College Park, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - With only a handful of games left in the regular season, the fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers can further cement their claim on the Big Ten Conference crown when they challenge the 14th- ranked Maryland Terrapins at XFINITY Center on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin owns a 25-2 overall record, which matches the best start in school history, and its record-setting 13-1 league ledger has it in first place in the Big Ten, three games ahead of three teams all sporting 10-4 records, including Maryland. The Badgers, who can earn at least a share of their 18th Big Ten regular-season title and first since 2008 with a win here, are riding the wave of a 10-game win streak, and they will try to notch their ninth victory in 10 chances away from home as well.
Maryland has made the most of its opportunities in this, its first campaign as a member of the Big Ten, logging a 22-5 record. The Terps have won three in a row and four of the last five overall, the most recent being a 69-65 home win versus Nebraska last Thursday, As a result, UM improved to 16-1 at home, its lone setback in College Park coming against ACC power Virginia back on Dec. 3.
This bout marks the eighth meeting between Wisconsin and Maryland on the hardwood, with the former leading by a 5-2 margin. The last encounter took place in the third-place game of the 2009 Maui Invitational, with the Badgers prevailing in a 78-69 final.
Led by All-America candidate Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin has turned itself into one of the top offensive teams in the Big Ten. Kamimsky (17.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg) leads the squad in several statistical categories, among them scoring and rebounding, and he is joined in double figures by Sam Dekker (13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and Nigel Hayes (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg). The Badgers generate 72.3 ppg in hitting 48 percent of their field goal attempts, and they also shine at the defensive end in permitting a mere 55.4 ppg while logging favorable margins both in rebounding (+6.1) and turnovers (+3.0).
Wisconsin took down visiting Minnesota over the weekend, 63-53, and Kaminsky once again led the way with 21 points. Bronson Koenig added 17 more thanks to a trio of 3-pointers, the Badgers draining six treys in the game as part of a 46.9 percent shooting effort overall. The Golden Gophers attempted only one free throw, and missed it, as UW went 11-of-14 at the charity stripe.
Melo Trimble hit for 26 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead Maryland to its narrow win over Nebraska last week. Dez Wells and Jake Layman added 14 points apiece, as the Terrapins shot 46.5 percent from the floor, which encompassed seven 3-pointers, and they went a stellar 22-of-25 at the foul line. Conversely, the Cornhuskers went just 3-of-7 at the stripe, but did outscore the home team by a wide margin in bench points, 36-6.
Like Kamimsky for Wisconsin, Trimble (16.1 ppg, 3.1 apg, 37 steals) is a threat in more ways than one, as he leads the Terps in scoring and steals, while also serving as their primary playmaker. Wells and Layman turn in 14.6 and 13.6 ppg, respectively, for a team that produces 70.8 ppg due in large part to its 37.5 percent showing beyond the arc, as well as its 74.8 percent performance at the free-throw line.