending hip surgery.

Iowa struggled to make a shot from deep last game — ending 10-of-26 from three-point range — and could have really used Fredrick to help space the floor and make a shot or two.

3. Who wins the battle between a defensive-minded Maryland team and an offensively efficient Iowa team?

In their last two outings, the Terps held Indiana and Ohio State to under 60 points. Guard Darryl Morsell said after his team beat the Buckeyes that he believes the team’s identity is built around defense and getting into transition.

“On the defensive end — especially in the Big Ten — there’s a low margin of error,” guard Anthony Cowan Jr. said. “You just got to make sure you can stay locked into the game plan for as long as possible.”

But Maryland will face a tough test against the Hawkeyes, who are able to score the ball efficiently and have home advantage. On the road, the Terps allow their opponents to score an average of 64 points, while they only allow 58.7 at home.

This game could ultimately come down to how many stops Maryland can force to an Iowa team that averages 11.9 turnovers per game.

“Defense is supposed to travel, I’m hoping our defense travels to Iowa City and plays well on Friday,” Turgeon said.

Predictions

Vegas: Maryland -1.5, O/U 146 (As of Friday night)

ESPN BPI: Maryland has a 41.8% chance to win

KenPom: Maryland 74, Iowa 73 (Maryland has a 51% chance to win)

Me: Maryland 72, Iowa 71