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Maryland vs. Northwestern Big Ten Tournament Preview: What's at stake?

Maryland vs. Northwestern Big Ten Tournament Preview: What's at stake?

The Maryland Terrapins make their postseason debut on Friday night when they take on the Northwestern Wildcats in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament.

The No. 3-seed Terps (24-7, 12-6) take on the No. 6-seed Wildcats (22-10, 10-8) in a matchup between two teams in great positions to receive at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Maryland vs. Northwestern How to Watch

What: Quarterfinals of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament

Where: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.

When: 9:00 p.m. ET (Pending the finish of the preceding game)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

Online Stream: BTN2Go

Bracket: Big Ten Tournament Bracket

Maryland vs. Northwestern Preview

Players to Watch: 
Maryland: Melo Trimble — 16.9 ppg, 3.7 apg, 43.8 FG% | Justin Jackson — 10.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 44 3P% | Anthony Cowan — 10.4 ppg, 3.7 apg, 1.2 spg
Northwestern: Bryant McIntosh — 14.5 ppf, 5.3 apg, 39.8 FG% | Scottie Lindsey — 14.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 42 FG% | Vic Law —12.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 39 3P%

Previous Matchup: Maryland defeated Northwestern 74-64 in Evanston, Ill on Feb. 15 thanks to a career-high 32 points from Melo Trimble. The Wildcats played without Scottie Lindsey, who missed his fourth straight game due to illness. The Terps would go on to lose their next three games following the biggest road win of the season.

What's at Stake: The winner will go on to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals to face the winner of the No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Indiana game. The semifinal will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.

NCAA Tournament Implications: Both Maryland and Northwestern will garner at-large bids thanks to their strong resume and strength of schedule. This will be Northwestern's first-ever tournament appearance and is the only high-major program to never make an NCAA Tournament. Maryland is in the No. 4-7 seed range depending on their play in the Big Ten Tournament. Northwestern is expected to receive a seed somewhere between No. 8 and No. 10.

Maryland vs. Northwestern Betting Odds/Line/Spread

Line: Maryland -1.5

Over/Under: 134.5

Money Line: Maryland -125, Northwestern +105

ATS: The Terps are 17-12-1 against the spread this season. Maryland is 13-5 as the favorites and 3-0 on a neutral court. Northwestern is 19-11 against the spread. The Wildcats are 5-6 as the underdog and is 3-1 on neutral court.

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

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Defense finally shows up for Maryland in rout of Oakland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Darryl Morsell led a balanced attack with 14 points, and No. 7 Maryland used a strong defensive effort to power past Oakland 80-50 Saturday.

Anthony Cowan Jr. contributed 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Terrapins, Aaron Wiggins scored 10 and Jalen Smith added eight points and seven rebounds.

After opening with lopsided victories at home against Holy Cross and Rhode Island, Maryland is off a 3-0 start for the sixth year in a row. The Terps are 33-6 at home over the past two-plus seasons.

Xavier Hill-Mais led Oakland (3-2) with 18 points. The Golden Grizzlies shot 36.5%, were outrebounded 40-30 and went 6 for 15 at the foul line.

The Terrapins used layups by Smith and Morsell to turn a 35-22 halftime lead into a 17-point cushion. Minutes later, Morsell contributed a pair of 3-pointers to a 12-3 run that made it 56-31 with 12:28 left.

Morsell, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, went 6 for 8 from the field and had seven rebounds in only 21 minutes.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon used 15 players, nine of them for at least 10 minutes, and 13 different players scored.

The Golden Grizzlies broke to an early 16-12 lead and trailed only 24-22 before Maryland finished the first half with an 11-0 run -- including a dunk by Smith and a 3-pointer by Wiggins at the buzzer.

Oakland shot 37% from the floor before halftime, missing eight of nine from beyond the arc.

BIG PICTURE

Oakland made it interesting at the outset but withered under the weight of Maryland's depth. The Golden Grizzlies have 10 new players from last season, so need games like this to get ready for Horizon League play.

Maryland has far too much depth, height and talent for the opposition in these early mismatches. If there's any flaw worth noting, it's that the Terrapins have started slowly in each game before pulling away.

UP NEXT

Oakland: Hosts Hartford on Monday night.

Maryland: Continues its season-opening, five-game homestand against Fairfield on Tuesday night. In the only previous meeting, the Terps beat the Stags 71-42 in 2009.

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

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Jalen Smith bookends play with a block and alley-oop dunk

Maryland forward Jalen Smith has been the Terps’ leading scorer in the early goings of this season, topping the box scores in each of the team’s first two victories

Against Oakland on Saturday, the sophomore only scored eight points but stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks—including this one that he helped turn into an alley-oop on the other end of the floor.

Smith entered the season with a selection to the preseason All-Big Ten Team after he averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 blocks per game as a freshman. He was  added to the Naismith Award watch list in early November as one of 50 college basketball stars eligible for the honor of being deemed the best player in the NCAA at the end of this season.

After beating Maryland 80-50 and moving to 3-0 on the year Saturday, the Terps are off until Tuesday when they host Fairfield at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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