basketball Edit

Nebraska Basketball Game Day: Maryland

WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN 

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-18, 1-13) vs Maryland Terrapins (11-14, 3-11)

Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 - 8 p.m. CT

Pinnacle Bank Arena

TV: BTN

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Internet: FOX Sports App

Nebraska projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Alonzo Verge Jr.

6-3/164

Sr.

Ranks in the Big Ten's top six in assists (2nd, 5.2 apg) and steals (6th, 1.5 spg)

Trey McGowens

6-4/196

Jr.

Averaging 7.0 points, 5.0 rebonds, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 steals over the last three games.

Bryce McGowens

6-7/179

Fr.

Leads the Big Ten and ranks 17th nationally in free throws made. He's one of only two freshmen

with at least 100 free throws.

Lat Mayen

6-9/217

Jr.

Had 13 points and seven rebounds in NU's last meeting vs. Maryland in 2020-21.

Derrick Walker

6-9/239

Jr.

Led team with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and seven rebounds in the loss to Iowa. He's shooting 69% from the floor on the year.

Maryland projected starters
NAME HT/WT YEAR NOTES

Fatts Russell

5-11/165

Sr.

Transfer from Rhode Island who averages 13.6 points, a team-high 3.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.

Eric Ayala

6-5/205

Sr.

Fourth-year starter averaging a team-high 15.1 points with 4.6 rebounds per game. Also leads team with 58 made 3-pointers.

Hakim Hart

6-8/205

Jr.

Averaging 9.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and a team-high 1.5 steals per game.

Donta Scott

6-8/230

Jr.

Averages 12.6 points, including 34 made 3-pointers, and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game.

Qudus Wahab

6-11/240

Jr.

Averages 8.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and leads the team with 0.8 blocks per game.

3 KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Take care of the basketball

After a decent start to its road game at Iowa last time out, Nebraska immediately panicked as soon as the Hawkeyes started to go on a run.

Rather than slow things down and get the game under control, the Huskers decided to try and play even faster, and that led to a flurry of turnovers that directly played into Iowa's transition-based style.

Nebraska ended up turning the ball over 15 times in the loss, and those directly led to 19 Hawkeye points. Of those 15 giveaways, 12 came in the first half.

It was no coincidence that when NU took better care of the ball and only turned it over three times in the second half, it immediately played better. The Huskers scored 50 points after halftime, including a 20-3 run.

Maryland comes in as one of the worst teams in the country in defensive turnover percentage (326th, 15.5), but Nebraska still needs to be more deliberate with the basketball.

2. Win on the glass

It doesn't matter who Nebraska's opponent is for the glass to be a defining aspect of the game.

Maryland may not be the best rebounding team out there, but it's no secret that the Huskers are among the worst in all of college basketball.

After giving up 10 offensive rebounds for 14 second-chance points at Iowa, NU ranks 308th out of 358 Division I teams in opponent offensive rebounding percentage (31.7) and 350th in offensive rebounding percentage (19.8).

Nebraska is also dead last in the Big Ten in rebounding margin (-8.4) and has given up 167 more rebounds than any team in the conference.

Maryland is a physical team with all five players attacking the glass after every shot. If the Huskers can't find a way to stay competitive on the boards, it could be as much of a difference as anything between winning and losing.

3. Defend without fouling

Drawing fouls and winning the free-throw margin are things Maryland does as well as any team in the Big Ten and the country.

The Terrapins come into tonight ranked 65th nationally in offensive free-throw rate (34.3) and 31st on defense (23.4).

Their 75.4 team free-throw percentage is also 49th nationally and third in the Big Ten. Overall, Maryland scored 21% of its points at the charity stripe, more than any team in the conference.

All five Terrapin starters draw an average of at least 3.0 fouls per 40 minutes played, led by center Qudus Wahab (4.7) and guards Fatts Russell (4.6) and Eric Ayala (4.3).

Nebraska has struggled lately to defend aggressively without racking up early fouls. The Huskers cannot afford to let UM control the game at the free-throw line and have their frontcourt watching from the bench due to foul trouble.

QUOTABLE

"Minnesota was as good and consistent basketball as we'd played all year, and then we went back to having a stretch where obviously we were not sharp, we weren't on point, and we got taken advantage of (at Iowa). So just really working on the overall consistency. That's what's really going to give us a chance to win, if you play a complete 40-minute game."
— Head coach Fred Hoiberg on Nebraska still needing to play with consistent effort from game to game.

PREDICTION

Nebraska (+2.5) 72, Maryland 70

Robin's season record: 19-6

vs. the spread: 14-11