Game Preview - Michigan @ Maryland
Michigan Wolverines (10-7) @ Maryland Terrapins (11-6)
Nuts & Bolts
Date: January 19, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: XFinity Center, College Park, MD
How to Watch: ESPN
Matchup History: Michigan leads all-time series 13-7
Last Meeting: Michigan def. Maryland 81-46 on 1/1/23
Betting Lines: Via DraftKings
Spread: Maryland -2.5
Prediction: Michigan 73, Maryland 64
Official Maryland Game Notes: HERE
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Head Coach: Kevin Willard (1st season)
Record: 11-6 (2-4, T-10th in Big Ten)
Last Time Out: Lost @ Iowa 81-67 on 1/15
Player to Watch: Jahmir Young
The Maryland Terrapins are one of, if not the most, erratic and inconsistent teams in the country.
Expectations were low heading into the season. Kevin Willard is the new head coach after a long stint at Seton Hall, and already is exceeding those low expectations.
This is a team that is 8-1 at home, but 1-4 on the road. The Terps started the season 8-0, have beat two ranked teams, but have also lost to two ranked teams by a combined 30 points. They’ve suffered both the worst loss in XFinity Center history and the largest loss in any game in 23 years (yes, those are separate games).
And yet, Maryland sits 43rd in KenPom and well-positioned to make the NCAA Tournament.
What awaits the Terps tonight is the beginning of a stretch in which they’ll play four out of five games at home. By the end of the month, we’ll know a lot more about Maryland’s chances to make the Big Dance.
Just 19 days ago, Maryland’s opponent, Michigan, beat them by 35 in what was the single worst defeat for the Terps in the 21st century. Maryland’s leading scorer had just 9 points, the team shot 26% from the field, was outrebounded by 19 and committed 24 fouls. Eight minutes into the game, Maryland trailed 19-1.
So why would Thursday night’s game be any different? In Maryland’s four road losses, its average margin of defeat is 17 points. Good thing for the Terps that they’ll play this one in College Park; the contrast in performance between home games vs. road games is night and day.
Maryland’s inconsistencies are largely due to the fact that the team is largely made up of transfers and young players. Paired with a new coach, there are a lot of kinks to work out, most notably sharing the basketball and playing together, which Maryland has not done (the Terps rank 345th nationally in assists per game, only eight teams are worse).
And yet, they’re right there in the thick of it with 14 games to go. If Maryland can turn a 35 point defeat into a win just 19 days later against the same team, it might just be the final piece this team needs to finally get into a more consistent groove.
Massive 40 minutes ahead in College Park.
Head Coach: Juwan Howard (4th season, 71-39 record at Michigan)
Record: 10-7 (4-2, 3rd in Big Ten)
Last Time Out: Won vs. Northwestern 85-78 on 1/15
Player to Watch: Hunter Dickinson
Speaking of inconsistent, let’s take a look at the Michigan Wolverines.
Under the direction of fourth year head coach and former legendary player, Juwan Howard, Michigan was once ranked as high as #20 this season. However, too many losses have the Wolverines out of the polls but still sitting ‘comfortably’ at 53 in KenPom.
Michigan has lost seven games this season and six have been by single digits. Essentially, Michigan has been playing A LOT of close games this season and I expect Thursday night against Maryland to be no different.
Hunter Dickinson is a BIG (pun intended, he’s 7’1) reason why the Wolverines are as good as they are. A defensive machine, he has led Michigan in scoring in 10 of its 17 games, and rebounds in 12 games, averaging nearly 18 points and almost 9 rebounds per game.
Maryland will have its hands full with him. After all, he scored a season-high 32 points and added 12 rebounds in just 28 minutes in the meeting 19 days ago.
Step one for Maryland: Contain Hunter Dickinson. A TALL task, but if the Terps do that, they’ve got a chance to right a 35 point wrong and get the season firmly on track.